Well the fat lady has now sung, but let’s be honest, she was a bit out of tune wasn’t she? Reading ended the season with a game synonymous to how our campaign has gone on the whole - starting strongly with confidence and quality, but ending weakly and with a whimper.
To be honest, I am already out of ‘football season’ mode. I think it'll do everyone involved with the club - fans, players and staff alike - the world of good to have three solid months off competitive football, although I don’t think the end of the season equals the end of the uncertainty and drama when it comes to this football club.
It’s already been said, but I’ll say it again: it’s going to be a very tough summer. The priority has to be keeping the core of this squad together, and whether we manage to do that or not, it'll be still be tricky to bring in reinforcements.
However, before we get to that bit, the fans got the privilege (for want of a much better word) of watching the Royals for one last time on Saturday - but it wasn’t that impressive really. Here’s the key talking points to come from the day...
Officially Reading’s player of the season, and it’s very well deserved.
The biggest compliment I can give Laurent is that he’s made stepping up from League One to the Championship look like he’s a Premier League player who’s made the step down. I can’t think of too many pieces of business we’ve done in recent times that top signing this guy on a free.
The heartbeat of the team - both on and off the pitch - and such an important cog to the way Pauno wants to play. The fans were delighted to see him awarded for the season he's had...
Best signing we’ve made in years. VIVA Josh Laurent https://t.co/qkGC6DCGF7— Jake (@Jake_Moore89) May 8, 2021
Very good season. Totally deserved. Well done Josh .think you'll be an amazing player for us for some seasons to come.— Phil (@pilsley75) May 8, 2021
Been immense this season! Congrats @JoshLaurent28 ⚪️— Nikhil Kapila (@NikhilK4pila) May 8, 2021
Well in Josh, fully deserved— Sean (@sean_rich96) May 8, 2021
Josh Laurent was the player we needed when Danny Williams left #readingfc— aaron (@aaronleavey99) May 8, 2021
Totally deserved !!! So impressed with him!!!— Joannah Cherry (@jojocherry1871) May 8, 2021
Josh Laurent as POTS is and was the only choice. Well done lad #readingfc— Nick (@nmullett08) May 8, 2021
The last game of the season gave the Loyal Royals the chance to reflect on what has been been a long, draining campaign. The Championship is always draining, but this one more than any in recent memory for obvious reasons.
Ultimately, it wasn’t a successful season. From where we were at the end of January to where we finished cannot be deemed as a success. However, it has to be seen as progress, whether you like it or not.
Whether or not we can continue that progress remains to be seen over the coming months, but the fans managed to have their say on how they think the season has gone...
What a perfect way to end the season, throwing it away. Yep, definitely no patterns.— Rhys Harrison (@RHarrison147) May 8, 2021
If you said we’d finish 7th before the season, I’d take it. But ending it without putting up a fight, one win in our last eleven, sucks.
Let’s hope for a good summer. #ReadingFC #REAHUD https://t.co/tfa4ooauoB pic.twitter.com/MMJod6TOvO
Not a bad season though should have been much better. Roll on August, beers and football like the good old days! #readingfc— Rob Molloy (@Dobchecks) May 8, 2021
@willow1871 @BBCBerkshire the glass half full brigade are out in force today. Far too negative. I’ve enjoyed this season despite the disappointment of missing out on playoffs. VP to stay. Onward and upwards. #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) May 8, 2021
A successful season with 7th. Maybe switch out a few but we have the bones of a good team. Just need some better squad players for depth. With fans back I can see a bright future #ReadingFC— 2020 URZ Terrier (@Yourrrs) May 8, 2021
Season over, been a very different one. A better finish then I expected at the start of the season, a lot of good promising players and manager. Excited to be back watching next season #readingfc— BobbyG (@Bishbashbobs) May 8, 2021
Well done to @ReadingFC for this season as it was an improve from 14th place last season to be 7th place to end a good season.— Dominic Gardner (@DG95Official) May 8, 2021
Until next season hopefully fans will return to the stadium soon.#ReadingFC
You go through so many emotions supporting @ReadingFC but it means the world being part of our club can't wait to get to a game next season for a pint and a catch up been far too long urzzzz #readingfc pic.twitter.com/mBdgrRbJpA— Johnny Hunt (@Huntyroyal) May 8, 2021
It’s going to be a tough summer, and it looks to me like the fans know that. Players are sure to go, we’ll have to find a way of bringing quality players in for little money, and we absolutely have to get some players tied down on new contracts.
No summer or pre-season is plain sailing for this club, we’ve seen proof of that in recent years, and this one is going to be no different. Nervy times are ahead, and the fans aren’t looking forward to it...
Can't be the only one desperate to get this season finished. Top 8 is excellent, but summer refresh & recharge needed given the drop off.— Sean (@sean_rich96) May 8, 2021
First year properly on Twitter too, enjoyed interacting with you guys. Hopefully next game we'll all be back at a packed Mad Stad! #readingfc
7th is still really great for where we normally end up, but bitter sweet after the first two thirds of the season. Very interesting and nervous summer ahead.#readingfc— Christopher Hamblin (@ChrisH1871) May 8, 2021
Wednesday wouldn’t have been relegated without their points deduction.— Scott from the States (@American_Royals) May 8, 2021
Two big #ReadingFC mysteries this summer:
- What are the Covid FFP rules?
- Will Dai finally sell valuable players?
We all know there is going to be huge uncertainty going into the summer. But if there is one thing I'm looking forward to next season is returning to the Madejski Stadium week in week out supporting the players, hopefully with a full house #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) May 8, 2021
Not suprised that yet again squad depth is why we have dropped 2 points.— Alex Stone (@alexgstone) May 8, 2021
5 or 6 in the summer!
Our starting 11 is top 6 level. The remaining players aren’t up to standard! #readingfc
Another summer of big upheaval ahead then. Would have snapped your hand off for seventh before the season and injuries/lack of depth have to be taken into account, but the way the last few months have played out has to leave Paunovic's position open to scrutiny. #readingfc— George Flood (@GeorgeFlood24) May 8, 2021
Well, that’s that then.
I just want to say from a personal point of view a thank you to anyone who’s taken time to have a read of any of these Fans Verdicts this season, it’s been a pleasure! I mean, I literally couldn’t do without you guys so yeah, thanks!
Here’s to a horrendously torturous summer, but whatever will be will be.