Tag Archives: Reading

The Managers: Steve Coppell

Premier League Clubs Managed: Crystal Palace (1992-1993), (1997-1998), Reading (2006-2008)

As a player, Steve Coppell was a flying right winger who won domestic honours with Manchester United and represented England at the World Cup finals in 1982. His work-rate levels have served him well in management, having four separate spells in a variety of different roles at Crystal Palace and also guiding Reading to the top-flight in 2006, followed by an impressive eighth place finish in their debut Premier League campaign.

Coppell played a huge role too in the career of Ian Wright. He signed Wright from the depths of non-league football and turned him into an international footballer and one of the leading strikers in English and Arsenal history. He continues to manage today, currently with Atletico de Kolkata in the Indian Super League.

A promising career cut short

In the mid-1970s, Steve Coppell was multi-tasking to the extreme. He was studying for a degree at University, coached a University team and played part-time for Tranmere Rovers. His life changed forever when Manchester United offered Tranmere £60,000 for his services, offering to double his wages too. Unsurprisingly, Coppell signed on with the Red Devils.

Manchester United allowed him to complete his degree in his spare time whilst he made his professional debut for the club. He made his debut in March 1975 as a substitute in a 4-0 victory over Cardiff City. He made 10 appearances before the season’s end and also broke his goalscoring duck as United bounced back to the First Division at the first attempt of asking.

The following season, he won honours for the England Under-23 team and made a big mark on the Manchester United first-team, scoring 10 times in 39 games. One of those goals came at his boyhood club, Liverpool FC at the famous The Kop terrace. It was an exciting Manchester United side that manager Tommy Docherty was putting together and Coppell experienced cup glory in 1977 when the Red Devils beat Liverpool 2-1 in the Wembley showpiece. He did end up as a loser though in both the 1976 and 1979 finals despite claiming two assists in the latter match against Arsenal.

He made his senior international debut with England in 1977, playing in their final qualifying game for the 1978 World Cup finals. They beat Italy 2-0 but the damage had been done earlier in the campaign, so the Three Lions missed out on the finals in Argentina. Coppell would win over 40 caps, scoring seven times and he featured in Ron Greenwood’s teams on a regular basis including at the 1980 European Championships.

His career took a major change in 1981. He was the victim of a vicious tackle from Hungarian player Jozsef Toth during a World Cup qualifier whilst on England duty. He sustained bad knee damage and needed two operations. He was never quite the same player again. Coppell did struggle on through the 1982 World Cup finals and the 1982-1983 season but further setbacks and operations followed. In October 1983, he announced his retirement from playing, aged just 28. He had broken the record for the most consecutive appearances for an outfield Manchester United player making 207 from 1977 to 1981. It is a record which still stands to this day.

Making his mark at Palace

Less than a year after his retirement from playing, Coppell became one of the youngest men to ever manage a club in the Football League. He was 28 years and 10 months old when he was appointed Crystal Palace manager. He would remain in the post with the Eagles for the next nine years.

He had to rely on signing players who had been rejected by other First Division sides and took the opportunity to give a young Ian Wright his chance, signing him from the non-league. When he took over, Palace were in the Second Division and it took until 1989 before the Eagles were promoted to the top-flight via the play-offs. In 1990, they went on a wonderful journey in the FA Cup, knocking out champions-elect Liverpool FC 4-3 in an epic semi-final at Villa Park. They met Manchester United in the final, still looking for their first major piece of silverware under Alex Ferguson. Wright sparkled, scoring twice and the first game finished 3-3. United won a scrappier replay 1-0 to take the prize.

In 1991, they finished in third place in the top-flight, only below Arsenal and Liverpool FC. However, they had to sell their main striking assets. Wright eventually moved to Arsenal and his long-time strike partner, Mark Bright went to Sheffield Wednesday just a few weeks after the start of the Premier League. Crystal Palace were relegated on the final day after losing 3-0 at Highbury, whilst Oldham Athletic’s 4-3 success over Southampton saw them complete a late escape from the drop at the expense of the Eagles. Coppell resigned from his position as manager shortly after their relegation.

The 33-day experience in Manchester

When Graham Taylor stepped down as England manager following their failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals, Coppell’s name was linked with the job but he swiftly ruled himself out of the running. Another job where his name was strongly mentioned was Middlesbrough following Lennie Lawrence’s departure in May 1994. Ex-Manchester United captain and Coppell’s former teammate Bryan Robson was ultimately chosen as Lawrence’s successor.

In fact, Steve remained out of the game until June 1995 when he returned to Palace in a Director of Football capacity. It was a role he held until October 1996 when the lure of managing Manchester City was simply too much to resist. Coppell was appointed with the club struggling to make an impact in the First Division. It looked like it would be a great moment for him but it turned into a nightmare. His reign lasted just six games and 33 days.

He gave a press conference where his facial expression and tone of voice was completely different to how he had been when he took the job on. He admitted:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I have suffered for some time from huge pressure I have imposed upon myself, and since my appointment this has completely overwhelmed me to such an extent that I cannot function in the job the way I would like to. As this situation is affecting my well-being, I have asked Francis Lee to relieve me of my obligation to manage the club on medical advice.”

His reign at the club is the shortest of any City manager to date.

