Remembering our record-setting centre-forwardEveryone at Reading Football Club was saddened to hear that our all-time leading goalscorer Ronnie Blackman passed away on Tuesday at the age of 90.
As well as holding the club record of 158 goals in the Football League, his 39 goals in the 1951/52 Division Three (South) campaign also remains a Reading record for most netted in a single league season.
The Cosham-born forward will be remembered with great affection by everyone who knew him at Reading – not just because of his exploits on the pitch in Reading colours, but also for being the perfect gentleman off the pitch as well.
Blackman left Gosport Borough to join a Reading team managed by Ted Drake in February 1947 as a part-time player; initially a regular in the reserves, his first-team debut came in a 0-0 draw at home against Bristol Rovers on October 11th 1947.
He became a full-time professional the following year – the first of his many goals for Reading rounded off a 2-0 win against Elm Park against Port Vale on April 3rd 1948, setting him on his way to establishing his position as first-choice centre-forward.
Characterised by his bravery and a great aerial ability, Blackman twice scored five times in a single game for Reading. The first was in a 7-0 home demolition of Brighton & Hove Albion in November 1950, and the second came as he grabbed all of our goals in a 5-2 home win against Southend United in April 1952.
The latter haul helped him towards his record-setting 39 goals in that campaign, all of which contributed towards another club record of 112 league goals scored by the team that season. Blackman was the last remaining survivor of that free-scoring squad.
Blackman was sold to Nottingham Forest in 1954, and then moved to Ipswich Town the following year, where he remained until 1958. The forward briefly represented non-League outfit Tonbridge before hanging up his boots.
On retirement from football, Blackman moved back to Portsmouth to take up a role as a post-office telephone engineer, continuing the job which he had done before becoming a professional footballer.
Blackman leaves behind wife Iris and daughter Sue.
Our thoughts are with Ronnie’s family and friends.
We spoke with Ronnie's family earlier this week, and we would like to invite all supporters to join in with a minute's applause to commemorate his life and achievements ahead of our FA Cup fixture against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.