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AC Milan 0-5 Reading

12 May 2013

Centenary of Royal history

100 years ago this Sunday, on 12th May 1913, Reading defeated AC Milan 5-0 in Italy, prompting the Royals to be described as 'without doubt the finest foreign team seen in Italy.'

This wonderful victory was part of an historic tour of Italy when the Royals also defeated the Italian national team, the reigning Serie A Champions and made a whopping profir of £18-2-0!

This tour is featured in Tuesday's special 100-page progamme, and historian Alan Sedunary takes up the story of the Milan game:

The day after Reading had beaten Genoa in the first game of their Italian tour, they travelled to Milan to face the club now known as AC Milan. The seven times European Cup winners had already won three of their 18 Serie A titles. Usually, Milan played their home games at Campo di Via Bronzetti but for big games they used the Milan Arena. This ground, officially opened by Napoleon in 1806, is the oldest stadium to have staged first class football, having staged Italy’s first
international as well as athletic competitions and even bullfighting.

This game was expected to be a tougher challenge than Reading’s easy win over Genoa so one change was made as Allen Foster, our top scorer for the previous two seasons, was preferred to Ivor Brown. Reading’s full team was: Dr J H Burnham; Jack Smith, Charlie Stevens, Jock Comrie, Ted Hanney, Dave Willis; Jim Morris, Allen Foster, Joe Bailey, Andrew Burton, Jimmy Lofthouse.

Despite their opponents’ impressive pedigree, it took Reading just two minutes to open the scoring and after 15 minutes the Biscuitmen had scored another two goals. Half time came with Reading 4-0 up and, despite easing up in the second half, a further goal was added to make the final score Milan 0 Reading 5. It was such a comprehensive performance that the home side were restricted to just one chance, which fell to Belgium international Louis van Herge, who went on to
win the football Olympic gold in 1920.

Allen Foster was Reading’s hero with a hat-trick while Jimmy Lofthouse and Joe Bailey (although one Italian paper credited this goal to Andrew Burton) scored the other two. Not surprisingly, the Italian papers were impressed with Reading’s display and the Milan-based paper, Corriere della Sera, described Reading as ‘without doubt the finest foreign team seen in Italy’.

There is much more on the Italy tour in Tuesday's programme, which is a bumper 100 pages but still only £3. Read the story of how the club nearly died 30 years ago, a message from Anton Zingarevich and much, much more.

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