So, he went back to Crystal Palace in another different role, this time as Chief Scout. Before the end of the campaign, he was back in the managerial hotseat after Dave Bassett left in February 1997 to take a role with Premier League strugglers Nottingham Forest. He secured promotion back to the Premier League with the south Londoners after David Hopkin’s dramatic late winner in the First Division play-off final against Sheffield United.

He stayed in the role going into the Premier League but stepped down in March 1998 as Crystal Palace supporter Mark Goldberg led a takeover of the club. The club were relegated at the end of the season. Goldberg though wanted to keep Coppell on and so, he reverted to a Director of Football position with Terry Venables appointed first-team manager on their return to Division One.

In January 1999, he was back as manager yet again after Venables’ resignation. By this point, the club had severe financial issues and high-earners had to be sold to cut spending such as Attilio Lombardo. They finished 14th in 1998-1999 and 15th in 1999-2000. Simon Jordan bought the club in the summer of 2000 from Goldberg and replaced Coppell with Alan Smith. That bought Coppell’s association with the club to an end. For both parties, it had been a loyal collaboration but both needed to go their different ways.

Record-breaking Reading

After spells managing Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion, Coppell’s next major project came at Reading in October 2003, succeeding Alan Pardew who had moved on to fill the West Ham United vacancy. After finishing seventh in his first full season as Royals manager, Coppell guided Reading to the Championship title in 2005-2006, setting a new league record of 33 league games unbeaten during the campaign. The Berkshire club finished with 106 points which was another record smashed and could look forward to Premier League football for the first time.

Reading impressed many neutrals with their style of play and results achieved in 2006-2007, finishing their first Premier League season in an impressive eighth position and just one point away from qualifying for European competition. He received praise from Sir Alex Ferguson, who said after Coppell won Manager of the Year: “I think it’s totally deserved. It’s a marvellous contribution he’s made. What’s encouraging for the Premier League is that it’s mostly British-based players in his side, with some Irish players thrown in. I think that says a lot for the way he has gathered his team together.”

Reading’s second season was not as good as their first and it ended in relegation back to the Championship. Coppell said he would consider his future as Reading manager after being relegated on the final day but he stayed on in an attempt to get the Royals back up at the first attempt. However, he missed out on promotion in 2008-2009 via the play-offs after a semi-final defeat to Burnley and this time, he elected to resign immediately after the game, feeling he had taken the club as far as he could.

One more challenge cropped up in England in May 2010 when he signed a 12-month rolling contract at Bristol City. However, he walked away from the position just three months later, saying that he would retire from football management altogether citing a lack of passion for the job.

He hasn’t retired from football management as mentioned but the job at Ashton Gate was his last in English management. He has since worked as Director of Football at both Crawley Town and Portsmouth before moving to Asia where he has managed Kerala Blasters FC, Jamshedpur FC and ATK where he was appointed manager in June 2018.

Steve Coppell has managed over 1000 matches in his career and boasts nearly a 40% win ratio rate. That’s a pretty decent return for someone who has spent nearly 35 years in the management game.


Seasonal Records: 2012-2013

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2012-2013 Premier League campaign. It would turn out to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season as manager of Manchester United and he bowed out in style, as the Red Devils reclaimed the Premier League title.


Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 29 4 5 86 43 +43 91
2 Manchester City 38 23 9 6 66 34 +32 78
3 Chelsea 38 22 9 7 75 39 +36 75
4 Arsenal 38 21 10 7 72 37 +35 73
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 21 9 8 66 46 +20 72
6 Everton 38 16 15 7 55 40 +15 63
7 Liverpool FC 38 16 13 9 71 43 +28 61
8 West Bromwich Albion 38 14 7 17 53 57 -4 49
9 Swansea City 38 11 13 14 47 51 -4 46
10 West Ham United 38 12 10 16 45 53 -8 46
11 Norwich City 38 10 14 14 41 58 -17 44
12 Fulham 38 11 10 17 50 60 -10 43
13 Stoke City 38 9 15 14 34 45 -11 42
14 Southampton 38 9 14 15 49 60 -11 41
15 Aston Villa 38 10 11 17 47 69 -22 41
16 Newcastle United 38 11 8 19 45 68 -23 41
17 Sunderland 38 9 12 17 41 54 -13 39
18 Wigan Athletic 38 9 9 20 47 73 -26 36
19 Reading 38 6 10 22 43 73 -30 28
20 Queens Park Rangers 38 4 13 21 30 60 -30 25



Goals Scored 1063
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester City (UEFA Champions League)

Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League)

Swansea City (UEFA Europa League)

Wigan Athletic (UEFA Europa League)

Longest winning run 7 games (Manchester United)
Longest unbeaten run 18 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 16 games (Queens Park Rangers)
Longest losing run 7 games (Reading)
Highest attendance 75,605 (Manchester United vs. Reading)
Lowest attendance 15,436 (Wigan Athletic vs. Reading)



PFA Players’ Player of the Year Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Young Player of the Year Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
Football Writers’ Award Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Team of the Year David de Gea, Leighton Baines, Pablo Zabaleta, Rio Ferdinand, Jan Vertonghen, Michael Carrick, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United
Premier League Goal of the Season Robin van Persie (MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Aston Villa)



