"Well, that was fun wasn’t it?" said none of the 15,000 Royals fans who attended Saturday’s game. To be honest, I think if you asked the West Brom fans if they enjoyed the game they’d probably say no - and they won it.
I said it in my match report, but it was just a horrendous game of football. The classic end-of-season game between two teams with nothing to play for. It had the kind of intensity I’ll expect to see in the 150th anniversary game between Brian McDermott and Steve Coppell’s teams later this month.
Maybe we shouldn’t read too much into it, but I couldn’t help but fear the worst for the future whilst driving home on Saturday. And I think there's a lot of fans in the same boat as me.
Here’s how the fans reacted to a very boring last game at the SCL...
It just wasn’t very good, was it? How Paul Ince can sit there in his post-match media duties and say we played well with a straight face is beyond me.
We had no shots on target. Zero. That is not a good performance. There was no creativity, no urgency, no desire, no quality - epitomised by the fact that the eventual winning goal stemmed from a poor individual error.
The fans were not happy with the performance, the second extremely poor one on the bounce...
Awful game between 2 dull teams where we persisted with making mistakes just long enough to finally give away a goal. I’d say it summed up the season but we only conceded once so some elements were different. Will be very glad to see the back of a lot of those players. #readingfc— Matt Williams (@mattwilliams100) April 30, 2022
Mick Gooding on the money regarding the state of the whole club, it’s nowhere near good enough.— Adam GC Jones (@ajonesrfc) April 30, 2022
Terrible communication, terrible matchday experience and we’re a captainless ship devoid of any identity.
Horrific showing today #readingfc
Awful performance, playing like a league 2 team. #readingfc— George Blair (@GeorgeB22998154) April 30, 2022
Well that really was a complete waste of an afternoon. Even though survival was assured the players once again failed to do anything that even looked like a ‘decent’ performance. This season really has been a shambles. #readingfc— Richard Langley (@simply_langers) April 30, 2022
On top of Ince saying it was a good performance, it’s equally frustrating hearing Thomas say how he thought the team played well and he enjoyed the game. We had 0 shots on target, losing at home to a very poor West Brom side. Tragic. #readingfc pic.twitter.com/Cu0meeEISA— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) May 1, 2022
We all have our issues with the way Ince was appointed. Let’s be honest, there was never any ‘thorough search’ going in the background as the club suggested there was when Ince was appointed ‘interim’ manager.
But, credit to him, he has changed a few people’s opinions on whether he can do the job long-term since joining. However, I fear what we’ve seen in the last two games is more like what we’d see if he did get the job full-time.
I think the fans are starting to join that camp too, particularly after his post-match comments...
Paul Ince ‘I thought we played well…’— Richard Langley (@simply_langers) April 30, 2022
I mean, where to even start with this nonsense. #readingfc
Embarrassing post match comments from Ince. Taking the pi*s out of fans. Played well? Jesus! #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordo_Grittt) April 30, 2022
If you want to know what #ReadingFC will look like next season under Paul Ince without the short term boost that being galvanised by fighting against relegation brings, that was it today. Thanks Guvnor for keeping us up, but time to head back to the golf course now.— Olly Allen (@OllyAllen_) April 30, 2022
That post match interview from Ince tells me why he shouldn't be here permanently beyond Luton next weekend. Must have been watching a different game #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) April 30, 2022
If Ince stays on we'll be bottom at Christmas, save this tweet #readingfc— 106 Chat (@106Chat) April 30, 2022
Let’s say it as it is, the future for us looks really, really bleak as it stands.
The club is a mess at the top, we all know that. There’s no direction, no ideology, just people making rash decisions - rash decisions that have meant this summer literally defines the future of this football club.
After watching that on Saturday afternoon, combined with the obvious problems throughout the club, the fans are not looking forward to what’s to come...
Thankful we ain't relegated but this summer is going to be huge massive changes needed on and off pitch just looking forward to going to mcdermott coppell game to end a horrible season on a happy note urzzzz #readingfc— Johnny Hunt (@Huntyroyal) April 30, 2022
Fortunately I don't have to sit through that for another few months . Unfortunately next season could be worse. #readingfc— Rob Molloy (@Dobchecks) April 30, 2022
I’m really not convinced for next season. Majority of the squad out of contract, financially a mess and the club is completely out of touch with the fan base and football #readingfc— Hann (@hannlous) May 1, 2022
I don’t think I will ever give my @ReadingFC season ticket up. But the future is so bleak at the moment. I’m not even looking forward to another new season. It’s so hard to feel excited to see the boys play. Ince saying today was good is an insult to us fans. #readingfc— Cameron (@ronniemac93) April 30, 2022
Another underwhelming day!!— Brightside (@BrightsideRFC) April 30, 2022
Don't expect anything to happen this summer either, as PI said we will try to struggle through next season under the embargo then overspend on underachieving players the following season#thenewreadingway#readingfc
Who’s got faith we will turn it around over the summer and be ready for next season #readingfc— Ross Giacobbe (@rosariogiacobbe) April 30, 2022
I didn't see Ince’s comments until I got home, but they summed up for me why he shouldn't be in charge next season. He has a stubbornness that has been stirring in the background since he joined, but has widely gone unnoticed because he has, to be fair, picked up results.
His unwillingness to make subs, simply refusing to acknowledge the performance at Hull last time out and now saying we played well against West Brom... he doesn’t fill me with confidence.
But then again, nothing about this club does. Next season is going to be another torrid one, irrelevant of who is in charge. I’ve already succumbed myself to that reality.