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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 18:06 GMT
Royal seal of approval
By Stuart Roach and Ian Wilkerson

It has taken 135 years for Reading to reach the top flight.

In that time the Royals has seen some star names come and go - without the club ever reaching the pinnacle of English football.

So, how do they feel about Steve Coppell's march towards the Premiership and what memories do they have about their times at Elm Park?

BBC Sport talked to some of their blasts from the past to find out.

KERRY DIXON

Kerry Dixon was the league's top scorer in a relegated team
I really hope Reading can adapt to the Premiership the way Wigan and West Ham have done this season
Kerry Dixon played for Reading from 1980 to 1983, scoring 51 goals in 116 league appearances.

In 1982-83, he scored 26 goals in 35 games to finish as the top scorer in Division Three, despite playing in a side that was relegated at the end of that season.

He joined Chelsea for 175,000 - then a club record sale for Reading - and went on to win eight England caps, scoring four goals for his country.

He now works as pundit for Chelsea's television channel.

I think it's wonderful that Reading will be playing in the Premiership next season.

It was always a possibility when John Madejski put his money in and the opportunity was there for them to make the transition from Elm Park to a new stadium.

I'm looking forward to seeing Reading play Chelsea twice in the Premiership next season and I really hope Reading can give them two good games and adapt to the Premiership the way Wigan and West Ham have done this season.

I have fond memories, of course, of my days at Elm Park. I had three seasons there and the final season ended in disappointment because the club were relegated.

I had mixed feelings that year because I ended the season as the division's top scorer but we still got relegated and that really tells the story of that season for us.

It was a prolific season for me but a disappointing one and the stand-out memory was scoring four goals in a game at Doncaster but we still lost 7-5 - a great personal landmark but a strange feeling for me.

I had three seasons with Reading playing with the likes of Webby (Neil Webb) and Sanch (Lawrie Sanchez) and players like Mark White and Steve Death, who was a great keeper.

I've not had the opportunity to see Reading play Chelsea in the league since leaving for Stamford Bridge, so I can't wait for those games next season.

KEITH CURLE

Keith Curle was in the 1988 Simod Cup winning team
They have got a fantastic manager and chairman and they are very understated
Keith Curle's stay at Elm Park lasted one season and became a stepping stone for the future England defender - from the old Third Division to the First.

Manager Ian Branfoot spent 150,000 to take Curle to Elm Park from Bristol City.

But after a season and an appearance in the winning Simod Cup team, the Royals were relegated to the Second Division.

While they were off to Division Two after a two-year stay, Curle was off to Wimbledon, as the Dons spent 500,000 of the money they claimed after winning the FA Cup.

Curle made 53 appearances without scoring.

It was a disappointing season, even though we did get to Wembley.

With the players we had in that side, there was no way we should have got relegated.

Things were a lot different then. I would describe Elm Park as compact and bijoux and, to be honest, I think the whole place was held together by a lick of paint.

But, location-wise it was spot on and I have not been at all surprised by the progress that has been made in the last few years.

It needed someone who could provide an injection of finance and have the vision and they have got that now.

They have got a fantastic manager and chairman and they are very understated.

They are not shouting anything from the rooftops and are doing things in the right manner.

Reading helped me step up the divisions and I always like to see the clubs who have been good to me in my career doing well.

It's great they are finally fulfilling their potential.

PHIL PARKINSON

Former Reading defender Phil Parkinson
Top flight football has been a long time coming for Reading and the supporters really deserve it
Parkinson spent over 10 years at Reading after joining them in 1992 from Bury for 37,500 when they were in the old Division Three.

It proved to be money well spent as Parkinson went on to establish himself as a huge favourite with the Royals' fans, captained the club and earned a testimonial in 2002.

The midfielder made over 400 appearances for the Royals before leaving to become manager of Colchester.

Obviously I'm very pleased to see them in the Premiership. It's reward for the club that has done things the right way.

Reading have built solid foundations with a good academy and the ground move over the years, rather than one big outlay which could have put the club in jeopardy.

They are a role model for other clubs and a great example to clubs looking to do things the right way.

The biggest thing for me at Elm Park was beating Brighton to get promoted under Mark McGhee, which was a great achievement as Mark had very little resources to work with.

Wembley was a stand-out memory, then the play-off final against Walsall at Cardiff and also getting promoted under Alan Pardew by drawing at Brentford on the final day of the season.

Top flight football has been a long time coming for Reading and the supporters really deserve it.

I think they will do well in the Premiership. When you look at Steve Coppell's record, he gets the absolute maximum out of whatever resources he has and I think that whatever he is given to spend he will use it very wisely.




SEE ALSO
Leicester 1-1 Reading
25 Mar 06 |  Championship
Coppell pays tribute to players
25 Mar 06 |  Reading
Reading's rags to riches
25 Mar 06 |  Reading
Jason Roberts column
23 Mar 06 |  Football
History in the making for Downs
23 Mar 06 |  Reading
Royals ascent
21 Mar 06 |  Reading


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