MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Doyle (85 mins).
Leicester: Hume (38 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 25,578

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 40 92 +56
2 Sheff Utd 40 78 +27
3 Watford 40 72 +24
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Oster (Long 61), Harper, Gunnarsson (Sidwell 61), Convey (Hunt 80), Kitson, Doyle. Subs Not Used: Stack, Makin.
Leicester: Henderson, Stearman, McCarthy, Kisnorbo, Johansson, Maybury, Gudjonsson, Williams, Hughes, Hume (Welsh 84), Fryatt (O'Grady 78). Subs Not Used: Gerrbrand, Douglas, Hammond.
Reading: Gunnarsson, Ingimarsson.
Leicester: Hume
Referee: C Penton (Sussex).

READING ARE UP! Reading secured promotion to the top tier of the English league for the first time in the club's history with a 1-1 draw with Leicester City. Reading's record breaking promotion - the earliest ever promotion to the Premiership - was confirmed as Watford were beaten and Leeds United were held to a draw. We'd gone into the game needing a win to guarantee promotion but the draw was enough to get the party started. The performance may not have been emphatic. However, the post match celebrations certainly were, as the Reading team and management and 3,000 travelling fans went mental as promotion was confirmed.

Leicester had seemed intent on spoiling the party, as Reading's nerves were all too clearly on display during the first half. Reading were lucky to go in only a goal down at the break as the home side dominated the opening exchanges. Hahnemann uncharacteristically dropped the ball twice under pressure, and nearly gifted a goal when clearing the ball as it was charged down from close range. That should have resulted in another Leicester goal as they wasted the chance as Reading defenders got back and the Royals conceeded a free-kick to stop the danger. The resulting kick was driven against the foot of Hahnemann's left post as Reading looked in trouble. Leicester took the lead just before that incident on 38 minutes when Hume cut through the defence and scored an excellent goal from long range - there was little Hahnemann could do to stop that one.

Reading had failed to get going in the first half and managed few attempts on target - a Shorey free-kick well over the bar being the most notable. After the break, Reading eventually got going. Convey did well to break through and fired in a decent low shot that was well saved by the Leicester keeper. Kitson nearly latched onto a through ball and Hunt put one just over the crossbar as Reading looked to pull level. Down the other end Leicester nearly increased their lead but Hahnemann did the splits to save the low effort with his foot. The introductions of Sidwell and Long were much needed, but Hunt's appearance from the bench with ten minutes left may have been the turning point. Reading won a series of corners as they at last got a grip on the game. The equaliser came from a Harper corner on the left that was flicked on in the box. Doyle rose to head home before charging into the corner where the Reading fans were gathered and leaping around like nutters. It was a moment to saviour.

Full time saw a wait for confirmation of promotion until the tannoy announced the Royals were promoted - and the celebrations began. The 3,000 Reading fans sounded more like 30,000 as the Stadium shook and the players ran over to the fans, through crowds of photographers capturing a moment in history, going just as mental themselves. Steve Coppell took a running leap into the crowd throwing his coat into the crowd and Bobby Convey stripped down to his pants as the players threw their shirts into the crowd. The game will quickly be forgotten but the celebrations - the day Reading were promoted to the Premiership - never will.


"Congratulations Reading on your promotion", for me the defining moment, the magic words as the PA announcer at Leicester confirmed what we'd all been waiting for so long was no longer a dream but reality. We really are promoted, we are in the Premier League and as the news was announced it sent all of us lucky enough to be there into ecstasy and wild scenes of celebration. It really is very hard to put into words how I feel today, the day after. I've been out and bought every Sunday newspaper and keep seeing the reports on Sky Sports News and all without exception are applauding and praising Reading FC, the players, the chairman and of course Sir Stevie Coppell for what is a truly unbelievable achievement. To secure promotion from arguably the hardest league in the world to get promoted from before the clocks go forward is amazing , staggering and still with six games left. Gobsmacked. This is no fluke, this is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work over the last sixteen years since the man we owe it all to John Madejski took over this club. The ghost of the heartbreak Bolton play off final can now be banished and we go forward into the promised land to take part and compete at a level most of us who've supported this club all our lives could never imagine. That'll do for now, heads still spinning, thank you Reading Football Club, thanks for everything, and a huge well done all the Reading fans who were there yesterday for unbelievable support and to all those Royals fans scattered far and wide all over the world. We've done it, we really have!
Nick Newbury

