WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
We catch up with Reading’s 1985-86 Division Three champions
IAN BRANFOOT didn’t need to spend a fortune to enter the record books after his Reading team won their first 13 games.
Branfoot paid out just £138,000 as his Royals smashed Tottenham Hotspur’s 25 year old record of 11 straight wins from the opening day of the season.
They finished seven points clear of second-placed Plymouth Argyle and ten in front of thirdplaced Derby County to earn a second promotion in three seasons.
Trevor Senior was Reading’s star striker, ending the season with 27 goals to his name, almost four times more than their second leading scorer, Kevin Bremner, who claimed seven.
Senior, who netted 36 goals in their Fourth Division promotion success in 1984, remembers the unbeaten run almost came to an end in only their second game.
“We won our opening game and then went to Plymouth. We were winning and they got a penalty. I remember Ian telling our keeper to go one way, but he ignored him.
“He went the other way and saved it. It could have been a lot different if he had listened to the manager, but luckily he didn’t. We rode our luck a little bit at times.
“There were a couple of games where we were losing, but we had the attitude of we never knew when we were beaten,” he said.
The game that really stands out in that time was when fellow promotion hopefuls Argyle visited Elm Park in a game that turned out to be a Christmas cracker.
Argyle went 3-0 up after 49 minutes with goals from Kevin Hodges, a Steve Cooper penalty and John Clayton. They looked like they were home and dry.
But a Dean Horrix penalty got Reading back into the game and Senior scored two goals either side of a strike from Bremner.
“We moved Kevin (Bremner) up front from midfield and turned it around to win 4-3,” said Senior.
“It was probably one of the best games I ever played in. People who have seen a lot of games still talk about it to this day when I go to Reading.
“Kevin was that sort of player. He would cover every blade of grass. I think he scored one of the goals and made a couple. It made the difference.
“Winning is a habit. Obviously, to win 13 straight games was exceptional. We did have some dodgy games, though.
“I know we went to Walsall and lost 6-0. We got hammered.
“We had a few games where we didn’t pick up any points. It got to the last half-dozen games and we played Derby at Elm
Park. It was between us and them at the time.
“And we beat them. That is what clinched it for us,” added Senior. 1. Michael Gilkes: Barbados international winger who has coached at a college, worked in the financial services industry and is now a personal trainer. He has also managed Basingstoke Town.
2. Colin Bailie: A full-back who won promotions with Cambridge United and moved to Cumbria where he joined the police. He is now a member of the Penrith rural policing team.
3. Jerry Williams: Midfielder who played in three Reading promotion-winning sides. Now lives in West Hagbourne, near Didcot, and is an insurance broker for Premier Financial Management.
4. Deane Foster: Reading-born midfielder and son of a local publican who is still living in his home town working as security manager for Yamato Transport.
5. Brian Roberts: Forward who left to play in Finland. Is now living and working in Eastleigh, Hampshire. 6. Glenn Hunter: Now a chartered physiotherapist and a consultant to UK Sport. Formerly, he was a principal lecturer at the University of the West of England in Bristol. 7. Gary Peters: Defender who gave David Beckham his debut at Preston, then managed Exeter and Shrewsbury. Now a football consultant for Midas Sports.
8. Gary Westward: Goalkeeper, who was an ever present in 198586. Lives in Wargrave, near Reading, where he runs his own business Freestyle Sign & Print. 9. Steve Wood: Central defender who helped Millwall win promotion to Division One. He has run a coaching company, Planet Sport, and is now a director of Midas Sports Management. 10. Martin Hicks: Central defender who made a club record number of appearances for Reading, winning three promotions, before returning to live in his native Stratford-upon-Avon, where he is a postman. 11. Trevor Senior: Forward who was Reading’s top scorer in eight of his nine seasons at the club. Lives in his native Dorchester and coaches in schools. He is also assistant manager of Dorchester Town in the Evo-Stik Southern League. 12. Derick Williams: Goalkeeper who made only one senior appearance. He still lives and works in the Reading area. 13. Dean Horrix: Forward who won two promotions with Reading. In March 1990, he was killed in a car crash just ten days after signing for Bristol City, aged 28. 14. Stewart Henderson: Spent 20 years at Southampton in various roles until the summer of 2010 and is now a freelance coach and scout. 15. Glenn Burvill: Midfielder who won the FA Youth Cup with West Ham in 1981. He has settled in Sussex after working for the Post Office and now runs the Bay Tree pub in Peacehaven. 16. Stuart Beavon: Midfielder whose father, Cyril, played for Oxford and son Stuart for Coventry. He now runs a painting, decorating and property maintenance company. 17. Andy Rogers: Winger who played for Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup semi-final. He was a consultant for a building firm before returning to Devon to work as a probation officer. 18. Ian Branfoot: Also managed Southampton and Fulham. He was Sunderland’s Academy director, a scout for Leeds, and coached at Winchester College. Now retired and living in Andover. 19. Kevin Bremner: A striker whose brother, Des, was a European Cup winner with Aston Villa. He has starred in adverts for Betfred and works in the building industry in Kent. 20. Mark White: A left-back who won three promotions with Reading and became a physio consultant at Royal Berks Hospital. 21. Steve Richardson: Left-back who made more than 400 appearances for Reading and coached at Basingstoke and Farnborough. Now working as a painter and decorator. NOT PICTURED Derrick Christie: Winger who won a promotion with Northampton Town and now lives in Peterborough. Worked as a legal executive and has been at the Land Registry for 28 years. David Crown: Striker, who scored 171 league goals. Worked for a firm of chartered accountants and now runs his own management services company in Essex.