New season, new kit, new food and even new lovely positive signs. New beginnings too? Or a sense of false hope? Will see in-fighting among the fans, a relegation scrap or a decent finish? Mystic Hunty’s crystal ball is sadly out of action at the minute.
So what have we learned over the summer? Well, the club’s financial mess delayed any incoming signings. Followed by a 3-1 defeat on the opening day of the season, this hardly lifted the enthusiasm levels.
We clearly have a lot of talented youngsters that have featured over the summer. They will become part of the senior team in future, but it’s maybe a bit too early for them to become first-team regulars.
What to make of the transfers we have made? Matt Miazga - it’s great to have him back, I never thought I’d see it but happy days! Michael Morrison - another leader, a goal-scoring centre back and bags of experience at Championship level. Many folks are not convinced about Charlie Adam, but again he has the experience and knowledge of the league we’ll need. He is a proven talent and a quality we’ve lacked.
Then, last week, the transfer window went truly bonkers! A soft embargo - thanks to the Financial Fair Play rules and big Ron’s stupid spending - became a let’s go on a mad credit card shopping frenzy. I have no idea what had changed - I am not smart enough - but I trust the owners and Nigel Howe in what they are doing.
First came Rafael, an older keeper and a calm head - which may be needed even more after the Hull City game. We also got Ovie Ejaria back - what a signing that is!
Move forward a couple of days and our first away trip of the season. A massive shout-out here to the owners and the guys at the Supporters Trust At Reading - it’s brilliant to see them working together to provide away travel to this match and 14 of the other furthest away games this season. This can only have a positive effect on the team’s performances.
A real buzz about the new signings added to the excitement ahead of the game. However, then the old Reading returned - a mistake by our young keeper and poor defending by those that should know better. Yes, we are only two games in and there’s no reason to panic, but in this league you need an experienced vocal and organised keeper.
I’m not sure why Liam Moore and Miagza switched sides when it worked so well the opposite way - Moore on the left and Miazga on the right - last season. Morrison will surely deserve a start if our defensive problems continue. Andy Yiadom is maybe a bit jaded after a long summer, while Omar Richards is still learning. Hopefully Jordan Obita and Tyler Blackett will be fit and ready soon. If not, there is that Welsh record-cap-winning bloke if all else fails.
Our defence has struggled for years regardless of personnel, so I would hope new coach John O’Shea can work wonders to sort it as soon as possible. Reading need to play as a unit and not as individuals!
Enough of my negative crap - let’s look at the positives! We at last have a number of options out front and out wide - they will be a handful for a lot of clubs in this league. Lucas Joao and George Puscas offer a lot, and if Yakou Meite stops sulking about his mate Modou Barrow leaving then so can he.
Pele will get up to speed in time I hope. Charlie Adam and John Swift will be consistently inconsistent - that’s the type of players they are! Lucas Boye has the ability and I hope Michael Olise gets a chance to prove himself.
Players like Josh Barrett, Teddy Howe and Ryan East need decent loan moves to League One. Danny Loader - I’ve no idea what to make of what will happen to him, but I’m sure his agent wants the best for him and Danny! We pulled the plug on the Wolves deal; he has the potential and is still young.
Gomes complained about team spirit in the first half of the Hull defeat - he and captain Moore need to install that spirit and quickly. They have so many new players to work with and create a new team spirit and attitude. Many others managers have tried and failed so good luck!
But look, don’t panic, we have only had two games. The jury is out until 10 games - then we will know where we are going to be heading. I think we will finish 12th or thereabouts. We will have some great days, some average ones and some real shockers. Isn’t that the Reading way?
Get behind Club 1871 and the other sides of the ground - let’s get this club moving forward again. We are all in it together, so let’s enjoy another unpredictable season of football. Urzzz.