Player Teams Score Date
Robin van Persie Southampton vs. Manchester United 2-3 2nd September 2012
Luis Suarez Norwich City vs. Liverpool FC 2-5 29th September 2012
Jordi Gomez Wigan Athletic vs. Reading 3-2 24th November 2012
Santi Cazorla Reading vs. Arsenal 2-5 17th December 2012
Gareth Bale Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur 0-4 26th December 2012
Theo Walcott Arsenal vs. Newcastle United 7-3 29th December 2012
Shinji Kagawa Manchester United vs. Norwich City 4-0 2nd March 2013
Luis Suarez Wigan Athletic vs. Liverpool FC 0-4 2nd March 2013
Robin van Persie Manchester United vs. Aston Villa 3-0 22nd April 2013
Christian Benteke Aston Villa vs. Sunderland 6-1 29th April 2013
Daniel Sturridge Fulham vs. Liverpool FC 1-3 12th May 2013
Romelu Lukaku West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester United 5-5 19th May 2013
Kevin Nolan West Ham United vs. Reading 4-2 19th May 2013



Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Robin van Persie Manchester United 26
2 Luis Suarez Liverpool FC 23
3 Gareth Bale Tottenham Hotspur 21
4 Christian Benteke Aston Villa 19
5 Michu Swansea City 18
6 Romelu Lukaku West Bromwich Albion 17
7= Frank Lampard Chelsea 15
7= Dimitar Berbatov Fulham 15
7= Rickie Lambert Southampton 15
7= Demba Ba Newcastle United & Chelsea 15
11= Edin Dzeko Manchester City 14
11= Theo Walcott Arsenal 14
13= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 12
13= Sergio Aguero Manchester City 12
13= Santi Cazorla Arsenal 12
13= Adam Le Fondre Reading 12
17= Lukas Podolski Arsenal 11
17= Carlos Tevez Manchester City 11
17= Juan Mata Chelsea 11
17= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 11
17= Marouane Fellaini Everton 11
17= Daniel Sturridge Chelsea & Liverpool FC 11
17= Steven Fletcher Sunderland 11
17= Arouna Kone Wigan Athletic 11
25 Javier Hernandez Manchester United 10



Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa 23rd December 2012
Newcastle United 0-6 Liverpool FC 27th April 2013
Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 15th September 2012
Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland 29th April 2013
Manchester City 5-0 Aston Villa 17th November 2012
Liverpool FC 5-0 Norwich City 19th January 2013
Liverpool FC 5-0 Swansea City 17th February 2013
Queens Park Rangers 0-5 Swansea City 18th August 2012
Fulham 5-0 Norwich City 18th August 2012
Arsenal 7-3 Newcastle United 29th December 2012



No of Goals Teams Date
10 West Bromwich Albion 5-5 Manchester United 19th May 2013
10 Arsenal 5-5 Newcastle United 29th December 2012
8 Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa 23rd December 2012
7 Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 15th September 2012
7 Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland 29th April 2013
7 Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur 17th November 2012
7 Reading 2-5 Arsenal 17th December 2012
7 Norwich City 2-5 Liverpool FC 29th September 2012
7 Reading 3-4 Manchester United 1st December 2012
7 Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United 26th December 2012
7 Norwich City 3-4 Manchester City 29th December 2012
7 Swansea City 3-4 Norwich City 8th December 2012
6 Newcastle United 0-6 Liverpool FC 27th April 2013
6 Arsenal 5-1 West Ham United 23rd January 2013
6 Manchester United 4-2 Stoke City 20th October 2012
6 Chelsea 4-2 Reading 22nd August 2012
6 Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 Chelsea 20th October 2012
6 Sunderland 2-4 West Bromwich Albion 24th November 2012
6 West Ham United 4-2 Reading 19th May 2013
6 Newcastle United 4-2 Southampton 24th February 2013



Player Teams Age at the time Date
Izzy Brown West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Wigan Athletic 16 years, 3 months, 27 days 4th May 2013
Serge Gnabry Norwich City 1-0 Arsenal 17 years, 3 months, 6 days 20th October 2012
Luke Shaw West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Southampton 17 years, 3 months, 24 days 5th November 2012
Jordon Ibe Liverpool FC 1-0 Queens Park Rangers 17 years, 5 months, 11 days 19th May 2013
Raheem Sterling Liverpool FC 2-2 Manchester City 17 years, 8 months, 18 days 26th August 2012
James Ward-Prowse Manchester City 3-2 Southampton 17 years, 9 months, 18 days 19th August 2012
Nathan Ake Norwich City 0-1 Chelsea 17 years, 10 months, 8 days 26th December 2012
Karim Rekik Manchester City 1-0 Reading 18 years, 20 days 22nd December 2012
Adam Campbell Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City 18 years, 2 months, 6 days 10th March 2013
Adam Mitchell Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Sunderland 18 years, 5 months, 17 days 19th May 2013



Player Teams Age at the time Date
Brad Friedel Swansea City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur 41 years, 10 months, 12 days 30th March 2013
Mark Schwarzer Swansea City 0-3 Fulham 40 years, 7 months, 13 days 19th May 2013
Ryan Giggs West Bromwich Albion 5-5 Manchester United 39 years, 5 months, 20 days 19th May 2013
Paul Scholes West Bromwich Albion 5-5 Manchester United 38 years, 6 months, 3 days 19th May 2013
Steve Harper Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal 38 years, 2 months, 5 days 19th May 2013
Jussi Jaaskelainen West Ham United 4-2 Reading 38 years, 1 month 19th May 2013
Kelvin Davis Southampton 1-1 Stoke City 36 years, 7 months, 20 days 19th May 2013
Shay Given Aston Villa 1-3 Everton 36 years, 4 months, 5 days 25th August 2012
Georgios Karagounis Swansea City 0-3 Fulham 36 years, 2 months, 13 days 19th May 2013
Rory Delap Reading 1-1 Stoke City 36 years, 1 month, 12 days 18th August 2012



Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Joe Hart Manchester City 18
2= Petr Cech Chelsea 14
2= Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 14
4 Asmir Begovic Stoke City 12
5= David de Gea Manchester United 11
5= Jussi Jaaskelainen West Ham United 11
5= Simon Mignolet Sunderland 11
8= Wojciech Szczesny Arsenal 10
8= Tim Howard Everton 10
10 Hugo Lloris Tottenham Hotspur 9

The Clubs: Reading

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
114 32 23 591 136 186 -50 119 3


Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Nicky Shorey 90
Marcus Hahnemann 76
James Harper 76
Ivar Ingimarsson 73
Stephen Hunt 72
Kevin Doyle 68
Graeme Murty 51
Shane Long 50
Dave Kitson 47
Leroy Lita 47


Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Kevin Doyle 19
Dave Kitson 12
Adam Le Fondre 12
James Harper 9
Stephen Hunt 9
Leroy Lita 8
Hal Robson-Kanu 7
Jimmy Kebe 5
Shane Long 5
Pavel Pogrebnyak 5


Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007 2006-2007
Derby County 0-4 Reading 11th May 2008 2007-2008
Fulham 2-4 Reading 4th May 2013 2012-2013
Reading 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur 12th November 2006 2006-2007
Reading 3-1 Sheffield United 20th January 2007 2006-2007
Bolton Wanderers 1-3 Reading 21st April 2007 2006-2007
Reading 3-1 Liverpool FC 8th December 2007 2007-2008
Reading 2-0 Charlton Athletic 18th November 2006 2006-2007
Manchester City 0-2 Reading 3rd February 2007 2006-2007
Reading 2-0 Aston Villa 10th February 2007 2006-2007


Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Reading 0-4 Arsenal 22nd October 2006 2006-2007
Portsmouth 7-4 Reading 29th September 2007 2007-2008
Reading 2-5 Arsenal 17th December 2012 2012-2013
Arsenal 4-1 Reading 30th March 2013 2012-2013
Bolton Wanderers 3-0 Reading 25th August 2007 2007-2008
Reading 0-3 West Ham United 1st September 2007 2007-2008
Newcastle United 3-0 Reading 5th April 2008 2007-2008
Sunderland 3-0 Reading 11th December 2012 2012-2013
Reading 0-3 Wigan Athletic 23rd February 2013 2012-2013
Tottenham Hotspur 6-4 Reading 29th December 2007 2007-2008



Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Steve Coppell 2 12th May 2009
Brian McDermott 1 11th March 2013
Nigel Adkins 1 15th December 2014


Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Reading 0-0 Blackburn Rovers 29th March 2008 24,374 2007-2008
Reading 2-1 Everton 17th November 2012 24,184 2012-2013
Reading 1-0 West Ham United 29th December 2012 24,183 2012-2013
Reading 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur 16th September 2012 24,160 2012-2013
Reading 0-0 Liverpool FC 13th April 2013 24,139 2012-2013
Reading 0-2 Manchester United 19th January 2008 24,135 2007-2008
Reading 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2008 24,125 2007-2008
Reading 2-5 Arsenal 17th December 2012 24,125 2012-2013
Reading 2-0 Aston Villa 10th February 2007 24,122 2006-2007
Reading 1-2 Liverpool FC 7th April 2007 24,121 2006-2007



Reading enjoyed a lively start to their Premier League career and surprised many in their debut campaign. Rather than fight relegation, Steve Coppell’s energetic Royals were in the shake-up for European qualifying positions until the final day of the season and finished a fabulous eighth in the table. Their next two seasons in the top-flight were more of the anticipated struggle which ended with the heartache of relegation but Reading will hope to be back in the future with recently newly-appointed boss, Paul Clement.



Reading made an electrifying start to their Premier League life by coming from two goals down to beat Middlesbrough 3-2. It would start the trend for an outstanding debut season in the top-flight. Manchester United were held 1-1 in September, Tottenham Hotspur beaten 3-1 in November and West Ham United humiliated 6-0 on New Years’ Day which remains the Royals biggest-ever Premier League win.

Two Steve Sidwell goals against Aston Villa in February took Reading into the dizzy heights of sixth in the table. By early May, there were real hopes of a debut campaign in Europe but a shocking 2-0 home loss to already relegated Watford ended those hopes. Nevertheless, Reading finished a brilliant eighth in the table, ahead of the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Manchester City in the final standings.



Hopes were high for Reading to build on their excellent debut Premier League campaign and a hard-fought goalless draw on the opening weekend at Old Trafford suggested another promising season ahead. However, a leaky defensive line would ruin those hopes. Reading lost 7-4 at Portsmouth, 6-4 to Tottenham Hotspur and 4-2 against Blackburn Rovers.

The high point of the season was a 3-1 success over Liverpool FC in December which was the first time the Reds lost domestically in the season. However, the team suffered an extremely poor run of form at the start of 2008. A club-record was equalled of eight successive defeats which plunged Reading into the bottom three.

