Life as a Reading fan may not be easy, but it certainly is never boring. It is a day to day soap opera, forget EastEnders just call it EastStanders!
Last season, Jose Gomes helped bring the club back together. His positive can-do approach backed with some great loan players got the fans on board and we stayed up. There was the occasional poor performance, mixed with a number of battling wins - Ipswich and Wigan spring to mind.
A few months later and after a stop start summer, Jose finally got the players he wanted. A week of great positivity followed with wins over Cardiff and Huddersfield and a draw with West Brom. Then the negativity hit big time. Poor performances, a lack of energy, organisation and pure bad luck at times cost Jose his job.
The managerial roller coaster started again. Mark Hughes led the race for a while, then bang Mark Bowen was the odds on favourite. Where did that come from?! Fans said it was a stitch up job. EastEnders and Phil Mitchell could not have done it any better. We will have the best training facilities in League One at this rate!
There was not a lot of positivity around the appointment, but at least the fans cared. Nigel Adkins, Steve Clarke, Brian McDermott, Jaap Stam, Paul Clement and now Gomes have tried and eventually failed to get the team moving forward. Managers come and go and so do some players. However the rotten stench of apathy on the pitch has lingered on longer than the Whitley whiff. The ownership of the club has changed hands more times than the Queen Vic. But king Nige is back and settling the ship.
As a fan all you really care about is what happens on the pitch. Effort, pride in wearing the shirt and hopefully some fantasy football. Even Walford Town can’t produce that on a weekly basis.
Two games in under Bowen and it’s great super smashing stuff so far. Who doesn't love an injury time winner? Great start to another new era, chuck in a clean sheet and a battling performance too. Happy days. The real test was a trip to the fake hoops on Tuesday night. We battled back from being a goal down twice. When the heck did we last do that? Our Romanian international found the net for the first time since the last time he was on TV. Ovie just oozed class. We got away with a decision or two. Sometimes, like life, it’s all about fine margins and luck. It deserted Jose in the end.
Garath McCleary and Sam Baldock featured on Tuesday night, as I’m sure Chris Gunter will at some stage. Good luck to them. It’s not about the individuals, it is about Reading Football Club. We have had so many false dawns, you actually could not write the script anymore. All I want is to see a united team on the pitch, who will give everything for the cause. The fans have the passion back and hopefully so do the players. I am not getting carried away as we have been here too often.
Yes it is early days, however Mark Bowen has my backing. Whatever he has installed in the team, let’s hope he can finish what Jose started.