I felt numb at full time on Saturday. Not because I wasn't feeling any emotion but because I was feeling too many of them: anger, sadness, disappointment and also a little bit of justice in a perverse way.
In truth, relegation has been coming for a long, long time. And now the grim reaper of League One is well and truly at our front door. Mismanagement from the top for too long and horrendous performances on the pitch for too long have left us here, and we deserve it.
Saturday afternoon summed it up. A full house at the SCL, a must-win game against basement club Wigan Athletic, and we still couldn’t conjure up a win. We could hardly conjure up a goal.
As you can well imagine, there was a huge amount of emotion from the fans after the game. Here's how they reacted...
If you could ask for one must-win game, it’d be at home to the bottom-of-the-league side in front of a packed-out crowd. But they couldn’t even manage a victory this time.
I don’t agree with Noel Hunt who said we dominated the game and it was a ‘Reading performance’. Huffing, puffing and giving absolutely everything at this stage of the season should be a given. It’s that bit of quality that makes the difference, and we just didn’t have it.
We’re a team that’s been starved of any tactical nous or attacking identity, and that was painfully evident against Wigan. You lose games like that, you deserve to go down...
How have we not gone to win that game! Why are we so poor in front of goal!! That game was 100% there for the taking! Also how many god awful corners did we take! #readingfc— BerkshireBoys (@BerkshireBoys_) April 29, 2023
If anyone could tell me what Jeff Hendrick offers Reading in midfield I’ll be truly thankful, I’m constantly flabbergasted with his performances #readingfc— MrCollins (@Tomcol23) April 29, 2023
6 point deduction or not, we’ve been absolutely awful majority of this season. We are not Championship level, on the pitch or behind the scenes #readingfc— Hann (@hannlous) April 29, 2023
Destined for League One
Last weekend the proverbial Fat Lady entered the building, on Saturday she started waiting in the wings.
It was a day that the last five or so years had led up to. In 2018, we went to Cardiff City on the last day needing a point. Five years on and we’re here again, needing to get a win at Huddersfield Town next week, and that’s only if we’re lucky. We could be done and dusted by Thursday night.
The fans had their say on being destined for the drop, which was further compounded by Huddersfield’s win at Cardiff yesterday afternoon...
Deserve to go down after that, it's all I've got to say. Hideous day for the club but even worse for the town. So so bad. #readingfc— Tom (@tommietannk) April 29, 2023
That's us down. Didn't create much against the team at the bottom of the table. Huffed and puffed but ultimately this team has no quality #readingfc— Jonathan Holdstock (@JH7123) April 29, 2023
This side deserve to go down, simply not good enough #ReadingFC— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) April 29, 2023
Not officially relegated but it'll take a miracle to keep us up now. Time to rebuild and get some good characters that'll actually have some idea what to do next. #readingfc— Arron flesch (@Arronflesch) April 29, 2023
Yeah probably relegated then. Roll on next season I guess? #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) April 29, 2023
If we can't even beat bottom of the table at home to a sold out crowd when we need 3pts we really deserve to go down #ReadingFC— Keith Allen (@keifallen) April 29, 2023
Haven't won game since Feb 25th so I'm surprised it's taken so long to be relegated #readingfc— Craig (@Craig_RFC88) April 30, 2023
There’s a whole heap of reasons why we are where we are. The biggest of those though undoubtedly is the utter shambles and mismanagement from the top. And, ultimately, that falls on the shoulders of Dai Yongge.
Yes he’s invested into the club, but it’s the people he’s trusted with that money who have been the problem - whether that’s Ron Gourlay or our good friend Kia Joorabchian.
There are better people in charge of the club now. But it’ll be a mammoth, years-long process to rebuild some of the mess Dai has created. The fans certainly aren’t his biggest backers...
Dai Yongge and his “advisors” are 100% to blame for this situation. We now need 5 results to go our way and that’s never happening. 24/25 will see us in League 2, if we exist! . Sad day. #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordo_Grittt) April 29, 2023
Dai’s decision not to sack Ince has killed us. Business plan caused by his decisions has also killed us.— Adam GC Jones (@ajonesrfc) April 29, 2023
I hope we can get ourselves back on track and I’m actually optimistic about the summer, but not about the long term.
Not sure if things can improve with Dai here #readingfc https://t.co/IiN0oGmkpU
League 1 football next season is the culmination of 5 years of awful decisions from Dai Yongge. That’s the reality. #readingfc— Stevie p (@stevie_p1871) April 29, 2023
Why do people blame Kia Joorabchian? I'm no fan, but he's not responsible for this. He's not responsible for complying with FFP. He's not responsible for improving these players. He can suggest players, but it's our job to work within our remit & budget. Blame Dai #readingfc— Imran Escőbar (@razor5edge) April 29, 2023
As I’ve been writing this I’ve been sat watching Huddersfield take the points in their must-win game against Cardiff, thus meaning that Reading being relegated on Thursday evening is a very feasible possibility.
That’s the difference. Huddersfield managed to find a way, away from home, to conjure up huge wins while we can’t beat Wigan in front of a sold-out crowd. I guess that’s also the difference between getting someone like Neil Warnock in early enough, whereas we left it far too late to get rid of Paul Ince, leaving the weight of the world on the vastly inexperienced Hunt.
A dark weekend for the club.