Consecutive victories over Middlesbrough and Manchester City propelled Coppell’s side upto 13th in the table but they managed just one more victory before the final day of the season. On the last Sunday, the Berkshire club thrashed hapless Derby County 4-0 but Fulham’s away victory at Portsmouth ensured their safety and condemned Reading to relegation. Despite scoring more goals than the likes of Wigan Athletic, Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers who all survived, Reading’s brittle defensive line, conceding 66 goals would turn out to be their ultimate downfall.



After a four-year absence, the Royals returned to the Premier League spotlight as champions of the Championship. They began the season with a late draw at home to Stoke City but there would be no Premier League victory until mid-November when Everton were defeated 2-1. A run of four wins in six games just after the festive period brightened the hopes of potential salvation and it was a run that earned Brian McDermott Manager of the Month honours for January.

They were helped by the goals of Adam Le Fondre, who often came off the substitute’s bench to make a crucial difference. This included two goals to earn a victory at St James’ Park and another late double to earn a 2-2 draw with reigning European champions Chelsea. Le Fondre ended with 12 league goals at the end of the season.

McDermott was sacked in mid-March after successive home losses to relegation rivals Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa. Ex-Southampton boss Nigel Adkins succeeded him but the damage had already been done and a goalless draw at home to Queens Park Rangers at the end of April saw both clubs relegated to the Championship.

Seasonal Records: 2006-2007

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2006-2007 Premier League campaign. After a three-year period watching dominance from the capital, Manchester United regained that winning feeling to claim their ninth Premier League title, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, who began to show why he would become one of the greatest players to ever play football.


Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 28 5 5 83 27 +56 89
2 Chelsea 38 24 11 3 64 24 +40 83
3 Liverpool FC 38 20 8 10 57 27 +30 68
4 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 63 35 +28 68
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 17 9 12 57 54 +3 60
6 Everton 38 15 13 10 52 36 +16 58
7 Bolton Wanderers 38 16 8 14 47 52 -5 56
8 Reading 38 16 7 15 52 47 +5 55
9 Portsmouth 38 14 12 12 45 42 +3 54
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 15 7 16 52 54 -2 52
11 Aston Villa 38 11 17 10 43 41 +2 50
12 Middlesbrough 38 12 10 16 44 49 -5 46
13 Newcastle United 38 11 10 17 38 47 -9 43
14 Manchester City 38 11 9 18 29 44 -15 42
15 West Ham United 38 12 5 21 35 59 -24 41
16 Fulham 38 8 15 15 38 60 -22 39
17 Wigan Athletic 38 10 8 20 37 59 -22 38
18 Sheffield United 38 10 8 20 32 55 -23 38
19 Charlton Athletic 38 8 10 20 34 60 -26 34
20 Watford 38 5 13 20 29 59 -30 28



Goals Scored 931
European qualifiers Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Cup)

Everton (UEFA Cup)

Bolton Wanderers (UEFA Cup)

Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Intertoto Cup)

Longest winning run 9 games (Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 14 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 11 games (Aston Villa, Watford & West Ham United)
Longest losing run 8 games (Wigan Athletic)
Highest attendance 76,098 (Manchester United vs. Blackburn Rovers)
Lowest attendance 13,760 (Watford vs. Blackburn Rovers)



PFA Players’ Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Football Writers’ Award Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Drogba
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Wayne Rooney (MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Bolton Wanderers)



Player Teams Score Date
Wayne Rooney Bolton Wanderers vs. Manchester United 0-4 28th October 2006
Didier Drogba Chelsea vs. Watford 4-0 11th November 2006
Peter Crouch Liverpool FC vs. Arsenal 4-1 31st March 2007



Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Didier Drogba Chelsea 20
2 Benni McCarthy Blackburn Rovers 18
3 Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 17
4= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 14
4= Mark Viduka Middlesbrough 14
6= Kevin Doyle Reading 13
6= Darren Bent Charlton Athletic 13
8= Dirk Kuyt Liverpool FC 12
8= Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham Hotspur 12
8= Yakubu Middlesbrough 12
11= Frank Lampard Chelsea 11
11= Robin van Persie Arsenal 11
11= Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur 11
11= Andy Johnson Everton 11
11= Nicolas Anelka Bolton Wanderers 11
11= Obafemi Martins Newcastle United 11
11= Bobby Zamora West Ham United 11
18= Thierry Henry Arsenal 10
18= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 10
18= Kanu Portsmouth 10
18= Gilberto Arsenal 10
22= Peter Crouch Liverpool FC 9
22= Mikel Arteta Everton 9
22= Gabriel Agbonlahor Aston Villa 9
22= Brian McBride Fulham 9


Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 23rd December 2006
Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006
Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Charlton Athletic 9th December 2006
Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007
Bolton Wanderers 0-4 Manchester United 28th October 2006
Chelsea 4-0 Watford 11th November 2006
Wigan Athletic 0-4 Liverpool FC 2nd December 2006
Reading 0-4 Arsenal 22nd October 2006
Manchester United 4-0 Watford 31st January 2007



