In celebration of Reading Football Club's 150th anniversary, The Reading Chronicle spoke with 15 figures from the Reading community, past and present, to find out above all one thing: What makes Reading FC special?

Mick Gooding



Appearances: 368

The fans. The fans have been…literally from when I first signed for Reading…the fans were absolutely brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The club has obviously gotten bigger since I first signed. We were back at Elm Park, to have a stadium…25,000 all-seater stadium was a dream when I signed for Reading. The crowds have gone up. But as I say, it’s the fans. The fans are absolutely fantastic. 

In any town where they’ve got a football club, the football club is usually the centre of the community. People come to games, meet up, look forward to the game on a Saturday. They come to hopefully see their team play well and win but also to meet friends they see at every home game. It’s a big big part of the social scene in Reading. Thankfully the fans are back in now after the pandemic. People love going to watch football but also to see people they might not see for a couple of weeks.

Reading Chronicle: Mick Gooding up against Manchester United's Roy Keane. Image by: PAMick Gooding up against Manchester United's Roy Keane. Image by: PA

The fans, in my opinion, should be the biggest part of any football club and at Reading that’s absolutely what they are.

Stand-out memory:

We lost the playoff final in 1995 but the reception we got from the fans…I didn’t want it to happen, but we were persuaded by the Chairman that we needed to go on an open-top bus ride through the town. And because we hadn’t won anything, we’d lost in the playoff final, I was a little bit sceptical about how it would go. But the fans were absolutely brilliant. They lined the streets, albeit we hadn’t been promoted, the fans were absolutely fantastic with us.

The club’s got bigger from when I first signed, we didn’t have 10+ thousand people going every week but it was a hugely important part of the town. And as Reading has got bigger, the football club has got bigger. They go hand in hand, no question. 

Click here to read all of our 15 for 150 interviews