Updated: Feb 7, 2020
Chairman Martin Law has reflected on the past decade as we look forward to a new year and the beginning of a new decade.
Over the last ten years as a football club, we have suffered many ups and downs. Whilst things got tough, both on and off the pitch, there was still plenty for us to be proud of. As one decade closes and another one begins, here are a few success stories from the last ten years:
The decade began with the club, formerly known as Highmoor Ibis, competing in the Reading Senior League which we won in the 2010/11 season. Having been crowned champions, we were awarded promotion to the Hellenic Football League, where we would compete in Division One.
As a result of our promotion to the Hellenic Football League the club had to relocate to meet league requirements, therefore we took up a tenancy at Palmer Park Stadium in East Reading which was our proud home for six years before we moved to our current home here at the Rivermoor. The 2011/12 season would end with another promotion, this time we were awarded a place to compete in the Hellenic Football League's Premier Division, where we remain today.
In 2014 we set up our youth section, initially starting with four teams our youth section has enjoyed huge success over the last five years and we will end the decade with twenty-two youth teams.
In 2017 the club would move from Palmer Park bringing an end to six years spent in East Reading to West Reading taking 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 2017 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. This season the improvements have continued with the kitchen in the clubhouse being extended and floodlights undergoing maintenance.
The continued improvements to the ground couldn't have happened without our treasurer Victoria Pyke, as well as looking after the clubs finances Vikki took over the running of the clubhouse earlier this year and is doing a sterling job that often goes unnoticed. I would like to personally thank Vikki for all her hard work.
I'd also like to thank Dave Wyeth and his team at C&D Facilities for all their hard work getting the playing surface to the standard it is at today. When we moved into Scours Lane in 2017 the pitch was nothing but straw but thanks to Dave and his team's tireless efforts over the last two years the pitch has been restored and we now have a flat, grass surface. Last season Dave and his team's efforts were recognised when he reached the final of the Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Football Association's Grassroots Football Awards, having been nominated as Groundsman of the Year, sadly however he finished as a runner up with the award going to Abingdon Youth Football Club.
The biggest change of the decade came in the summer of 2018 when 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 FC wants to aspire to play for and be involved in.
When interviewed in 2018 about the name change, I recall telling 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.
On behalf of everyone at Reading City Football Club, I would like to thank everyone who has given their time, effort and support during the last decade and we look forward to seeing the club make many more memories as a new one begins.
May I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy new year.