RAY Emmans, a familiar figure at Reading FC’s Hogwood training ground for many years, is quitting the club.

For 13 seasons he has been the match-day coordinator for Reading Academy Under 18 and U23 matches, but is now planning to move to Cornwall to live closer to his two daughters and grandchildren.

“I have enjoyed my time there and will miss it, but I thought this would be a good time for me to leave,” he admitted. “I particularly miss seeing Eamonn Dolan around, he was an inspiration there.”

Eamonn, of course, was the Academy manager until he sadly died from cancer in June, 2016.

Years ago, Ray used to referee many of the Reading first team’s pre-season games and friendlies at Elm Park, and still remembers the one in 1984 when George Best and World Cup winner Martin Peters guested against the New Zealand national team.

Since 1971, Ray has also been officiating at Hellenic League matches, totting up a staggering 1,009 appearances with the whistle or flag.

“I’ve done the last nine this season,” he said. “I wasn’t going to do any more this year, but they kept ringing me up to ask if I could help.”

His last game on the line came in the Division One East fixture between Thame Rangers and Wallingford Town on November 4.

Emmans is the latest long-serving official to leave his post at Hogwood, as two weeks ago David Downs relinquished his role as Reading Academy’s Safeguarding Officer.

  • THE Berks & Bucks FA appear to be taking their time over deciding what action to take regarding the Hellenic League Floodlit Cup tie between Highmoor Ibis and Bracknell Town at the end of October.

If was abandoned with 15 minutes remaining as the referee, Keith Kennett, feared for his safety when angrily confronted by the Highmoor player he had just sent off.

The most likely outcome is the club will be heavily fined – it could be as much as £800.

It will then be down to the Hellenic League to decide whether to eject Highmoor from the competition or order a replay.

And Bracknell will only be happy if it’s played at their Larges Lane ground.