<< Season 1976-77 >>

Robin Friday After the high of attaining promotion for the first time in fifty years, an immediate low as Reading were relegated straight back to Division 4. Manager Charlie Hurley resigned (at half-time during a match!) to be replaced by assistant Maurice "Mr Reading" Evans. The worst blow of the season however was when star striker Robin Friday was sold to Cardiff for the, even then, paltry sum of £30K. He played 135 games for Reading, scoring 53 goals. He went on to play 25 times in a tempestuous spell at Cardiff, scoring seven times, before walking out on football. He died in December 1990. His memory lives on however. He was immortalised in the book The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw, had a song dedicated to him by the Super Furry Animals (The Man Don't Give a F*ck), and was voted Player of the Millennium by Reading supporters at the end of 1999.

My Robin Friday story comes from the game at home to Swindon. The second half saw a torrential downpour, with the rain pouring off the roof into a river along the front of the terrace, reducing the game to a farce. Robin, looking like a drowned rat, came over to where we were standing and asked, "Anyone know the score?". "4-1", we shouted back happily.

Division 3 (21st, Relegated)

       Gillingham        A  D  2-2         Murray, Cumming
       Shrewsbury T      A  L  0-2
       Walsall           H  W  2-1         Murray 2 (2 pens)
       Wrexham           H  W  2-0         Friday, Nelson
       Northampton T     A  W  2-1         Stuckey, Murray
       Peterborough U    A  L  1-2         Hollis
       Port Vale         H  D  1-1         Hetzke
       Portsmouth        A  W  2-0         Hollis, Peters
       Swindon Town      H  W  4-1         Murray 2 (1 pen), Cumming, Carnaby
       Chesterfield      A  L  0-4
       Sheffield Wed     H  L  0-1
       Lincoln City      A  L  1-3         Hollis
       Chester           H  W  2-0         Friday, Cumming
       Brighton & HA     H  L  2-3         Murray, Hiron
       Crystal Palace    A  D  1-1         Friday
       Mansfield Town    A  L  0-4
       Preston NE        H  L  0-2
       Tranmere Rov      A  L  1-2         Peters
       Grimsby Town      A  L  1-2         Murray
       Peterborough U    H  W  1-0         Murray
       Oxford Utd        A  L  0-1
       Crystal Palace    H  D  0-0
       Wrexham           A  L  1-3         Murray
       Gillingham        H  L  1-2         Earles
       Bury              A  L  0-1
       Chester           A  L  1-3         Murray (pen)
       Shrewsbury T      H  D  0-0
       Walsall           A  L  1-6         Murray
       York City         H  D  1-1         Bennett
       Northampton T     H  L  2-4         Murray 2 (1 pen)
       Bury              H  L  1-3         Tucker (og)
       Port Vale         A  L  0-1
       Portsmouth        H  W  2-0         Hetzke 2
       Swindon Town      A  D  2-2         Hiron, Earles
       Chesterfield      H  W  2-0         Earles, Hollis (pen)
       Sheffield Wed     A  L  1-2         Earles
       Lincoln City      H  L  1-2         Hollis (pen)
       Oxford Utd        H  W  2-0         Earles, Murray (pen)
       Brighton & HA     A  L  0-2
       Mansfield Town    H  W  1-0         Foster (og)
       Preston NE        A  L  0-3
       Tranmere Rov      H  D  0-0
       Rotherham Utd     A  W  2-1         Kearns, Bowman
       York City         A  D  1-1         Murray
       Rotherham Utd     H  L  0-3
       Grimsby Town      H  W  2-0         Hiron, Kearns

