Happy New Year everyone!
A very eventful 2017 for Reading ended on Saturday afternoon with a 1-1 draw at Barnsley, bringing down the curtain on a calendar year of very mixed emotions. Whilst there were plenty of highs (albeit mostly pre-May 29), the disappointing start to the current campaign left the Royals with a lot to think about going into 2018.
Ahead of what’s bound to be another intriguing 12 months of football, a couple of our writers put forward what they think Reading’s New Year Resolutions should be - covering the management, fans and more.
Ben Warden, @WBWarden
In the New Year, I would love to see another academy product earn and consolidate a first-team place. Too many of our talented youngsters have been forced to leave the club for regular football, including the likes of Tariqe Fosu and Dominic Samuel in recent times.
We have plenty of potential – Omar Richards, Tennai Watson, Rob Dickie and Axel Andresson in defence, Andy Rinomhota and Josh Barrett in midfield, Andrija Novakovich and Sam Smith in attack – amongst others. Let’s hope someone is ready to make the step-up in 2018.
Simeon Pickup, @BucksRoyal
My resolution is a simple one and it’s directed to the fans - don’t boo your own team during games. All too often at the Madejski Stadium, the home supporters will get on the players’ backs when a pass goes astray or an attack breaks down - it’s not helpful. Sure, it’s understandable, and I’m not for one moment suggesting that paying punters don’t have the right to do it - but I do think it’s a bad idea.
When the game’s started, get behind the team and be vocally supportive. If you don’t want to do that, fine, but don’t jeer when something goes wrong. Really desperate to boo? Wait until half time or full time when it doesn’t have a negative impact on the performance.
Felix Clutson, @Felixatron
The club should engage with the town - the team photo was a nice touch. Stage a couple of events in town, do a Christmas oracle shop like last year.
As for the owners, just talk... about anything... even if it's to tell us what you're favourite cheese is. Just engage more with the fans.
The supporters should:
- Go into town after the game, even if it's for one diet coke. Get a buzz going after a game.
- Go to one more away game than you did last year (if it's physically possible)
- Applaud at least once when you see the opposition do something special
- Once a month ask someone/talk to someone about why you're a football fan/Reading fan
- Get to a Reading ladies game and an U-23 game
Jack Simpson, @TheSimpsonRFC
Jaap Stam has done a remarkable job since taking over back in the summer of 2016. However, this season Stam and Reading have been found out. Teams now know how to set up against us and frustrate us. The Burton Albion defeat was a classic example of teams getting behind the ball and not allowing us time and space.
Therefore Stam needs a plan B when things aren’t going his teams way. A plan B in which we can get results against the good teams and the bad teams.
Secondly, Stam needs to sort the defence out. We are conceding too many goals that are costing us points. The Cardiff match was a prime case where they scored twice in the last 10 minutes.
Our defending from set-pieces has also become farcical and needs to be addressed. It is getting beyond ridiculous.
Olly Allen, @OllyAllen_
I’ll stay clear of the Stam In/Out debate, but I will discuss recruitment. For me it’s been a fairly key part of the problem to our disappointing first half of season, and could be drastically improved in 2018. It’s important that the players we bring in are a) at the right price, b) agreed upon by both the board and the manager and c) bring something to the team that isn’t already there.
Most of our signings in the last year have fallen into at least one of these three categories, so it’s vitally important we don’t make the same mistakes again. What is clear from the summer transfer window is that the Chinese owners are willing to spend a fair bit of cash, but this has to be deployed in the right ways. I don’t want another £7.5 million flop or three or four players who we won’t ever see apart from in their unveiling photograph.
Now you’ve read this, test your 2017 Reading knowledge with our quiz.