Arguably, we’re currently undergoing one of the most unstable transitions in recent memory. Stability and optimism seems to be an all too distant thing of the past. Take one look at the #readingfc hashtag on twitter and if you don’t feel like having a stiff drink by the time you’ve read 20 tweets then you’re a stronger person than me. Just in case there haven’t been enough people commenting on the current state of the club, I’m going to give it a go.
Where else to start than Brian McDermott. It’s a tough one with Brian, if you take a step back you can understand both perspectives from supporters. Some believe it’s a result business and Brian hadn’t delivered and other (like me) felt we should have given him more time. If you’re going to bring in a manager in December when realistically we were already losing our grip on the play-off places and expect him to be able to motivate a team mostly made up of loan players – you’re asking too much in my opinion. I am of the opinion that we should have given him until around November. If we’d given him a transfer window to make the squad his own and he’d still not achieved the results then yeah, fair play, he deserved to be out of the job. We’ve been blessed at this club in recent years with success (for a club of our size) and unsurprisingly it has gone hand in hand with a stable setup. Continually chopping and changing hoping for an upturn in fortunes rarely works.
I do appreciate however the logic behind the decision. Bringing a new man in now gives a new approach ahead of the season. If we had persevered unsuccessfully with Brian and been in a situation in November where we were facing another meaningless end to a season – not many people will have been happy. However, Brian wasn’t given the resources to turn things around in the small amount of time he was given. Why bring someone to the club half way through a campaign, not give him any money in January, and then get rid of him at the end of the campaign? Why even appoint him in the first place if this was the plan? Whether it was a mistake or not – hindsight is a wonderful thing. It certainly did more harm than good that’s one thing we can all see now.
Time to have a look at everyone’s favourite people at the moment – the owners. Cynicism and Reading Football Club go hand in hand. I wonder if our fans were so unbearably depressing and cynical back in the late 19th century? I can almost envisage the first ever game at Elm Park being criticised for one reason or another. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the Thais, but I do feel some of the stick they’ve received doesn’t actually make much sense. The first of which is where is the investment? Well, last year, look at the calibre of players we brought in on loan. Who pays those big wages? Hmm, I wonder. I don’t recall them receiving any criticism when John, Piazon and Vydra were all signed in a small space of time. Funny that. Vydra was a huge disappointment agreed – but how can that be the owners fault? They had the ambition to fork out £2.5m to bring him in on loan – a slightly odd decision, but not one you can use to talk about the lack of investment they’ve put in. They certainly aren’t perfect, but criticising the signings made under their reign seems bizarre considering how happy we all were to see some of the names we had brought in before last year.
My last slight qualm I have with some of our supporters is complaining that we’re already NAILED ON FOR RELEGATION OH MY GOD WE HAVE SUCH A TERRIBLE SQUAD. Take a step back and look at our side. They ALL underperformed last year without doubt, perhaps with the exception of Ali Al-Habsi. But I do genuinely believe we have a basis of a very good side. Quinn, Mcshane, Williams, Obita, Gunter, Al Habsi, McCleary are just some of the players who I think would make it into a lot of squads in this league. Under the right management with a few more smart additions, especially up top, we don’t actually have the worst squad the world has ever seen, contrary to common opinion amongst some of our supporters.
This summer is definitely one of massive transition, and it is slightly worrying seeing the mass exodus of staff especially. I do think if we all just take a deep breath though, and not be drawn into the mass hysteria on social media (that I’ve definitely been guilty of as times) we might just be okay next year.