We catch up with Reading’s 1985-86 Di­vi­sion Three cham­pi­ons

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Neil Fissler

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.

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