Sunday’s victory for Reading FC Women against Brighton & Hove Albion at Madejski Stadium was significant for a reason other than the 3-2 score-line, as Fara Williams received a guard of honour to mark her final home game.
At the beginning of last week, Williams announced her plans to retire at the end of this season, and Sunday’s match against Brighton, which saw her score a panenka penalty, was her final home match.
Players and staff from both Reading and the visiting Brighton, lined up on the pitch at Madejski to applaud the legend of women’s football as she graced home soil for the very last time.
Williams was met at the end of the guard of honour by Royals Manager Kelly Chamber and – incredibly fittingly – Brighton manager and former England coach Hope Powell, someone that Williams holds in high regards and credits with helping her career hugely over the years.
England’s most capped footballer of all time was presented with a framed, signed shirt and a personalised bottle of champagne by Chambers and Powell.
Fara Williams’ last match will be this coming Sunday, when – in yet another fitting, almost poetic piece of karma – Reading take on Chelsea, the club Williams began her career at twenty years ago.