It’s 27th May 2001 and “we’re on our way to Wembley”. Well, we would have been if they hadn’t knocked it down. So, let’s start again. It’s 27th May 2001 and “we’re on our way to the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff”. You must agree that Millennium Stadium, Cardiff just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Wembley. Never mind….we were on our way anyway.
It’s the Nationwide Second Division play-off final. Reading against Walsall. If we had won, we would have reached the dizzy heights of League Division One (2nd tier). Just what the MadStad needed.
I was 14 and it was not just my first trip to Wales, if that wasn’t exciting enough, it was my first trip to a big final. Pure excitement. Dad had been asked by the company he worked for to arrange a staff trip to watch the game. So, on the day we left Bracknell early in the morning. All my fingers were tightly crossed. If I had had a lucky charm, it would have been safe and deep in my pocket. On the way there we had a coach quiz for a real cup. At great expense an old blue and white Willow Pattern tea cup had been nailed to a block of wood and the cup’s name proudly embellished on to the base in black Dymo Tape. It looked a picture!
I wore my Reading shirt and scarf, but needed that little something extra. Dad bought me a shoulder flag for the occasion. With URZ spelled right. Something to remember the hopefully triumphant day by. I was set up. Proud to call myself a Reading supporter.
It was a great day out. Shame about the result!
To this very day I still wonder if that result would have been different if we had travelled on Colin’s STAR coaches instead. Would we have won?
This piece of memorabilia is from Inga Vickery