Writer: Steve Guscott
Date:Friday October 22 2010
Not many Reading fans will ever forget Andre Bikey's career at the Madejski Stadium. It began with a sending off whilst on trial at the club for headbutting an opponent and ended with a sending off, and crazy reaction, in the play off semi final at Burnley in 2009! Just months after that he left to join the Turf Moor club and has been a big hit in the North West, and Saturday will see his first game against the Royals since he left after a year in the Premiership with the Clarets last season.
Brian McDermott played a major part in bringing Bikey to the club and he joined up with the then Premier League Royals on a pre season tour of Sweden in 2006. After impressing in the first two games he looked set to be offered a permanent deal at the Madejski Stadium before receiving a red card for a headbutt in the final game of the tour. Steve Coppell was persuaded to sign him, but only on loan, and there began an amazing journey!
He was sent off on his Premier League debut against Chelsea, in a game that was mared by an injury to Petr Cech, but established himself as an important squad player and we made the move permanent before the season ended.
He became a regular during our second season in the top flight and also featured in the centre of midfield, and at right back. The Cameroon international looked different class to some of his colleagues on his day, but on those off days he looked like a non league player!
His temperment continued to be questioned though and despite sticking with us when we were relegated, which is more than can be said for some of his team mates, he was not rewarded with promotion. And his career in blue and white hoops came to an end at Saturday's venue, Turf Moor. He conceded the late penalty that gave the home side the advantage going into second leg of the semi final, and his reaction to the red card that followed was pure madness. He ripped off his shirt and went mental, not even Marcus Hahnemann could restrain the giant centre back.
He picked up a four game ban, but only one of them was served as a Reading player (the second leg) and he joined Burnley in the summer of 2009. He was one of their better players in the top flight despite relegation and scored a couple of important goals.
The loyal guy that he is, stayed at Burnley despite relegation and will play a key role if the Clarets are to gain promotion this season.
Bikey will be sure to get a good reception from the travelling supporters, and he deserves it.
Andre Bikey, not really a legend but a top bloke and top defender none the less.
Date:Friday October 22 2010
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