MATCH REPORT: 2002/2003 Season

Reading: -
Rae (81 mins).
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 24,060

First Leg: 10 May 2003
Wolves 2 Reading 1
Wolves win 1-3 on aggregate.
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Brown, Williams, Little (Chadwick 85), Harper, Sidwell (Watson 70), Hughes, Henderson (Rougier 64), Cureton. Subs not used: Ashdown, Mackie.
Murray, Irwin, Naylor, Lescott, Butler, Newton, Cameron, Ince, Kennedy, Blake (Sturridge 85), Miller ( Rae 75). Subs not used: Oakes, Pollet.
Reading: Brown, Sidwell.
Referee: H Webb (Rotherham)

Reading's lack of good fortune continued in the play-offs tonight with a 0-1 home defeat in the second leg that saw the Royals beaten by two goals on aggregate over the two ties. At least this season we didn't have to suffer from the heartbreak of a play-off final defeat when we looked on our way to promotion. This time we were let down gradually over two games despite long periods of total domination across the two games. We can certainly hold our heads up very high after this play-off exit and after the entire season in general. We exceeded all expectations this season and continued through the play-offs. Despite being up against the odds against Wolves tonight we never stopped playing the way we play and continued to attempt to find a way through against a Wolves side that had come simply to hold on to their first leg lead. Reading were much the better side tonight and played all the football as they camped out in the opposition half with Wolves hardly touching the ball - but Wolves knew what they were doing and stuck to their job of determined defending before scoring the late goal against the run of play to finally kill off the fixture.

The lack of Nicky Forster, who limped off during the first game, was a big blow in the end. Jamie Cureton stepped into the side, in perhaps his last Reading game, and couldn't be faulted for effort. However, Cureton struggled against a powerful physical Wolves defence - he could do little with some of the hopeful balls played into the area and he couldn't twist and turn the defence in the way Forster had in the first leg. Andy Hughes was pushed into the centre forward role during the first half with Cureton just behind him, but that brave plan to little to confuse the Wolves defence. Glen Little was back in the starting eleven with Chadwick on the bench and little had an excellent game overall as did the entire midfield that had more of the ball than the rest of the two teams put together. I heard some fans after the game saying how poor Wolves were - but they'd actually done a job on Reading during this game after packing their defence and limiting the Royals chances as much as possible. We did have some good chances and probably should have scored, which would have changed the pattern of the game, but you would have expected more opportunities given our huge domination in terms of possession of the ball.

The game got off to a frantic start much like the first leg with plenty of challenges flying in and some good quality football from the Royals as they moved the ball around at speed looking to impose early superiority on the game. It seemed to work as the game quickly settled down to Reading in control passing the ball around and patiently looking for Wolves to slip up and expose a weakness at the back. Very early on we saw plenty of hope when the Wolves keeper spilled the ball from a Glen Little effort from the right side of the area and Cureton was nearly close enough by to take advantage. With nearly the entire ninety minutes ahead of us it looked very good indeed. Playing the way we were we felt that a goal had to come at some point. During an excellent spell towards the end of the half Reading won a whole series of corners and nearly converted one to a goal when the ball was crossed from the right and headed towards goal by Darius Henderson in the middle. Henderson's header was saved by the keeper who must have got down at amazing speed and the ball was hacked clear off the line at the far post.

After the half time break we stepped up yet again and Wolves appeared to defend with even more players behind the ball as they set about simply containing the Royals until full time. Hahnemann had almost nothing to do as the play was concentrated down the other end. Wolves managed one shot that was well wide of the target mid-way through the second half and it was the first time that Marcus had had to really focus on the game. Down the other end we were being continually frustrated as we attempted to break through. James Harper was running all over the pitch attempting to keep possession and threading the ball forward. However, as soon as the pass was made we were closed down at amazing speed as Wolves didn't give us time to think. We'd opt for the quick pass to keep hold of the ball but were struggling to find enough room. Every now and again we would try and go directly through the middle and Cureton found himself immediately surrounded by four Wolves defenders as he attempted to find space to shoot. Wolves would clear the ball and Reading would have to build again with time ticking away.

