First ever Madejski Stadium goalscorer returns to the turf1,142 competitive first-team goals have been scored at Madejski Stadium since we moved to our new home in 1998 – each bringing with them joy and elation, or sorrow and despair.
And while that number continues to rise, there will only ever be one first goal. It was former Royals midfielder Grant Brebner wrote his name into the annals of Reading history on 22nd August 1998 – the stadium had only seen 10 minutes of competitive action before the Scotsman smashed the ball past Luton Town stopper Kelvin Davis, registering the very first goal ever scored at Madejski Stadium.
Brebner, who went on to score a total of ten goals during his sole season as a Reading player, now works as a youth coach with Australian A-League side Melbourne Victory. And on a rare visit back to the UK last week, he dropped by at Madejski Stadium for the first time since leaving the club in 1999 to revisit the exact place – a couple of yards to the right of the penalty spot – where he wrote himself into the club’s folklore!
Grant took a look around his old stomping ground, including in the changing room where his own peg once was. And as well as returning to the spot where history was made, the groundsmen also helped Grant to recreate the goal! On this occasion it was groundsman Sean O’Brien, who was at Madejski Stadium as a supporter on that inaugural fixture, grabbed the assist as Brebner tucked the ball inside the far post.
“It has been 17 years since that season when I played here and managed to score that goal – I have always wanted to come back, and today I have finally done it,” said Grant.
“I wasn’t thinking about the significance at the time. The whole occasion was great – it was great for the Reading fans to come to this beautiful stadium and really back then it was just about kick-starting our season as we had played away from home until then.
“The goal is etched very well in the memory! There was a corner on the right-hand side and it was thrown over – I’m not quite sure why I was in the box to be fair, I was probably out of position! But it broke to one of our players who laid it off beautifully, and it was just instinct to smash it as hard as I could – thankfully it went in the back of the net.
“I loved my time here – there’s no doubt about it; I had a reasonable goalscoring record and I think my time here was a reasonable success. Overriding all of that, I was still pretty young and homesick and it just didn’t work out in the end. But I have only got good things to say about my time at this club and being here.”