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Club News

Madejski Men, Part 1 | From Afobe to Blackman...

Every single Royal since 1998, in profile!

16 May 2018

Since Madejski Stadium opened its doors in 1998, 245 players have represented the blue and white of Reading at our new stadium!

Club News

#FRISBEEvFOOTBALL 🏟️

15 May 2018

As we celebrate 20 years at our home, we've put together profiles for every single person who has stepped over the white line in the name of the Royals since our 3-0 win over Luton Town...

In the first of a 10-part series, every Wednesday in the close season we'll be taking you through each Reading player to have graced the turf at Madejski Stadium!

Whether their stay was a for month, a year or a decade, we've got you covered for every single Royal since 1998!

We start at the beginning, from Afobe through to Blackman... 

If you would like to see the full list of Madejski Men and read the story of each player's Reading career, click here.

Goalkeepers

Ali Al-Habsi (46 Madejski Stadium apps)

A hugely popular figure in RG2, Al-Habsi joined the Royals from Wigan Athletic in 2015. After jostling to be number one goalkeeper against Jonathan Bond, he soon cemented his place in the Reading goal and begun to make a number of valuable contributions.

With a string of match-winning blocks and a penchant for some spectacular reflex saves, Al-Habsi endeared himself to the Royals faithful to the extent that he was voted as Player of the Season two years running!

He was also recently spotted in among the Reading supporters for the final game of the season against Cardiff City, following his first campaign at Saudi Arabian club, Al-Hilal, following his departure from the Royals in July 2017.

Jamie Ashdown (7+1 apps)

Defenders

Andre Bikey (23+11 apps)

The Cameroonian centre-back was signed once the Royals were promoted to the Premier League in 2006, penning a season-long loan from Lokomotiv Moscow.

Despite tough competition for places in the Reading team in the top tier, he made his mark on the pitch and now plies his trade in India, linking up once more with Steve Coppell!

He will surely be remembered by fans for his audacious, trademark hat-trick somersaults upon sending the ball towards the back of the net, an occasion that happened seven times in 55(+18) appearances.

Nathan Aké (4 apps)
Axel Andresson (1+1 apps)
Chris Armstrong (26 apps)
Tony Barras (2+1 apps)
Andy Bernal (24+5 apps)
Ryan Bertrand (27 apps)
Tyler Blackett (25+7 apps)

Midfielders

Michail Antonio (4+10 apps)

An arrival for the Royals in 2008 from non-league Tooting and Mitcham, Antonio has seen his star rise dramatically with a career that goes from strength to strength.

After a successful loan spell with Southampton in his first season as a Royal, Antonio returned and became an important part of the squad that made it to the Championship play-off final against Swansea City in 2009.

Antonio’s sole Reading goal came in those appearances against Burnley in October. Having been introduced as an 82nd minute substitute, three minutes later he was on the score-sheet, finding the back of the net after a cut back from Shane Long.  

Since moving on from Madejski Stadium, Antonio has become a regular in the West Ham United team and been called up to the senior England squad on two occasions.

Hope Akpan (20+12 apps)
Leandro Bacuna (18 apps)

Chris Baird (4 apps)
Sekou Baradji (2+1 apps)
Josh Barrett (1+1 apps)
Mo Barrow (19+4 apps)
Roy Beerens (28+6 apps)

Forwards

Sone Aluko (19+1 apps)

Vastly experienced at Premier League and Championship level, Sone Aluko joined the Royals from play-off semi-final opponents Fulham at the end of the summer transfer window in 2017 for an undisclosed fee.

The skilful attacker started his career in the Midlands where he grew up, coming through the youth ranks at Birmingham City.

However, he cut his teeth in senior football north of the border - spending three years at Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen, in which time he scored in the Europa League against German giants, Bayern Munich, in a famous 2-2 draw at Pittodrie.

A short stint at Rangers followed before Hull City came calling for his services in 2012.

He enjoyed a promotion to the Premier League with the Tigers during a four-year stay at the KCOM Stadium, before moving to Fulham in 2016.

Aluko was a near-ever-present at Craven Cottage in 2016-17, scoring nine times in an impressive campaign that took Fulham to the play-offs, losing at the hands of the Royals.

He made the move to Madejski Stadium in August 2017 and played 43 times in all competitions in his first season in RG2, scoring three goals.

Benik Afobe (1 app)
Kwesi Appiah (0+4 apps)
Carl Asaba (0+1 apps)
Nicholas Bignall (2+1 apps)
Nick Blackman (27+24 apps)

Stay tuned every Wednesday for the next batch of Madejski Men!


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