I think it’s fair to say that the first couple of weeks of Reading Football Club’s 151st year of existence have been nothing short of disastrous. A collapse against Derby County, an embarrassingly bad FA Cup exit, a humiliation at the hands of Fulham and now a last-minute loss to ‘Boro have all been and gone and it’s only January 17.
Combine all of those on-the-pitch problems with the quite frankly ridiculous off-field drama and you get the sad state of affairs we are currently in as a club.
What happened off the pitch on Saturday took centre stage for the fans in all honesty, but that will be covered off in other pieces within TTE. I want to keep this focused on the Middlesbrough game.
For 85 minutes we saw a reaction. Maybe not a hugely impressive one, but it was definitely better than what we’ve seen in recent games. However, predictably, we crumbled yet again.
There are two talking points for this edition. One good one and one bad one...
Let’s start with the good. Fans were probably a bit dubious when Carroll joined. There was a lot of optimism but that was probably more to do with the fact that we had signed Andy Carroll, rather than whether he was actually going to be any good or not.
What we have seen from the striker though is nothing short of quality. He has been a leader on the pitch and one of few who can come out of the last couple of months with any real dignity.
Whether or not he stays beyond his contract ending this month remains to be seen; I for one would not blame him in the slightest if he did move on. He is, and deserves, a lot better than what we are at the moment.
He has very, very quickly become a fans favourite...
Oh Big Andy Carroll. likely to be his last game but I’m putting him down in Royals folklore! #readingfc— Paul Hunsdon (@Hunsy1969) January 15, 2022
Carroll in probably his last game was fantastic, as was Rinomhota. Drinkwater poor. #readingfc— Stevie p (@stevie_p1871) January 15, 2022
Thank you Carroll, class above our squad. Another 3 points dropped from a winning position. Pauno out. #readingfc— Tom (@TomMoore0506) January 15, 2022
IF Andy Carroll stays (know that's a big if) he must be made team captain. The guy is a leader. #readingfc— David H Esq. (@DaveNorthStand) January 15, 2022
Now onto the not so good. Yet another game we’ve thrown away with minutes to go. We can blame injuries all we want, but it’s clear as day that this team currently does not have the bottle to see out games.
Conceding an equaliser is bad enough, but to then go on and completely crumble and concede another is criminal, and if we don’t sort it out quickly enough we won’t be coming to stadiums like the Riverside next season.
The fans are, quite rightly, sick of watching their team collapse on a regular basis. It is just not good enough...
Don’t care if it’s undeserved you just know after we conceded the first we we’re going to concede again #readingfc— Sappenin’ Sweep (@K19BTB_) January 15, 2022
It's easy to say that it's a much better performance and that we were pretty decent. Which would be true, BUT at the end of the day, in the areas and at the times that matter we've crumbled again and failed miserably to manage the latter stages of a game #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) January 15, 2022
That’s 5 games we’ve dropped points from when in winning positions. Time and time again the players bottle holding onto a lead in the last minutes. How many more games we gotta go through before enough is enough? Absolute shambles. #readingfc— Jackson (@JacksonsCorner_) January 15, 2022
There’s no way we stay up, can’t be losing leads like that so late on! AGAIN. Done for. That group need to own it, and they don’t. It’s not all on the manager but he hasn’t helped but ultimately this is what happens when cluelessness prevails up top #readingfc— . (@richiec87) January 15, 2022
Again. How many times has this man let a lead slip. I still can’t believe he’s still there. #readingfc— smudger (@smujjii87) January 15, 2022
That just makes it even harder to recover now. When you think you’ve finally got a positive result and then go on to lose yet again. So so tough to take. #readingfc— Callum (@Callumc1871) January 15, 2022
Am I shocked we lost not really, soon as they equalised was only a matter of time we collapsed like normal, oh well never step closer to league one, same again on Wednesday lads #readingfc— Miles (@Milesyyy12) January 15, 2022
Another hugely disappointing afternoon. There is no point in playing well for 85 minutes if you’re just going to throw it away in the space of 10 minutes. I completely disagree that it was ‘undeserved’. You make your own luck in this league, and if you had a centre as soft as ours is at the moment, you get exactly what you deserve.
I honestly don’t know what to think about this club at the moment. I’m so lost with it all, sadness is the overriding emotion.