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Hunty’s Column: Where Is The Christmas Cheer?

Our columnist thinks the Royals need a little more festive joy.

National Park Foundation and Google's 'Made with Code' National Christmas Tree Lightening Ceremony Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for Google

I wasn't at the Burton Albion game, but by all accounts it was one of the worst in a long time. It just is not acceptable on a special occasion to play like that against an average team. Yes, without doubt we can blame the manager's tunnel vision tactics. However, it seems to me that things run deeper than that.

The Mad Stad seemed to be lacking in any festive spirit, and the players looked like they were scared of their own shadows. Saturday should have been enjoyable. It was great to see Dave Kitson lead the team out, but it was a shame that he didn't bring his boots!

Credit to the club who are doing some really good public relations stuff - the game being a fiver and the new TV show airing before the match were great, but are perhaps being a little overlooked.

Meanwhile, criticism of Vito Mannone is pretty harsh - yes, he could have done better for the second goal, but being on the pitch at all after the tragic loss of his mother means we should give him our total respect and admiration.

I wasn’t impressed by Liam Moore’s apparent “come and get me plea”, but if he does want to go and has that kind of mindset, he knows where the door is. On the other hand, I did feel sorry for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson though as he hasn’t done much wrong but is still only deemed to be worthy of a 10 minute cameo to try and salvage a result.

Our creative players look scared to try anything besides simple passing - although we even stuffed up that. Jaap Stam seems to stick with the same players who are his favourites regardless of how well they are playing! Because of that, the fans are bored and frustrated.

I previously gave Stam until Christmas, and I’m still 50/50 on him staying. He has to realise that he can’t do everything the same way - after all, great managers (and people in general) learn from their mistakes and change accordingly. I don’t know, but maybe his management style is guided by the same arrogance that made him a great player. Either way, the best managers in any job listen and learn from other people.

Take the defence for example - I can’t understand why we continue to not do the basics right, especially considering the gaffer’s knowledge of the position.

All I want for Christmas is the Madejski Stadium to be a happy house again! Please Jaap, let Reading off the restraints and allow them to play the game with a smile on their faces.

Let them express themselves, you know it makes sense!