When the Liam Moore statement was released by the club on Saturday night, I reacted in exactly the same way as the majority of the fanbase - with utter anger and contempt. My personal reaction was probably heightened by my excessive alcohol intake, but it was still genuine.
The club is at one of its lowest points in its history and the captain - the one player who needs to stand up and show leadership the most - wants out? That’s just unacceptable and wrong. If he wants out, get him out.
My anger at the statement was probably escalated even moreso by the fact that I am a bigger Liam Moore fan than most - my catalogue of drunken DMs to the bloke can testify to that. I believe he has become an easy scapegoat for criticism because of his ‘significant’ contract (those being the words of the club, not me).
And although his performances on the pitch have flattered to deceive in recent months, one thing I never thought you could criticise him for was his professionalism. I too have been frustrated by his silence in recent weeks. But, overall, he came across as a top professional and the fact he was given the captaincy in the first place - and has continued to be captain under three different managers - would back that up.
So when the very, very strongly worded statement was released and Moore’s professionalism and commitment were put under attack by the club, I was shocked more than anything. And that shock then stemmed into utter anger.
Of course, there is no smoke without fire. Surely, surely, Moore’s desire to leave must be genuine and something must’ve happened for that statement to be released. But now that I’ve had a bit more time to process it (and look at the situation with a sober pair of eyes), my overriding feeling is that Moore has been hung out to dry.
I acknowledge the fact that Moore’s Reading career hasn’t been without its hiccups and bad moments. He has asked to leave the club before which definitely soured the relationship somewhat with the fans - we never take well to seeing people actively try and leave our club.
But the more I read the statement, the more I think it shows a lack of respect to someone who, whether you like him or not, has played over 200 games for the club. It’s just a baffling piece of PR. Truly, truly baffling.
The club has been a closed book for so long. The hierarchy and in particular Dai Yongge very, very rarely speak out publicly about anything. So to break that policy completely out of the blue with a personal attack on the club captain just confuses me in all honesty.
Is it an attempt at a distraction tactic to take the heat off the owners, the results and Pauno? Or is it an accurate, truthful interpretation of what’s going on behind-the-scenes? I genuinely don’t know, but whichever one it is, it’s not right.
If it’s the former, then it’s quite frankly a disgusting move from the club. To throw the captain under the bus like that would be completely wrong. If it’s the latter then Moore deserves all the criticism he’s getting. I genuinely can’t bring myself to believe either one. I don’t want to believe my club could do something like that, and I can’t believe that Moore would, either.
There are fans who will say good riddance and stand with the club, but I just can’t do that yet. Moore deserves a chance to get his side of the story out in the open properly. Judging by his initial reaction on Instagram on Saturday night, it’s clear that there are two sides to this story - I personally need to hear both before making a judgement. I just can’t yet bring myself to believe that Moore would up and leave like this when the club is in this position.
What this statement has definitely done, in my opinion, is confirm that the 1-0 loss to West Brom in November was Moore’s last game for the Royals. His exit has been brewing for a while and, with the money he’s on and our financial situation, it makes sense for us to go our separate ways sooner rather than later. But for it to end like this doesn’t sit right with me at all.
I would be very, very surprised to see Moore in a Reading shirt again. The relationship between club, player and fans has officially been tarnished for good now, there is no way he can possibly play again.
This is another example of a behind-the-scenes story that we just do not need right now. This club is becoming a soap opera and it’s embarrassing to watch from the outside. Everything Reading do at the moment stinks of a sinking ship.
It makes me even sadder at the state of our club. Genuinely sad. This is not how Reading Football Club should operate. It’s not how any club should operate. It saddens me that this is what it’s come to.
While Moore isn't popular among the fans, it is the opposite within the dressing room. He is admired by his team mates and his manager (well, I think he is?). How on earth is this statement going to affect them? At a time when this club needs an ounce of stability, more wood has been thrown onto the burning fire.
The words in that statement go against all the opinions I had of Moore. That is why I struggle to believe it’s the full truth. Of course, it might well be true and I might be being incredibly naive, but I think there’s more than meets the eye to this story - as is always the case with this shambles of a club.
Hopefully the truth will surface in the coming days; this needs to be sorted as soon as possible. The last thing we need is distractions like this. The problem is I have no confidence that it will be sorted soon - it is another dark cloud to add to the storm raging above the heads of the club. It is a dark time to be a fan of this club, a dark time indeed.