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Royals and Rams – 8 who have played for both…

12 January 2016

A look at former Reading and Derby players

Plenty of players, past and present, have turned out in the colours of both Derby and Reading during the history of the two clubs.

We’ve selected 8 players from recent seasons that have been on the books at both clubs, and taken a sideways glance at their careers…

Chris Baird

Despite only joining the Rams this summer, versatile midfielder Chris Baird has already surpassed the number of appearances for his new club than he registered with Reading during his short stay at Madejski Stadium.  He joined Reading at the start of the 2013/14 season on a half-season contract, and then joined Burnley later in the campaign.  The Northern Irishman, an international teammate of Ollie Norwood, began his career with Southampton and then went on to have a very successful spell with Fulham – where the fans dubbed him ‘Bairdinho’ – before becoming a Royal.  He played 24 times for West Brom last season, before moving to the iPro Stadium.

Andy Griffin

Full-back Andy Griffin, who retired from the game in 2014, was voted as Stoke City’s Player of the Year in his breakthrough season in 1996/97 – two successful campaigns with the Potters paved the way to a transfer to Newcastle, where he spent seven seasons before moving on to Portsmouth for another two years.  The defender’s tenth top-flight campaign was with Derby – after playing 15 times, he departed midway through their record-setting season, where the Rams just registered 11 points over the entire campaign.  His departure was to rejoin Stoke – where he helped them into the Premier League – and then repeated the feat in his third Reading season, helping the Royals to the 2011/12 Championship title.  Griffin played for Doncaster and Chester before hanging up his boots.

Nick Blackman

Forward Blackman needs no introduction to the Royals faithful – he was a Reading player until earlier this month, when he made the switch to the East Midlands.  The Salford-born forward arrived at Madejski Stadium with limited experience in the Football League – he made 12 League 2 appearances for Macclesfield before Blackburn Rovers came in for his services, but he made a total of three appearances for the Lancashire club over four seasons and spent four loan spells away from Ewood Park.  His League 1 form for Sheffield United convinced Brian McDermott to bring him to the Premier League with Reading in 2013 – and Derby became his latest club last week, departing Madejski Stadium with 22 goals under his belt from 113 appearances.

Nathan Tyson

Striker Nathan Tyson came through the Academy at hometown club Reading – he made 41 appearances in all competitions for the Royals, but netted just a single goal.  That happened to be the opener in a 2-1 win against Derby County, who he would go on to represent later in his career; incidentally he scored twice on his sole England Under-20 appearance, whilst a Reading player.  He had a better vein of goalscoring form when he moved up the road to Wycombe – notching an impressive 42 goals in 78 games – which prompted a move to Nottingham Forest in 2006.  After five years with Forest, he made the somewhat controversial switch to local rivals Derby ahead of the 2011/12 campaign – Tyson then went on to represent Blackpool, and currently leads the line at Doncaster.

Alex Pearce

The third former-Royal that is currently on the books at the iPro Stadium, defender Alex Pearce made the switch from Berkshire to the East Midlands last summer after the expiration of his contract at Madejski Stadium.  The 27-year-old, who came through the ranks at Reading, left Madejski Stadium in the summer after almost 15 years with the club as an Academy player and a pro.  Pearce made a grand total of 240 appearances for Reading, finding the net on 14 occasions, and also spent loans with Northampton, Bournemouth, Norwich and Southampton.  The Ireland international has found game-time hard to come by since making the switch to the Rams – his FA Cup appearance against Hartlepool at the weekend was just his second outing.

Grzegorz Rasiak

Striker Grzegorz Rasiak spent just a single season at both Derby and Reading – Pride Park was his first port in England, and a return of 18 Championship goals prompted Tottenham to pluck him away on the final day of the summer 2005 transfer window.  With first-team opportunities limited at White Hart Lane, he moved on loan to Southampton that season and made the transfer permanent in the summer.  After loan stints with Bolton and Watford, the Polish forward linked up with Reading for the 2009/10 campaign – the most notable of his nine goals was a late winner at Madejski Stadium against visiting Blackpool.  After leaving Reading, he joined Cypriot outfit AEL Limassol, before returning to see out his playing days in Poland.  Rasiak netted 12 league goals for Warta Poznań in his last season.

Chris Makin

In a playing career that spanned over 450 games, only a handful of Chris Makin’s appearances came for Reading and Derby.  The defender, who hailed from St Helen’s, began his career in the north-west with Oldham and Wigan – before making the switch to the continent, where he linked up with French Ligue 1 side Olympique de Marseille.  After a single year in France, Makin returned to England to join Sunderland for a fee of £500,000 – with his services, the Black Cats were promoted to the top tier as champions in 1999.  Moving in 2001 to Ipswich and then 2004 to Leicester, his spell at Derby came as a loanee from their East Midlands rivals – he registered 13 appearances at the end of the 2004/05 campaign.  Leaving Leicester on a free at the end of that season, he linked up with Reading for one year before moving on to Southampton.  He retired in 2008, having been dogged with a persistent hip complaint.

Tomasz Cywka

Following almost ten years in England – and effectively his entire playing career – midfielder Tomasz Cywka moved home to Poland last summer, joining Ekstraklasa outfit Wisła Kraków.  He had moved to England in 2006 after a successful trial with Wigan – he made just one appearance for the Latics in four seasons, but a spell on loan with Derby convinced the Rams to turn the deal permanent in 2010.  After featuring regularly in his first year at Pride Park, he was used more sparingly in his second season – though he did notch a goal against Reading in a 2-2 draw at Madejski Stadium.  Cywka moved to Reading on a free midway through that campaign, but played just four times for the Royals at the back-end of the 2011/12 campaign.  The midfield man turned out for Barnsley, Blackpool and on loan at Rochdale before his summer switch to Wisła.

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