Supporting this club makes me want to scream into a pillow. It really does.
We should all know it was going to be a difficult start to the season with the situation we’re in, but to go from the performance on Tuesday night - away at a full-strength Millwall - to what we saw on Saturday was textbook Reading Football Club.
That’s no disrespect to Port Vale; they were the better team in the second half and fully deserved all three points. It was a good start, but as soon as the hosts even started to get a foothold in the game, we completely lost our heads.
Here’s what the fans had to say about the big talking points.
Poor individual performances
After the youngsters put their stamp down on Tuesday, Ruben Selles opted to give the more senior pros another chance. As frustrating as that was for most fans, I thought it was understandable.
One thing you don’t want to do with young players is burn them out, and I don’t think any one who played against Peterborough United did anything disastrously wrong to not be given another go.
But, while singling out players always rankles a bit with me, there were a few who played themselves out of contention and we probably won’t see in the first team for a while.
Why are we still playing the core that was abysmal last season? Holmes, T mac, Carroll, Azeez, Yiadom. How can we expect to win games with the same terrible players that got us relegated last season, Selles needs to wake up before it’s to late #readingfc— Reading Talk (@RoyalReading106) August 13, 2023
Officials didn’t help today but my god that was awful, all the possession but no quality in the final third. Holmes and TMac out next game please absolutely horrific and you can tell their confidence is shot to pieces. #readingfc— Ellie (@whateleanordid_) August 12, 2023
Carroll Azeez, TMc, Holmes and Yiadom playing themselves out of contention today. #ReadingFC— M ️tthew #SellBeforeWeDai (@maffff) August 12, 2023
Carroll doesn’t suit this team or play style, it’s like playing with 10 men at times. Should be nowhere near the starting 11, same with tmac and holmes #readingfc— aaron (@aaronleavey99) August 12, 2023
Carroll was honestly a disgrace today he was throwing himself around like a spoilt toddler. In fairness he didn't get a thing from the ref all day but it's no excuse. Absolutely shouldn't be in the side, doesn't fit the system or the mentality we need and Selles wants #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) August 12, 2023
Totally understood Selles’ thinking. Can’t upset team morale but it’s time for a shake-up now. That second-half performance was disgraceful.— (@BigBadWolfRFC) August 12, 2023
Yiadom (c), Holmes, McIntyre, Nesta ⬇️
Mbengue, Bindon, Abbey (c), Carson ⬆️#ReadingFC
An awful second half
Similarly to last weekend, the first half was pretty good. Particularly the first 20 minutes or so. It’s all if, buts and maybes but if we score that penalty then its a different game altogether.
However, in the second half we completely capitulated. We showed the mentality of a team who haven't won a league game since February. As soon as Port Vale even began to to fight a bit, we lost composure and wilted. It will take time for Selles to fix that, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for the fans...
That second half was the utterly hopeless. Long ball stuff. No strikers showing for the ball. Defence sliced apart. The entire team lost their heads. The 'senior' team are shot to bits, struggle to see how they come back from that. Today was their last chance. #readingfc— Anthony Kendrick (@AJKendrick) August 12, 2023
It’s a long term process, we were dominant in the first half but the second half PV bullied us.— Alex Stone (@alexgstone15) August 12, 2023
Carroll doesn’t fit the system, midfield too open, the counter-press vanished. And ultimately players who don’t know how to win, couldn’t get it done. Changes Tuesday pls#readingfc
That second half display was woeful. I thought we may come away with something based on the first half performance but typical Reading play a game of two completely different halves and not turn up second half!! #readingfc— chloe (@_chloerfc) August 12, 2023
You can blame the owner all you want, but there’s enough senior players with enough games under their belt to manage that game today. Yes, the owner has to be held accountable but players cannot be getting away with a second half performance like they put out today #readingfc— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming14) August 12, 2023
That's second half was embarrassing #readingfc— Richard (@Ricardo_Ding1) August 12, 2023
Port Vale could and should have won by more
Among all the understandable anger and frustration, it was refreshing to see some fans call for patience and time to be given to Selles.
Ruben isn’t going to fix all of our problems overnight. The main problem on Saturday was a mental one that has been ingrained into these players over the past year and more. That doesn’t mean we can’t criticise performances, but it does mean looking at the bigger picture.
Hopefully Selles will have learnt a lot from what he saw at Vale Park.
Why are people losing their heads because we lost to Port Vale? The worst time to play a side is the game immediately after they've been battered 7-0. Not to mention the shambolic summer we've had. This is our pre-season. Get the targets & give it 4 weeks. Watch #readingfc— Imran Escőbar (@razor5edge) August 12, 2023
The results will come once the squad is sorted and players have had time to gel/show what they’re about.— Jimmy ⚽️ (@QuiminalRecord) August 13, 2023
Full trust in Selles. We’re still playing catch up.
All that yesterday shows is that certain players got given a chance to prove themselves and couldn’t cut it.#ReadingFC
Before the season started, everyone said, this will take time, it's going to take time. Today was bad but August will be tough. If things don't pick up by late Sep then questions csn be asked.— Paul Williams (@PaulFrankfurt71) August 12, 2023
Millwall didn't really change that.
There are some deep set problems and a very long standing losing habit at the club which will be tough to shift. Selles absolutely needs to be given time to try to build something but I hope he learns quickly the players he can rely on and who he clearly can't #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) August 12, 2023
Yeas of player mismanagement / crap signings means sellers is still trying to find his best side give him time #readingfc— Jon (@jonreading35) August 12, 2023
We’re two games in, this is a process we aren’t going to be 10/10 overnight. We will get there but we’re 3 weeks behind with half a squad. We will come good, Millwall raised everyone’s expectations too high. Give it time, it’s a rebuild and complete tactical overhaul. #readingfc— Dan (@DanCleaver27) August 12, 2023
I find some of the criticism of Selles difficult to comprehend, considering what he’s had to deal with. We’re two league games into the season, having had bugger all preseason and not enough signings. It’s going to take some time, let’s not throw him under the bus yet. #readingfc— Richard Langley (@simply_langers) August 12, 2023
A horrible second-half performance which stings even more after the wonderful result and showing at Millwall on Tuesday night.
It will take time (and new signings) for Selles to really get the team he wants and start putting together consistent results and performances, but for a set of fans who have had to experience what we've had to experience for the past few years, the second half on Saturday was an all too familiar experience.
We’ve got chance to put it right on Tuesday, which has turned into a massive game. URZ.