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The legend of ROBIN FRIDAY
This isn’t about Robin Friday, the man who died 20 years ago, and what he did to and for us. This is about the legend that has arisen since then, about what we did to and for him. Robin Friday is now a more powerful figure in the imaginations of Reading fans, Cardiff fans and football followers nationally than he was either in his lifetime or at his death.
This phenomenon begs two questions. How has this happened? And what does it tell us about how we view the world of football (and culture and celebrity) today? There’s a third point to this piece as well; to further embellish the legend by bringing together the
A fan’s tribute poster – thanks to whoever did it THE LEGEND OF ROBIN FRIDAY
best collection of images of Robin in action. You can glimpse him for a couple of minutes only on old footage and the books about him contain a couple of photos only, but nothing that really visually brings him to life, especially for younger followers of the legend who never saw him play. Hopefully this score or more photos will fill that gap.
For new and younger readers – if you don’t know the apps and goals, the scrapes and japes of Robin Friday’s life and football career – this essay isn’t the best place to start. Instead there’s a book called The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw which will tell you all about popping pills, crapping in the opponents’ bath, chucking lumps of scaffolding at team-mates, nicking statues out of graveyards, kissing policemen, dancing naked on pub tables, dope-fest weddings, grabbing testicles, stealing swans, pulling down team-mates’ shorts and scoring glorious goals. But you probably already know the gist of it all or you wouldn’t be reading this. Here I’m basically interested in what happened afterwards.
Two ‘ex-Reading and Cardiff ’ forwards died young in 1990. Both had won promotion from the Fourth Division with Reading, both played around 150 games for the club, both are fondly remembered for their great dribbling and shooting abilities. The younger and more recent of the pair, the victim of a road accident, was Dean Horrix, at Elm Park, from 1983-88. Yet fans under 35 would be unlikely to know the name or recall the deeds. Robin Friday’s first team career at Elm Park ran from 1974 to 1976 and, by contrast, has been rerun in the minds and