“The Lost Years of Reading FC” by Roger Titford
D3D4football review the latest offering by author Roger Titford.
If you like football history then this exceptionally well researched book will be right up your street. It tells the story of the formation of Reading FC and the trials and tribulations of the first 30 years of its existence. What this book reveals is a fascinating world, now long forgotten, before the time of the internet, Match of the Day and the plethora of football phone-ins that are such a prominent part of the fabric of the modern game. In this world not even the rules of the game have been properly defined by groups of, mostly young, men trying to establish teams to represent their towns or cities.
At first it is easy to think that this book would only interest those with a love or interest in Reading FC but what the author does really well is relate how this club was formed with the wider story of football in this era. The narrative may focus on Reading FC but the story is one of football beginnings and of how this game developed into to the sport now loved and obsessed over by millions.
“(In 1872) the FA Cup final was played for the first time. Wanderers beat Royal Engineers 1-0 in front of a crowd of 2,000 at The Oval. In 1901 the attendance for the final, which Reading FC were not that far from reaching, was over 110,000.”
Surely no other game has captured the attention, the soul or the interest of a nation in such a relatively short space of time. That is the beauty of football and this book goes a long way to reflecting how this surge in popularity began to emerge from the society at the time.
It is commendable that Titford has clearly made attention to detail and historical accuracy a key part of this book giving it a credibility that allows the reader to get lost in the Victorian world of football’s fledgling years. There is a lot of information and history crammed into its 400 or so pages including an insight into the tension between the northern clubs of the early Football League and the southern clubs that would form the Southern League.
It is a book about football history, a book about footballs beginnings and above all a book for football enthusiasts everywhere…enjoy!
The Lost Years of Reading FC can be purchased from the When Saturday Comes shop linked below