No of Goals Teams Date
8 Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 23rd December 2006
7 West Ham United 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 4th March 2007
6 Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007
6 Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006
6 Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Charlton Athletic 9th December 2006
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007
6 Everton 2-4 Manchester United 28th April 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 Manchester City 17th September 2006
6 Watford 4-2 Portsmouth 9th April 2007
6 Wigan Athletic 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur 15th April 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Reading 13th May 2007
6 West Ham United 3-3 Fulham 13th January 2007
6 Watford 3-3 Fulham 2nd October 2006
5 Manchester United 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 17th March 2007
5 Manchester United 4-1 Blackburn Rovers 31st March 2007
5 West Ham United 1-4 Chelsea 18th April 2007
5 Liverpool FC 4-1 Arsenal 31st March 2007
5 Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 25th February 2007
5 Everton 4-1 Fulham 6th April 2007
5 Blackburn Rovers 4-1 Charlton Athletic 28th April 2007



Player Teams Age at the time Date
Matthew Briggs Middlesbrough 3-1 Fulham 16 years, 2 months, 4 days 13th May 2007
Daniel Sturridge Manchester City 0-2 Reading 17 years, 5 months, 2 days 3rd February 2007
Theo Walcott Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa 17 years, 5 months, 3 days 19th August 2006
Ben Sahar Chelsea 4-0 Wigan Athletic 17 years, 5 months, 3 days 13th January 2007
Sam Hutchinson Chelsea 1-1 Everton 17 years, 9 months, 10 days 13th May 2007
Adel Taarabt West Ham United 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 9 months, 8 days 4th March 2007
Scott Sinclair Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month, 11 days 6th May 2007
Andy Carroll Wigan Athletic 1-0 Newcastle United 18 years, 1 month, 19 days 25th February 2007
Micah Richards Chelsea 3-0 Manchester City 18 years, 1 month, 27 days 20th August 2006
Emiliano Insua Portsmouth 2-1 Liverpool FC 18 years, 3 months, 21 days 28th April 2007



Player Teams Age at the time Date
Alec Chamberlain Watford 1-1 Newcastle United 42 years, 10 months, 23 days 13th May 2007
Teddy Sheringham West Ham United 0-1 Manchester City 40 years, 8 months, 28 days 30th December 2006
Pavel Srnicek Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Newcastle United 38 years, 9 months, 16 days 26th December 2006
Gary Speed Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Aston Villa 37 years, 8 months, 5 days 13th May 2007
Chris Powell Reading 0-2 Watford 37 years, 7 months, 27 days 5th May 2007
Jens Lehmann Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 37 years, 5 months, 26 days 6th May 2007
John Filan Wigan Athletic 0-3 West Ham United 37 years, 2 months, 20 days 28th April 2007
Arjan de Zeeuw Sheffield United 1-2 Wigan Athletic 37 years, 27 days 13th May 2007
David James Portsmouth 0-0 Arsenal 36 years, 9 months, 11 days 13th May 2007
Tugay Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Reading 36 years, 8 months, 19 days 13th May 2007



Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 19
2 Tim Howard Everton 14
3= Petr Cech Chelsea 13
3= Marcus Hahnemann Reading 13
5= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 12
5= Jussi Jaaskelainen Bolton Wanderers 12
5= David James Portsmouth 12
5= Thomas Sorensen Aston Villa 12
9 Scott Carson Charlton Athletic 11
10 Jens Lehmann Arsenal 10

Premier League Files: Kevin Doyle

Premier League Career: Reading (2006-2008), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2009-2012), Crystal Palace (2014)

Kevin Doyle retired from football in September 2017 on medical advice after complaining of persistent headaches. During his career, he did give many opposing defenders headaches with his sharp movements and instinctive finishing.

Finishing his career in the MLS with Colorado Rapids, Doyle’s final career total of 128 goals in 490 league appearances is impressive statistics for a player who was plucked from the Republic of Ireland Premier Division into the Premier League limelight with Reading.

Doyle signed his first professional contract in September 2001 with St Patrick’s Athletic as a free agent before joining current Irish champions Cork City 17 months later. He scored 25 goals for Cork and even had a spell playing on the right-wing rather than his usual central position in attack. His impressive performances were noted by Reading and Steve Coppell and they signed him in for a paltry £78,000 in June 2005. It has to be considered one of the finest bits of transfer business in the first decade of the new millennium.

He scored 19 goals as Reading soared to the Championship title and promotion to the Premier League, winning the club’s Player of the Season award and being named as the Fans’ Player of the Year by fellow Championship supporters. The step-up to the Premier League could have been very difficult for Doyle but he took to the new challenge with flying colours. He scored in just his second top-flight appearance in an away defeat to Aston Villa and finished with 13 Premier League goals, including scoring in a run of four successive matches during November 2006. His final tally could have been even greater but for a torn hamstring in mid-January which kept him out of action for two months. Doyle’s form saw him earn a nomination for PFA Young Player of the Year but he ultimately lost out to Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas.

2007-2008 was less successful for player and club. Kevin only found the back of the net six times in 36 appearances and after finishing a fine eighth in their debut Premier League campaign; Reading were relegated on the final day of the season. Despite being heavily linked with a move to Aston Villa in the summer of 2008, Reading held onto Doyle as they seeked an immediate return to the top-flight but they were pipped to automatic promotion by Birmingham City. Play-off defeat to Burnley would ultimately bring down the curtain on Doyle’s career at the Madjeski Stadium.

