The Road to Reading City
Prior to 2018 the club was called Highmoor Ibis and the decision to change to Reading City Football Club was not taken lightly however the community of Reading had yearned for a semi-professional club behind Reading Football Club to represent Reading and give local players the opportunity to play for a Reading based team as Reading.
Why the name Reading City FC?
We often get asked why are we called Reading City when Reading is not a City yet?
We chose the name of Reading City rather than Reading Town to preserve the history of Reading Town who sadly dissolved in 2016, but also to preserve the history of Highmoor and Highmoor Ibis, so rather than writing over their history people can see how each of these local clubs fed into Reading City, as we’re now known.
We also wanted a name that better reflected the area that we served as here at Reading City Football Club we pride ourselves at being at heart of the local community.
The Highmoor Years
Highmoor is a small village in South Oxfordshire that has a population of less than 300 and is home to a small but very attractive cricket and football ground, this is where our journey began. Most of the original football team came from the neighbouring villages of Sonning Common, Stoke Row and Woodcote. Tracing back over the records, a Highmoor Football Club can be found in existence until just after the war, with the club that is now called Reading City Football Club being formed in 1966.
Prior to 1990 the club enjoyed little success and it the late 1980’s was very close to extinction as they struggled to fill the 2 teams. It was during this period that the current club secretary, Chris Gallimore took over and recruited the now Chairman, Martin Law, to become 1st team manager and between them they assembled a strong squad of players and success was to follow.
The Highmoor Ibis Years
As the club progressed through the divisions and into the Reading Senior League (now Thames Valley Premier League), they outgrew their original home in Highmoor and in 2001 proposed a merger with Ibis Football Club based at the Ibis Club (now Rivers Health Club) in Scours Lane, Reading next to our current home the Rivermoor. The Ibis FC was formed in 1913 and is the sports and social club of Prudential Assurance Company. The Ibis name some say because many rowing clubs took the names of waterfowl. Others believe it derived from the cry Come on the Ibis which habitually drowned out the supporters of the OBs in departmental team events. (IB standing for the Industrial Branch and OB standing for the Ordinary Branch of the Prudential).
Since 2001 the club has achieved various successes including winning the Reading Senior League (now Thames Valley Premier League), twice, Maidenhead Norfolkian Senior Cup, BTC Intermediate and Senior Cups and Reading Invitation Challenge Cup Senior as well as the A team winning league and cup competitions.
The 2003/04 season saw the club be crowned winners of the Reading League Senior Division (now Thames Valley Premier League) without losing a match but sadly because facilities at Scours Lane didn’t meet the Hellenic League ground requirements and had no alternative pitch we were unable to accept promotion and would therefore stay in the Reading League Senior Division (now Thames Valley Premier League).
In 2005/06 the club won the Reading Senior Cup in 2005–06, beating Woodley Town 4–1 in the final at the Madejski Stadium.
After finishing as runners-up in 2006–07 and 2008–09, Highmoor were champions of the Reading League Senior Division again in 2010–11 earning us promotion to Division One East of the Hellenic League.
Move to Palmer Park
Since becoming Highmoor Ibis, our home games were played Ibis Club (now Rivers Health Club) , but following promotion to the Hellenic League Division One East in 2011 an opportunity we weren’t going to miss having had to turn down promotion in 2004 as we didn’t meet the Hellenic League ground requirements due to not have a stand or floodlights and therefore did not meet the league requirements and having secured a lease at the Palmer Park Stadium, a general use stadium including a 780-seat stand and athletics track around the pitch in East Reading were unable to move up to the Hellenic Football League.
The Hellenic Years
The 2011/12 saw us competing in the Hellenic League for the first time in our clubs rich history and what a fantastic inaugural season we had, not only did we secure promotion to the Hellenic Football League Premier Division where we remain today having finished runners up to Newbury, we were also runners up in the Hellenic League’s Supplementary Cup and the Reading Invitation Challenge Senior Cup.
At the end of the 2014/15 season we finished as runners up to Flackwell Heath in the Hellenic League Premier Division and remain in the league to this day.
The club first competed in the Football Association Challenge Cup in 2013/14 and in our inaugural year of playing in the prestigious competition we reached the First Round Qualifying, to this day this is still the club’s best Football Association Challenge Cup run.
The club first competed in the Football Association Challenge Vase in 2012/13 and were knocked out in the Second Round Qualifying. In 2013/14 the club reached the First Round Proper of the Football Association Challenge Vase but hasn’t reached a higher round since, we last reached the first round of the Football Association Challenge Vase in the 2016/17 Season.
In 2016 the club would move from Palmer Park Stadium bringing an end to five years spent in East Reading to come back West Reading where they last played in 2011 and took up residence at our current home in Scours Lane which was renamed as the Rivermoor as part of our relocation. The move to West Reading came about as a result of the sad demise of Reading Town who previously occupied the ground. Reading Town were sadly dissolved in 2016 after 50 years of serving the community of Reading, we're now proud to pick up that baton.
The Rivermoor is now the hub of the community, we proudly ground share with Woodley United and host various footballing events throughout the football season. Since 2016 we have also been working hard to improve the facilities at the Rivermoor and last season picked up the coveted 2018/19 EPC Bracknell Football Award for best ground, an award we are very proud of. In the 2019/20 the improvements have continued with the kitchen in the clubhouse being extended and floodlights undergoing maintenance.
So how did the Rivermoor it get its name?
The Rivermoor gets its name from its location close to the River Thames (River) and the club’s former name Highmoor (Moor).
Our Chairman Martin Law revealed to Football in Berkshire in April 2020 that he believes that whatever you have done in life is your history, and you should never lose your history as it’s made you what you are today, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent as part of that has helped you on your journey.
"One of things about the Rivermoor it is taking the fact we are near the River, so you have got the Thames and It was taking the end of the Moor, the Highmoor. Martin told them that whenever he says the Rivermoor it brings back his memories of what we achieved in our years as Highmoor, where we went with Highmoor, where we came from, what we went through, the great times we had, all the players that have gone through and all the people that have helped. Martin says the Moor bit reminds him of that and the River is we’re now by the River and moving on, so it was something very simple but to me it actually means something.
When changing our name to Reading City Football Club we kept the ground name as the Rivermoor in a nod to our history as Highmoor and Highmoor Ibis".
In 2014 we set up our youth section, initially starting with four teams our youth section has enjoyed huge success over the last six years and we now have more than twenty youth teams.
Reading City Years
In the summer of 2018, we took the difficult decision to rebrand from Highmoor Ibis to Reading City. The rebrand ended a long chapter of success and setbacks with the intent of becoming a non-league club the whole town can be proud to be associated with.
Our ambition as a club is to become the football club that everybody under Reading Football Club wants to aspire to play for and be involved in.
When interviewed in 2018 about the name change, Club Chairman Martin Law told the Reading Chronicle "With every organisation you have to have commercial branding associated with your location". Since then we have worked tirelessly to ensure the brand is well recognised within the local community, the hard work paid off last season as the club won the coveted 2018/19 EPC Bracknell Football Award for Best Social Media and Website.
….. The history keeps being written.