<< Season 1997-98 >>

Elm Park from Tilehurst End Reading's final season at their dilapidated Elm Park ground ended in disappointment as once again they dropped into Division 2. Managers Jimmy Quinn and Mick Gooding departed in the close season to be replaced by Terry Bullivant. However a delay in the appointment as Tommy Burns turned down a job offer, meant that he did not have a full pre-season to build a team. He did make some signings, bringing Carl Asaba and Lee Hodges from his old team, Brentford, Linvoy Primus from another old team, Barnet, and Irish legend Ray Houghton from Crystal Palace. Asaba cost a club record £800K.

The start of the season was truly dreadful, with only one point in the first six matches. However things slowly started to gel and by February Reading had climbed to a respectable mid-table position and reached the fifth round of both the FA and League Cups, including yet another memorable victory over Wolves and a win at Premier League Leeds. The defeat against Middlesbrough in the League Cup quarter final was particularly unlucky. With the score at 0-0 in the last couple of minutes, the referee appeared to give a free kick to Reading. As the teams lined up, he indicated that it was actually a Boro kick. They took it quickly to catch the Reading defence out of position and score the only goal of the game.

At this stage everything went horribly wrong as Reading lost 15 of their last 17 games to plummet to the bottom of the table. Bullivant resigned following defeat at Oxford, to be replaced by Tommy Burns, who accepted the job at the second time of asking. He signed no less than seven players on transfer deadline day, but it was to no avail. In consequence, the last game at Elm Park was a strange affair with Reading already down and fielding some unfamiliar names against Norwich (anyone remember Paddy Kelly or Michael O'Neill?). They could not even manage a decent send off as Norwich ran out 1-0 winners. After the final whistle and a half-hearted pitch invasion, there was a bizarre exhibition match between the Youth and Ladies teams as we said our goodbyes and wandered off home at the end of an era.

Division 1 (24th, Relegated)

       Bury              A  D  1-1         Swales
       Swindon Town      H  L  0-1
       Birmingham C      A  L  0-3
       Bradford City     H  L  0-3
       Queens Park Rang  H  L  1-2         Hodges
       West Bromwich A   A  L  0-1
       Oxford Utd        H  W  2-1         Asaba, Hodges
       Tranmere Rov      A  L  0-6
       Portsmouth        A  W  2-0         Hodges, Williams
       Sunderland        H  W  4-0         Asaba 2, Williams, Lambert
       Crewe Alexandra   H  D  3-3         Asaba 2, Westwood (og)
       Manchester C      A  D  0-0
       Norwich City      A  D  0-0
       Nottingham F      H  D  3-3         Williams (pen), Lambert, Primus
       Port Vale         A  D  0-0
       Sheffield Utd     H  L  0-1
       Stockport Co      H  W  1-0         Morley (pen)
       Huddersfield T    A  L  0-1
       Ipswich Town      H  L  0-4
       Stoke City        A  W  2-1         Morley 2 (1 pen)
       Charlton Ath      H  W  2-0         Hodges, Morley (pen)
       Middlesbrough     A  L  0-4
       Wolverhampton W   H  D  0-0
       West Bromwich A   H  W  2-1         McDermott (og), Williams
       Queens Park Rang  A  D  1-1         Morley
       Bury              H  D  1-1         Lucketti (og)
       Swindon Town      A  W  2-0         Lovell, Lambert
       Bradford City     A  L  1-4         Asaba
       Birmingham C      H  W  2-0         Hodges, Asaba
       Tranmere Rov      H  L  1-3         Williams
       Sunderland        A  L  1-4         Bowen
       Portsmouth        H  L  0-1
       Manchester C      H  W  3-0         Hodges, Houghton, Asaba
       Crewe Alexandra   A  L  0-1
       Stockport Co      A  L  1-5         Williams (pen)
       Port Vale         H  L  0-3
       Sheffield Utd     A  L  0-4
       Oxford Utd        A  L  0-3
       Huddersfield T    H  L  0-2
       Ipswich Town      A  L  0-1
       Stoke City        H  W  2-0         O'Neill, Meaker
       Charlton Ath      A  L  0-3
       Middlesbrough     H  L  0-1
       Wolverhampton W   A  L  1-3         Brayson
       Nottingham F      A  L  0-1
       Norwich City      H  L  0-1

Division 1 Table

                        PL  HW HD HL  HF  HA  AW AD AL  AF  AA  PTS
 1. Nottingham F        46  18  2  3  52  20  10  8  5  30  22   94
 2. Middlesbrough       46  17  4  2  51  12  10  6  7  26  29   91
 3. Sunderland+         46  14  7  2  49  22  12  5  6  37  28   90
 4. Charlton Ath+       46  17  5  1  48  17   9  5  9  32  32   88
 5. Ipswich Town+       46  14  5  4  47  20   9  9  5  30  23   83
 6. Sheffield Utd+      46  16  5  2  44  20   3 12  8  25  34   74
 7. Birmingham C        46  10  8  5  27  15   9  9  5  33  20   74
 8. Stockport Co        46  14  6  3  46  21   5  2 16  25  48   65
 9. Wolverhampton W     46  13  6  4  42  25   5  5 13  15  28   65
10. West Bromwich A     46   9  8  6  27  26   7  5 11  23  30   61
11. Crewe Alexandra     46  10  2 11  30  34   8  3 12  28  31   59
12. Oxford Utd          46  12  6  5  36  20   4  4 15  24  44   58
13. Bradford City       46  10  9  4  26  23   4  6 13  20  36   57
14. Tranmere Rov        46   9  8  6  34  26   5  6 12  20  31   56
15. Norwich City        46   9  8  6  32  27   5  5 13  20  42   55
16. Huddersfield T      46   9  5  9  28  28   5  6 12  22  44   53
17. Bury                46   7 10  6  22  22   4  9 10  20  36   52
18. Swindon Town        46   9  6  8  28  25   5  4 14  14  48   52
19. Port Vale           46   7  6 10  25  24   6  4 13  31  42   49
20. Portsmouth          46   8  6  9  28  30   5  4 14  23  33   49
    Queens Park Rang    46   8  9  6  28  21   2 10 11  23  42   49
22. Manchester C        46   6  6 11  28  26   6  6 11  28  31   48
23. Stoke City          46   8  5 10  30  40   3  8 12  14  34   46
24. READING             46   8  4 11  27  31   3  5 15  12  47   42