We nearly found the breakthrough down the left twice. Firstly Henderson was given the ball and cut into the area before putting a low shot towards the far bottom corner of the net. The keeper did well to get down quickly and push it wide for yet another corner. Little did well shortly afterwards when a quick exchange of passes with Cureton on the right side of the area saw Little somehow manage to squeeze past the defenders for a shot at goal - unfortunately his shot flew over the bar to the relief of the Wolves defence. With time running out Rougier and Watson were introduced and Reading started to lose their shape a bit. Rougier ran around a bit but failed to have any real impact. He had one chance that could have changed the game when we found himself with just the keeper to beat on the left side of the area. He could have and really should have scored, but tried to switch it to his good foot and instead toe poked the ball bizzarely in the wrong direction and wide of the near post. Reading had done all they can but just weren't getting the opening.

With Reading searching for new ideas and a way to somehow get that vital goal, Wolves scored and it was all over. A rare attack in the Reading half saw substitute Rae break into the area on the right and fire a shot from just inside the area across Hahnemann and into the bottom left corner of the net. The goal killed the game off with Reading one goal down on the night and two goals behind on aggregate. We'd certainly tried our hardest but it certainly wasn't going to happen. The atmosphere tonight was excellent - and the goal sparked some noise from the Wolves fans packed behing the goal in a capacity filled Madjeski Stadium crowd of 24,060. At full time most of the fans stayed behind to applaud the players off the pitch. The Reading team came over to the fans to take the applause for an excellent season. And what a great season it's been. Well done Alan Pardew and Reading Football Club - more of the same next season please.

Following from from John Wells
This evening Reading ended their season with a good performance against a resilient and experienced Wolves side. Over the two legs of this semi-final play-off Reading played more attractive football and enjoyed more possession than their opponents but ultimately failed to go through because of their inability to covert pressure into goals. The whole tie seemed to turn on the moment when Forster went off injured in the away leg. He was certainly missed this evening. However, as Adie Williams accurately concluded, "it was a disappointing end to a good season", and after the game I was more inclined to reflect on how well the Royals have competed in this division this season, than agonise over what might have been.

The atmosphere was fantastic before kick-off and Reading had a chance to go ahead in the opening minutes when a Little volley was fumbled by Murray and the Wolves defence had to react quickly to prevent Cureton from tucking away the loose ball. That seemed to set the pattern for the game, although apart from a save from a Henderson header which Murray knew very little about, most of Reading's strikes on goal were from well outside the box. Wolves were clearly not going to risk losing their first leg lead by committing players to attack. They rarely posed a threat even on the break. One good move which resulted in Williams making a superb last ditch block to deny Cameron was about their only serious attempt in the first half.

The second half followed a similar pattern. Reading might have taken the lead when Hughes slid a good ball through to Henderson who placed his shot well forcing a save from Murray, but a more powerful strike was required. As the time flew by a goal was looking increasingly unlikely, then with nine minutes left, substitute Alex Rae was given just a little too much time and space in the box and he fired a shot across Hahnemann into the corner of the net. Everyone knew that it was all over and the Wolves fans began to celebrate. Reading's substitute Rougier had an even better chance to score and bring Reading back into contention, but for some reason he decided to strike the ball with his right foot making it almost impossible to hit a decent shot from his position to left of the goal. Wolves saw out the remaining time with the the same dogged determination that kept them ahead all evening. After the final whistle both teams remained on the pitch to receive the deserved applause form their respective fans.