In June 2009, newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers paid Reading £6.5 million for Doyle’s services. Although he missed pre-season with a hernia, he made his Premier League bow for them in Wolves’ first away game of the campaign; a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City. He scored nine times in his debut season at Molineux and his performances saw him voted as the club’s Player of the Season. He managed only nine further league goals across another two seasons as Mick McCarthy often rotated him with Steven Fletcher. One moment that stands out for him was a header to beat Manchester United in February 2011; ending the Red Devils’ 29-match unbeaten run.

Wolves suffered back-to-back relegations and were in League One for the start of the 2013-2014 season. With a dramatic cut in the club’s wages, Doyle was considered too expensive to stay but he stuck around for the first half of the campaign in League One. He eventually left in January 2014, first for a loan spell with Queens Park Rangers, then a final fling in the Premier League with Crystal Palace. Neither club signed him permanently. He would eventually run down his contract with Wolves before departing in the summer of 2015. He was to leave English shores to have a crack playing in the United States with the Colorado Rapids. He would score 16 times in 71 appearances for Colorado. On the international scene, he won 64 caps for the Republic of Ireland and was part of the squad that reached the European Championships in 2012, although they lost every single match in Poland.

After suffering problems with concussion during 2017, Doyle had to make the difficult decision to stop playing. He said: “This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic and causing me to have repeated headaches. I’m sad to announce that after listening to medical advice I will play no further part this season and will be retiring.”

Lively, energetic and a real pest on his day, Kevin Doyle represented his country with great dignity and was one of Reading’s finest Premier League players.

Premier League Files: Nicky Shorey

Premier League Career: Reading (2006-2008), (2012-2013), Aston Villa (2008-2009), Fulham (2010), West Bromwich Albion (2010-2012)

Now a coach at League Two side Stevenage, Nicky Shorey enjoyed his Premier League stint, featuring for four sides across seven years. He was most prominent at Reading, where he had two spells for the club, during which time; he managed to win two England caps from Steve McClaren.

Shorey grew up as a West Ham United fan. He started his career at Leyton Orient as an apprentice in 1998 before moving onto Reading in February 2001 for a fee of just £25,000. He would spend the next seven seasons with the club, helping them reach the promise land of the Premier League.

It wasn’t until October 2001 when he got a regular chance in the first-team. Shorey established himself, making 36 appearances and helping the club to promotion to the First Division. Now at a higher level, he made the transition look easy, scoring his first professional goal in October 2002 to win a match at home to Bradford City. Shorey helped Reading make the First Division play-offs where they were edged out by Wolverhampton Wanderers over two legs.

In 2004, there was a nasty scare for his career. Following a routine match with Stoke City which finished goalless, Shorey noticed at home that his foot had started swelling and was throbbing by the time he reached hospital. The resulting infection kept him in hospital for a fortnight and he received further treatment at home for three months on his departure from A&E.

In 2005-2006, he missed just two matches as the Royals’ finally achieved promotion to the Premier League. He was one of Reading’s superstars in their excellent debut season in the top-flight, when they defied all expectations to finish eighth and only narrowly miss out on European qualification. He missed just one match and scored in Reading’s 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in November 2006. Praised for his excellent delivery from set-pieces, this was shown in full when he contributed to four of the team’s six goals as they gave West Ham United a New Years’ Day mauling in 2007. The season ended with Nicky becoming the first Reading player to represent the England national team in almost 100 years when he played in the 1-1 draw with Brazil. It was also the first match to be played at the new Wembley Stadium.

He was consistent again in 2007-2008, scoring twice but couldn’t prevent the club from being relegated. Relations between club and player became more strained when a proposed move to West Ham United collapsed during the season. The full-back decided after relegation his future lay away from Berkshire and his departure left a bitter taste in the mouths of many supporters. He joined Aston Villa in the summer of 2008.

His time at Villa was a real struggle, unable to hold down a regular place in the side. Although he started the first four matches of the 2009-2010 campaign, he was made surplus to requirements by Martin O’Neill and turned down a loan move to financially-ruined Portsmouth on transfer deadline day in September 2009. Loan spells followed at Nottingham Forest and Fulham during that campaign. He made 12 appearances for the Cottagers’ but was cup-tied during their historic run to the UEFA Europa League final. Shorey impressed Roy Hodgson but when he left Fulham for the Liverpool FC job, the club decided not to take an option up on his loan contract for a permanent switch.

He went back to the Midlands but joined newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion for £1.3 million in August 2010. He made 57 Premier League appearances across two seasons and had another spell working alongside Hodgson when his Liverpool experience turned sour. The arrival of Liam Ridgewell in the 2012 winter transfer window pushed Shorey out of his regular left-back role at The Hawthorns and he was released at the end of that campaign.

He rejoined Reading in the summer of 2012 on a free transfer, four years after his initial departure in fairly acrimonious circumstances. He made 21 appearances but couldn’t stop Reading’s immediate return to the Championship. He was released following their relegation and experienced spells afterwards with Bristol City, Portsmouth, Colchester United and Pune City in the Indian Super League. He retired in October 2016 to take up a coaching role under the guidance of 34-year-old Darren Sarll who is the current manager of Stevenage.

Fate drew the two sides Nicky is commonly associated with together in the third round of the 2018 Emirates FA Cup. Stevenage and Reading played out a goalless draw and will need to replay to see who progresses to the fourth round.

He might have moved elsewhere, both in his playing and current coaching guise but Nicky Shorey will always be a Royal.

