Thursday June 30th
It's the last day of June today, with tomorrow the day when contracts end and those attatched to the 2010/11 season can get their release and the 2011/12 season gets underway. On that note, here's a final few thoughts from our writers on the 2010/11 season focussing on the team as a whole.
You can check out Part 1 here
What was the worst performance of the season?
Tommyrfc: The second half against Sheffield United a few months ago. Players to a man thought the game was won and switched off completely. A really gutless performance that was all the more shocking because it was so out of character.
Wimbles: A few candidates for me here. The 3-1 defeat at Middlesbrough was about as limp as it gets, while our inability to create anything away at QPR against 10 men (bar a Shane wonder strike) was also a bit of a let down. Thankfully after Ledge came in the only real blip was Sheffield United at home. Out of those I think I'm going to say Middlesbrough as you can forgive the Sheffield United game after the run we've went on.
MarkLawrence: Sheffield United at home. Lots of people would say Wembley but Sheff Utd was the worst and least professional performance I have seen from a Reading team for years! Going 2-0 is great and all but sloppy midfield, basic errors in defence and a lack of desire upfront really left us with no chance. It wasn't only second half Tommy. We were 2-2 at half time and it was one of those days where you almost feel disheartened, also losing Leighterwood's unbeaten run disappointed me.
Tommyrfc: Fair point, in my head we switched off after half time. It makes it even worse when you realise that BMcD's half time talk had no effect!
MarkLawrence: Yeah he definitely changed that half time talk for Wembley though! Wonderful!
Wimbles: Wembley was more 20 first half minutes and 5 second half minutes of madness/bad luck rather than the whole game. I thought we generally played pretty well.
MarkLawrence: Yeah I'd agree with that, usually second best in the game though.
MichaelWade: Sheffield United does stand out royally, but the results around that were so good I can forgive it. Again the QPR game was also bad and I think, although they were the form team at the time, that one will take it. I want to punctuate this with the disclaimer that I have very few negative memories from this season, and we were generally pretty hard to beat.
Best Team Performance?
Wimbles: So many to choose from here, be it the battling win at Leicester to start the season, the demolition of Burnley at Turf Moor, the Cup win at Everton, the 4-3 at Forest... but I can't look past the win at Cardiff, to go there and win 3-0 was stunning and everybody worked their socks off.
MichaelWade: One that stands out for me in particular is being 3-1 down at home to Doncaster in the 60th minute and coming back to win 4-3. Also the 4-3 win against Forest where we would not give up. That is team performance. Donny at home shades it.
MarkLawrence: Although we lost and it is hard not to say so many games this season (2nd half Wembley, Doncaster, Forest etc) I have to go for Manchester City. We played so well and to consider that they have so much more money than us and that all of their team are internationals or blooming young players, we gave them a real run for their money, frustrated them and didn't let them play! McAnuff was sensational in that game and the defence was solid and didn't give the forwards any time.
Tommyrfc: Really tough one because there are so many! Cardiff in the play-offs, Forest away, Middlesbrough home, Doncaster home but it HAS to be Everton in the FA Cup. We went into the game with only 1 of our recognized back 5, a rookie goalkeeper and to one of the toughest grounds to visit in the country. The performance summed the club up. The work rate and desire was enormous and if anything, 1-0 flattered Everton. If Kebe had slotted his one on one then it would have saved my nerves!
Worst Moment Of The Season?
Tommyrfc: Half time at Wembley. Need I say more?
MarkLawrence: That bloody song coming on... (Happiness by Alexis Jordan - half-time at Wembley)
MichaelWade: Swansea at Wembley no doubt. Needs no explanation and I'd be surprised if this isn't agreed with by everyone...
Wimbles: Can I have 4 moments at Wembley please? actually make that 5 if you include the final whistle.
Best Moment Of The Season?
MarkLawrence: After scoring the second goal at Wembley, such a great atmosphere and a real feel good factor.
Wimbles: Last minute winners against Ipswich, Donny and Forest were all brilliant. But I'm going to have to go with Mark, don't think I've been so buzzed or jumped higher than when the second went in!
Tommyrfc: Again easy. Cardiff away. I haven't experienced an atmosphere like that at a Reading game since Leicester away in 2006. We performed superbly and it really made me proud to be a Reading fan.
MichaelWade: I'm trying to pinpoint the exact moment where the play-offs were definitely going to happen...but the play-off semi second leg at Cardiff is stiff competition. Has to win it for me.
Hopes For Next Season?
MichaelWade: With things so uncertain regarding who is staying, who is going and who we will have to replace or bring in I really have no idea what next season holds. So at the moment I am going to sit on the fence and say I will take a play-off place, or at least push for a place and some excitement again.
Tommyrfc: Might be asking too much to replicate this season gone but my hope is that we can keep the squad together. So long as we're in or around the playoffs come the end of the season I'll be happy.
MarkLawrence: Next season. Depends which players leave and which (if any) new faces we bring in. I'd hope for another play off challenge but wouldn't be too unhappy with a top 8 as long as we played well most games and the team look like they want to play and that they are committed.
Wimbles: It's hard to say but I think we're going to be pretty active in the transfer market with players in and out. Right now I think there's no reasons we can't finish top 6. I've even got half a suspicion we might get top 2.... but maybe I should quit drinking...
What Area Of The Team Needs Most Attention Going Forward?
Tommyrfc: The other thing is that I hope BMcD sticks to his attacking principles. Its worked for him so far and it's produced some really entertaining games and I hope a few defeats doesn't stop him.
MarkLawrence: I'd agree with that Tommy.
Tommyrfc: The defence. Harte & Griffin are on their last legs, we've lost Ivar & Zurab and Mills could be on his way. Cummings and Pearce will come in but I think that's the area that will need attention.
MarkLawrence: Morrison not deserve a run out Tommy? I'd be interested to see how he gets on.
Tommyrfc: Certainly deserving of a run but it'd be asking a lot for him and Pearce to be our only centre backs. I've never been convinced by Harte as a defender either and there's no obvious replacement for him.
Wimbles: If things stay the same I'm going to say the attack. With Shane seemingly gone, Church out of form, Hunt injury prone and Manset still raw we really need someone we can rely on to get 15+ goals. The defence also needs a looking at, especially at left back.
MichaelWade: I'm inclined to say attack. Assuming we lose Shane Long (which I'm not 100% we will) then Church, Manset and Hunt won't strike defences with fear. Need an addition or two to that. And I don't mean Marlon Harewood!