Every match day is a constant cycle of nightmarish events at the moment. The lack of enthusiasm, hope and excitement before a game, the drab, lacklustre, lifeless display during 90 minutes and the outpour of anger, frustration and emotion at the end.
The run-up to Wednesday’s game however was even more disastrous and ridiculous than we are used to (which is really saying something). On Sunday night, all of us (fans and players alike supposedly) thought we’d have a new manager at the helm for the trip to Peterborough. However, that clearly wasn’t to be.
Then it came to light that Paunovic actually handed in his resignation a few weeks ago but it was rejected by his superiors (I mean, what the f***?) and then, from nowhere, we signed Brandon Barker on a deal until the end of the season. The banter era has officially turned into constant-state-of-depression era.
However, we had a game to play, which ended in an atrociously bad 0-0 draw and led to frustrated scenes at full time once again. Here’s how the fans reacted...
I had a bit of empathy towards the players during the run-up to the game. The biggest match of our season (so far) and that’s the preparation they get. They don’t want this manager in charge (allegedly) and finally thought he was off.
However, as my dad rightly said to me a couple of days before the game, it surely doesn’t matter who’s in charge. Players (should) have self pride and pride in their badge. Maybe Pauno doesn’t deserve their full support and effort, but us fans certainly do. It’s the least we deserve.
And I think it’s fair to say the Reading faithful don’t feel like they got that, and I'm not one to argue with that...
Hope all of the players eyeing up their summer moves enjoy watching the crisis in the summer and feel proud of themselves for putting in the bare minimum whilst we slump into oblivion. Sure the signing on fees will be worth it #readingfc— Matt Joy (@MattJoy96) February 16, 2022
Players seemed more up for a chat with the Peterborough players at the final whistle than they were the game itself #readingfc— Ian Anderson (@ianandy62) February 16, 2022
Diabolical, had enough of those pathetic players #readingfc— Eoghan Burton (@eoghan1996) February 16, 2022
Yaks the only half decent player out there tonight, everyone so poor. So frustrating to watch once again!!! #readingfc— Joshua Lamb (@lambeyyy1871) February 16, 2022
My brain cannot still compute how little effort those 11 players put in on that pitch last night #readingfc— Cam Baker (@cambaker96) February 17, 2022
You could tell last night there was no passion and fight, these players are all out of contract in the summer and most probably have there clubs lined up for next season & seeing this season out, boycott the away games save your money not worth it 1/2 #readingfc— Miles (@Milesyyy12) February 17, 2022
Individually most of these players would get in most teams in the championship collectively they are an absolute horror show #readingfc— Gavin Smith (@gavpsmith) February 16, 2022
As much as I want Pauno out, from a mercy killing point of view as much as anything, the players are hugely culpable. The fact that they've lost faith in the manager doesn't excuse anything. You're employed by #readingfc, you play for the club. These man checked out in November.— Imran Escőbar (@razor5edge) February 17, 2022
Well, what can I say that hasn’t already been said?
I spent a little while just watching Pauno during the game on Wednesday (I mean, the action on the pitch wasn’t exactly pulse-raising stuff was it?). He does not want to be here, and who can blame him?
Superiors that are hanging him out to dry, using him as a punch bag supposedly, players who don’t want him there and fans who don’t want him there. I have a fairly high level of empathy for Paunovic, he’s out of his depth.
The fans were, as ever, fuming with him and calling for his head after the game (including during his post match presser)...
You look at the quality we have and then you look at that performance. It’s so clear they’re not playing for the manager. Disgraceful Paunovic didn’t face the fans. Thinks that sums up his feelings. The sooner a change is made the better. #readingfc— Jonathan Richards (@JR_1871) February 16, 2022
Paunovic leaving in a private car and leaving his players and staff to fend for themselves, sounds about right. #readingfc— Dan (@Jones1871) February 16, 2022
A change has to happen now! This cannot carry on! For the good of the club and for the good of Paunovic. He’s a broken man who is so far out of his depth and hated by the fans. The Owner is killing Reading every day this situation continues! #Daiout #Kiaout #paunoout #readingfc— James East (@JamesEast16) February 16, 2022
We all know paunovic will be here till the end of the season away at Luton. However I'm hoping he goes tomorrow.— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) February 16, 2022
This simply cannot continue any longer . Its extremely sad to see. #readingfc
Another depressing day for #readingfc. Horrible atmosphere in the stands. Something needs to be done by the owners before Saturday. If reports are true, I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Paunovic now.— Mark Harding (@markharding1988) February 17, 2022
We saw the fans take action after the Coventry game on Saturday, and we saw it again on Wednesday night. This time, the fans took to the car park outside the ground, waiting for the players and staff to head back to the team coach.
Whether you agree with the protests or not, something has to give. And if you look back through the history books, actions always speak louder than words. As long as the protests remain peaceful and don’t get ugly and turn into violence, then I can completely understand it.
The people this mess affects the most is us. If the club dies, the players will go and get new clubs, Paunovic will find another job, Kia will worm his way into another club and Dai will shrug his shoulders and carry on with life. We, however, would never be able to recover.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the protests outside the ground, which included Andy Yiadom coming over to try and talk to the fans...
Fair play to each and every single one of those fans who not only travelled, but stayed after and protested. On a cold, wet, windy midweek game - good work #readingfc— Jack Roberts (@jackaroberts95) February 17, 2022
Bored of the media talking about this after doing no research… the protests/frustrations aren’t because of “poor results” or the threat of relegation, it’s much more serious than that #readingfc https://t.co/UgBxuNobiF— Alex Dow (@AlexDow9) February 17, 2022
Well done to everyone who stayed up to an hour after full time last night. The club won’t change if we don’t do anything to make our points known. Same again Tuesday and even Saturday if needs be. #readingfc— micah (@m1871e) February 17, 2022
Just admiring the #readingfc fans that I’ve made their feelings known… how lucky were we 10/15 years ago when after games we’d applaud 15 lads and a manager who gave it everything, usually scored late winners, players get rounds in. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone!— Mark Wratten (@MarkWratten) February 16, 2022
I mean, I could go on all night rounding up the tweets after the game on Wednesday. Kia, Dai, Pang, Paunovic, the players, the performance, no wins in nine games, failing to beat one of our biggest relegation rivals. It is truly a sorry, sorry state of affairs.
We deserve so much more than this. The lack of transparency and honesty off the pitch, and the utter torture on the pitch just makes for a horrible experience supporting this club at the moment.
I have lost all hope in surviving, all hope. This is the lowest I’ve ever felt supporting this football club. It’s honestly depressing.