I enjoyed speculating about how we might have fared in the Premiership but I don't really think the club or the squad are quite ready for it yet. Reading are on an upward curve of development and tonight's defeat is not a major set back. We have a good squad with a nucleus of promising young players. Wolves on the other hand have put together a squad designed to get them up but it is not sour grapes that makes me say that they have not got a squad that can keep them there. Watching teams as good as Bolton and West Ham struggle this season clearly illustrates the gulf between the top of the first division and the bottom half of the Premiership. The Royals have had a fantastic season and I'm looking forward to the next one already.

nick newbury
Bollocks! Nearly everybody reading this would have seen the game so no need to comment. I thought we played our socks off and any fan of Reading FC can hold their heads high with pride because their team gave a great account of themselves and did the club proud. Nobody , unless unlucky enough to have been born in Wolverhampton, can deny that we played the best football and were by far the better team over the two legs. But it's goals that count and the moment Nicky Forster limped off on Saturday, our dreams went the same way. Still not a time to harp on or indeed go on. It's been a truly magnificent season that has exceeded all our wildest expectations and beyond. The club has made huge strides going forward and with the crop of young players around and coming through the future looks bright. Next season will be tougher as like before we will not be a surprise package, teams will be ready for us, but with a few additional signings, with the priority on a striker, next season we may go one better. Don't forget the play offs go down to eight next year! Thank you Alan Pardew and all players for giving us fans a season to remember, this club is going in one direction, and that is up! Keep the faith! Finally, thanks to Graham and the unsung heroes from HobNob for producing without doubt the best independent football club website going, top stuff lads keep it going. Happy summer to all and the dream lives on... URZ!
telford royal
A fantastic season for the Royals comes to a disappointing end as Wolves march on to Cardiff. They are now just one game away from another season in Division One! The atmosphere around kick-off was excellent and it was "rock and roll" to coin a Pardew phrase. It soon became clear that Wolves' mean defence would prevail as Reading's weakened strikeforce proved ineffective. Jamie Cureton's lap of honour at the end looked like a farewell and with changes likely in the summer one wonders whether Reading can repeat their exploits next season. We shall see.
michael simmonds
A fantastic night's football and a tie which Reading can feel extremely unfortunate to lose, against a Wolves team that were just a little more clinical in their finishing over the two legs. Reading went all out for victory and nobody can be accused of a lack of effort or commitment. Our dominance on the night was reflected by the fact that the large travelling contingent of away fans were kept fairly quiet until Rae scored the decisive goal. A record crowd and probably the best atmosphere ever at a home game.
I thought that once again, like so often this season, Alan Pardew was spot on tactically. Our formation constantly moved the Wolves back line and midfield about, and it's not often that we have had to face a centre half as accomplished as Lescott, or a keeper as inspired as Murray. Special mention has to go to Shorey and Murts, whose tireless running down the flanks enabled the delivery of many promising crosses. It was a pity that we struggled to get on the end! of them.
Man of the match however has to be reserved for James Harper, who delivered a premiership quality performance that ran the show in midfield and nearly overshadowed Paul Ince (who like several Wolves players was lucky to escape a booking from a referee who looked afraid of having to make any big decisions). I'm sure that with a fit Nicky Forster we would have been looking forward to a day out in Cardiff, but we must not get bogged down by if onlys.
All in all it's been a brilliant year, and with a few canny acquisitions during the summer, particularly a centre forward to partner Fozzy we could be looking at an even better season next time.
bob lethaby
After losing nicky Forster in the first leg, it just wasn't to be for gutsy Reading tonight and deep down we all knew it. When Forster hobbled off on Saturday I got that same deflated feeling I had when Stuart Lovell missed that penalty against Bolton. Our overall performance tonight was outstanding, but our front play just lacked that cutting edge our dominant midfield display deserved. Make no bones about it James Harper is a class act, and he was backed up by stirring performances from throughout the side, but as much as they tried Jamie Cureton and Darius Henderson are just not quite up to the level required if we are to progress to greater things next season.
We can all be proud of Reading tonight, we are not a small club anymore, and provided we keep our manager and make minor adjustments we can progress from here. Well done to all Reading fans for creating an excellent atmostphere, my favourite chant of the evening being "Your not famous any more" which is quite right.
