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?

Steve Brown



Appearances: 40

I only moved once in my career and you’re going into uncharted territories a bit. What I found when I got to Reading was a club equally as friendly and warm-welcoming as Charlton was when I left. I wasn’t at Reading long but I really enjoyed it.

We were fighting at the right end of the Championship, we were in the playoffs. The club was going in the right direction. The Madejski was full every week, the fans were behind us, we were winning most weeks…it was a great place to be and a great club to join.

I went from one very family-orientated, stable club which had seen some very good times straight into another one that was very much in a similar state. Reading had come out of League One, was in the ascendancy, had a new stadium, the owner made the club financially responsible, they had Alan Pardew as manager who was doing well. You can leave one football club and walk into a bit of a nightmare...and I didn’t. It was a brilliant move for me.

Reading Chronicle: Steve Brown in action for Reading during the 02/03 season. Image by: PASteve Brown in action for Reading during the 02/03 season. Image by: PA

What made it a special place for me is that it was very well run. Quite often you can go to a football club and you don’t know everybody behind the scenes, you can’t put a face to a name sometimes, and so on and so forth. And what made Reading special is that I’d come from a club where I knew absolutely everybody. I could go into the ticket office, the lounges, I pretty much knew everybody. I then went to Reading and they were equally as friendly behind the scenes. They were equally as well set up.

In terms of making you feel at home, they were absolutely brilliant. The staffing structure, not just on the football side, but at the hotel, at the training ground, everything was absolutely spot-on. And when you get a club like that where everybody can say hello to everybody, there are no agendas anywhere, everybody is friendly and everybody is smiling...I think it makes a big difference. Charlton and Reading are the only two clubs I’ve been at, so I just assumed that most clubs are run like that…but I’m not sure they are. 

Stand-out memory:

We got to the playoffs my first year at Reading. When I turned up they’d just gotten rid of Matthew Upson who had been outstanding for them, so I had extremely big shoes to fill. And I slotted into his shoes and filled them quite nicely and we got to the playoffs.

Reading Chronicle: Steve Brown goes in for a tackle against Wolves in the playoff semi-final. Image by: PASteve Brown goes in for a tackle against Wolves in the playoff semi-final. Image by: PA

If it hadn’t been for the injury to Nicky (Forster), I think momentum would have carried us through. But losing Nicky…he was our number one striker by some distance and losing him left us very short up top. And Wolves turned that deficit around after he went off…we were 1-0 up when he went off, they turned it around to win 2-1 and then they carried that into the second game. We were a little bit toothless in attack. It just goes to show how fine the margins are between success and falling at one of the final hurdles.

It was such a shame because in terms of team spirit, in terms of how we were playing, we were certainly giving it a good enough shot to have won those two legs if we were all fully fit. We were a good side, we had some good young emerging talent: James Harper, Nicky Shorey, Steve Sidwell, Graeme Murty. We were a good side.

So that was quite an achievement, but it was just a shame we fell a little bit short. It was just a good time…full stop.

Click here to read all of our 15 for 150 interviews