For 30,000 Reading fans at Wembley, it was an unforgettable day and a heroic performance against the FA Cup holders Arsenal. The wave of emotions, from despair to unbridled joy to heartache, with a heavy dose of pride throughout, will ensure that day lives long in the memory. We may have lost, but it took 120 minutes to decide the game, and even then it was only the misfortune of Adam Federici that decided the game.
It was another match on the TV, on the final day of the season, which showed this team can get their act together in big games. Derby County needed just a point to qualify for the play-offs, but capitulated in spectacular style against a ruthless Reading side that ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. Can we play on the telly every week?
And a quick word for Steve Clarke's signing of Nathan Aké. Whilst the acquisitions of Zat Knight, Yakubu and Jure Travner (the latter was scouted and trialled by Nigel Adkins admittedly) haven't exactly worked out, Aké showed everybody exactly why he's so close to the Chelsea first team, being named on their bench for their last two Premier League matches. He only made five appearances for the Royals during April, but came in the top three of our Man Of The Match polls four times. Hopefully Clarke can call on that link again next term.
Two sensational performances in the last five weeks. Seven downright awful ones. Reading had the worst record in the Championship over the last few weeks of the season and the fans were voting with their feet, as the Madejski Stadium crowds visibly dropped away as the results continued to get worse.
The Royals' last four home Championship games saw a grand total of four goals - all scored by the opposition. Reading played some decent football at times but it was the same old story - nobody there to put the ball in the net. From Pavel Pogrebnyak's goal at home to Cardiff to Oliver Norwood's long range strike at Rotherham, over ten hours of Championship match time expired without a Reading name on the scoresheet (our goal at Blackpool was an own goal).
Steve Clarke has spoken of decay at the club, and a losing mentality, so something has to change over the summer. Too many players in the squad look devoid of confidence, and some exhibit zero passion. The FA Cup run, and the final game, has papered over some very large cracks in the Reading team.
Clarke's record in the Championship was worse than Nigel Adkins' this season, and the memories of his first month upturn are long in the past now. Royals fans aren't generally an impatient bunch, and recognise the off-the-field problems that have plagued the club for a few years now. But things have to get better on the pitch. Much better.
Reading 1-1 Cardiff City
Blackpool 1-1 Reading
Reading 0-0 Blackburn Rovers
Reading 0-1 AFC Bournemouth
Reading 1-2 Arsenal (AET) (FA Cup Semi Final)
Reading 0-1 Birmingham City
Reading 0-2 Brentford
Rotherham United 2-1 Reading
Derby County 0-3 Reading
(League: W1 D3 L4 F6 A8)
We've had just over half a season with Steve Clarke - are you confident going forward into the next campaign? Vote below (5 is highest, 1 is lowest) and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.