Who To Be Penalty King?

Last updated : 22 August 2003 By Rob Cooper
When Reading played West Ham in September 2001, the game went to penalties. Reading, the underdogs, scored six of their seven kicks to book a place in round three. But whatever happened to those spot-kick experts?

It seems that that night Reading traded in all their spot kick luck for several years of nightmares. Many players have tried and failed to establish themselves as the club's regular spot kick taker but, each seems absolutely incapable of finding the net from twelve yards.

In Nicky Shorey, we thought we'd finally cracked it. Cool, calm and collected, the young left-back has a powerful shot to boot. But what went wrong?

One has to put his recent failures down to a lack of confidence. His saved kick against Southampton was woeful, whilst his foiled attempt against Forest was better, it was all too savable.

In the past Nicky Forster, John Salako and Steven Sidwell have all put themselves forwards as wannabee penalty regulars, but have not succeeded in their quest. Jamie Cureton, who left the club this summer, was perhaps the one player at the club who would regularly find the net from twelve yards.

So who do we turn to now? Centre-back Steve Brown with his wicked shot, perhaps looks the best bet. The former Charlton man has the experience to cope with the pressure that comes with the duty so looks the ideal candidate.

Andy Hughes, headless chicken or legend (you decide), is widely regarded as the favourite to take over spot kick duties. He certainly could do the job.

Other names in the frame include Scott Murray, who took them at Bristol City, and Shaun Goater. Despite his fantastic goalscoring record, Goater's penalty-taking record is hardly exemplary.

Reading MAD reckon Steve Brown should be given the job, although we suspect that Andy Hughes will be given spot kick duties. The Royals penalty scenario is getting somewhat desperate, the way things are going it may even be worth letting Marcus Hahnemann take them.