We'll reflect on 2016/17 as a huge step in the right direction for Reading FC. Here are some key stats from our amazing year...
The amount of Championship games we played this season, more league matches than any other professional club in the country. That comprised 46 regular games, two play-off semis and a final… as well as half a fixture against Fulham in December before it was called off because of the fog,
As the last line of defence, our Omani goalie made more saves than any other stopper in the Championship – Daniel Bentley of Brentford and Adam Davies of Barnsley were closest rivals, with 137 apiece.
Our total number across the campaign – second only to Fulham in the division in our league season. And our pass completion rate (81%) and average possession (55%) were also second best of the 24 Championship sides.
And no shortage of game-winners amongst them! At the age of 35, our French forward had his best ever goalscoring campaign, beating the 17 which he netted in AFC Bournemouth’s title-winning campaign in 2014/15.
After a busy summer in 2016 at the Euros, our experienced campaigner had marathon year with the Royals – and along with Ali Al-Habsi, he started every single one of our 49 Championship fixtures, the last of which saw him lead the team out of the tunnel at Wembley.
Another amazing year for our Academy – once again our boys developed at Hogwood have played a key part in our senior side’s success. Liam Kelly and Jordan Obita have been regulars, and Jake Cooper, Dominic Samuel, Tennai Watson, Zak Jules, Craig Tanner, Stuart Moore and George Legg have all been selected for squads. We’ve now had at least one Academy product in 464 consecutive league and cup games, stretching over a period of more than nine years.
An absolute rock for the Royals in his maiden campaign, centre-half Moore was by far the division’s leading block-maker – despite not joining from Leicester until the end of August! No fear from our defender, who consistently put everything on the line to defend our goal. His closest rival to that crown was Aden Flint of Bristol City, who blocked 46 shots.
We spent over 13 hours with the advantage on home turf in the Championship, converting them into 16 wins. 178 minutes were spent behind in matches on our patch, but we suffered just two defeats in RG2.
We had a score of scorers across the campaign in all competitions – only Nottingham Forest and Norwich have a greater number. Chris Gunter’s strike against former side Forest, Joseph Mendes’ double at Villa Park, Liam Kelly’s match-turning goal against Bristol City, and George Evans’ winner in Blackburn… plenty of players did their bit in front of goal.
We took points off every other club in the Championship this year; not one club was able to defeat us both home and away… Aston Villa were the only other club to achieve that feat. By contrast, we did the double over 7 teams – we took maximum points from Cardiff, Rotherham, Wigan, Burton, Blackburn, Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday.