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Monday, 16 April 2012

Reading v QPR 30.04.06 - Championship Presentation

There is winning the Championship, and then there is winning the Championship in style. The 2005/6 Reading team had already secured the title as early as the beginning of April following their emphatic 5-0 defeat of Derby County.

In the last game of the season, in front of a capacity crowd, the Royals had the chance to finish of the season in style by reaching the highest ever points total in English football history. To do this they had to beat QPR, that would give them 106 points for the season. The previous record of 105 was held by Sunderland.

The home fans had to wait until the 40th minute for the first goal, Dave Kitson scoring from close range, giving Reading a 1-0 half time lead.
QPR continued to threaten in the second half, and on 72 minutes Paul Furlong leveled the score stroking the ball pass Marcus Hahnemann. With the clock running down, and the record seeming out of reach, Nick Shorey appeared on the left wing to cross the ball. Shorey's cross struck the arm of QPR defender Langley's arm in the area, and a penalty awarded.

So the stage was set, a golden opportunity to score a winning goal, so who better to step up than Reading's Captain Graeme Stuart Murty to take the spot kick. Murty had only ever scored one goal for Reading some five years previous. The crowd hushed, the referee blew his whistle and Murty ran in to confidently stoke the ball into the net. Reading 2-1 up, and the record was on again.

Having scored only his second goal in five years, Murty set off at pace to celebrate his goal, persued by his team mates. Running to the corner flag, then turning to run directly down the side line, Murty spotted Kingsley in the distance. Without breaking stride Murty made a dash for the hapless Lion, blessfully unaware of what was coming. In a tackle that London Irish would be proud of, Murty floored the Lion, followed by the rest of the Reading players who all piled on top. What better way to
celebrate a goal, the Championship and a possible English League record.

At the final whistle, Reading had earned anothet three points, and the record of 106 points for the season, an impressive 16 points ahead of second placed Sheffield Utd.

Following the game Reading were presented with the  Football League Championship trophy, which is the same trophy as the old First Division (now the Premier League) Champions were handed prior to the Premier League's inception in the 1992–93 season.

Dave Kitson persued by a delighted James Harper
The rest of the Reading players join in to celebrate Dave Kitson's 40th minute goal
"Give us a hug"
The Championship Trophy
Club Chairman Sir John Madejski
Manager Steve Coppell acknowledges the crowd
Chairman and Manager look on
Each player is awared a medal and lines up for the Trophy
Sonko gives Leroy Lita a hug
James Harper takes it all in
Kevin Doyle holding his medal
Chris Makin and his son
Captain Graeme Murty waits to get his hands on the Trophy
Murty is handed the Trophy
Gives it a kiss........
and lifts it to the roar of the crowd
Graeme Murty salutes the crowd and passes the Trophy onto Steve Sidwell
We are the Champions
Champagne anyone.....!!!!!
Trouble getting the corks out...........
That's more like it...............
I think Steve Sidwell is having a problem with his cork...!!!!!
The celebrations really get going
At least one safe pair of  hands who won't drop the Trophy
Nicky Shorey admires the Trophy
Finally Manager Steve Coppell gets to lift the Trophy
Steve Sidwell and his weeks old son Harry
Graham Stack and a smiling Ibrahima Sonko
Ivar Ingimarsson and his son
Seems like a fair swap, boots for a flag
Even Kingsley gets to show off the Trophy
A jubilant Dave Kitson lifts the Trophy
Leroy Lita shows these young Royals fans his medal
This young lad is spell bound
Brynjar Gunnarsson's daughter gets to hold dads medal
The proud Captain Graeme Murty
Nicky Shorey and his wife look into the crowd while holding the Trophy

I gave Nicky a printed copy of this picture the next day, as he waited to get transport that would take players, family, and the management team to where the open top bus tour would start from. Some months later, I was quite proud and pleased to see it hanging in his kitchen, during an interview for SKY Sports.

Coming soon, the final part of this momentous 2005/6 Season, the Open Top Bus Tour of the "City" and lap of honour back at the Madejski.

Also a competition, your chance to win a copy of the image of your choice, from the 2005/6 Championship winning season. Look out for details and how to enter in my next and final entry of this historic and record breaking season.

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