Madejski Stadium, Behind East Stand

Heritage & History

STAR’s Reading FC Hall of Fame

Honouring outstanding individuals who have made a significant contribution to the history of our club.

The Hall of Fame is a work-in-progress project scheduled to complete on the 150th anniversary of Reading FC’s first match in 1872. Each year between 2016 and 2022 11-25 new names will be added (inducted) into the Hall of Fame.

Historical Team Images - The Parsons Collection

One night in 1999 a ‘mature’ gentleman by the name of Parsons came to The Football Shop (the old RFSC HQ in the East Stand) and said ‘you might be interested in these.’ It was three albums of football postcards dating from the late 1890s through to the late 1920s, a mix of team groups and players and I‘d never seen anything quite like it before.

He said it had been his father’s and, as he’d no further use for them, he was giving it to me in the hope we could use it for the benefit of the supporters of Reading FC. There were about 80 cards altogether which I took along to the next meeting of the RFC Collectors and Historians Society. They considered that it was the best collection of such material to come to light for many years and it included some items no-one had seen before.

We decided to keep the Reading part of the collection as an asset of the Supporters’ Club (and later STAR). About a third of the material related to other clubs (Southampton, Villa, West Brom principally) and this we sold for a few hundred pounds. STAR can offer for sale copies of the Reading photos you can see on this site.

One of the many roles of STAR is to enrich and protect the heritage of Reading FC, particularly in the absence of any formal museum run by the football club. Of course we welcome more donations of significant material from Reading fans with the promise we’ll look after it and make it as widely accessible as possible.

You can view the photos from the Parsons Collection by clicking the button below.

STAR, RFC and Reading Museum Loan Box Project

We currently work with the Reading Museums Service having produced a ‘hands-on loan box’ of Royals’ artefacts which is available to schools and old people’s homes across the county. It includes such articles as a rattle (seen right), old programmes, a scarf, rosette and early supporters’ badge among other items.

Details of the Reading football loan box can be downloaded here. We have renewed the agreement with Reading Museum to continue to make the loan box available to 2015 which is one of 1500 boxes in their loan service.

The boxes are borrowed by schools for half a term, this gives the pupils a chance to properly explore the objects and use them in different classes, not just history!  Further information about the service is available on the Reading Museum website.

Roger Titford, Chairman RFSC (1998-2001)

Will of Footballers Battalion & Former RFC Player Ben Butler Uncovered

In June 2011 military historian Jon Cooksey and BBC radio presenter, Graham McKechnie guided a group of STAR members in a visit to the last resting places of a number of former RFC players who joined ‘the footballers’ battalion’ and lost their lives during the First World War. One such former player was Cpl Albert Victor (Ben) Butler.

The last wishes, thoughts and concerns of more than 230,000 soldiers who died on the front line during World War I are to be made available online as part of a larger project to make all war wills publicly available, dating from the Boer War to the Falklands. Final handwritten wills were kept by troops in their pocket service books and tucked into their uniforms and give a fascinating insight into the thoughts of those brave men.

You can find out more about the project and some of those wills, including that of Ben Butler, by reading Jon’s articles written for the launch of the project:

BBC article
Express article
Guardian article

Commemoration of War-Time Deaths of Former Reading Players

STAR hold ceremonies at the Memorial Wall at the Madejski Stadium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of a former players war-time death. The below photographs were at the first ceremony for Jack Huggins and Joe Dickenson. STAR Chairman Paul Ellix paid tribute to both men in a short speech. Joe Dickenson’s grand-daughter Cherry Clifford and great grand-daughter Kirsten Gregory attended and, together with Melanie Bishop of STAR, laid wreaths.

You can read more about Joe Dickenson – the Footballing Grenadier by downloading a commemorative profile produced by STAR Chairman Paul Ellix.

Football Battalion Memorial Wall

Following the trip to the Somme at the end of the 2011-12 season STAR felt we needed a more permanent memorial to Reading players who gave their lives for their country. As a result, there is now a brick and marble panel in the wall at the corner of the South Stand of the Madejski Stadium. These bricks display the names of the 9 Reading players killed in World War I and the 3 Reading players killed in World War II. Take a look next time you visit the ground.

Pictured are Carol Buckell, Darel Melhuish and Gail Lowes with the bricks that bear the names of their relations before being placed in the wall.

STAR are grateful to those who donated their time and donations to support the Memorial Wall.

STAR Flanders Trip 2014 - A Journey of Remembrance

On 30th and 31st May, this year STAR organised a visit to the battlefields of Flanders for members to view the final resting places of Reading players who had fought in the First World War in what became known as the ‘Footballers Batallion’.  This followed a similarly successful visit to the Somme in June 2011.

A special edition of Reading Matter – 2014 Flanders Tour of Remembrance – is available covering the visit, a copy of which can be downloaded here (pdf).

Thank you to Pete Vickery for putting the document together and to Mel Bishop for additional photography.

The Real Early History of Reading FC

Almost every history of Reading FC has depended on the first account of its early years written, anonymously, in 1906.

It contains numerous errors and biases uncovered by Roger Titford in his 2016 publication of ‘The Lost Years of Reading FC’.

To set the records straight we’re pleased to present an excerpt from his book.

Historical RFC Kits

You can view all the Reading FC kits from 1872 to the present design on the Historical Kits website.

RFC Former Players Association

The Association represent former managers and players, currently standing at 200 members, spanning decades from the 1940s to today. You can visit their website to keep up to date with their news and events.

1983 - One man and a mad dream

The strange story of Robert Maxwell and the Thames Valley Royals. In 1983 Reading FC nearly ceased to exist. A plan to merge Oxford United and Reading to form a new team called Thames Valley Royals nearly succeeded. Read an account of this troublesome time for Reading Supporters that first appeared on 1st April 1993 in Rage Online – an independent voice of Oxford United Supporters.

More RFC Historical Sites

You can see a further collection of RFC Cards put together by Chris Lee, with information about the RFC Society of Collectors and Historians by visiting his website.  You can find out more from Chris following @cribsie on Twitter.