<< Seasons 1871-80 >>

Kings Meadow Reading Football Club was founded in 1871 following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by future club secretary J.E. Sydenham. The first members, paying a subscription of five shillings a year, were mostly prominent local figures, many of them lawyers and magistrates. The precise date is not recorded, although Christmas Day has been suggested. It was almost certainly towards the end of the year, because the club did not play its first match until February 1872. This was a 13-a-side contest with Reading Grammar School on King's Meadow; although no goals were scored, Reading had "a little the best of it". A return fixture was again goalless, but Reading scored two "touchdowns" to one. Throughout the early years, Reading competed successfully with local teams, including Henley, High Wycombe, Maidenhead, Marlow and Swifts,

In 1877 they entered the FA Cup for the first time, sharing with Notts County the honour of being the first of the current league teams to enter the competition. After a 2-0 win against South Norwood in a game switched to Swifts' Dolphin Ground in Slough, they lost 0-1 in the second round to Upton Park. Their neighbours, Reading Hornets, did less well, crashing 10-0 at Maidenhead, a result that encouraged them to disband and join forces with Reading.

The following season saw Reading go out of the FA Cup to the eventual winners, Old Etonians, by a single disputed goal. Reading were at an added disadvantage because they normally played under rules which allowed the ball to be controlled with the hand, something that was not allowed under FA rules. However they did win the inaugural Berks and Bucks Cup, beating Marlow 1-0 in the final at the Reading Cricket Ground. They suffered a setback early in to the 1879-80 season however when club captain H.F. Rogers suffered an epileptic fit in a game against London Pilgrims, and died on the field of play. This led to all games being suspended for some time, including the FA Cup game at Henley.

FA Cup 1877-78

R1     South NorwoodN    H  W  2-0 *
R2     Upton ParkN       A  L  0-1

       * played at the Dolphin Ground, Slough
FA Cup 1878-79
R1     Hendon IN         H  W  1-0
R2     Old EtoniansN     H  L  0-1
Berks & Bucks Cup 1878-79
F      MarlowN           *  W  1-0

       * at Reading Cricket Ground, after extra time
FA Cup 1879-80
R1     HenleyN           A  *

       * Reading scratched