Wolves think it is their given right to be in the Premiership, and that they have been sleeping giants for too long. Utter bollocks, they are an average ageing side that would be an embarrasment in the Premier League. Their fans, young and old are mentally retarded thugs who spit at children, and I hope they get stuffed by Forest/Sheff Utd. Not that I am bitter of course. An addition or two up front will see another strong challenge next season, we just have to get someone like Bobby Zamora and go for it.
chris barnham
A fantastic effort by the team but in the end we just lacked a little cutting edge against a very determined Wolves midfield and defence. I thought Harper in particular was absolutely first class, but nobody let us down. It really has been a brilliant season, and I was pleased that most people stayed on to salute our team, despite the understandable Wolves party going on in the South Stand. Shame on those of you who left - some of you five minutes before the end.
Whatever the result last night, the team deserved our praise for the way they have played all year. It may be pessimistic, but I'd have taken fourth from bottom before the season began (and really feared it after we'd lost three of the first four), so fourth from top and such an impressive effort in the play-offs was a great achievement, which we should not underplay. We need to keep constantly in mind just how far the club has come in the last three years. And - if nothing else - we seem to have put a stop to all those pesky draws that gave us ulcers at the end of last season! A good summer to all.
barmy middx royal
What a season! We have played out of our skins all year, and although it was disappointing to go out like that last night after being by far the better team over two legs, we live to fight another day. Let's give it a real tilt next season and gain promotion as first or second. That way we can avoid the play-off system which to us RZZZ at least appears to be something of a lottery!
Big thanks to Pards and the lads for a wonderful feast of football throughout 2002-03 and let's get it on for next year!
I am a very proud Royal this morning after what has been a season beyond our expectations. I remember leaving the Mad Stad after the defeat by Coventry on a hot day last August thinking we will struggle to stay up! If next season happens not to work out as good as this one, we must all stay right behind Pards and the lads.
Have a good summer everyone and roll on August!
I was going to make this my first contribution to the post-match reports but Nick Newbury has said it all .... I'll just say that it speaks volumes for the management, the players and the fans when you can lose a match of this importance and still come away feeling like you've ended the season with a firework display and a huge, joyful celebration.
Superb performance by the team and by No 13 to end a superb season - thank you Alan Pardew and all the boys, roll on the 2003/04 campaign!!
thatcham royal
Though I was totally gutted when the goal went in, I can't find it in me to be dissapointed. This season has been the best yet. As a club we have progressed so much it's staggering. Look at where we were the last Div 1 play-off season. In a run down (though much loved) shabby little ground, the team was mainly built around excellent, but ageing players and our manager had just buggered off. Compare that to today. A purpose built expandable and huge stadium with first class facilities. The team is mostly very young. The manager & his staff are committed to the club. I can't see us struggling next year. All we need is at least one other forward of Forsters ability, a bit of cover in defence, and the rest is all there.
Anybody who has followed Reading this season or watched the game last night, knows just how good this team is. We did absolutely everything right, bar score the vital goals. Once we fix that I expect Pardew & Co to take us on another level. I'm glad I renewed my season ticket early. Yes it was mainly on the hope of Premier League footie, but I'm already excited about next season. Even in Div 1. URZ
I suspect that you're not posting any more opinoins or reports from last night's game but I just wanted to write and say that as a supporter and season ticket holder (in the West Stand) I came away from last nights game with contrasting emotions that ranged from being totally devasted to utterly proud. The tragedy of both games and ultimately the dissapointment of not progressing to Cardiff is, for me, based on the fact that without doubt we were the best team over the two legs. We played, as we have all season, with imagination, confidence and desire (the word 'draw' is not in the vocabulary) but it just didn't seem to go our way and frankly that bit of luck that we needed probably limped off the field at Molyneux with Fozzy.
The thing that will niggle and irritate for longer is that I just can't help feeling that had we made it through last night we just might've made it to the promised land. I watched Pardew on Sky Sports News when I got home and he as good as said that he felt the best team had gone out, which although construed as sour grapes, seemed like a genuine, heartfelt and reasoned account of the two games. All that aside, some perspective is needed.
