clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hunty's Column: Don't Stop Believing

Hold on to that promotion feeling.

Reading v Brentford - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Happy Valentines!

So then, 14 games to go this season, who would have honestly thought that we would be in fourth place back at the start of the season? Not me matey, that's for sure!

We are still very much a work in progress, it feels like that when we have spells in games where we are playing great football but understandably can't sustain it for 90 minutes.

To be where we are without constantly hitting top form is an absolute testament to the work of a rookie manager and his coaching staff.

The players are clearly loving life under the new regime with established players like Chris Gunter, Danny Willams and Garath McCleary performing consistently — something Adkins, Clarke and McDermott couldn't get them to do!

Astute signings like Liam Moore, John Swift and Roy Beerens, to name but a few, mixed in with the club's continued belief in young talent like Liam Kelly (who I believe will be an international player in the next couple of years) mean that there's a feel-good factor surrounding the club.

Like a jigsaw puzzle we are still looking for a few pieces to complete the picture, but it will be done eventually... unless the dog swallows a piece — or in Reading's case, a new owner comes in and demands a new jigsaw be built from scratch.

It was a very brave move to appoint Jaap Stam. He will still make mistakes, but he is learning as he goes along and gets more experience. Who never made a mistake or two when starting a new job?

He's not afraid to gamble either, and notable substitutions have turned losing causes around. Last night being a classic example when a triple substitution turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win.

Yes we got lucky with the winner but any team needs fortune to succeed, especially in this league, but fortune favours the brave!

Pretty much every question that has been asked of Jaap and his approach, be it the formation, losing runs or losing key players, has been met with a positive response.

This is a man who has a clear vision in what he believes (unlike recent managers) and what he expects from his team. He also recognises what player he needs to fit into his system, something a certain ex-manager of his - Alex Ferguson - was a genius at.

He is also as stubborn as the Scotsman and ain't going to be changing his approach regardless of what pundits and fans think.

We have leaders all over the pitch that aren't afraid to roll their sleeves up when the going gets tough - guys like Paul McShane that demand 100% effort. That is infectious and is something that has been missing for a long time.

One man who sums up everything about this team is Yann Kermorgant. He puts most other 35 year-olds to shame, and last night was another classic example.

Rather than sulking as he was dropped to the bench he set up our equaliser and was then constantly clearing the danger at the back - something he has done so often for the team.

No wonder the rest of the squad are inspired - perhaps it's time for me to come out of retirement!

He has been the player of the season because for him everything is about the team. He is selfless and it's great he recently signed a new deal.

Now the rest is up to the fans. I know this type of football is a bit of a culture shock to what we have put with previously but you can't argue it produces results. If we can really keep pushing the team along and keep believing like we did last night then our record of bald managers getting us promoted to the Premier League will continue!