I think it is absolutely brilliant that such a hard working, well presented, level headed bunch of gentlemen have fought for so long to get where they were finally presented with today - The PREMIERSHIP. The fight isn't over yet though, the fighting doesn't stop until the final whistle goes on Saturday April 30th at home to QPR (but I am sure the guy's know this). The excitement and ore the fans, players and management will be in will be unbelievable. We have worked so hard to get to where we are today and I am and always have been truly proud to call myself a Royals fan. I cannot wait to see ourselves in the Premiership next season and as Bobby Convey said he came to England to play in the Premiership - well Bobby, here's your chance - make everyone proud. No matter what happens next season, we will keep our heads held high with great pride. I respect every member of that squad old and new for all the hard work they have put in to keep the fans entertained and on the edge of there seats at every game, but most of all for getting us into the Premiership, and on that note I myself as a fan cannot forget all the silent workers that have made this dream a reality (this includes coaches, management, physios etc...) they are the backbone to the squad, without them they wouldn't have been as successful as they have been. And to finish this off I would like to congratulate you all on becoming the first Reading Football Club squad to be promoted in to the Premiership in 135 years, WELL DONE. I can't wait for some exciting games next season. Lets prove that we are more than worthy of that place in the Premiership.
Kate Renton

I am a true blue Royal of 22 years though I have been living in Hull for the past four years. I can't begin to describe the emotions attached to finally reaching the top tier, although not least amongst them is one of sadness! This might seem somewhat bizarre but I suppose after supporting an 'unfashionable' club from the 'lower leagues' for so many years, I feel somehow that my club is being taken away from me - no more will I be able to simply show up and watch the team and we are now to be involved in the circus that is the Premiership. I'm worried that being amongst the divers, moaning managers and referee-abusing superstars might drag us into the media mire. Having said all this, I was in tears today, and they were tears of joy. I wish I could personally convey to every member of the squad my unreserved thanks for all of their efforts in this and in previous seasons. they represent all of our ambitions and hopes and have done the whole town proud. I would also like to acknowledge the not insignificant part played by players and staff who have since left the club - each and every one of them have played some part in this amazing success. To the manager Steve Coppell, a massive debt of gratitude is owed. His steadfast clamness throughout the season has been the rock on which the performances on the pitch have been built. But most of all, Mr John Madjeski has proved over all the years since he first became involved in the club that he is not only a great football chairman but also a wonderful human being who deserves every honour the town can bestow. He will go down in club history as the greatest personality ever to be involved with the club. I've just read this back and it makes no sense whatsoever but hey - its been emotional!!
Malcolm Dunn

I am just writing to congratulate you on your promotion to the premiership. I am a West Ham supporter and I know the feeling when you get when your team is promoted, even if we did it the hard way. I am writing to you the fans to say that you deserve everything you have achieved. I look forward to welcoming you Royals to Upton Park! Enjoy your success.

Just got back from Leicester. Wow: what a day! I have to be at Heathrow at 5.00 tomorrow morning and now need to calm down enough to pack! In the meantime I thought you might like the attached lyrics [link later!]. I've been singing my own version of "Football's Coming Home" in the car for about a month, but didn't write anything down in case it was tempting fate. Now that we're up, I've typed them out. I wore my 1995 play-off final shirt today. There are a lot of ghosts in that shirt that have never been properly put to bed. However I really feel as if a "what might have been" chapter in my life has now been closed. This probably comes across in the lyrics. Anyway, enjoy! URRZZZ!!
Kris, Muswell Hill

I have been a fan of the Royals since 1992 when I was assigned to manage the Ramada Hotel in Reading. I am absolutely thrilled by the promotion to the Premiership and look forward to see you amongst the top clubs of the UK for many years. Even though I am at present in Jamaica I still keep myself informed on your progress. Many congratulations to a wonderful achievement!
Heinz, Jamaica

