Former Reading FC defender Keith Curle revealed that the 1987/1988 Royals team had an 'honest belief' that they would stave off relegation from the Second Division.

Signed in October 1987 for £150,000, Curle played 40 times as Ian Branfoot's side were relegated but famously won the Simod Cup at Wembley Stadium.

Originally making his debut as a right-winger, it was centre-back where the future England international would make his name, becoming one of the most expensive players in the world when signed by Manchester City for £2.5million in 1991.

Speaking on the 1871 podcast, Curle said: "Reading were selling Steve Wood to Millwall and they needed a replacement to play alongside Martin Hicks that had legs. I had just had an injury and I think Bristol City saw it as an opportunity to cash in as I wasn’t match fit.



"It was a strange season because on our day we could beat anyone. The mix wasn’t there, we got rid of some players and lost goals in the team. There was a bit of nervousness about the manager being sought after by other teams which didn’t create the harmony you need in a football club, especially in the relegation zone.

"There was an honest belief that we would get out of it, but we didn’t.

"Being relegated hurt. It was softened in a way as I knew the club were going to sell me for a large profit after just eight months.

"Great business for them and it was a platform for me. Being a steppingstone was part of Ian’s presentation when signing me."

Despite being relegated to Third Division, the Bristolian has plenty of good memories from his time at the club.


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He continued: "Winning the Simod Cup. It was my first move away, being brough for money which I didn’t see the value in at the time. Moving house, I had a small family at the time.

"Great team spirit, there were some great characters in the team at the time."

After spells with Sheffield United and Barnsley, Curle was still playing until he was 40 before going on to carve a career in football management since the turn of the Millennium.


Click here to listen to the whole episode.