I want to start this edition of Fans’ Verdict addressing the biggest issue that came from Friday night - an event that took place away from the football pitch.
Liam Moore is the epitome of a club captain. This club has seen some very dark days over the last few years which caused a huge disconnect between us, the fans, and the players. Liam Moore has, in my opinion, been the biggest bridge-builder to try and get that connection back.
Countless times he's replied to my alcohol-fueled messages of admiration on Instagram, even going out of his way to send me a pair of signed boots, too. Things that probably don’t mean a huge amount to him - but make fans feel valued and part of their club.
It goes without saying, but the racist abuse he suffered after the game on Friday night is abhorrent, appalling and made me feel sick to my stomach. He doesn’t deserve that, nobody does. Everyone at TTE stands behind our skipper, as does the rest of the Reading fanbase - because if you don’t, you are not welcome as a fan.
Before that abuse came to light though, there was 90 minutes of football played. 90 minutes that is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but 90 minutes that left our play-off hopes as slim as they have been all season.
Here's how the fans reacted to the key talking points...
Just too good for us. Simple as that. With our promotion hopes now very, very slim, it looks more likely than ever that this season will be his last in the blue and white hoops, which is a shame, but inevitable and we can have no complaints.
He was in imperious form on Friday evening. Gliding, dancing, shimmying his way best Watford players as if they weren't there, and also doing more than his fair share defensively - which is something I am always extremely impressed with. He puts in a shift every single game, and when you combine that with his obvious abundance of natural talent, you’ve got the ingredients for a top, top player.
His performance left the fans in awe on Twitter after the game...
I hate that I’m never gonna see Olise in a Reading shirt again best player on the pitch tonight. #readingfc— Joshua Lamb (@lambeyyy1871) April 9, 2021
Playing for a move or not, Olise has been unreal. Best player on the pitch by a mile. #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordan_Grittt) April 9, 2021
It’s been fun watching Olise this year. Massive miss when he goes in the summer #ReadingFC— Razak Malik (@razzy9) April 9, 2021
Olise is just streets ahead of his team-mates. #ReadingFC— Ollie Sirrell (@olliesirrell) April 9, 2021
Olise was excellent tonight, one of his best games in a #readingfc shirt for me, thought he looked threatening and made things happen all night long. It's such a shame we'll lose him and Richards in the summer and potentially others too— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) April 9, 2021
Tonight Olise really showed his class, and I’m not sure I’ve seen him put in an all round better performance. Ran his socks off. Drive us forward. Created many chances. Watford couldn’t handle him between the lines. Wonderful player. #readingfc— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) April 9, 2021
It’s going to be horribly ironically if missing sitters means we miss out on the play-offs, considering how we built our early-season success on being ruthlessly clinical in front of goal.
Yakou Meite and George Puscas were the big culprits on Friday, missing some huge chances to get us back into the game when we were playing well. If one of those goes in, we’re right back in the game and considering how the game was flowing, I would’ve backed us to go and get something from it.
However, that’s the difference between a team going up vs a team trying to go up: when it really matters Watford turned up, and we didn't. The fans were left frustrated yet again with some big missed chances...
The strange thing is we’ve probably been better in this half than in the first 45 against Derby.— Adam GC Jones (@ajonesrfc) April 9, 2021
Difference between us and Watford? They’ve been clinical, we haven’t.
Let’s finish our chances in the second half #readingfc
The amount of chances we’ve wasted is ridiculous. Olise and Ovie doing their bit. #readingfc— Zac (@ZacLONDON_31) April 9, 2021
Had to take at least one of those chances in the first half, to really have some momentum in this second half. #readingfc— Imran Escőbar (@razor5edge) April 9, 2021
Gonna be such a tough ask to get playoffs now. Yes a loss tonight is very dissapointing but missed chances, missed penalties and games against Wycombe, Birmingham etc have cost us more. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) April 9, 2021
Tough one that. Played well in parts but never kicked on in the second half and missed too many chances in the first half. We need some favours now! #readingfc— Lee Richards (@Lee_Richards1) April 9, 2021
Gibson has gone from superb at Barnsley to utterly horrendous tonight. Blame is not all on him. If we took our chances we still should’ve won. Another open goal missed. Woeful. #readingfc— (@steel_beake) April 9, 2021
Sadly #Readingfc punished for a sloppy first 15. Terrific finishes from Sarr, but Rafael wasn’t really troubled again after that. Had one of the big chances for Puscas or Meite nestled in the back of the net who knows what might have happened. Olise outstanding tonight.— Paul Hunsdon (@Hunsy1969) April 9, 2021
It’s gutting that we’re in the position we’re in with five games to go. Really, really gutting. With a tough run in, the toughest of all the play-off chasing teams, the odds are increasingly stacking against us.
We still need to have hope though. We probably need three or four wins from our last five, and for results to go our way in other games too - which, yes, is unlikely, but by no means impossible, particularly in this league.
I don’t think we can afford to lose another game, and we have to win against Cardiff next Friday in my opinion. That’s pressure, but pressure makes diamonds. The fans were left in a deflated mood after the 2-0 defeat to The Hornets...
Playoffs aren’t over but it’s a big ask now. I’d say we need 4 wins from 5. We’re capable of beating Huddersfield, Luton, Swansea and Cardiff but I just can’t see us beating all four with how inconsistent we are. #readingfc— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) April 9, 2021
As much as I hate to say it given we’re still in the top 6, that’s the play-offs out of the question for me. Needed a point at least. #readingfc— Tom Light (@tomlight93) April 9, 2021
Well I reckon we need a bit of a miracle to make the play offs now. #readingfc— Andy W (@Lazy_sunbather_) April 9, 2021
How we have gone from one of the best starts in the leagues history to inevitably dropping out of the play offs is the most Reading FC thing ever. #readingfc— AdamRFC (@adamaRFC) April 9, 2021
At least we have had a better season then previous few. Disappointingly be missing out on play offs #ReadingFC— cameron macken (@ronniemac93) April 9, 2021
Think that's the playoffs gone .. should Bournemouth and Barnsley win their games in hand then they are 5 points ahead of us ...— Malta Royals Trust (@MaltaRoyalsTrus) April 9, 2021
Injuries, lack of depth and missed chances hurt us although hopefully this will be taken on board and used to springboard next season #urz #readingfc
Playoffs are fading away now. Got to have a bit of luck with other teams around us dropping points. Time's running out #readingfc— AidenRFC (@AidenRFC_) April 9, 2021
Say it again. Finish 7th and its a failed season for me. Improvement on recent seasons but to not make the play offs would be a huge disappointment #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) April 9, 2021
A bitter blow to our play-off hopes, but a pretty insignificant 90 minutes of football considering the aftermath and the abuse aimed at our captain.
That wasn't a fan of Reading Football Club that tweeted that - no fan aims racial abuse at one of their own players. Liam Moore is one of us, he’s a Royal, and he’s our captain - we wouldn't be where we are without him.
In football terms, play-offs is looking unlikely, but nowhere near out of the question. We have to keep moving forward.