READING FC fans have been paying their tributes to former captain Johnny Walker following his death at the age of 90.

The popular Scotsman, who was known for his wit, played 318 times for Reading and scored 27 goals between 1957 and 1965.

Reading was his last professional club and after hanging up his boots he became coach of the reserves and youth team before leaving football altogether in 1979 to work for Royal Mail in Caversham.

He spent his retirement living in Theale and regularly attended functions put on by the Reading FC Former Players’ Association.


Royals fans took to social media to pay their respects when news of Walker’s death emerged last night.

Glasgow-born Walker was a classy right-back and started his career with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the old First Division in 1947.

He counted former England legend Billy Wright among his teammates and struggled for regular games with competition for places so strong.

He left in 1952 with an impressive ratio of 21 goals in 37 league games and signed for Southampton for £12,000.

He became a regular, making 172 appearances with 48 goals, before dropping down to the Third Division to join Harry Johnston’s Reading in 1957 for £2,500.

Walker spent his first season at Elm Park in his usual inside left or right position before eventually settling in at right back.

Royals historian David Downs included Johnny Walker in his book Reading FC 100 Greats.

Below is his description:

“Veteran professionals who drop down the divisions towards the end of their careers rarely make more than a brief impact on their new club.

Their name and reputation may well impress directors, but most are looking to wind down before they retire.

This was not the case, however, with Johnny Walker, who had played First Division football with Wolverhampton Wanderers before moving to Southampton, then aged 29, joining Reading in 1957.

Not only did he play more than 300 first-team games for the club, but he also proved to be one of the most charismatic and inspirational skippers Reading has ever had.

At his previous clubs Walker had played either inside right or inside left, but he retained this role for only his first season at Elm Park.

He was moved subsequently to outside right, wing-half then eventually to right back, a position he made his own throughout the early Sixties.

In that berth he could use his experience and ability to read the game to fullest advantage, using his brain to save his legs.

He could also direct and organise his players and his stentorian cry of ‘Steady!’ encouraged many a younger colleague to rescue a dangerous situation.

Fourteen of his 27 goals came from the penalty spot where he was the epitome of coolness.

But his rather haggard appearance got him into trouble at times and before an away game at Wrexham, some of his team told the gateman that Walker was an elderly supporter who was trying to bluff his way into the ground.

Walker, who had removed his false teeth, acted the part too well and it was nearing kick-off time before the intervention of a Reading director confirmed Walker’s identity and persuaded the official to admit him.

Well-known for one of football’s great characters, he was given a free transfer by Reading in the summer of 1965 and played part time for Amersham Town. In one of his game he told the referee, ‘You’ll have to excuse me for getting caught offside so often – I’m a bit quick for this class of football!’

Walker returned to Reading to play for Tilehurst in the Reading & District League then came back to Elm Park to assist the running of the reserve and youth teams part-time.

By now he worked for the Post Office, but still found time to attend players’ reunions at Wolves, Southampton and Reading, the three clubs he had graced with his elegant style of play.”