You know, I love writing for TTE. I love writing about football in general to be honest. But writing these fans verdicts in 2022 has felt like an absolute chore. It’s almost as if I relive the horror shows twice: once on the Saturday/Tuesday/Wednesday, and again the day after when I’m scrolling through the #readingfc hashtag.
Wednesday night wasn't a horror show, far from it in fact when you compare it to what else we’ve seen. Say it quietly, and I know it’s pretty redundant now, but for 43 minutes we defended pretty well. Not once in the first half did I feel worried about Bristol City scoring, until they obviously did one minute before the break.
What came next, however, is exactly what I expected. Another goal conceded right after the interval. We did fight back, Swifty scored a penalty and we could’ve nicked another. But the earlier mistakes cost us.
Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points...
I always like to start these with a positive when possible (which has been very, very difficult to do so far this calendar year) but we got at least one on Wednesday with Ince’s debut.
I say nothing surprises me with this club anymore, but this transfer did - surely the weirdest swap deal in football history? It was by no means a perfect performance from him, but he showed signs of fight and desire that we’ve been crying out for recently.
The fans were certainly impressed with him...
TOMMY INCE IS MAGIC— Footballskills 98 (@JamesBr23509416) February 9, 2022
HE WEARS A MAGIC HAT#readingfc
Tom Ince was fantastic tonight. Sharp, looking to move the ball forward and movement off the ball was inventive. The positive is Pauno has not had his dementor like effect on him yet. Hopefully he presses on #readingfc— Tom (@SaturdayRoyal) February 9, 2022
Superb from Ince #readingfc— Alex (@alexshepherdd) February 9, 2022
Fair play to Tom ince tonight too. Gave a decent showing and looked dangerous on occasion . Worked hard as well. Positive #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) February 9, 2022
@BenjyNurick Why did it take us 75 minutes to get stuck in? Ince excellent, Swift and Drinkwater made a difference coming on. Missed Southwood in goal. #BRCREA #Readingfc #Paunoout— Tomisdisappointed (@Fezza_T) February 9, 2022
Ince had a better than average performance today and seemed to gel well with swifty when he came on... small positives?! #readingfc— ReadingfcfanLA (@ReadingfcfanLA) February 9, 2022
Slight positive for me last night was Tom Ince. Only player that looked to make things happen whenever he got the ball. Promising signs but knowing Paunovic he’ll probably drop him for Saturday. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) February 10, 2022
Despite Ince’s best efforts, and an in-vein fightback in the last 15 minutes or so, it was more mistakes that cost us yet again and lead to our sixth (SIXTH) consecutive loss in the league (and that’s not mentioning that loss against Kidderminster Harriers).
We are sleepwalking into relegation, something has to change. Part of me thinks, well at least we showed some sort of fight on Wednesday, but the rest of me thinks, so? It’s about results now, nothing else. In our position, there's no point fighting for 15 minutes if you still lose the game.
The fans are understandably running out of words to describe their emotions...
How many games on the trot do you need to lose to be sacked? #ReadingFC apathy from top to bottom— Tony Dempster (@DempsterTony) February 9, 2022
Can we take it in turns to become manager for the last games of the season id love to have a crack at it I mean what’s the harm we lose now anyway I don’t think it could get worse #readingfc— Owen Thorner (@owen_thorner) February 9, 2022
Worst thing is our fans will have a clean slate for Saturday and have the same reaction we’ve had for the last 3 months when we most likely lose, it’s always rinse and repeat and nothing is changing #readingfc— Saul (@Saul1871) February 9, 2022
Death. Taxes. Reading losing in midweek. The three constants in life #readingfc— Jonathan Holdstock (@JH7123) February 9, 2022
Losing to average teams is what'll relegate us. Bristol City's form was poor before tonight but the three points look to be theirs. We've had it #readingfc— Neil Warren (@Neilsthings) February 9, 2022
You know it’s bad when this loss won’t even fit on our form screenshot #readingfc pic.twitter.com/VEMIBppDEb— George (@1871_GS) February 9, 2022
I don’t want to hear oh we are unlucky. Another loss he’s got to go #readingfc— Cameron (@ronniemac93) February 9, 2022
This is going to be a talking point until the end of the season me thinks. I would say until he gets sacked, but it’s clear as day now that we don’t have the money to sack him (although, having said that on the day Dai Yongge has committed to giving £20,000+ to fans this Saturday, I might be wrong saying that).
Personally I’ve never been one to outwardly call for a manager’s head, of course I want Pauno to turn it round if he can. But it’s just not happening. I said after the loss to Kiddy Harriers that he’d need a miracle to win fans back round, and he’s still searching for it over a month later.
The fans want him gone, it’s as simple as that...
Just got home. Last 15 mins were ok but first 75 mins were abysmal again. Pauno has to go. #readingfc— Tommo (@Rfctomo) February 9, 2022
Good performance just go Pauno! #readingfc @VPaunovic @ReadingFC https://t.co/SOZze4fF9x— James (@B3rt1e) February 9, 2022
I can’t believe Pauno actually said he believes he’s close to turning this round. Unbelievable #readingfc— Paul Towner (@PaulTowner7) February 10, 2022
What would it take for Pauno to think we played badly? I reckon it would have to be at least 14-0. #readingfc https://t.co/K4FgvRmKqX— Sam Hudspith (@samhudspith24) February 10, 2022
*Checks Twitter to see if Pauno has been sacked*— FPL Observer (@FPLObserver) February 10, 2022
*Close app and continue to pray*#ReadingFC pic.twitter.com/UbBkNJAVYP
“We want Pauno out” @ReadingFC #readingfc— BerkshireBoys (@BerkshireBoys_) February 10, 2022
Anyone made a giant Pauno out banner for the weekend? #readingfc— Alex M (@royalex_B) February 10, 2022
None of us have any understanding as to why Pauno hasn’t been sacked yet. Beyond a joke at this point. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) February 10, 2022
I don’t really know what to think anymore. Loss after loss after loss after loss, mistake after mistake after mistake. Remember when we thought we’d hit rock bottom after the FA Cup exit? We are beyond rock bottom now - we’re in depths we haven’t seen as a club in a very, very long year.
This is our 150th year. It should be a year to celebrate being one of the oldest clubs in the entire country. We’re not the prettiest of clubs, but we've shown we can be a pretty good one. But now we’ve got a manager who walks away from local radio station interviews because he doesn't like the questions, an owner who tries to win back the fans approval by offering them £1,000 to come to a game (WHEN WE’RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE NO MONEY) and a super-agent effectively running the club (reportedly). It's a sad, sad mess. The one’s who suffer the most? Us.