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Hunty's Column: Reading FC's 'What Ifs'

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For every football success story, there are so many failures. Here are some of Hunty's favourites.

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In football, as in life, there always those what if moments. What if Stuart Lovell had scored that penalty in the Play Off Final? What if Portsmouth bothered making an effort against Fulham on relegation day back in 2008? Even as recently as Friday's game, there's a hat trick of what if's over those penalties.

The other what if's in football are around what if things had turned out differently for so many players who were tipped for the big time. Do you remember Michael Johnson at Man City? Danny Cadamartri? Or our very own John Oster at Everton?

Add Francis Jeffers at Arsenal and the interesting but tragic story of Manchester United starlet Adrian Doherty who was once rated a better prospect than Ryan Giggs.

Even I could have made it at Yeovil Town as a teenage goalkeeper but I was replaced by John McGinlay - yes, the ex-Bolton & Scotland striker - after letting in four goals in 20 minutes in a training match. If only...

So then, on to Reading FC and our 'what could have beens'.

Shaun Allaway

An early product of our academy who actually never played for the first team but was talked about as a future England player. He was signed by Leeds United for £300,000 in 2000 - the Lillywhites were at the time signing anything that moved. Injuries followed and he dropped down the leagues and into non-league football.

Peter Castle

He was Reading's youngest ever first team player at 16 years and 49 days in his only ever appearance in 2003. That said, he was possibly picked so that 'Mr Ego' Alan Pardew could get his name in the record books. Pardew then left and so did Castle's chances, with the player going off to non-league football.

Scott Davies

He scored a cracking goal against Chelsea In a friendly in 2008 and started a few games under Brendan Rodgers, in which he passed the ball a hundred times sideways. However, a change of management meant that he soon dropped down the leagues and disappeared quicker than Rodgers' old set of teeth.

Neville Roach

I saw him make a very promising debut in 1997 when he scored against Oldham and looked a real threat. I thought we had unearthed a real gem but then Quinn and Gooding were replaced by 'Terry the Taxi' and his chances were limited. Sadly he headed down the leagues via Australia.

James Lambert

Finally, James Lambert. Yes, he was a far more established player for our club, but what a waste of talent from someone with a whole bag of attitude. There was that goal against Nottingham Forest, and he even got interest from Arsene Wenger and Monaco.

But he often flattered to deceive and became one of a group of players to be barred from first team training by Tommy Burns before disappearing to deliver the post.

Anyone else?

I'm sure you could think of a number more for many different reasons. After all, football is all about opinions, and in my opinion at 45 years of age I'm reaching my peak as a goalkeeper!

Enjoy your week