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Robin Friday

Personal information
Full nameRobin Friday
Date of birth27 July 1952
Place of birthActon, London, England
Date of death22 December 1990(age 38)
Place of deathActon, London, England
Height1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing positionForward

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Robin Friday (27 July 1952 22 December 1990) was an English association football player who played professionally as a forward for Reading and Cardiff City during a career that lasted four years in the mid-1970s. Born and raised in Acton, west London, Friday was scouted, but not retained, by four professional clubs during his teenage years. After appearing for local semi-professional sides in the Isthmian League, he joined Charlie Hurley's Fourth Division Reading team in 1974. He quickly became a key player, and helped Reading to win promotion to the Third Division during the 1975 76 season.

Friday's on-field performances were regarded as excellent, and he won Reading's player of the year award in both of his full seasons there, as well as being the leading goal scorer. However, his habit of unsettling opponents through physical intimidation contributed to a heavily tarnished disciplinary record. Friday was also known off the field for his heavy smoking, drinking, womanising and drug-taking.

As his drug habit intensified, Friday's form began to dip in the first half of the 1976 77 season, leading Reading to sell him to Second Division side Cardiff City in December 1976. Friday travelled to join his new team by train, without a valid ticket and had to be bailed by Cardiff manager Jimmy Andrews before even signing for the club. He performed strongly on his debut, but afterwards his form declined and his personal life caused him to repeatedly miss matches altogether. Following a number of incidents, on and off the field, including kicking Mark Lawrenson in the face, Friday retired from football in December 1977, aged 25. He died in Acton in 1990, aged 38, after suffering a heart attack.

The strongest aspects of Friday's game were his ball skills, footballing intelligence and physical and mental strength. Andrews labelled Friday "the complete centre-forward", and, along with numerous contemporaries, retrospectively rated Friday as good enough for the England national team. Both because of his playing ability and personality, Friday remains an important figure to fans of both Reading and Cardiff, despite his short career: in a BBC poll held in 2004, he was voted the top "all-time cult hero" for both clubs. He has been voted Reading's best ever player three times, in 1999 and twice in 2007. Cardiff-based band Super Furry Animals dedicated their 1996 single The Man Don't Give a Fuck to his memory.

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