The Reading Football Club that I witnessed last night - the stadium, the 24,000 suppporters, the players and the management was a world away from the days of Elm Park (RIP), Branfoot, Burns, kick and rush Third Division football et al and for that I felt immensely happy and utterly proud to count myself as a supporter. It is surely a testament to how far the club has developed that I, along with the rest of you no doubt, felt so heartbroken last night. If finishing fourth in the First Division, reaching the play-off’s for a shot at the Premier League and ultimately losing out is deemed disappointing, then let me be disappointed for many seasons to come.
The club is on a massive upward curve both in terms of development and growth that is apparent both on and off the field (wouldn’t it be great to see 24,000 every week at the Mad House?) and I just hope that we can sustain and build on the talents and resources that the club has at it’s disposal by retaining players and management alike. What mustn't be allowed to happen is a ‘sh*t or bust’ approach resulting in us having a poor season next season and I think if we can retain the essence of what we have now we can establish ourselves as one of the strongest and most consistent teams outside the top flight.
On a seperate note, though not posting any comments on this site before, I've been hitting HNA pretty much everyday since about 1997/98 and i just wanted to say thank you to all those responsible. You guys do a fantastic job and produce content that is passionate, partisan (of course!) but measured and considered. HNA is the antithesis of the 'corporate' offical club site and is without doubt one of the best independent football websites on the net. Long may you continue!
Have a great summer and roll on next season! Come on URZZZZZZZ
worthing royal
Tremendous atmosphere at the Mad Stad at last. Just a shame that we never got to hear how loud the noise might have been, had we ever actually found the back of the Wolves net. I agree with everyone else that Reading played the attractive football. I don't suppose for one moment that Wolves give a damn about that though. They are through to Cardiff, having completed a totally professional job on us. We did have all the possession, and they rarely got into our half. We should not kid ourselves that they couldn't have though. Their game plan was deliberate. They had the advantage from the first leg, and only had to contain us in the second. In the end, as we threw caution to the wind, we left enough gaps for them to score, and make the game safe.
Well done to all at RFC for a fantastic season. It surpassed my wildest expectations. I don't think we were quite good enough for the final push, and without a massive investment, we probably would have had a pretty depressing season in the Premiership, had we been lucky enough to go through the play offs.
Like Nick Newbury, I think Hob Nob does an excellent job. Happy holidays to all the regular corresespondents, and to all the readers. Time for a rest from the anxiety of being a football fan. Give it a week though, and I won't know what to do with myself.
See you all in a couple of months, URZZZ!
didcot royal
At last most of the press recognised Reading FC for the impressive passing football, delivered with pace and passion, that has been in place for most of season. The lack of Division one coverage must annoy all teams in this division but the national coverage of Reading has for most part been appalling. On the day of the play off first leg, several national papers did not even preview the game. The story of this club looking at consecutive promotions must have been more worthy than Wolverhampton's continued failure to gain promotion year after year.
Wolves did do a number on Reading tonight. The referee was a bad as I have seen this year but players like Ince do know how to influence them. We did miss Forster but not as much as some have suggested. Nicky has done well but he scores every three games and is not goal a game material. We need a true second striker. Henderson is young but he needs to step up a level for Royals to challenge next year. Curo has been great over the last few years but a partnership with Forster has never been developed. This would seem to be ticket. Forster's pace and vision would surely complement the little man's better instinct in the box? Next year 4-5-1 will not be the surprise package it was this year. The midfield have not always supported the attack and we are very goal shy for a top half team.
We must be proud of this season but next year will be hard. 95-96 was a real tough season after going so close in the playoffs, despite retaining a similar squad. We need to buy some good players. We could easily lose Curo, Chadwick, Rougier and Little from tonight's game and we must not forget Upson's spell that started this season's drive to the playoffs. Steve Brown is a solid defender and an excellent buy. He looks very calm on the ball, even in the most difficult situations but he has not got the same quality of passing and certainly lacks the pace of Upson.