Forget the football, this was all about what happened before and after. The tone was set by the Leciester announcer who congratulated Reading on a wondeful season. The Leicester fans then simply applauded. It was a wonderful feeling. It made you feel so proud of the team and what they have achieved and even surpassed watching them walk out at Wembley in the Simod cup final. The match itself was something of a mediocre affair. We started well but could not hurt a well drilled Leicester side. Their goal was probably deserved but the pressure grew. We knew about other results and the tension increased - all to be released by Doyle's equaliser and then the celebrations started and just kept going. The players, staff and Chairman were terrific afterwards. Even the manager smiled and when he threw his coat to the fans, I just wondered whetehr he had lost it completely, he certainly deserved to. What a day - one that will remain with those of us luicky enough to be there for a very long time.
Ken C

All I can really say about this is that I was very proud to be at the game to see Reading finally fulfilling promotion to the Premier & I don't mind admitting I shed a tear or two during the celebrations at the end. I can still see Doyle's header hitting the back of the net in my mind's eye & feel the stand at Walkers shaking as everyone went mad when news of the fact we were up spread. The last few games ought to be a blast as the obvious & understandable tension that's crept into our play in the last couple of games can be banished & the players can just go for it & get back to the style of play & performance that has got us up. Well done to the manager & squad! I'm extremely proud to be a Reading fan! WE ARE GOING UP!!
Mr Happy (Caversham Royal)

We Are Premier League! Atmosphere amazing at leicester, so lucky to get a ticket, best experience of my life.

As already stated in previous articles I was not a Coppell fan at first but have been converted over the course of this season to his low key intelligent approach. I think his style means that he puts in a lot more work than it appears on the surface. I also think that the Town should recognise this hard work and honour him for it. Come on RB Council - how about giving him the "keys to the Town"?
James Lawrence

What can I say about Saturday 25th March 2006 except that it was the day when I and all my fellow "Loyal Royals" were catapaulted into Dreamland .... the Promised Land, Football Heaven, The Top Drawer of English Football and any other cliches I can think of. To do it at Leicester with a 1-1 draw was particularly special for me as my second team are the Super Foxes and a win for either team would have taken a shine off the day for me - albeit only slightly. The rest of the day and subsequent evening is a bit of a haze. I have never laughed, cried, shouted screamed, sang, drank or kissed John Madejski so much in my life before - any more and my poor old body couldn't take it. Sunday morning (not that I went to bed) was the one and only time that I have ever smiled at having the hangover from hell. A big thankyou to Sian for phoning me and telling me that John Madejski was in the Turtle, made my evening that did !!!!! Sorry about the sef-indulgent content of this email but it's not every week that something this special happens ......

Couldn't agree more with Malcolm of Hull about his conflicting emotions about promotion. [I too now live in Yorkshire]. Yes: it is a fantastic achievement and I felt proud to be a Reading fan as I watched and listened to the sports bulletins on Saturday - but the so0-called promised land brings mixed blessings as Malcolm bravely points out. Reading in the seventies and eighties - as epitomised by Elm Park - seems a long way away which may be considered a good thing for many people, I'm sure, but was what Reading was always about for me. A reporter for BBC Online likens memories of the ground to memories of your first car which is a good way of summing it up. Ha, well. I better stop before I start sounding like an old man. Good luck to the lads in the Premiership and, meanwhile, pass me that rattle and blue and white stripy scarf.
Paul Kirkwood, York.

