Welsh Wonders 

The Euros are nearly here so here at ElmParkRoyals.com we have decided to do a series of articles focussing on Reading players past and present who earned international caps for teams at this summers Championship.

It’s been 58 years since Wales last qualified for a tournament so I thought I shouldn’t hang around with this article. Any country that includes Simon Church in their squad might not be busy in the summer again any time soon.

So let’s get cracking. Well, how can I put this? We’ve had a mixed bag of Welsh players over the years. Quite frankly some of them have been bang average. Who remembers Nigel Stevenson’s 3 appearances in the 85/86 season? Nope, me neither, and I was at the games. We also wish we could forget Paul Bodin’s illustrious career.

But there have been some crackers, Ady Williams being a stand out one. Ady was born in that hotbed of Welsh football, Bracknell. He was a proper player, decent on the ball and wasn’t scared of a tackle. He also loves the club, always a nice bonus. My favourite memory of Ady is from the final league game of the 94/95 season when he scored a powerful header against Charlton.

Now here’s one for the older fans: Linden Jones. Technically Lindon never got a full cap, but he did get a few under-21 appearances, but I’m making the rules for this article, so he’s included. Lindon was a good solid fullback but one day he went a bit crazy. Bearing in mind that he hadn’t scored for 10 months, he scored 2 goals in 5 minutes against Sunderland in the F.A. Cup 4th round in 1990. This was after he’d given away the opening goal with some calamitous defending in the first minute. This game, and his tache are the reasons he’s always been a cult hero.

Lee Nogan started at Oxford United. I was far from convinced that we should be signing a man with this previous conviction, but he helped me understand that a person can change and learn from a previous misjudgement. I don’t think he gets enough credit for his role in the 94/95 season team. He linked up brilliantly with Osborn, who constantly seemed to find him with throughballs. My favourite memory of Lee is from the Tranmere home game in 1995. Friday night game, top of the table clash, 1-1 in injury time. Nogan was through on goal from another Osborn pass and he slotted home the winner. The South Bank went crazy all around me, one of the noisiest nights I ever experienced at Elm Park. A magical moment!

I think it would be remiss of me not to mention a couple of other Welsh players who also represented the club: Jeff Hopkins was an important part of the ’95 squad and John Oster, who played for us during our most successful period.
So those were a few of my favourite Welsh players. I’m sure you’ve all got your favourites too, feel free to share them in the comments section below or via @elmparkroyals.
Paul Mann

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