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Rantings Of A Grumpy Old(ish) Man

Guest writer Gwent Royal gives his thoughts on Veljko Paunovic and the current state of the Reading team.

West Bromwich Albion v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

“Nothing to fear – that was WBA we expected a defeat”, (and weren’t let down)! Fair play to those who subscribe to that! Maybe I am just getting old and grumpy (well if you ask my wife there is no maybe!) I am sorry, but what I witnessed at the Hawthorns was an abject surrender by a team who seemed to be put into battle to be shot at by their general; lambs to the slaughter!

Apologies, but I AM blaming Pauno for this. The games against Sheffield Utd, Blackpool and WBA stunned me (and not in a good way). We were absolutely clueless. If there was a plan in those games, can someone explain it to me, as I completely missed it. On Saturday all we did is block shots and pass aimlessly to someone (and it seemed not to matter which colour shirt they had on). We didn’t go forward, we just blocked, passed back possession, blocked and passed away possession - ad infinitum!

After less than 10 mins I turned to my son, and said if this is the whole plan we are not going to last 90 mins are we. I was at that stage tongue in cheek, but as it turned out, it actually WAS the plan. It was dull, stupid and was clearly not going to give us a chance to win the match. What was amazing is that WBA took as long as they did to actually score a winner. When they did, I almost cheered to be honest, as the anti-football we were playing was getting on my wick!

Let’s be honest, if you were a WBA fan and you watched that, you would be angry that the opposition team played so negatively, and gutted if they got away with it. Well, we didn’t and (other than Paunovic) I doubt there is a person alive who could say we deserved anything.

Let’s talk about Paunovic more. He actually said we deserved more from that game! You what! No we absolutely didn’t. As the saying goes, we were hugely fortunate to get nil - and no one could have complained if that was four or five against us. We stunk!

Oh, but according to Veljko we should do better with the chances we had. Well on that front, there were basically two chances, one at the end of each half, both to TDB, who was then hung out to dry by Pauno in the interview for missing them. Yes, of course he should have done better (how can a professional footballer put a shot so wide it goes out for a throw in)? However, TDB has been overall good for Reading, and if we are on the subject of missing chances then thank goodness they did too! If he expects us to create two chances a game and draw or win matches that way then sorry you are living in cuckoo-land Pauno!

Swansea City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

I thought that Tom Holmes’ interview after his goal last week was telling as well. These are not his exact words but he said something to the effect of, “I have that in the locker, but the manager doesn’t encourage it”. I can only assume that the manager wants the opposition to be bored into submission? I certainly was, and so I think are plenty of others, given the attendances at the SCL!

On Saturday WBA had two recognised defenders on the pitch. Surely it didn’t take a genius to work out the best form of defence would be attack due to that? However, in Pauno-world only one attacker is allowed to start a game, so I guess that’s out then? That was the easiest day for any defender to be honest – I’m 55, rubbish at football, but I could have been a defender on Saturday, and even taken something to read and still been OK against us. Did anyone notice Andy Carroll’s spat with Mitrovic? I bet he was sayin,. “This ain’t working guv”, (or words to that effect)! I want my manager to show the desire AC has!

Our injury crisis – what on earth is going on there? What is the training routine at Reading? Is this REALLY all bad luck? I don’t know, but I am having doubts.

What I do know is that VP is getting tetchier and tetchier in interviews. What are the journos meant to ask and say after such a match, “Well done Pauno, only a 1-0 defeat, that’s a cracking result”?

So, am I saying I want VP to go? No and yes. We are not going up this year and I hope/believe we have enough to keep clear of the bottom three (please). However, what I want to see is my team going out to try to win a match, and looking like there is a plan to do so. We clearly have it in us (Swansea and Fulham prove that), but VP has to allow players to express themselves and give them a chance with proper tactics.

We can’t rely on us scoring every chance we have… it’s not going to happen VP! There is little point (and no money) to change manager now, and VP’s contract expires at the end of the season. Personally I would keep him until then, but unless his attitude and tactical nous change, I certainly wouldn’t renew it.

I want to see my team fighting for a win, not meekly accepting defeat before kick-off. How I long for the days of Brian and Steve, where I knew we would go wide, shove a ball in and try and score a goal or two! Now I feel I may as well go and watch the local pub team as it is more exciting.

Whinge over – Cmmon Urzzzzz!