So, I’m an only-child, and on Friday Night I had a bit of a Princess Becka moment when I told our Editor, Sim, that I refused to write a normal match report for this game (we all know only-children don’t do anything they don’t want to). I’d just had to endure not only this defeat, but the previous five months of the season and I’d had enough. Friday night was my breaking point and the thought of having to round up what I’d just witnessed didn’t fill me with joy.
I write for the love and enjoyment of the game; and how can I write about something that isn’t giving me those feelings at the moment? Thankfully, after my little outburst he was very understanding (I’ll try and make sure it doesn’t happen again, but I can’t guarantee it). So, my apologies if you were coming here expecting a nice formality of a match report; it’s just not happening.
Editor’s note: he was very understanding.
The game on Friday night kind of summed up our season in 90 minutes plus added time. Yes, we played well for 30 minutes (I don’t agree with what Stam said when he claimed it was alright for 60) but as soon as Wednesday got their first goal the attitude of the players completely changed. Their body language showed that they were almost consigned to losing when they went behind even though there was at least an hour left of the game.
The sloppy mistakes came back; faffing around with the ball and causing all our own issues when Wednesday rarely posed a threat. And the less we say about Gunter catching the ball before it went out of play the better...
Then we had quite a few chances compared to what I had seen in recent games. There were actually periods of the game where we looked like we could score, and the chances we did have I’m 90% certain they would have all been scored last season. But we have a striker who is at the back end of his career, and the rest of the team are so shot of confidence or aren’t fully fit. The goal we did score, we couldn’t even score it ourselves.
As a fan of Reading I’m used to feeling valued by the club. This season has been the complete opposite, that us as fans have almost been a hindrance to Stam. I have never personally agreed with booing or shouting abuse at the team or the manager and it’s something that I’ll never do. I don’t feel the negativity helps an already negative situation but fans do have a right (especially this season) to have an opinion.
However, we all seem to have been tarred with the same brush this year. A moronic comment is an easy get out, because the players and the manager will automatically jump onto that rather than actually addressing the real issue of awful football. Silence speaks volumes I think, like when McCleary was subbed on Friday night. No one booed and very few clapped. He’d made a number of errors during the game and that was the fans’ way of letting him know he hadn’t been great.
I’ve gone past the point of being angry about the way we’ve played football this season. I’m actually really sad. Sad because football is something my Mum and I have done together regularly for over 13 years and however much I love spending time with her, I’d rather be doing other things together at the moment. I don’t know whether that’s because I’m 25 years old now and have different priorities these days but weekends were always something I looked forward to; because of Reading.
Now, going to football almost feels like a voluntary job you had to have when you were doing your Duke of Edinburgh award. It feels like something you have to do to reap any kind of small reward, but you’re not passionate about it and it just kind of gets in the way when you’re trying to plan the rest of your life. Or like one of those relationships where you stay together just because you get comfortable but you know deep down you’re not really making each other happy.
Except there is no reward as a Reading fan currently. I (and many others) manage to spend (or waste, you decide) a lot of money, only to receive nothing in return. Let’s put my misery into a little bit of perspective. I’ve been to 17 games in all competitions this season (15 league and 2 cup). I’ve seen us win twice, an 11.8% ratio. I’ve not seen us win at home since the play-off semi final because the 310 mile round trip to a mid-week home game is too much. Factor in the price of a ticket, programme, food/drink, petrol and anything else purchased on a matchday, and that adds up to a lot of money to see an 11.8% success rate.
I’m always a glass half full kind of girl and I would never call for a manager to be sacked, but something really has to change. I still don’t think we’ll go down (I told you I’m optimistic) but I think that’s purely because there are teams in the league that are worse than us, rather than because we play well. And hey, if I’m made to eat my words at the end of the season then that’s okay, because we’ll 100% deserve it. I just hope I’m going to Brentford rather than Blackpool next season.