Must be positive - well done on a great season and the most supported ever and bring on next year!
crowthorne royal
I just wanted to sign off for the season and say it's been absolutely terrific to be a Reading fan this year. We revelled in the 'underdogs' role and produced some exceptional football at times especially away this year. I have voiced my doubts about Pardew in the past but have to say that he has 'completely' won me over this season. We are very lucky to have him. I've enjoyed the banter on the boards as ever and many, many thanks to Graham and Hob Nob for entertaining me with this forum. (Sometimes too much when I should be working!)
If any of our team, management, or any RFC personnel read this, please accept my gratitude. We support a well managed, well run, ambitious club that has it's house in order. What more could any fan ask?
NB - One final point on Curo. If he leaves I will be very sad, he has been a legend for me at Reading especially when we were trying to get out of Div 2. He is undoubtedly the best goalscorer at the club, but in modern football I'm not sure he does quite enough other good things in games to warrant a place every week. In light of this he will probably leave. He will go with my best wishes and admiration. Let's ensure if he does go that whenever he 'visits' 'Jamie Cureton, what a bargain, what a bargain' rings out at The Mad Stad.
It's been emotional.
Plenty of opinions expressed already that say all that needs to be said, I just wished we could have hit the back of the net to have witnessed the roof coming off at the Mad Stad. Nothing could console my son at the end of the game but today he said he can go to School with his head held high, as a young lad in A South Wales School he tells me has 'converted' a few of his mates already - no mean feat I can tell you!
Just one observation I felt I should make to Bob Letharby, please consider your comments about the Wolves fans, you really can't tarnish them all with the same brush. All the clubs have a minority of badly behaved fans and we are no different, some of the language and provocative behaviour by our 'fans' in East Stand Y26 sent some parents home early with their children and explains some of the 'fans leaving early' comments made.
If you take a look at the BBC 606 message board you will see several messages of support for us by true Wolves fans. Any way enough of this negative stuff, I agree with other comments here that we need to look at our attack in preparation for next season, but not Zamora, not after his behaviour here earlier this season.
Roll on August.
ken c
Like all Royal fans I left the Mad Stad last night very disappointed but very proud. What a performance throughout the whole season. At the end we just did not have enough guile to break down a thoroughly professional Wolves side. It's goals that win football matches and the only weakness we have had this season is that we have not scored enough of them. Put that right and leave everything else the same then who knows. Everyone has done their best, and now the challenge is to equal or improve on it. I wonder how much Zamora would be?
Congratulations to everyone concerned with the club, we have a good positive team with more youngsters to come through. We have an excellent management and coaching team, and the chairman is beginning, at last, to see some returns on what he has done. The future is bright, unfortunately last night it was orange!
london royal
As another season comes to an end, I wanted to congratulate the fine folk behind "Hob Nob Anyone?" for their dedication and commitment over the 2002/3 season. You're site is without doubt one of the best "fanzine" websites on the net. Your reports always bring intelligent and insightful comment mixed with just enough bias for me to agree with most things you say!
Although obviously disappointed last night, we've all got to keep the positive vibe that has pervaded so much of this campaign and use it to push on for next year... put it this way: if you'd have said to me at the beginning of the season that Reading would be get into the play-offs and would end up playing West Ham and Sunderland in 2003/4, I'd have taken it before a ball was kicked!
Look out for us next year!
darren hall
So instead of Old Trafford, Highbury and Anfield, it's off to Wigan, Crewe and Wolves (they ain't going up) next season, the dream is over but only for another 12 months. On an emotional night I went from real belief to huge disappointment but eventually back to immense pride, given that 50 points and 4th from bottom was always my idea of a good season back in August then everyone connected with the club deserves all the plaudits going for putting this town on the footballing map at long last. In a game, sorry a season, when everyone gave 110%, why did so many tw*ts leave with 5 mins to go, instead of applauding every last Royal off the pitch at the final whistle, if it wasn't for their efforts over the last 9 months you glory hunters wouldn't have had your big night out would you, a simple solution to you 'loyal Royals', why not simply buy a Red shirt, put a 10 Van Nistelrooy on the back and jump on the predictable band wagon of being a lifelong Man U fan from 200 miles away if it is glory you seek. Play-offs and travesties go hand in hand where the Royals are concerned, losing Forster on Saturday, as so many people have already pointed out was the one for us this time, but this is no time for negatives. In Hahnemann, Murty, Brown, Harper, Hughes, Sidwell and Forster we have the spine of a Premiership team and in King Alan's capable hands we have the man to take us there.
