Over the past few weeks, it seems every time I look on the Reading FC hashtag on Twitter there is something being moaned and complained about. Of course, last season was a disaster, a torturous ten months that were more than worthy of the anger and disappointment it got from the Reading faithful. As a season ticket holder in Y26, I saw and felt the pain and hurt last season caused. However, that negativity and anger cannot be carried over into the new campaign.
One of the big complaints at the moment is Reading’s activity in the transfer window, with the signing of John O’Shea being a particular favourite to tear into. Remember this is a man who has a Champions League medal and FIVE Premier League winners’ medals to his name. Of course, he has had a couple of extremely poor seasons at Sunderland, but he knows what it takes to win. If you think that he is coming in to play all game every game then you’re wrong, but his presence and experience behind-the-scenes will play an important role this year.
Andy Yiadom, David Meyler and Marc McNulty are all very adept signings in their own right. Chris Gunter has needed someone battling him for the right back spot for a long time now, and the young and hungry Yiadom is the perfect man to do that.
Even though all his goals were in League Two last term, acquiring a 24-goal striker for £1.5 million is an opportunity that doesn’t come up very often nowadays and is a brilliant bit of business by Brian Tevreden and Paul Clement. Lastly, Meyler is a very good Championship signing, and a hardman in midfield was something we desperately missed last season.
With a new striker on their way, and Clement finally having some time to implement his style of play on the players, there is no reason not to be optimistic about the upcoming season. When Clement arrived in April, one of the first things he said was that all he cared about was that we stayed in the league, not the type of football we played. Now, he has a summer to really stamp his mark on this team and bring in players he wants to bring in.
It is obvious he was forced into using players that he didn’t want to use last season, with Joey van den Berg and George Evans looking like they’re on their way out. So, let’s give him some time before criticising him - he deserves it.
Also, pre-season friendlies do not define how you are going to do in the forthcoming season, so the uproar when we lost to Eastleigh and Wimbledon was totally over the top. We lost 3-2 against Eastleigh in the 2011/2012 pre-season, and that turned out pretty well!
We have just drawn 2-2 (after going 2-0 down) with Besiktas, a Champions League team, so something must be working on the training ground. Let’s bear in mind this is a squad who will be hungry and determined to make up for last year. That is even more true with the re-introduction of players like Yakou Meite and Adrian Popa who will want to impress Clement to cement themselves in his plans for the season.
So, for once, let’s ALL get behind the club in the run-up to the season, because come the August 3, they’ll need us. Let’s forget about last season, it was a complete write-off. Without trying to sound too much like former gaffer Nigel Adkins, let’s have some positivity around the club and around the fanbase.
We still have one of the best centre backs in the league in Liam Moore, accompanied by the likes of John Swift, Liam Kelly and Modou Barrow, with another new striker on the way. I for one am excited about the new season and can’t wait to get back watching the Royals again. Let’s get behind the boys and the may give us something worth cheering about.