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Jason Roberts Retires

Jason Roberts is a divisive figure for the Reading fanbase. One side sees him as the hero for Reading's second promotion to the Premier League, and the other are less favourable as he sponges off the club for every penny he can get. Obviously the truth is probably somewhere in the middle ground - as it so often is.

He came to the club in January 2012 and immediately proved crucial, scoring the only goal of the game against Bristol City, just two days after his arrival, and then again against Coventry the very next game. He turned up in big matches, grabbing the only goal against Burnley, and getting the opener in the match against Southampton. His contribution was bigger than just a goal threat, his muscle was worth its weight in gold - the game against Leeds springs to mind after a hard-fought 85 minutes he was there to provide for Alfie.

That season ended on a surprising note, the programme notes on our final home game of the season noted that Reading were almost through the season without a red card. That was, with 135 minutes of the season remaining, Jason was dismissed for a flailing elbow; By then, however, the Championship was won. In the 17 games he played that season Reading won 14, only losing away at Peterborough - and Jason contributed 6 goals, three of those - in ice hockey speak - were 'game-winning goals'.

The love affair ended rather abruptly. It was clear why Jason had dropped down to the Championship as he was always off the pace in the top league. In his 11 appearances he didn't manage to find the back of the net, but in his only League Cup appearance for the club - against Arsenal - he did manage to get the first goal of the match.

Jason's last appearance was in a 1-0 loss to Southampton on 8th December, 2012 - 468 days ago. Since then he's used the time to further his media career whilst remaining on the Reading FC payroll. It's been clear for some time that he wasn't going to make a return from this injury, but the club - for some reason - gave Roberts an extension on his contract. The media career has been a source of bitterness, taking a second job while he should be playing for Reading - and costing the club a significant amount without any hope of every returning, but at the end of the day he's collecting his final paycheck which anybody is entitled to.

Although he may not be missed his time here almost certainly helped to get the club into the top league of English football for the only the second time in almost 150 years, and for that I'm grateful to Jason and that's how I'd prefer to remember him.


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