Friday, August 18, 2006

SEASON TO BE CHEERFUL? The Reading FC Premiership Prospectus 06/07

But we're never gonna survive, unless we get a little crazy. Perhaps Seal had Reading FC in mind when those lyrics were written, for if you believe the doom merchants then our chances of success (and for success read 'survival') in the Premiership in the forthcoming season have been hindered by the typical Coppellism frugalness we have come to expect over the past 34 months of Sir Steve's reign. Floyd on Football begs to differ and backs the management and the board 100%. Well, sort of.

7 years ago, Reading finished in a typically drab midtable position in the old Division 2. Bradford City celebrated promotion to the Premiership, gambled big money, failed and were down within 2 seasons and down again within another 3 having fought off possible liquidation. 6 years ago, Reading again finished in midtable in Division 2 whilst Ipswich Town went up to the big league, qualified for europe at first go, spent money like it was going out of fashion and were relegated the following season and have remained financially crippled in the Championship ever since. When Reading kick off against Middlesbrough tomorrow, pointless Ipswich attempt to haul themselves off the bottom of the Championship table with a home game against Hull whilst Bradford City travel to glamorous Gresty Road in a League One fixture. Flashing cash you simply haven't got isn't just risky, it's potentially death or glory stuff.

That said, however talented this young Reading team is, surely we could have expected an outlay of more than 2 million pounds on transfer fees this summer? Sunderland had spent 3 times that this time last year and ended up with less points than an Ashmead School university applicant. This Reading team is hungrier than Michelle McManus during Lent, but is sheer desire enough to keep up with the big boys? We are about to find out, for any last ditch attempts to bring in cover at the back before the historic first Premiership fixture appear to have failed although both Coppell and Hammond have assured us that one, maybe two, signings will be made before deadline day at the end of the month. What happens in the transfer market in the next fortnight may shape our destiny for the season.

Do we have enough to compete? We must surely play the way we did last season to be a success; pace, power and counter attacking worked wonders for Wigan and West Ham last term. Premiership teams will take a while to suss out how to handle the nippy and tricky likes of Doyle and Convey; Kitson and Lita have made the step up to Championship level with ease and talented goal poachers will find the net at any level provided the service is good - and besides Convey, we have plenty of options in that department with Seol, Little, Oster and Hunt vying for their places in a tight, competitive squad. Sidwell must live up to his contract rebel hype in the Premiership otherwise he might have to eat a large portion of humble pie whilst Gunnarsson and Harper should be able to mix it.

At the back is perhaps where we appear to have the most to worry about. Can Murty, Ingimarsson and Sonko make the step up? Floyd on Football is totally confident in the ability of Nicky Shorey at left back, but Sam Sodje, who looked at times like Frank Bruno on Ice during Brentford's recent play-off failures, will really need to up his game. There is plenty of young talent to supplement what we already have in the likes of Shane Long, Simon Cox, Curtis Osano and Johnny Hayes but the very fact that, scratching below the surface of our small but perfectly formed first team squad, we may have to rely on such inexperience at some stage given an injury epedimic is in itself more daunting than the thought of the big spending opposition we will face. Will the fringe players be capable of stepping up to the plate?

Whatever happens between now and next May (and Floyd on Football is not prepared to forecast given the wretched offerings last August:- "a top half finish" hesitantly predicted for Reading, relegation for Watford, Wolves for automatic promotion), we are entering uncharted territory for Reading Football Club - now the oldest football club in the Premiership. Many of the sporting media have smugly tipped us for the drop already. Floyd on Football is hopeful that it is us who are feeling smug in 9 months time.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home