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Wembley lights up for the Royals!

20 May 2017

Blue and white adorn the Wembley arch in honour of the stadium's anniversary

Wembley Stadium celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday (Friday 19th May) by lighting up its iconic arch in the colours of every football team who has played at the famous arena since its reopening!

166 domestic, European and international men’s and women’s football teams have graced the Wembley turf in the last decade across a variety of competitions and friendlies.

And to mark the stadium's anniversary, in a show of gratitude to all the clubs, Wembley Stadium displayed each of the club or national teams' colours on the famous arch. The name and crests of the clubs were also shown on the outside of the stadium.

The Royals will be heading to Wembley once more in nine days' time of course as we prepare to take on Huddersfield Town in the Championship Play-Off Final.

But Reading has certainly made its mark at the home of football, both as a team and in the individuals who have represented us at Wembley over the last decade.

Before its official opening two months later, Royals striker Leroy Lita graced the hallowed turf to play for England's Under-21 side in a 3-3 draw with Italy under the new arch in March 2007.

About 60,000 supporters saw Lita start in what was a sell-out match and a world record attendance for an under-21s game - although the stadium was only two-thirds full as it was the second of two events the stadium had to host before being granted a safety certificate.

A hat-trick from Italy's Giampaolo Pazzini denied England Under-21s a victorious start though - he even scored just 25 seconds into the game with a stunning strike to record the first official goal at the new ground.

A David Bentley free-kick and a Wayne Routledge goal put England in front but Pazzini levelled from five yards before equalising for a second time after Matt Derbyshire thought he'd score the winner.

England U21: Camp, Rosenior, Ferdinand, Cahill, Baines, Bentley, Reo-Coker, Richardson, Routledge, Agbonlahor, Lita.
Subs: Alnwick, Hoyte, Ridgewell, Cattermole, Milner, Huddlestone, Young, Jerome, Hart, Derbyshire.

And of course the full England international that was staged at the new Wembley Stadium came later that year when England hosted Brazil! Who was playing left-back...noneother than Royals hero Nicky Shorey!

After a seven-year exile to rebuild the national stadium, England earned a 1-1 draw; David Beckham created England's second half opener, sending over a free-kick for captain John Terry to power in a header. ~

Shorey shackled Kaka all evening but Diego Ribas rose to head home Gilberto Silva's cross in stoppage time and deny England the win.

England: Robinson, Carragher, King, Terry (Brown 72), Shorey, Beckham (Jenas 77), Gerrard, Lampard (Carrick 88), Cole (Downing 62), Smith (Dyer 62), Owen (Crouch 83).
Subs Not Used: Carson, Bridge, Neville, Bentley, Green, Defoe.

Reading have contested a Play-Off Final at Wembley in those ten years too - losing out to Swansea City in 2011 to suffer the agony of Wembley woe.

But there was so much pride for the players after our last visit to the stadium - an historic FA Cup semi-final (our first since 1927) that saw Steve Clarke's men earn a 1-1 draw in normal time against the might of Arsenal.

The Gunners went on to edge that one in extra-time, but Garath McCleary's goal has gone down in Royals history and Reading fans made it an occasion to remember!

Now...Wembley awaits once more!

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