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Roy Bentley’s Stationary Club

This is a story from the SD archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Roger Titford, board member of Supporters Trust At Reading (STAR) and regular contributor to When Saturday Comes, has written an unusual account of the lower division football in the 1960s.

The Sixties was a decade of opportunity in all walks of life. Former England centre-forward and Chelsea legend Roy Bentley found his at Elm Park in 1963 as manager of Third Division Reading FC. It was the chance to revitalise a football club that hadn’t moved with the times in a town crying out for success.

Roy Bentley’s Stationary Club takes a close look at his battles against the forces of inertia in the harsh and fast-changing world of Sixties’ lower division soccer. Pop music and youth culture hammered on the doors of tradition whilst tactical innovation, foul play and poor refereeing often left fans bemused and angry. The role of the supporters and the Supporters’ Club features strongly. This is the anatomy of an ordinary club reacting – or not – to enormous changes in the English game. Roger Titford witnessed this stasis as a boy and now goes back to the era through to understand finally why his was, far from uniquely in those days, just a stationary club.

Most football books are about glory; a few are about failure. This is a true rarity, where nothing quite happens but in a fascinating way it picks apart just why that was and gives a real insight into the underbelly of Sixties’ soccer.

If you’d like to find out more Roy Bentley’s Stationary Club is available via the When Saturday Comes shop, for £12, postage free.

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