Division 3 Table

                        PL  HW HD HL  HF  HA  AW AD AL  AF  AA  PTS
 1. Mansfield Town      46  17  6  0  52  13  11  2 10  26  29   64
 2. Brighton & HA       46  19  3  1  63  14   6  8  9  20  26   61
 3. Crystal Palace      46  17  5  1  46  15   6  8  9  22  25   59
 4. Rotherham Utd       46  11  9  3  30  15  11  6  6  39  29   59
 5. Wrexham             46  15  6  2  47  22   9  4 10  33  32   58
 6. Preston NE          46  15  4  4  48  21   6  8  9  16  22   54
 7. Bury                46  15  2  6  41  21   8  6  9  23  38   54
 8. Sheffield Wed       46  15  4  4  39  18   7  5 11  26  37   53
 9. Lincoln City        46  12  9  2  50  30   7  5 11  27  40   52
10. Shrewsbury T        46  13  7  3  40  21   5  4 14  25  38   47
11. Swindon Town        46  12  6  5  48  33   3  9 11  20  42   45
12. Gillingham          46  11  8  4  31  21   5  4 14  24  43   44
13. Chester             46  14  3  6  28  20   4  5 14  20  38   44
14. Tranmere Rov        46  10  7  6  31  23   3 10 10  20  30   43
15. Walsall             46   8  7  8  39  32   5  8 10  18  33   41
16. Peterborough U      46  11  4  8  33  28   2 11 10  22  37   41
17. Oxford Utd          46   9  8  6  34  29   3  7 13  21  36   39
18. Chesterfield        46  10  6  7  30  20   4  4 15  26  44   38
19. Port Vale           46   9  7  7  29  28   2  9 12  18  43   38
20. Portsmouth          46   8  9  6  28  26   3  5 15  25  44   36
21. READING             46  10  5  8  29  24   3  4 16  20  49   35
22. Northampton T       46   9  4 10  33  29   4  4 15  27  46   34
23. Grimsby Town        46  10  6  7  29  22   2  3 18  16  47   33
24. York City           46   7  8  8  25  34   3  4 16  25  55   32

FA Cup

R1     WealdstoneS       H  W  1-0         Murray
R2     Wycombe WandN     A  W  2-1         Friday 2
R3     Hereford Utd2     A  L  0-1
League Cup
R1(1)  Peterborough U3   H  L  2-3         Murray, Friday
R1(2)  Peterborough U3   A  W  1-0 [3-3]   Friday
R1(R)  Peterborough U3   A  L  1-3         Murray

Top Scorers

                        LG  FA  LC  MC  ALL  PEN  HAT    RATE
 1. John Murray         16   1   2   0   19    6    0   0.396
 2. Robin Friday         3   2   2   0    7    0    0   0.333
 3. Pat Earles           5   0   0   0    5    0    0   0.217
    Mick Hollis          5   0   0   0    5    2    0   0.263
 5. Gordon Cumming       3   0   0   0    3    0    0   0.086
    Steve Hetzke         3   0   0   0    3    0    0   0.120
    Ray Hiron            3   0   0   0    3    0    0   0.075
 8. Ollie Kearns         2   0   0   0    2    0    0   0.400
    Gary Peters          2   0   0   0    2    0    0   0.049
10. Paul Bennett         1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.030
    Richie Bowman        1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.034
    Brian Carnaby        1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.043
    Dennis Nelson        1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.059
    Bruce Stuckey        1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.040
15. Own goals            2   0   0   0    2    0    0   0.038
    Line
    Totals              49   3   4   0   56    8    0   1.077

Most Appearances

                        LG    FA    LC    MC    ALL     SUM
 1. John Murray         40+2   3     3     0     46+2    48
 2. Steve Death         42     3     1     0     46      46
 3. Dave Moreline       36     3     2     0     41      41
 4. Gary Peters         34+1   3     3     0     40+1    41
 5. Ray Hiron           34     3     3     0     40      40
 6. Gordon Cumming      29     2+1   3     0     34+1    35
 7. Stew Henderson      26+3   3     2     0     31+3    34
 8. Paul Bennett        27     3     3     0     33      33
 9. Eamonn Dunphy       31+1   0     1     0     32+1    33
10. Richie Bowman       28     1     0     0     29      29
11. Steve Hetzke        22+2   0     1     0     23+2    25
12. Bruce Stuckey       17+2   3     3     0     23+2    25
13. Pat Earles          23     0     0     0     23      23
14. Brian Carnaby       18+1   2     2     0     22+1    23
15. Robin Friday        16     2     3     0     21      21
16. Tommy Youlden       17+1   0     1     0     18+1    19
17. Mick Hollis         14+4   1     0     0     15+4    19
18. Dennis Nelson        9+5   1     0+2   0     10+7    17
19. Brian Drysdale      16     0     0     0     16      16
20. Geoff Barker         6     0     0     0      6       6
21. John Turner          4     0     2     0      6       6
22. Barry Butlin         5     0     0     0      5       5
    Ian Porterfield      5     0     0     0      5       5
24. Ollie Kearns         4+1   0     0     0      4+1     5
25. Jerry Williams       3+2   0     0     0      3+2     5
26. Andy Painter         0     0+1   0     0      0+1     1
    Line
    Totals              46     3     3     0     52      52