27 October to 23 December 2023
Venue: Story of Reading Gallery, Reading Museum
35 years after one of the most famous days in Reading Football Club’s history, the original Simod Cup trophy has come home to Reading and will be on display for fans to enjoy at Reading Museum until 23 December 2023.
The Full Members’ Cup competition ran from the 1985-86 season until the 1991-92 season. The cup was better known by the name of the sponsor, which from 1987 to 1989 was the Italian sports shoe manufacturer Simod, hence the Simod Cup.
In the 1987-88 season 40 teams entered the competition, including Reading FC. The Simod Cup proved a welcome distraction from the League where Reading’s form was indifferent.
The first-round draw sent Reading to Queen Park Rangers, where Reading won 3-1, a 1-0 home win in the second round against Oxford United saw the club progress to a third-round match against Brian Clough’s First Division Nottingham Forest at Elm Park. Reading won 2-1 in front of 9096 spectators.
Another home draw brought Bradford City to Elm Park, with Reading coming out 2-1 winners, and progressing to the semi-finals. Coventry City, then a First Division club and holders of the FA Cup, came to Elm Park. In a tense match Reading took the lead, only for Coventry to equalise late on and take the match to extra time. A nerve-wracking penalty shootout followed. After eight penalties it was still level, but Coventry’s last penalty was saved, leaving Michael Gilkes to step up and fire Reading into the final against Luton Town of the First Division.
Sunday 27 March 1988 arrived, with Reading stepping onto the hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium in front of 61,740 fans. Going a goal behind after Mick Harford scored, Reading rallied and soon equalised through Michael Gilkes. Goals from Stuart Beavon, Mick Tait and Neil Smillie saw Reading win the game 4-1 and win the Simod Cup.
The Simod Cup has kindly been lent by the EFL - the English Football League, in partnership with the National Football Museum.
Suitable for all ages
No booking necessary