Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughReading FC- 2010/11 in perspective - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Reading FC- 2010/11 in perspective - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Reading FC- 2010/11 in perspective

Way back in August 2010, when Ryan Giggs was doing what he does in the privacy of not his own bed, Osama Bin Laden wasn’t hanging out with Spongebob Squarepants and Adam Johnson was the saviour of the England team, something depressingly predictable happened; Reading sold their star player.

With the departure of Gylfi Sigurdsson for a fee of around £6.5 million, a 20-goal a season gap needed plugging. The answer, of course, was to sign a 32-year old left back from League One for around 75 grand and hope someone else will step up to the goal scoring plate. Which is pretty much exactly what happened, in retrospect.

Essentially, Reading’s season can be broken down into thirds. The first third, in the wake of the loss of Sigurdsson, Reading were decidedly average as the management team looked for a new way to play as 4-5-1 without the Icelandic midfielder wasn’t going to work as we possessed no other player that had the talent to play in the hole. This period was characterised by uninspiring performances against the likes of Scunthorpe, a threadbare Portsmouth side and Middlesbrough.

The second third saw the team develop into a combination of great entertainers and draw specialists as the best starting XI began to take shape and Shane Long started to find his scoring boots. Superb performances such as the 4-0 win away to Burnley and the 4-1 win at home to Bristol City were mixed with roller coaster matches at the Madejski against Doncaster (4-3) and Norwich (3-3) contrasted with scoreless draws with Leeds and Coventry and a creeping fear that this team lacked the killer edge to challenge at the top of the league.

The final third of the season saw Reading become the most in form team in the league with just one defeat in the last 20 games (OK, they aren’t identically sized thirds), including eight wins on the bounce in March and April which saw us rocket into the play-off places with an outside chance of automatic promotion being reached. Whilst no opposition was really torn apart, the competency and professionalism of the performances were a sight to behold as was the power of Long, Noel Hunt, Jimmy Kebe and Jobi McAnuff to change games.

Ultimately, the play-offs ended in heartbreak, yet a-bloody-gain, but when putting the season in context, we have probably overachieved given the fact the club is now a selling club that has to pawn off its better players to survive, which will probably happen this summer too. A 5th place finish is not to be sniffed at, particularly on our budget whilst the continuing blooding of Academy youngsters into the first team is a sight to warm all fans’ hearts.

The team ethic of Reading is important to our relative success and has been for about 5 or 6 years but there are still stand out players. Long, with his 25 goals in all competitions, grabs the headlines and rightly so as he has all the attributes to be a top striker; pace, strength, a good jump, an eye for goal and the stamina to chase and harry for 90 minutes.

However, other players are in need of a mention. Kebe for being one of the most terrifying wingers in the league and being nigh on unplayable on his day (that day being Leicester at home in April). Mikele Leigertwood for strengthening the midfield and launching us on our superb second half of the season form. Ian Harte and Andy Griffin for providing shed loads of experience in a backline that was constantly changing throughout the year and the former for his threat for set pieces. Matt Mills, not everyone’s cup of tea, but somewhere inside him lurks a top drawer defender as his performance at Everton showed. Jem Karacan coming on leaps and bounds this year, probably aided by the presence of Leigertwood next to him, and showing his potential to be a very good box-to-box midfielder with an eye for goal.

However, despite the relative succes, the argument rages about the long term aims of the club; are we doing all we can to get to the Premier League or content to be a challenger in the Championship, balancing the books and hoping to get the best out of what we have for the foreseeable future? The summer’s comings and goings will go a long way to answering that but to take this season in isolation, one can’t complain with an appearance at Wembley and a FA cup quarter-final.

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