    + after play-off

Position Graph

Position Graph

FA Cup

R3     Cheltenham TA     A  D  1-1         Morley
R3(R)  Cheltenham TA     H  W  2-1         Morley, Booty
R4     Cardiff City3     A  D  1-1         Asaba
R4(R)  Cardiff City3     H  D  1-1 *       Morley
R5     Sheffield Utd1    A  L  0-1

       * after extra time, won 4-3 on penalties
League Cup
R1(1)  Swansea City3     H  W  2-0         Lambert, Roach
R1(2)  Swansea City3     A  D  1-1 [3-1]   Asaba
R2(1)  Peterborough U3   H  D  0-0
R2(2)  Peterborough U3   A  W  2-0 [2-0]   Asaba, Williams
R3     Wolverhampton W1  H  W  4-2         Williams (og), Parkinson, Meaker, McPherson
R4     Leeds UtdP        A  W  3-2         Asaba, Williams, Morley
R5     Middlesbrough1    H  L  0-1

Top Scorers

                        LG  FA  LC  MC  ALL  PEN  HAT    RATE
 1. Carl Asaba           8   1   3   0   12    0    0   0.286
 2. Trevor Morley        5   3   1   0    9    3    0   0.300
 3. Martin Williams      6   0   2   0    8    2    0   0.216
 4. Lee Hodges           6   0   0   0    6    0    0   0.171
 5. James Lambert        3   0   1   0    4    0    0   0.093
 6. Michael Meaker       1   0   1   0    2    0    0   0.077
 7. Jason Bowen          1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.050
    Paul Brayson         1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.167
    Ray Houghton         1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.029
    Stuart Lovell        1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.056
    Michael O'Neill      1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.111
    Linvoy Primus        1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.023
    Steve Swales         1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.024
14. Martyn Booty         0   1   0   0    1    0    0   0.029
15. Keith McPherson      0   0   1   0    1    0    0   0.033
    Phil Parkinson       0   0   1   0    1    0    0   0.021
    Neville Roach        0   0   1   0    1    0    0   0.077
18. Own goals            3   0   1   0    4    0    0   0.069
    Line
    Totals              39   5  12   0   56    5    0   0.966

Most Appearances

                        LG    FA    LC    MC    ALL     SUM
 1. Phil Parkinson      36+1   5     5     0     46+1    47
 2. Andy Bernal         34     5     6     0     45      45
 3. Linvoy Primus       36     1     6     0     43      43
 4. James Lambert       33+1   3     6     0     42+1    43
 5. Carl Asaba          31+1   3     7     0     41+1    42
 6. Steve Swales        26+5   5     6     0     37+5    42
 7. Martin Williams     25+4   1+1   4+2   0     30+7    37
 8. Martyn Booty        24+1   5     4+1   0     33+2    35
 9. Lee Hodges          20+4   4+1   5+1   0     29+6    35
10. Ray Houghton        20+5   2+2   5+1   0     27+8    35
11. Keith McPherson     24     0     6     0     30      30
12. Trevor Morley       17+6   5     2     0     24+6    30
13. Darren Caskey       19+4   0+1   1+1   0     20+6    26
14. Michael Meaker      16+5   0+2   3     0     19+7    26
15. Nicky Hammond       18     4     2     0     24      24
16. Gareth Davies       17+1   3     1     0     21+1    22
17. Jason Bowen         11+3   5     0+1   0     16+4    20
18. Steve Mautone       14     0     5     0     19      19
19. Stuart Lovell        8+7   2+1   0     0     10+8    18
20. Neville Roach        0+8   0     1+4   0      1+12   13
21. Andy Legg           10     0     0     0     10      10
22. Michael O'Neill      9     0     0     0      9       9
23. Dariusz Wdowczyk     3+3   0     1+1   0      4+4     8
24. Stuart Gray          7     0     0     0      7       7
    Scott Howie          7     0     0     0      7       7
26. Jim McIntyre         6     0     0     0      6       6
27. Jimmy Crawford       5+1   0     0     0      5+1     6
28. Paul Bodin           3+1   1     1     0      5+1     6
29. Paul Brayson         2+4   0     0     0      2+4     6
30. Nick Colgan          5     0     0     0      5       5
    Mark Robins          5     0     0     0      5       5
    Lee Sandford         5     0     0     0      5       5
33. Robert Fleck         3+2   0     0     0      3+2     5
34. Michael Thorp        0+3   0+1   0     0      0+4     4
35. Paddy Kelly          3     0     0     0      3       3
36. Sal Bibbo            2     1     0     0      3       3
37. Byron Glasgow        1+2   0     0     0      1+2     3
38. Paul Holsgrove       1+1   0     0+1   0      1+2     3
    Line
    Totals              46     5     7     0     58      58