Young Royals move up to Premier League top flightReading's Under 21s were this evening promoted to Division 1 of the Barclays U21 Premier League.
We will now finish at least second in Division 2, and will be promoted to the highest level of English youth football at the end of this campaign.
The magnitude of this achievement cannot be understated, especially with our team having won the first ever Barclays U21 Premier League Cup last season. They continue to go from strength to strength.
Our youngsters were promoted without kicking a ball - Derby's 0-0 draw at West Brom means the third-placed Rams cannot catch us.
The Under 21s are managed by Martin Kuhl, assisted by Lee Herron and a number of staff who all deserve great credit for their tireless contribution. The players have again shown the quality, desire and togetherness that are hallmarks of Eamonn Dolan's time as Academy Manager.
We will now face the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham et al next season, and we look forward to pitting our wits against those sides. On a number of occasions at youth level we have already shown our mettle against each of them, and just this weekend our U18s won 3-0 away to Liverpool, having already done the double over Chelsea this year. Our Under 21s' cup win last season came after knocking out Arsenal and Manchester City along the way, while the U18s also saw off Liverpool in their historic FA Youth Cup run.
Our Under 21s have been in sensational form to secure promotion, winning their last seven games and keeping seven clean sheets in the process. We are now three points behind leaders Middlesbrough with two games to play. Our next game is away to Wolves at Molineux next Monday night. Boro take on Villa at home then Stoke away.
In a year when we had a record eleven Academy players make their first team debuts, it has been another landmark season for our youth setup, with too many accolades to mention!
And supporters can see our young teams in action during two upcoming matches at Madejski Stadium - entry and parking are completely free for both games:
Sat 9th May, Reading U18s vs Sunderland, kick off 11am
Fri 15th May, Reading U21s vs West Brom, kick off 7pm.
We ask you to please come along and give our youngsters the support that their performances have fully warranted.