Premier League Rewind: 16th-18th December 2006

Results: Charlton Athletic 0-3 Liverpool FC, Arsenal 2-2 Portsmouth, Newcastle United 2-1 Watford, Reading 1-2 Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic 0-1 Sheffield United, Aston Villa 0-1 Bolton Wanderers, Everton 2-3 Chelsea, Manchester City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United 1-0 Manchester United, Fulham 2-1 Middlesbrough

The Christmas programme in 2006 was about to get underway and already, the 2006-2007 title race looked to be a straight shootout between Manchester United and Chelsea. Going into the 16th-18th December weekend, it was the Red Devils who had a five-point advantage. By the end of the weekend, Jose Mourinho’s champions had whittled the lead down after a dramatic Sunday afternoon involving the title contenders.

The Blues’ kicked off first on Merseyside and were given a very tough game by David Moyes and his Everton side. Everton were only 10th going into the match but just four points off the coveted UEFA Champions League qualifying positions and they led Chelsea twice in this match. In fact, Chelsea trailed 2-1 going into the last 10 minutes before amazing goals from Frank Lampard and then, another long-range special by Didier Drogba steered the Londoners home to a nervy and exciting 3-2 victory.

Later that afternoon, Manchester United travelled to Upton Park where West Ham United were welcoming their new manager. Alan Curbishley had been appointed a few days earlier, replacing Alan Pardew who had been sacked following a 4-0 defeat at Bolton eight days earlier. West Ham went into the weekend in the bottom three and desperate for a victory. They collected three much-needed points as Nigel Reo-Coker scored the only goal of the match and gave Curbishley a winning start. The gap between the top two was now two points.

Arsenal and Portsmouth were holding the other two Champions League qualification spots at the start of the weekend and they met each other at the Emirates Stadium. Pompey were flying and when Matt Taylor scored a looping volley, they were 2-0 up and looking set to become the first Premier League team to win at Arsenal’s new home. Arsene Wenger’s frustrations got the better of him and he was sent from the touchline but he will have been pleased to see his team’s battling qualities. Emmanuel Adebayor and skipper Gilberto Silva scored to ensure the points were shared.

Their draw allowed Liverpool FC to cash in and take third spot. Liverpool kicked off in the Saturday lunchtime game at second-bottom Charlton Athletic and it was one of the most one-sided away games in Premier League history. Liverpool had 24 attempts on-goal against Les Reed’s gutless side but only had a Xabi Alonso third-minute penalty to their name, squandering a host of opportunities. Luckily, Charlton were so bad, it didn’t matter. Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard did find the back of the net in the last 10 minutes to ensure the score had a fairer reflection given the visitors’ dominance. Reed lasted just one more abject match before being sacked as Charlton manager.

Elsewhere, Bolton climbed into fifth spot after Gary Speed’s penalty beat Aston Villa at Villa Park. Blackburn Rovers came from behind to pick up a valuable 2-1 victory away to Reading with David Bentley scoring the pick of the goals. Middlesbrough’s 2-1 defeat at home specialists Fulham on the Monday Night Football meant Gareth Southgate’s side slipped to 17th and just outside the bottom three on goal difference.

What else happened in December 2006?

  • Leona Lewis wins the X-Factor, becoming the first female winner of the ITV talent show.
  • Forklift driver Steve Wright is charged with the murders of five women in Ipswich between the 30th October and 10th December. He is sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2008.
  • Aged 93, Gerald Ford dies after years battling ill health. He was the 38th President of the United States, serving in office from August 1974 to January 1977.
  • Actress Wendy Richard leaves EastEnders after her character Pauline Fowler dies on Christmas Day. She had been in Albert Square since the very first episode in 1985.
  • Equestrian Zara Phillips follows in her mother’s footsteps by becoming BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2006.
  • 2,300 jobs are lost when the Ryton car factory closes in Warwickshire and production of the Peugeot 206 is moved to Slovakia.
  • An oil pipeline explodes on Boxing Day in Lagos, Nigeria, killing at least 200 people.

Iconic Moments: A Fratton thriller (September 2007)

On the face of it, Portsmouth vs. Reading in September 2007 didn’t sound like a very exciting game to the neutral. However, these sides put on a real thriller at Fratton Park. They still hold the record for the most goals scored in a Premier League match of 11.

There were nine different scorers in the match. The exception was Benjani. Portsmouth’s forward, who couldn’t find the back of the net in his early period with the club, hit the jackpot. The Zimbabwean scored a hat-trick although the goalkeeping from Marcus Hahnemann was not the best on the day.

For the record, the other scorers were Stephen Hunt, Dave Kitson, Hermann Hreidarsson, Niko Kranjcar, Shane Long, Sulley Muntari from the penalty spot and two own goals by Ivar Ingimarsson and Sol Campbell. Portsmouth won the game 7-4 and David James saved a penalty from Nicky Shorey.

Reading boss Steve Coppell tried to put a positive spin on events afterwards, commenting: “It’s difficult to analyse a match like that and if you try you will be there a very long time…we scored four goals away from home and had a chance for another with a penalty. We played a full part in the game – I don’t think many teams will come here this season and score four.” 

Portsmouth would record their best Premier League finish of eighth and won the FA Cup at the end of the season. Reading were relegated on the final day of the campaign.

Whilst the defending by both teams was horrendous, this still goes down as an unforgettable contest in the Premier League archives.