As Sky would say, “And we’re back!” Reading returned to league action on Saturday with our customary opening day defeat - this really should have been on the cards as, over the last 10 years, we now have a record of just two wins.
Gomes set a team up which had a balance of youth and well more youth, to face a Sheffield Wednesday side that during pre-season had been in turmoil, with the manager walking out and Fernando Forestieri originally getting banned for - as the Owls fans would say - pretty much anything.
In truth Wednesday were the better side. However, augmented with some decidedly strange refereeing decisions (it would have been interesting if VAR had been in play) they pretty much had a fairly easy afternoon. New signing Charlie Adam injected a bit of purpose when he came on, but largely our midfield failed to create much and defensively our rock back four looked decidedly shaky.
However, the Owls’ faithful understandably were ecstatic, given the nature of their preparation, and it’s safe to say that there’s not a lot of love for Steve Bruce flying around.
This wouldn’t have stood with VAR
Never hand ball #swfc #WAWAW pic.twitter.com/4pskxg0FZO— Adam Rhodes (@adamrhodes1987) August 4, 2019
Talk about a jinx!
Unbelievable Jeff! ;( #swfc https://t.co/LHbVGolzqz— Vital Wednesday (@VitalWednesday) August 4, 2019
Not bitter are you?
"Having reviewed the footage the @fa have decided to give @Forestieri45 a 3 match ban."#swfc https://t.co/q4ujzjlTzi— Mr Meerkat (@NyeSpy) August 4, 2019
Harsh? The foot connecting with the thigh might give you a clue…
Just watched the Westwood sending off. Looked very harsh. Seemed to take out Odubajo rather than the Reading player #swfc #wawaw— Paul Woolfson (@paulwoolfson) August 3, 2019
Wow, someone not getting totally excited!
Great result today BUT score flattered us.— Andy (@adc_owl) August 3, 2019
Palmer & Odubajo both far too easy to play against with balls over the top.
Borner looks a good solid signing.
Harris wow but blowing by 60, took Bullen another 13 mins to realise.
Joao if only he’d give 100% every game. #swfc
Fair comment – most fans would agree
Initial thought regarding Westwood; wreckless beyond belief from our most senior player. Looking back at replays, would have clearly scored and a moment of unsportingly brilliance that won us the match. #swfc— Vital Wednesday (@VitalWednesday) August 3, 2019
Not saying it’s a little early – BUT IT’S THE FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON!
Last time we won the 1st game of season by 2 goals was 15/16 season.— Greg Mason (@gregmason87) August 3, 2019
Just booked my hotel in London for end of May #Swfc
Not hyping him up or anything…..
He’s gonna class. Reminds me of Luis Suarez. Real livewire and always buzzing about, making a nuisance of himself. #swfc https://t.co/DlFNaJmZve— B_r_a_z_e (@benbrazier) August 3, 2019
Again might be a tad early to be popping champagne
Wednesday fans “he’s not experienced enough & doesn’t know his best team.” Lee Bullen “Hold my Beer” #SWFC #PromotionParty #Signhimup #FootballBack pic.twitter.com/rFZK5AzNyA— Niall O'Donovan (@nod1867) August 3, 2019
Again, one game and Obita didn’t play
#swfc https://t.co/OIb44DOIW5 pic.twitter.com/8rSVK4qSNW— Dezzee Rascal (@dezzee_rascal) August 3, 2019
So much of football decided by luck and what you make of it. On another day we're down to 9 and conceding penalties but the lads stuck to it. Onwards and hopefully upwards.#swfc— mvrander (@mvrander) August 3, 2019
Oh trust me, you’re totally getting carried away
Don't wana get carried away or anything but.... #swfc pic.twitter.com/hhaRH57f6H— Ryan Manning (@Ryan455) August 3, 2019
Let’s be positive - in 2005 we got beat at home by Plymouth Argyle and walked the league. I’m not for one minute suggesting that this will happen again but we do need to put Saturday in perspective.
In the off season, Reading have got rid of a large number of experienced players; Jose has a plan and hopefully it will come off. Looking at our team at the moment, a lot is being expected of the young players - Alan Hansen famously quipped that “you can’t win anything with kids” and, even though you can’t compare our crop with Manchester United’s back then, we do have some decent prospects coming through. Personally, I would have started Michael Olise on Saturday as he is a genuine talent, and I do think that Jose is protecting them.
What happens in the next few days will largely define our season. Will it be mid-table obscurity or another relegation battle? It’s one or the other - anything else is wishful thinking.
Personally, I would be more than happy with a mid-table boring season. That gives us a chance to build and get our kids some game time - then target a push next season. We have the start of a team, a promising academy, a decent manager and an ambitious chairman - these are all positive signs but the team needs nurturing and patience!
But then again, this is football.