|Reading's Home Kits|
Reading's very first game, in February 1872,
would have proved strange to modern eyes, but any present day fan
transported back in time would at least had no problem in recognising
which team to support, as Reading turned out in blue and white hooped
(horizontally striped) shirts and white shorts. However by 1890 this
had developed into blue and white (vertically) striped shirts and blue
shorts, and this remained the normal kit throughout the Southern League
and early Football League days.
It was not until 1938 that blue and white hooped shirts, with blue shorts, were re-introduced. Apart from two ill-judged interludes, of white shirts and blue shorts from 1953-55 and all sky blue from 1965-69, the hoops remained in force until 1983, although generally with white shorts rather than blue. For most of this time the hoops remained fairly wide, it was only from 1969-77 that the classic "Robin Friday" narrow hooped shirt was used. The 1982-83 season saw the introduction of a shirt sponsor for the first time, with local paper, the Chronicle, getting their names on the shirt.
It was under the chairmanship of Roger Smee that the main kit innovations took place. The 1983-84 season saw a light blue and white striped shirt sponsored by the local radio station, Radio 210. This was replaced in 1984 by the classic "Trevor Senior" strip of light blue shirts with a central white panel and dark blue shorts. This kit was sponsored by the local brewing company, Courage, whose connection with the club also goes back to the earliest days. This kit lasted until 1989 when there was a rapid series of kits with white or light blue shirts and dark shorts. There was also a change of sponsor to HAT Painting in 1990.
The arrival of John Madejski as chairman saw a return to the traditional blue and white hoops and white shorts in 1992, with the kit being sponsored by Madejski's AutoTrader magazine. The hoops have remained in various guises ever since, although on occasions with blue shorts rather than white. Following Madejski's sale of the company, AutoTrader were replaced as sponsors in 1999 by the computer company Westcoast, in 2005 by copier company Kyocera, and in 2008 by supermarket chain Waitrose.
The history of Reading's away kits remains to be written, although the classic all yellow of the Simod Cup Final deserves a mention. There are others, notably a couple of red and white numbers from the early 1990s, that are probably best forgotten. There is an urban legend that, as the only League team from the Royal County of Berkshire, Reading do not need a change kit, but can always play in their home colours. Needless to say, there is no basis for this in reality.
For more information, see the excellent Historical Football Kits. Also see my thoughts on what differentiates a proper Reading kit from other, not so Super, Hoops.