Many Reading fans are probably feeling powerless at the moment, with things not looking promising at the Select Car Leasing Stadium right now both on and off the pitch.
Anyone can campaign for the sacking of Paul Ince and they’d have every right to, considering the dross that has been served up in recent months, but a change of manager now would simply be applying a sticking plaster to a wider problem.
That should not stop people from calling for Ince’s head because, in the short term, his dismissal could end up being the difference between survival and falling into League One.
We may be above the relegation zone at this point but some of the performances have been dreadful and, quite frankly, I’m fed up of accepting sloppy standards. That applies to a lot of key figures at the football club. The players need to pull their socks up, the coaching staff need to look at themselves and don’t get me started about those at the top.
Ultimately, the man in charge is Dai Yongge and the fact we still haven’t heard from him is almost unforgivable. Following such a shambolic anniversary season, he needed to show that we’re a completely different club now.
There have been promising signs, with the likes of Mark Bowen, Brian Carey and Jared Dublin all arriving in Berkshire this season, but the disconnect between the supporters and the board remains - and the latter can’t blame anyone but themselves for this.
During the early stages of the season when things were going well, I called on those in power to step up to the plate and speak while they had a good opportunity to do so. You always had a feeling things would go slightly downhill later on in the campaign, so capitalising on a good moment and building bridges with the fanbase would have been a good idea.
The fact they did not do this is nothing short of amateurish and that’s putting it kindly. Either Mr Dai or Mr Dayong Pang had to apologise for last season and promise communication would be much better in the future.
Fully appreciative of the fact we won’t know whether we’ll be under embargo again in the summer or which division we’ll be in, I’m not expecting too much detail on our strategy at the moment. All we need to be assured of is that there are different plans in place to deal with different scenarios at the end of the season.
Communication is probably one of the biggest issues at the club right now - but it’s a problem that can be solved today rather than at the end of the campaign.
The club had every right to milk the Legends match last summer - but they have failed to capitalise on other opportunities to please the supporters. How about an in-house interview with Bowen? Doing an interview with Carey would have made sense, surely? What about Dublin? Many supporters were pleased with these appointments, so why not try and milk that as well?
The media team have created some decent content this season, with the recent Tom Holmes and Tom McIntyre video being one of them. But more can be done and those at the top have to ensure that their communication is on point more often than not.
Luckily for Mr Dai, he has escaped quite a bit of criticism with the likes of Veljko Paunovic and Pang acting as his human shields in the past. You can understand why that’s the case because he isn’t the biggest villain in the world (yet). He didn’t buy the club to make a profit and has been committed to funding the Royals up to this point.
However, you could say the same about a lot of other owners in the 72. Mr Dai may have had to deal with bigger losses than many others in the EFL, but whose fault is that?
Looking at things realistically though, it’s either him or no one at the moment. We aren’t in the best financial situation, don’t own our training ground or stadium, and haven’t got any major assets to sell for a sizeable amount of money. That shouldn’t stop us from criticising him when we need to though, because things won’t improve if we don’t make ourselves heard.
Thankfully for him and us, he can turn things around like Dejphon Chansiri has at Sheffield Wednesday. However, I can’t help but feel that we’re sleepwalking into an even worse situation than we’re already in. Reading have already lost their identity and spirit and that happened before Ince joined the club, even though our recent results and style of play haven’t helped.
Football is a results business and I’m not deluded about that. For as long as we continue to decline, Dai will remain the subject of criticism, regardless of what he does.
Better communication would be pleasing though. If they can’t give us an idea of what our future will look like, something that’s understandable as mentioned above, key figures need to explain what they have done in recent months to improve things.
What panics me just as much as our current situation is the fact we’ve missed open goals earlier this season and put one in our own net with the decision to dish out the fans’ POTS award at the gala dinner again. Dai and Pang failing to speak out earlier this term tells me that we are unlikely to hear from them for the foreseeable future.
Dai has been spotted at games this season and that is a positive sign, but he needs to build some bridges with the fanbase. This should have been done ages ago - and that’s one reason why I’m starting to panic now.
What can the supporters do though? Can we provide solutions? I’d love to, but it feels as though we’re powerless at this point.