Date of birth
Gunnarsson, born in Reykjavík, started his career with his local club KR. He was involved in the senior squad for three seasons before moving to Norway in 1998 to join Vålerenga and then Moss FK. He had a short stint with a Swedish club before Division Two side Stoke came knocking.
They paid a club record fee of £600,000 for the Icelander’s services, appearing 30 times for the Potters and reaching the play-offs, only to lose out to Gillingham. They reached the Play-offs twice again in the coming years and finally put their demons to bed, beating Brentford 2-0 at the end of the 2001/02 season.
He moved back and forth between Forest and Stoke before settling with Watford for a season. He made 34 starts, scoring three goals and picked up six yellows and a red. Despite a few raised eyebrows he was allowed to join Reading for a nominal fee at the start of our 2005/06 record-breaking season.
How a player so understated and underrated can be responsible for so many memorable moments with the Royals seems unfathomable. Gunnarsson was one of only two men to play a part in both of Reading Football Club’s promotions to the Premier League, and while the other - Shane Long – has earned golden boy status at Madejski Stadium, the dependable Icelandic international will be remembered more for his versatility, reliability and some great memories.
Two of his most telling contributions came away from home in the FA Cup – a bullet header that flew into the top corner at Old Trafford, and a nutmeg through the legs of Liverpool’s Emiliano Insua that led to a famous goal and a memorable victory at Anfield.
But, back at home, his two goals against league leaders Sheffield United in 2005 truly kick-started our assault on the title and kept momentum in a formidable winning run that would swiftly take us to new record-breaking heights.
When he first linked up with the squad on a pre-season tour to Sweden in that summer of 2005, few realised he would be such an important part of our club’s history.
Gunnarsson left Reading in 2013 and moved back to his local club KR, 15 years separating the two spells. He made 16 appearances, notching two goals before retiring from the game at the age of 37.