News and Views

Twentieth Placed Finish After Goalless Draw

05 May 2019
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading may not have finished the season on a high note but at least it ended on a happy one. With nothing at stake for either side in this final fixture of a difficult season, a goalless outcome was always on the cards. Reading should have won, and deserved to win, due to the chances created, and a greater desire to play some attacking football. Jose Gomes took advantage their hard earned Championship safety to play three academy players up front, and the skill and confidence demonstrated by those three (Loader, Olise and Barrett) gave Reading the edge in a lively first half. Reading had three very good chances to take the lead but let City off the hook on each occasion. There was a party atmosphere to celebrate surviving the relegation battle and the success of manager Jose Gomes in arresting the decline of the club in the second half of the season. Jose, I am sure, appreciated the Portuguese influence evident in shirts, banners and flags amongst the crowd.

Loader Goal - First Of Many?

01 May 2019
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Despite defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday it was still a very satisfactory weekend for the Royals. Although we were already safe from relegation, it was mathematically confirmed with a game spare as Rotherham were beaten at West Bromwich Albion. That defeat meant Rotherham were relegated and will join Bolton Wanderers and Ipswich Town in League One next season. There was more good news for Reading fans as England youth International Danny Loader got off the mark with his first senior goal for the club. And what a strike it was as he collected the ball from a Gunter throw on the left, turned past his marker and unleased a fantastic effort from outside the box into the top right corner of the Middlesbrough goal.

As well as immediately becoming a contender for Reading's goal of the season it got conversation going on what the future holds for Loader as he become one of Reading's youngest ever goal scorers. At just 18 years old to have already established himself in the first team and got on the scoresheet is a huge achievement. Neil Webb remains as Reading's youngest scorer, despite playing in midfield, after making his Reading debut when 16 years old and scoring his first goal only a month after his 17th birthday. Neil Webb went on to make 72 appearances for the Royals, scoring 22 goals before his career took him to Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Nottingham Forest and of course England. He is perhaps the most successful player to have began his career at Reading. He went on to earn 26 England caps, scoring 4 goals for the three lions.

Everyone will be hoping the club manage to hold on to Danny Loader as he is sure to attract interest from other clubs. If he does stay with the Royals then he is currently 190 goals behind the Reading FC's record goal scorer, Trevor Senior. Senior scored an insane number of goals off all parts of his body during two stays with the club, including hitting an incredible 41 goals in the 1983-1984 season. It seems unthinkable that any Reading striker will ever come to Senior's haul in that season. His strike rate was over a goal every two games across his Reading career which made him such a prolific goalscorer.

Reading's top league goalscorer of all time is Ron Blackman who scored 158 league goals, and a further 9 FA Cup goals. While Trevor Senior got his goals over 362 appearances, Blackman was just 24 goals short of Senior's record despite playing 240 times for the Royals. Sandwiched between Senior and Blackman in our top scorers table is Jimmy Wheeler with one more goal in all competitions than Ron Blackman. It's hard to appreciate just how many goals those three legends scored. Jimmy Quinn 'only' scored 94 for the Royals, although he hit 40 goals in just one season in 1993-1994. In more recent times fans like to remember Dave Kitson and Jamie Cureton, but they are both much further down the list with 62 and 55 goals respectively.

With Oliveira and Meite both out injured for Sunday's final game of the season, at home against Birmingham City, it will be interesting to predict the result and who might get on the scoresheet. Apart from Loader and Meite our only other scorers in the last 9 games are Rinomhota, Baker and Barrow. Many people like to track goals scored in past games to help figure out how the next game might play out, as this way they can make more accurate bets on sites like NetBet sports betting. Without this information, understanding the odds of a game would be certainly more difficult.

Reading have struggled to find a consistent goal scorer in recent seasons, and have struggled as a result. Meite will finish the season as leading goalscorer with just 13 goals. Last season Barrow and Bodvarsson were top of the charts for the Royals but only found the net 10 times. The last time we had a striker that hit more than 20 goals in a season was Shane Long, now the holder of the fastest ever Premier League goal, when he scored 25 goals all the way back in the 2010-2011 season. After another disappointing campaign we will be hoping for a big improvement next season - and hopefully a striker emerging who can consistently find the back of the net. It would be unfair to put that level of expectation on Loader at such an early stage of his career, but hopefully he can chip in at least with a few more goals next season to help us on our way to a higher placed finish.

John O'Shea Confirms Retirement

30 April 2019
By Hob Nob Anyone?

John O'Shea may have played his last game for Reading after officially confirming his retirement from playing. O'Shea has had an incredible career but only came to Reading at the start of the season on a one year contract as a back-up player. As a result, he only featured for the Royals ten times this season, playing eight Championship games and two league cup games. His last appearance was when he came on as a 72nd minute substitute in our 1-1 home draw against Rotherham on 23 February 2019. O'Shea will be expected to use his long and varied experience in the game to take up a coaching role in the future.

His time at Reading will be easily forgotten after his success in the game came much earlier in his career with Manchester United. He played more than 250 times for the Red Devils and earned 118 caps for the Republic of Ireland. While with Manchester United he won 14 trophies, including the Champions League, before moving to Sunderland in 2011. At Sunderland things gradually went downhill as he was part of the team relegated to the Championship and then relegated again to League One. As Sunderland went down O'Shea took the opportunity to move back to the Championship with Reading but found his opportunities to start matches limited, despite Reading struggling at the wrong end of the table.

Safe After Entertaining Draw With West Brom

22 April 2019
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading virtually guaranteed their place in the Championship next season with a gutsy performance against promotion chasing Albion. The point gained in such a spirited manner coupled with a Rotherham's home defeat at the hands of Birmingham City left Reading six points clear of the Yorkshire side with only two games remaining and a goal difference thirteen goals inferior to Reading. Make no mistake about it, Reading are safe and deservedly so. The celebrations which greeted the final whistle were certainly not premature. Relief and joy were evident in equal measures amongst players and fans alike.