News and Views

The Early Days Of Reading FC

10 May 2024
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading Football Club, more popularly recognized as Reading FC, stands as a professional football club stationed in Berkshire's town Reading, located in England. Having a history that is indeed opulent for having been around for over a century to say the least, Reading FC has had its share of victories, defeats, and events that are etched in the memories of its fans forever; they have come to define what the club stands for. From very modest origins to making it big through the English football hierarchy, this piece is intended to give readers an extensive glimpse into Reading FC's enthralling journey narrative in early days.


Before placing your bets from No KYC onlines casinos to Reading FC, read this glorious team’s early days from us. Reading Football Club came into existence in the latter part of 1871 during the holiday season by a group of young men from the town, led by Joseph Edward Sydenham who convened with his partners at Bridge Street Rooms. The club played its inaugural match two months later on February 21, 1872 where Reading held Reading School to a goalless draw at Reading Recreation Ground. The team gradually strengthened and in 1878 they relocated to an enclosed ground — Reading Cricket Ground. Boasting defensive internationals, Reading clinched their first silverware, the Berks & Bucks Cup in March. They were once considered one of the strongest sides outside London but unfortunately saw a sharp decline in the 1880s after moving to another place. Football prospered in the northern regions, the amateurs of Reading lagged behind and sometimes weren’t even top within their own town. Sports passed them by as it did not favor those who failed to keep pace with changing times or demands placed upon them.

Southern League

During its 22 seasons in the Southern League, Reading nearly spent every year in the first division. As a step towards development as a serious club, Reading built their own stadium for the first time. Located in west Reading, the stadium was opened in September 1896. The history of this ground witnessed an interesting event as it hosted the final all non-league FA Cup semi-final match.

This period marked one of the club's greatest achievements— despite almost facing bankruptcy on a couple of occasions! The Southern League soon emerged as a fiercely contested division. Notable accomplishments included being runners-up in the Division One three times, winning the Division Two title, reaching the quarter finals, defeating Bolton and Aston Villa during the FA Cup matches as well as playing out a cup draw with Manchester United that was captured on film for newsreel presentation. This was an era of success: but it came at a cost.

Reading left the shores of England for the first time on their Italian tour in 1913 where they emerged victorious against AC Milan and the Italian national XI. This led to them being hailed as ‘undoubtedly the finest foreign team seen in Italy’. The tour also saw Holt and Smith earn full caps, with Smith having been part of Great Britain’s Olympic team in 1908 alongside Hanney from the victorious 1912 squad.

The club faced a significant financial crisis due to player losses during the First World War, among which star forward Allen Foster stood out as a notable casualty despite high prospects for English honors. Following Southern League's brief resumption for one season and subsequent efforts by its management committee to secure admission into the Football League, it was not until March 1920 that clubs were allowed entry into Division Three— much lower than what was hoped or deserved, which dealt another blow to their aspirations.

Hall Of Fame Star Edward Brownlow Haygarth


Edward Brownlow Haygarth was an inspiration for Reading FC in the fledgling amateur era. His presence in the club's opening match was almost assured - he emerged as the first documented goalscorer, the first hat-trick scorer and the team's first international representative. He took on the role of captain, becoming the second person to do so. Haygarth's connections with leading figures in football's formative years arguably added prestige to the newly formed Reading club. Haygarth was born in Cirencester in 1854. His journey to Reading was part of his training as a barrister, but he was more than a law enthusiast. He was an all-round athlete, excelling at athletics and proved a valuable bat for Reading Cricket Club.

He was a player who played as a full-back. Alone against seven strikers, his job was just to defend the goal at any cost— but not only defense made him strong. He had an amazing shot, powerful and precise; he never hesitated to face any opponent frontally because most times his weight alone could take away the ball from them. His performance was outstanding every time he stepped onto the field, which drew attention wherever he played. Representing Berkshire paved the way for him to join Swifts, a club based in Slough. It happened in 1875 when he was only 20 years old that he left his mark on FA records during the 4th international match.

His love for cricket flared up, not doused by retirement but redirected towards it. At Cirencester Cricket Club, he played at the top of their batting order— a position that allowed him to display his sporting skills even more prominently. In addition to playing cricket, upon his return from Wanderers in London back to Cirencester he became involved in establishing law practice, thus staking his claim not only among sports enthusiasts but also among legal professionals within the locality.

But that didn't satisfy him— he later became one of the pioneers who established what we currently call the Cirencester Golf Club. An influential figure both on and off different fields (yes, those with grass and holes), he made sure his legacy echoed around his local community each time people engaged in sports— making sure every swing or hit remembered his impact even after he was no longer part of that place for good.

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