The future's bright, the future's blue and white.....URzzzzzzzz!! See you at Molineux 2003-04.
caversham royal
Waited a day to send this so I could have a ganders at what others thought of the match, season, etc. The end has been disappointing, but if I'd been told at the start of this campaign I'd be left disappointed, I'd have assumed it would mean we were back in Div2 next season rather than losing out in the play-offs for the Premier. Credit to all players, the manager and staff. I agree with the 2nd report in that I don't think the team & squad are quite there yet in terms of being truly ready for the top flight. But we have a bigger, younger squad compared to the last time we were 'on the verge' and although some will probably go in the Summer, we shouldn't see the loss of key players to the extent we saw after the 1995 effort was over. There's much to build on and I hope that can be done next year.
Although Forster's departure was indeed a key moment in the 1st leg, I can't quite see that his absence was 'the reason' we lost tonight, as some seem to think. He has done well in 'good old 4-5-1', but is not prolific and needs support from another striker to increase our 'goals for ' column, and therefore our promotion chances, next season. I've said many times this season that Cureton could work alongside him, but that was probably never going to happen, and there's no doubt in my mind that his jaunt round the pitch will be the last we'll see him as RFC no.12.
Investment in a quality replacement with a style to complement Forster's is a must I reckon. As one of the other opinions said, 4-5-1 may well not prove so effective next season and there's a real danger we may become a team that relies too heavily on the one style of play. And anyway, although it's undoubtedly brought us success at times this season I flippin' hate the system and always have.....SO THERE!!!! Give me 2 strikers any day. Thanks Hob Nob, I've enjoyed venting my spleen this season, hope we stay on the upward curve next year. COME ON.......
emmer green royal
Like most other Royals fans I have very mixed emotions at the moment. Before last nights game I didn't realistically expect us to get through to Cardiff but by half time realism had gone out the window. There is no doubt that we were the more positive side and deserved to win. We still seemed to be playing 4-5-1 but it was a much more flexible version this time. We have far too often (for my liking) relied on Forsters pace but last night we had much more movement, pushed forward as a team and it looked like at any point we'd take Wolves apart. The effort was certainly there and with a great backing it was easy to believe that we were going to win. However it wasn't to be. For that reason I was gutted.
This season has been superb and nothing will take that away. However I have to say that I feel the reason we haven't made the final and the reason we aren't going up is we just aren't good enough. That's nothing to be ashamed of though. After all we have just finished 4th in our first season back in division 1! Contrary to some of things that have been said I don't believe we would have got through if we'd had Forster. Yes he would be another option but that's all. How many times has Hahnemann been the difference in a game?, or Williams and Brown? We need him as well as many other players we've got at the club if we want to be successful. I certainly wouldn't say that 'the moment Forster limped off on Saturday, our dreams went the same way' We got where we are as a team and we came short as a team.
Over the summer we are likely to loose players and we must strengthen. We probably needed another striker anyway but if we lose Curo we will need two. There is no doubt that Upson had a huge impact on this season and we need players of his quality if we are to push on again. Despite the result the whole of Reading should be proud of where we finished this season.
Everyone at the club deserves credit for what was achieved. Maybe next season we'll go that one step further.
chris maskell
Unfortunately, the one flaw we have was exposed over the two games "The Foster formation". I think perhaps we need a little more. Despite that, I believe we have the most talented players outside of the Premiership. That said, we are the club of the moment, we are going places.
The players should be proud and our fans should be proud. What a fantastic evening (my flesh tingled on Wednesday).
What a fantastic season. A massive thanks to the Chairman, the Board of Directors, the Manager, players and staff. I can't wait for the start of the new season. My daughter and I have our season tickets. Have you?
Come on you R'zzzzzzz
thank you to everyone who has sent in opinions this season!
... and thanks for all the kind words about Hob Nob Anyone? cheers!
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