Coca-Cola Championship / Reading

Come on you Royals!

Rants and raves (but mostly rants) about following a 2nd division team.

I am often greeted with the reaction of “Really?  Why?” when I tell people I am a Reading fan.  And it’s not the easiest explanation really.  Reading are toiling around in the relegation zone of the Championship this season, after flirting with immediate promotion back to the Prem last year.  So how did I become a fan of a mediocre 2nd division team?

It all started in 2005-06.  This was the year I really started following the EPL as a league instead of just catching which ever game happened to be on TV that week.  As I  was watching West Brom, Sunderland, and Birmingham go down, I started to take note of Reading who had been tearing up the 2nd division.  The Royals eventually finished first, with a record 106 points, losing only 2 games in the whole season.

As 06-07 rolled around, I began shopping for an EPL team as my interest in the league grew.  Not satisfied with just cheering for quality football, I wanted to ride the highs and the lows (and now the very lows) with a team.  I wanted to give high fives when we scored and roll my eyes and look to the sky when we lost.  But I’ve never been a front runner.  I couldn’t just go out and choose a Big 4 team so I would be on board with a proven champion.  So here is a scrappy promoted team, off to a good start in the Prem in the beginning of 2006.  And I said why not?  They have two Americans?  Even better.

So as the 06-07 season evolved, it seemed like Reading were a team built to stay in the first division.  They exceeded all expectations by finishing 8th, just one spot out of UEFA Cup qualifying position.  Steve Coppell seemed like a Premiership level manager.  And they played some gritty, positive soccer, generally not throwing all 11 guys behind the ball.  So I did it.  I bought my blue and white hooped jersey and joined the Royal faithful.

And then the 07-08 season rolled around.  We started the year brightly, and were mid-table in January.  But after a few embarrassing results (a 7-4 loss at Portsmouth) and a horrible string of home defeats, we found ourselves in the relegation zone on the last day of the season.  Despite beating Derby 4-0, we went down on goal differential when Fulham managed a 1-0 win to stay up.  And then I thought to myself, “shit, well now what?”  I wouldn’t be able to see Reading play on TV at all.  And I would have a tough time even wrangling up video highlights.  But, I had made my choice.  And fans don’t abandon their teams just because they have a lousy season.

So since then, I have seen a total of two Reading games.  Watching both online, on my computer.  The 2nd game I managed to catch was Reading’s 0-2 home defeat to Burnley that gave them a Play-off Final berth and ended Reading’s promotion hopes.  Since that, the last game of last season, the manager has left, along with almost every player from the Premiere League season.  They have no Americans, with Bobby Convey now stinking it up in the MLS and Marcus Hahnemann moving to newly promoted Wolverhampton.  But I remain loyal to my Royals.  Following match reports online.  Cursing the terrible job gaffer Brendan Rodgers has done (all without seeing a game he has coached).  And still dusting off that blue and white jersey once in a while.  I’m just hoping I get to see them in the Prem again sometime soon.

Reading lost away to Derby 2-1 on the weekend.  I caught the game report on BBC.  We’re currently in 22nd place, just outside the relegation zone.

Posted via web from The Philly Soccer Page

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