Congratulations to John Madejski, Steve Coppell and to all the players and staff at Reading Football Club involved in Saturday's promotion. My congratulations go to all my fellow Reading FC supporters who have endured the good,the bad over our 135 year old history. The scenes of Saturday will stay in my mind for as long as I shall live and lets finish the season on a real high with the crowing as Champions and lets try and achieve a record points tally. Urzzzzz.
Mark, Reading

We couldn't get tickets for the Reading end so had to sit with the home supporters at the opposite corner to the Royals fans. No need to repeat all the comments about the tremendous achievement and the brilliant season we've had (which still isn't over !!) ... but a couple of words about Leicester. I really liked the sporting comments from their announcer ahead of the game ... and the local supporters didn't just applaud, they gave us a standing ovation. In the game they played well and truely seem to have made great strides since Christmas. And we got a similarly sporting response when the other results came in and their announcer told us we'd actually done it. Then, after the match they let us exit our side of the ground and enter into the Reading Supporters end so we were able to join in the celebrations with the rest of the Reading fans. Finally ... I noted one comment in one of the national papers ... that for Reading last season we had our "Wigan moment" at the last game when Wigan got promoted and we were out of the play-offs ... but for Leicester - in years to come they may be talking about their "READING MOMENT" on March 25th 2006. COME ON URRZZZ !!
Crowthorne Seb

YESS!!! I cant believe it, reading have finally done it!! Cmonnn urzzz, We are premier league said we are premier league, CMMONNNN READING!!
Robin Hinton

Even without our recent success I'd be proud to be a part of this "Family". This is a great club, with a small but passionate, dedicated, good humoured and "LOUD" (Yeah I was there!) following. Let's keep it loud and not be so self conscious. Party till the end of the season! Christ! I still can't believe it.
Steve Brunker

Speechless, physically - I have lost my voice after Saturdays match! We've done it. Its unbelievable! What an atmosphere, what tension, how we made that a nail biter! Miles clear and I was still nervous. What a day what a game, what an atmosphere. What a season! Well done to everyone at the club, the players the management the backroom staff, and John Madejski of course who made it all so real. But at the same time, the fans this year have been great, all this "plastic" nonsense is rubbish, last season when we were challenging for the play-offs everyone was moaning that the stadium wasn't full. Now? It's full and some are still moaning! Those of us who went to Leicester know how awesome that day was, the Leicester fans gave us a standing ovation! That made it all so real. The few Leicester fans that stayed behind clapping us, and then the hundreds of other football fans congratulating us on the way back and in the media as well! The Atmosphere was great, we shook the stand! Every one singing in time and the scarf waving... the delirious celebrations outside after the game... fans in tears Pandemonium is one way to describe it. Another way is AWESOME! 17 years ago who would have thought this of "Little Reading"? Nobody I know... Well done Reading! UUURRRZZZZZ!!!
"M-U-R-T-Y'S Screamer"

No, still can't believe it! Even our 14 year old babysitter got given a glass of bubbly on Saturday at 5pm. I stared at Geoff Stelling as he confirmed what we'd known for weeks really. My eyes filled with tears. The long suffering wife who had for years told me that it was waste of time supporting Reading has been forced to admit that this year, something strange has happened. Reading had been consistently the best in the division since that wonderful win at Ipswich and Geoff was telling me the others had run out of games. We were up. I watched Spurs vs West Brom last night and thought, we'll be playing there next season! Yes, Reading FC playing at all those flashy grounds and they'll all be coming to our flashy ground too! Many have been reflecting on all the nearly moments of years gone by. Umpteen relegations and promotions. Walsall at the Millennium Stadium, the unforgettable Bolton game at Wembley (I like to remember playing Tranmere off the pitch in the semi at Prenton Park), windy lonely afternoons on the South Bank or at the Tilehurst End at EP, following the lads to Brentford, Walsall, Oldham and now a fun packed afternoon at Leicester. Well done to the lucky few that got tickets. We've never been a club to sit in mid table and do nothing each year thus giving all of us 46 games every season of tension. Yet for so long we've been little Reading from near London and overshadowed by the likes of Oxford, QPR and even the Swine for years! And now all that can change. Bring on the prawn sandwiches and flashy primadonnas. Read the list - Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Newcastle, Liverpool, Everton, Man City and Utd. It's frightening but the dream is over. Every football team has its day and ours has come at last!
A beaming Worzel, West Sussex

Blimey! We’re there. It’s been a long way. The Simod Cup. The early promise of Mark McGhee’s team. Jimmy Quinn and Mick Gooding and THAT day at Wembley.The dark days of Terry Bullivant and Tommy Burns. The move to our new home. ‘Pants Day’ and the optimism that Alan Pardew brought. Defeat in Cardiff. Up at Brentford.The doubt of Steve Coppell’s early days and now this. There have been many highs and lows. But though it all, John Madejski always said he had a plan. He always said we would get into the Premiership. Now we have. Is this the end of a journey, or just a glorious milestone along the way? Time will tell. But isn’t great to be a Royals fan?
Geoff, Reading.

