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?

Shaka Hislop



Appearances: 126

I was there at a really good time for Reading. When I first joined, the club was in the Second Division, what is now called League One. We were at Elm Park throughout my time and it had a real family feel about it.

You got to feel the history of English football and what it’s about through the club, through the community. There was a pub at the top of the ground that everybody went to after games. There was a real community feel about it.

I joined Reading in 1992 which was the first year of the Premier League, so money was just starting to come into the game in the way that gave rise to today. In my second season we were promoted and in my third season, my final season, we finished second in what is now called the Championship - it was still called Division 1 back then. And you got to experience the euphoria that came with that season and how well we had done.

Reading Chronicle: Shaka Hislop in action for Reading in 1994. Image by: PAShaka Hislop in action for Reading in 1994. Image by: PA

The hard work of losing in the playoff final, the only time that only two teams got promoted. We got all the experiences of football - at its best and at times at its worst. But you also got to see all the experiences of a football club from the old transitioning into what the game has become now. 

Stand-out memory:

It would probably be the start of that season in what is now the Championship. Nobody really knew what to expect as a club going up, the challenges that we had. And we started the season really well. Our football was absolutely fantastic, we were winning games, we were keeping clean sheets, and I don’t think I’ve experienced more electricity around Reading.

Even looking back on how that season panned out…there were a lot of highs. As much as we talk about losing in the playoff final, there were a lot of highs that season including beating Tranmere over two legs in the playoff semi-final.

But the start of that season was special. Because of the uncertainty and because of how well we dealt with it and how well we started that season.

Click here to read all of our 15 for 150 interviews