Reading City FC
Rivers IBIS Club
Ground Number: 862
Saturday 29th June 2019
Reading City 1-1 Marlow
READING CITY FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was initially formed as Highmoor IBIS in 2001, following the merger of the two REading League clubs that made up the new club's name. A series of top 4 finishes followed, the only exception being in 2008 when they finished in 6th place. Facilities were not in place to take promotion when they first won the league in 2004 but by the time of their second league win in 2011, they had secured a lease at the Palmer Park Stadium which allowed them to make the step up to the Hellenic League D1 East. It was a move that paid immediate dividends as they finished up as runners-up to Newbury in their first season. They've remained in the Hellenic Premier ever since, the best finish coming in 2015 as they finished as runners-up to Flackwell Heath. Form soon tailed off though, which has seen a slide down the league. The start of last season saw a name change to Reading City, but this did not alter their fortunes in recent years, despite a move to Scours Lane, the former home of Reading Town. But despite a second bottom finish, the club will take their place in the Hellenic Premier once more for the 2019/20 season.
In the FA Cup, the debut season of 2013/14 season saw their best ever run. A 5-1 victory over Abingdon Town and a 3-1 win over Windsor saw them awarded an away game at Chertsey where they promptly lost 4-0 in the 1st Qualifying Round. The FA Vase record is seven bleaker, with the club never making it past the 1st Round. Local cups have seen a little more success, the Reading Senior Cup was lifted in 2007 following a 4-1 win over current ground-sharers Woodley United. Prior to their elevation to the Hellenic League, the club played at the IBIS Club, next door to Scours Lane (their current home). It still hosts their reserves who play in the Thames Valley League (the renamed former Reading League) and is indeed the venue for my latest visit. Also dubbed 'The Rivers Club' it was the Sports Ground of the Prudential Insurance Company, the IBIS name reflecting the 'Industrial Business' side of the business which was the door to door collections as opposed to standing orders.
Read more about my visit to Scours Lane HERE
Read more about my visit to Highmoor IBIS HERE
Read More about Laurence's visit to the IBIS club HERE
It had been a month and 11 days since my last visit to a game at Eton Wick, but to be honest, aside from on the 15th June, I'd not really missed football that much. I'd spotted this game a few weeks back and was initially expecting a revisit to Scours Lane, where I'd watched Reading Town in 2014. It would be a revisit, but worth it, as there were a number of pubs that I fancied visiting. A late change of venue threw the trip into doubt, but after reading Laurence's trip to the adjacent IBIS club, I decided to stick with it. The trip was made even more appealing by the fact that I could do it on the bus for under a fiver return from home, thanks to a great deal from Arriva, albeit that I'd have a 4-mile walk once I got to Reading. Not that that bothered me, walking had formed a big part of my summer, though the promise to myself of cutting down on junk food and drink had gone for a burton. At least I had listed over 500 old programmes on eBay, digitizing those that were sold, which lead to a small profit, together with the lack of spending on football, had provided a timely financial boost. I’d had a reasonably quiet night before the day of the game, but not much sleep, waking at 6 am. I stayed at home for a couple of hours or so, leaving just before 8.30. After getting a paper, I walked to the first bus stop and was faced with a 25-minute wait for a bus. The second stop was not much better, beating it by a few minutes, but it still meant time would be tight for my Reading bus. Frustratingly, the bus stopped at every opportunity, but I still made my connection by a few minutes. The journey took around 90 minutes, going through several towns and villages which were quite pretty.
I arrived in Reading just before 11, my first stop being the Hope Tap Wetherspoons, my 191st in the chain. Thistly Cross and Black Dragon ciders were on offer, both of which I’ve had many times. A pint of the latter cost me £3.19 at a well-filled pub given the time of day. After getting some cash out, I headed to a takeaway called ‘German Doner Kebab where I had mixed meat quesadillas, flaming fries and a Fanta for £7.50. The portions were not the biggest, but the food was excellent. My initial plan was to head to a pub, the Nags Head for another pint, but as time was tight, I headed straight to the ground. It took around 45 minutes to cover the 2.2 miles to the ground, usually a breeze for me but it was tiring in the heat. I arrived with 10 minutes to go and saw a few familiar faces in attendance. In front of a crowd of 43, Marlow in their change strip of orange were much the stronger side. They were awarded a penalty for a foul in the box, but their #10 saw his spot-kick saved as the Reading City keeper guessed correctly by diving low to his left. The visitors finally did take the lead in the 28th minute, a good through ball found their dreadlocked player in a numberless shirt and he finished well. The game was being played in three thirds, the second of which was largely uneventful, understandable given the searing heat. I relaxed in the shade and saw an improved home performance in the final third. Albeit they didn’t create much, but they were awarded a penalty on 82 minutes, apparently for a foul by the keeper. I caught it on video, a well-taken spot kick that made it 1-1. The hosts looked the more likely to grab a winner, but the contest ended in a stalemate.
It was a cooler walk back into town and a slightly shorter one. My destination was the Nags Head, a brilliant pub with 15 real ciders and lots of Reading FC stuff. I had a couple of pints of local Tutts Clump ciders, both of which were very nice. I’d have happily stayed in there all night as there were plenty of ciders that I’d not yet had. It gave me a nice place to cool off and type this report, vague as it is due to lack of details on team lineups. As brilliant as the pub was, it would have been irresponsible for me to spend all night in there so after looking around a few shops and getting some Irn Bru from Iceland, I made my way to The Alehouse. Another smashing venue, this time I had my favourite cider of the day, a pint of Tutts Clump Traditional Farmhouse. Marvellous, despite the words ‘I’m not a racist, but....’ emanating from the next booth, I didn’t listen to the conclusion. I was feeling pretty merry by now, but there was still time for another pint at the Castle Tap. Well a half anyway, as I had to get back for my bus. I arrived back at my designated stop at 18:07, but my 18:10 bus was nowhere to be seen. Much fun was had with random people playing football outside the adjacent Yates Bar though, though the lack of direction of the beach ball meant that the game occasionally strayed into the road. The 18:40 turned up at 18:43, but at least I was on my way. I was back in Wycombe just after 8 and as I was hungry, walked a fair bit to our Chinese, one of the things that Wycombe actually does right. With that eaten, I was back at the stop for another bus that was a few minutes late. I had a half mile walk home, getting in just after 9. I'd walked nearly 20km in all, which offset what was an unhealthy but enjoyable day. The rest of the day was spent catching up with things, with me going to bed around 10:30.
The IBIS or RIVERS CLUB is adjacent to Reading City's first team ground. There are a couple of pitches that are used, both basic, but one with a nice brick dugout. There's no rail, but the pitches are very well kept. It's around two miles from Reading, but in between are a plethora of takeaways to suit all tastes. Back in the town, there are a number of great pubs, the pick of which is the Nags Head. Buses are available to the ground, prices are reasonable but even better bargains can be had from nearby towns via Arriva.