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A Series of Unfortunate Events Part Two: Decline And Fall?

2017 was bad, but 2018 has so far been worse - here’s where it all continued to go wrong for Reading.

Stevenage v Reading - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

In part one, we looked back at the ‘dreadful demise’ that was the first half of Reading’s 2017/18 campaign. Here, we’ve moved on to all the wonderful, joyful memories we’ve had so far in 2018.

2nd January 2018

Boo-boys on Stam’s case during Birmingham defeat

Reading are making a habit of donating points to their relegation rivals. Following another alarming 2-0 home defeat to Birmingham, Jaap Stam tells the media:

“You need to ask the fans what they expect because I don’t know. They are entitled to react how they want but this is it – it doesn’t make it easier for us and the team to perform.”

Few are impressed with this answer; many have lost patience.

6th January 2018

Stevenage hold the Royals sparking fan/player divide

If Royals fans think that FA Cup football will provide some relief, they are wrong. Reading put in an abject display at League Two Stevenage in a 0-0 draw, highlighting just how average we have become.

At the end of the game, some players, including captain Paul McShane, appear to shun the travelling fans, in response to their jeers and ironic cheers. Gunter and McShane both take to social media after the game, attempting to draw a line under the incident. In recent times, the relationship between the club and its fans has never been so fractious.

9th January 2018

Chief Executive Gourlay stands by ‘long-term plan’

In an unwelcome statement, after a poor run of form, new Chief Executive Ron Gourlay tells the media that the club will stick with their “long-term plan” and that this includes the manager, Jaap Stam. This is a vote of confidence in the current regime, much to many fans’ frustration. Gourlay also admits that Financial Fair Play regulations will prevent the club from investing in January.

26th January 2018

Comical defending dumps Reading out of the Cup

A Friday night trip to Hillsborough highlights Reading’s abysmal defending and simultaneously ends their brief cup-run. Any lingering hope of an exciting end to the season is quashed and the Royals face the prospect of a relegation battle from now onwards.

27th February

Stam admits he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if sacked

You can’t write the script. Reading switch off at the back, kicking the ball out of play for a player who isn’t injured. The resulting throw leads to Sheffield United’s third goal, finished by ex-Royal Billy Sharp. Only 6,769 fans turn up to watch the game. In an interview with BBC Berkshire, Stam admits that if the owners call him with bad news in the coming days, he won’t be surprised. He needn’t worry.

13th March 2018

Reading absent at Wolves

Albeit against the league leaders Wolves, Reading completely fail to show up at Molineux registering no shots on target throughout the entire match. A free-kick in a dangerous position at 3-0 down is passed harmlessly back to Jaakkola, summing up the plight. Reading’s run is extended to seventeen games with just one win.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

17th March 2018

Stam shuns media after Norwich defeat

Another match goes by without a win and Reading slip to within three points of the drop-zone. Stam refuses to speak to the media after the game, instead sending his second-in-command Andries Ulderink to give another frank but, ultimately, fruitless assessment of the performance. Reading head into the international break in 20th place once more.

21st March 2018

Stam sacked

After 646 days in the hot seat, Jaap Stam was given the boot by Reading FC, leaving him out of a job and the Royals firmly in a relegation fight.