Another look at some of our stopper's finest moments!Just before kick-off in our last home match of the 2015-16 season on Saturday, goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi was named as the Fans’ Official Player of the Season in conjunction with STAR. He pipped both Paul McShane and Oliver Norwood to accept the trophy pitchside from Co-Chairman Sir John Madejski and STAR’s Helen Bullen.
It has been quite a campaign for our experienced Omani stopper, who ever since signing for the Royals last summer, has become a firm favourite with the Royals faithful with some spectacular saves in both league and cup.
Who will forget his three instinctive stops against his former side Bolton, when the game back in November was still goalless. He thrived on the sense of injustice to save a penalty from Burnley’s Andre Gray and earn Brian McDermott’s men a point against the Championship high-flyers – and then heroics at the feet of Emmanuel Adebayor and flying through the air to save two Yohann Cabaye free kicks saw him keep Reading in an FA Cup quarter-final against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace.
Ali follows in fellow keeper Adam Federici’s footsteps, becoming the second successive stopper to win the accolade at Reading – in fact, only five goalkeepers have ever won the end of season award for the club in its history…Federici, Shaka Hislop, Mike Dixon, Steve Death and Steve Francis.
Should he start between the posts at Blackburn next weekend, Al Habsi will make his 40th appearance in goal at the end of his first season at Reading – and we have put together a compilation of some of our star stopper’s best bits this season - watch them above!