News and Views

Threat As Reading Face Nervous Championship Survival Battle

20 March 2023
By Hob Nob Anyone?

As the form of Reading continues to frustrate even the most optimistic fans, the international break in Championship fixtures does at least bring time for pause and reflexion. As he seeks to right what otherwise might be regarded as a sinking ship, this will be a watershed moment for Paul Ince, plotting a new course that will hopefully lead his team towards a safe harbour.

Undoubtedly, there are supporters of the Royals who are negative about the current plight, far from convinced that Ince can guide this team through the turbulent waters ahead. This perhaps makes the “ship of fools” allegory quite apt, based upon Plato’s classic tale, warning of a captain that lacked sufficient knowledge and vision, leading to chaos amongst his crew and inevitable disaster.

But casting aside the literary comparisons, the reality is that Reading could find themselves in a similarly chaotic situation, unless Ince can swiftly improve the form of the players he is tasked with leading. Meanwhile, uncertainty still prevails due to a situation that is far beyond his control, as the club awaits yet another EFL review of the club’s finances. Indeed, any proven lack of compliance could be the torpedo that eventually sinks this ailing ship.

Sword of Damocles hangs perilously over the club

Such is the current level of uncertainty surrounding Reading at the moment, prices with some bookies would already suggest they are back in the thick of a relegation scrap, while others are waiting on the final EFL points deduction verdict. Based upon impartial reviews for online betting sites via SBO experts, monitoring and comparing the latest odds will certainly be worthwhile

When they defeated Blackpool 3-1 at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, the points margin between Reading and the relegation zone looked rather comfortable, making the prospect of mid-table obscurity this term seem like something of a blessing. Particularly after having narrowly avoided the dreaded drop last season, when the club had also suffered a six-points deduction, leading to what inevitably became a tense conclusion to the 2021-22 campaign.

Taking the prospects for another six-points deduction of points into account, the Royals are also now in the midst of their worst run of results during the 2022-23 season, having now gone five games without victory. Since the positive outcome against Blackpool, results in March are giving fans of the Royals genuine cause for alarm. Four consecutive defeats is the longest consecutive losing streak this term, ahead of grabbing a point at home against Hull City.

Ince focused on stopping the rot

Following the draw against Blackburn Rovers at home, Reading boss Ince was mostly pleased to have avoided another defeat. “It’s not about pretty football at the moment, it’s about points on the board. And today was a point gained,” he insisted post-match, in comments published by the official Reading FC website. “It’s been a tough, tough year with injuries, the embargo, the six points hanging over us,” he acknowledged.

“And we’ve got to be positive. The two-week break comes at a good time for us. We’ll look to get a couple of players back, get some rest into the legs of the players we have been calling upon, let everyone rest their minds because mentally it’s been draining – and we’ll go again at Bristol City in two weeks’ time.” This was the optimistic outlook from Ince, who does at least seem fully aware of the complicated path ahead for his team.

Elsewhere, perhaps without the selective choice of quotes from Reading’s own media team, Berkshire Live quoted everything that Ince told reporters, which offered a more blunt perspective. “It’s about stopping the rot. When you have lost four on the bounce, the most important thing was not to lose the game,” as the Royals boss repeatedly highlighted the avoidance of defeat as being crucial against Blackburn.

Waiting impatiently for the EFL verdict

Given the statement issued by the EFL came on 1st March, they seem to be taking a long time reaching conclusions, reviewing whether Reading have breached the previous agreement and strictures imposed. Hopefully, the final verdict will come during the international break, and whatever the outcome, points deduction or not, at least Ince and the team will have a clearer view of their own objective, rather than the current uncertainty.

Point Fails To Halt Slide Down Table

18 March 2023
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading ended a run of four defeats with a scrappy draw against mid table Hull. City dominated possession throughout with their neat passing and sliced the Reading defence open after twenty-six minutes to take the lead through Slater. Andy Carrol levelled the scores just before half time which proved to be enough to secure a valuable point. The second half followed similar pattern with neither side able to find the finish which would have yielded three points.
Reading 1 Hull 1:

Another Game Another Defeat

11 March 2023
By Hob Nob Anyone?

The highlights of my visit the Select Car leasing Stadium this Saturday were my usual pre-match and half time chat with my friends, and a pleasant conversation with the lady sitting next to me about the poor quality of Reading's ball into the box, the Hob Nob website, and the inept performance of referee Michael Salisbury. The rest of the afternoon is at best described as disappointing. From the whistle Millwall's game plan was to unsettle Reading with a string of subtle, and not so subtle, fouls on and off the ball. Three fouls in the opening two minutes set the tone as the visitors set about trying to nullify the threat posed by Andy Carroll's ability to win the ball in the air.
Reading 0 Millwall 1:

Improved Reading Still Defeated

07 March 2023
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Turning up on a bitterly cold evening to watch your team take on a team occupying an automatic promotion spot at this stage of the season, especially after a heavy away defeat at the weekend, was a significant test of loyalty and commitment for Reading fans. In return, those that did make the effort, deserved better in terms of the result. They were rewarded however, by a very good performance from their team in terms of loyalty and commitment. Sometimes you do not get what you deserve and on this occasion Reading clearly deserved a point.
Reading 0 Sheffield United 1: