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Reading Football Club is a professional English football club based in the town of Reading. Nicknamed the Royals, the club currently competes in the Championship, which is the second tier in the English football pyramid.
Reading currently plays their home matches at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, which was known for many years as the Madejski Stadium. The stadium has a maximum capacity of 24,161 and has been their home since 1998, replacing their old ground at Elm Park, which they had played at from 1896 to 1998.
Reading’s biggest rivals are Oxford United and Swindon Town.
Although they have never won the top flight of English football, Reading have been successful in each of the other three divisions in the Football League. Their highest achievement at this level came in the 2005/06 season when they won the Championship with a record points total, as Steve Coppell’s team finished the season with an incredible 106 points. They were 15 points clear of runners-up Sheffield United, as they were also promoted alongside Play-Off winners Watford. The Royals’ most recent Championship title came in the 2011/12 season but was far from as dominant as six years prior. This time, they finished one point above Southampton in the table to be crowned champions, while West Ham were winners of the Play-Offs.
Reading have also won the third tier of English football three times in their history, the first of which came in the 1925/26 season. They then won the old Third Division twice in eight years in 1985/86 and 1993/94. The Royals have also finished as runners-up in the division a further five times too. In the 1978/79 season Reading won the old Fourth Division for the only time in their history in a season that saw them lose just one match at home all year. In 1988, Reading won the Full Members’ Cup after beating Luton 4-1 in the final at Wembley. Their trophy cabinet is complete with the London War Cup and the Football League Third Division South Cup.
Reading Football Club was formed on 25 December 1871, having played fixtures in their early years at the Reading Recreation Ground, Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground, before moving to Elm Park. They became a professional club in 1895, but didn’t join the Football League until becoming members of the Third Division South in 1920. The Third Division is where the club spent the majority of their early years in the Football League, but have had spells that have seen them drop as low as the Fourth Division.
It took them until 1986 to become a Second Division team once again, ending a 55-year wait for the club to finally reach that level of football. Since then, they have been a regular feature in the second tier of English football, though they have had both promotions and relegations in that time. The 2005/06 season is one of the most famous in the club’s history as they won the Championship title with a record 106 points to their name. The following year was the club’s first-ever in the Premier League and top flight altogether and saw them continue where they left off the following year, achieving an impressive eighth-placed finish. They also narrowly missed out on a place in the following year’s UEFA Cup by just one point on the final day of the season, having failed to win either of their final two matches.