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Long Return Finally Confirmed

13 July 2022
By Hob Nob Anyone?

The rumour that has been running for years has finally been confirmed, as free agent Shane Long has returned to Reading FC to sign a one year contract. The rumour gathered pace over the last month after it was confirmed that Southampton would not be renewing his contract, with rumours virtually every day that the deal was done. However, finally the rumour is definitely true with the club revealing Long back in Reading colours with pictures at the Oracle and the training ground. It's fair to say that the career of Reading's former player of the season, who spent some epic years at Reading, has been tailing off in recent seasons but there's plenty of reason to expect he will have plenty to offer in the Championship.

Shane Long signed for Reading originally back in 2005, a massive 17 years ago now, as an unknown player from Cork City. His first goal for the club came on New Years Eve in only his second appearance, coming off the bench with twenty minutes to play to grab the equaliser with just two minutes left on the clock. The first Reading goal of that game was scored by Kevin Doyle. Long went on to score 4 goals that season in limited opportunities mostly from the bench, including two goals off the bench in our 5-0 demolition of Derby. The next season with Reading in the Premier League, Long found himself frequently off the bench to replace either Leroy Lita or Kevin Doyle until he started to earn a place in the starting eleven later in the season. With 4 goals that season and 3 in the following 2007/2008 season in the Premier League, Long was recognised as a hugely creative force up front as a supplier rather than scorer.

That pattern continued until the 2010/2011 season when Long made a huge breakthrough, smashing in a massive 28 goals over the season as Reading finished the season with play-off final defeat. His incredible form earned him player of the season and a 6.5 million pound move to West Bromwich Albion to return to Premier League Football. Regular goals for club and country kept coming, which led to a 7 million pound move to Hull City in January 2014, and then just seven months later a 10 million pound transfer to Southampton. Long continued to make a big contribution for the Saints until, after seven years at the club, gradually dropping out of favour and getting less match time. Most of his appearances for Southampton were off the bench, especially in the last few seasons. Even with limited opportunities Long left Southampton with 37 further career goals.

Welcome back Shane!

 

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