Today we hear from Kevin Lenton – STAR Board member
In the mid-1970s a new phrase entered football language, namely Super Sub. It was first given to Liverpool’s David Fairclough, who would come on as a substitute and turn around games, notably the 1977 European Cup Quarter-final versus St Etienne. In fact, he scored 18 goals from 62 substitute appearances.
So, who is Reading’s Super Sub?
Time does not permit an analysis of all games since substitutes were first allowed in league matches in the 1965-66 season. We do know that Ralph Norton was our first substitute, after 52 minutes, in the opening game of the season, coming on for Peter Shreeves. We lost 2-1 at home to Watford. At that time substitutes were only allowed to replace an injured player and we used only four that season.
Our first substitute to score a goal was Barry Wagstaff, on 10th January 1969, in a 2-1 away win at Bournemouth.
The top three most appearances as substitute in league games up to the end of last season (2019-20) are as follows: –
97 Hal Robson-Kanu
69 Shane Long
63 Simon Church
The most substitution appearances in one season was 36 by Darius Henderson (2001-2002) and the most goals scored from the bench in one season was 9 from Adam Le Fondre (2011-2012).
But for many Reading fans the title of Super Sub goes to Jamie “what a bargain” Cureton.
On 20th April 2002 Reading played away to Brentford needing a point to secure promotion to the then Division 1, whilst a home win for Brentford would put them in the automatic promotion place. The sell-out 11,303 crowd at Griffin Park was supplemented by a further 6,000 watching the game on a giant screen at the Madejski Stadium. Reading went a goal behind but in the 77th minute substitute Jamie Cureton scored such a memorable equalizer to take us up.
To watch highlights go to ⏪ Royal Rewind | Brentford 1-1 Reading | 20 April 2002 – YouTube