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Reading Wins Promotion After 135 Years

March 25, 2006

LEICESTER, England (AP) _ Reading’s 135-year wait is over.

Reading clinched promotion to the Premier League with a 1-1 draw at Leicester in the League Championship on Saturday. The club was founded in 1871, but next season will be its first in the top flight of English soccer.

``We had a tremendous year,″ manager Steve Coppell said. ``It’s been dreamlike in many ways.″

With Leicester leading 1-0 on Iain Hume’s 38th-minute goal, Kevin Doyle tied it in the 85th. The goal meant promotion for the club that includes American midfielder Bobby Convey and countryman Marcus Hahnemann in goal.

Reading has 92 points, with Sheffield United at 78 with five games to play. Watford and Leeds have 72 points. Although Reading has not clinched first place, it clinched one of the two top spots.

The top two teams get promoted automatically to the Premier League. The next four teams have a playoff for the other promotion spot.

The Royals have gone from drawing 10,000 fans to sellout crowds of 24,000 this season.

Last year, Reading was leading the league but went 11 games without a win and missed the playoffs.

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