Hi just wanted to express my sheer delight being at Leicester and seeing Reading promoted to the Premiership on Saturday, what a fantastic atmosphere, and I'm sure the celebrations will continue at the Madejsky this Saturday. A supporter of only one year, having been introduced to the team by my mate Bigsy, a fan of 24 years, who brought me a season ticket and patiently explained the off-side rule! I can honestly say I've enjoyed every minute, its amazing how part of 'The Team' I already feel. So special thanks goes to Bigs for introducing me to his particular passion. And Congratulations Reading, I'm so glad I was able to share in the celebrations of a significant, well deserved 'goal' one of those 'Moments in Time' that I will treasure and remember always. I look forward to sharing the delights of promotion and enjoying the games in the premiership WELL DONE URZ!!!!!!
Linda Green, AKA Tinkx

I was too slow to get a ticket for the away end so I had to make do with a home ticket. I ended up in the same stand, just the opposite corner surrounded by the home supporters. That meant I had a great view of the Royals going potty for 90 minutes. I didn’t see much of the game because I was enjoying the party in the away end. I’m so glad I took a camera. I’ll treasure those pictures. The travelling support was the noisiest support I have ever heard from any side (until Saturday I thought no-one could beat Newcastle). I salute those 3000 lucky souls. You were magnificent. If we take that support with us next season, we’ll put everyone in the shade. Thankfully when the game was over I made my way over to the away end and sang with everyone else. What a season it has been. It almost feels too easy. We were a class above the rest, which exceeded my wildest dreams as a (humble) Reading fan. The team has re-written so many records this year. They deserved this promotion more than any team in over a hundred years of league football. It’s a shame it took the rest of the world 8 months to catch on. The day was capped when Mr Mad stopped at the same services. I shook his hand and thanked him. He looked totally drained by the whole experience. It must be something to have worked so hard for all these years and in 90 minutes seeing your dream realised. England could win the world cup this summer and the feeling wouldn’t come close. Bring on the prawn sandwiches, flash cars and daft haircuts, READING ARE PREMIER LEAGUE!!!!!!
Thatcham Royal

Brilliant, outstanding, exceptional and more! You can use so many superlatives but for me it is one sentence; " We ARE in the Premiership!!" Our Chairman John Madejeski demonstrated that we are indeed a special club when he acknowledged to the media that the congratulations should extend to everyone involved with Reading Football Club throughout and I believe that it is this absolute desire to succeed from everyone concerned that has finally fulfilled our dream. I was born in Reading in 1945 and have supported Reading since I was five. My grandfathers house was some two hundred yards from Elm Park and I was a regular supporter for each first and reserve home team fixture. Yes my wait has been 55 years and therefore this last weekend has been very special for me here on the Isle of Wight where I have lived since 1971. I have been able to educate people here to actually acknowledge our very special team this year and the personal congratulations have been flowing in. At last we can all experience the national acknowledgement of our football club which for so many years has somehow been ignored. The "step up" to the Premiership will take some adjustment and I believe our Management are absolutely right in preparing immediately for the new season. This does not mean that each and every member of our existing squad cannot fulfil their individual ambitions and move our club further forward and it is the bond that presently exists with the present squad that makes it very special and may well be a force to reckon with if they continue to play for one another and enjoy the clear friendship both on and off the field. I would like to congratulate the Hob Nob site for their considerable contribution over the last few years both with their reporting and their encouragement to the true fans. Despite my distance from my home town I continue to see as many matches as is practical and I look forward to my visit this weekend which I feel sure will be very special indeed as our team are welcomed by our home fans. Let us hope it will be a further weekend of celebrating the clinching of the Championship title.
Terry, Isle of Wight.

Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages