Reading, Berkshire born outside right Fred Bartholomew joined Southern League Reading from Reading Biscuits in April 1904. His introduction was somewhat of a fairy tale – at Elm Park to watch a local cup final in Easter 1904, he was asked to make up the numbers for one of the teams and ended up scoring a hat-trick. He was immediately signed by Reading and became one of Reading’s longest serving players, playing both sides of the First World War. Although mainly a right sided forward, Bartholomew played in every position for the club,
Bartholomew served as a colour sergeant with the 17th (Service) Battalion of the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment), better known as The Footballers’ Battalion, during the First World War. After Reading had joined the Football League in 1920, Bartholomew made 8 League appearances, already aged 36. After making 193 League, Southern League and FA Cup appearances, scoring 11 goals, he retired from football in 1923, he then spent three years on the coaching staff at Reading. Known affectional as ‘Old Bart’ he then became groundsman at Elm Park until his retirement in 1957 after well over 50 years of service to The Royals.
In March 2018 he was inducted into Reading’s Hall of Fame.