A shot against the post, two great saves by the keeper, a header off
the line. All this before the deserved goal which came after dominating
play and a good passing movement. Unfortunately, I am not talking about
Reading, but the team who were bottom of the league.
Obviously we are not scoring goals at present. We are not missing them
either. We are not creating.
I feel desperately sorry for Butler who must have had his worst game ever
yesterday. He didn't want the ball, lacked his usual zest for the game
and we need him back. He needs players who are going to give him decent
service but where is that going to come from? Yesterday I though Forster
started well and looked lively, but does anyone know what he is going
to do, and does he ever look up? He is at his best running at the opposition
cutting the ball back for others to score. Rouggier has all the skill
in the world at this level, but he must use it where he can hurt the opposition.
Cureton looked the sharpest and Henderson gave us the usual variation,
and if he does keep getting better and better then we'll have a very good
Which of the midfield players has the ability to slide a ball through?
Which of them can play a one-two off the front men and go for the return
with confidence? Which of them has the ability (or permission) to make
runs beyond the frontmen? It is in this area that we are not able to dominate
teams. The record of the strikers shows that they will score, the defence
has tightened up and Whitehead was superb again yesterday. It is the midfield
that needs an injection of class. The alternative is to go to 5-3-2. We
have seen some very poor performances this season.
Against Cardiff we were clueless, against Stoke gutless and yesterday
just hopeless. Tactically we were naive. It was impossible to see the
pattern that we were trying to play. Some individuals did OK, three of
the back four at least. Where was Robinson for their goal?
We were playing the bottom team in the league and our best player was
our keeper. That sums it up.
It needs to get better!
-- Ken C
What a disappointment.
The goal in the 90th minute from a hard working Bury side always looked
like it was a possible ending. And so it was. To be honest it was no less
than they deserved. They looked streets better than Wycombe last week,
and made Reading again look totally inept. So why does this team ebb and
flow, and how can the same team that plays some great passing football
at times look SO bad at others? It has to be tactics.
I am not one of those who wants to bash Pardew every time things don't
go well, but I have to say today's performance cannot be all about lack
of effort on the park. Why did we revert to 4-4-2 when the team has been
struggling to score, and at last were faced with a team billed as the
worst in the division? It beats me. They looked like they had two extra
men on the pitch and were up our lads backsides the whole game, giving
them no room to create anything. Which of course with their massed formation
at the back, they did have. Butler struggled and never looked like scoring
even if he stayed on till midnight.
Fozzy's pace worried them a couple of times, but in truth few real chances
were created. There was no room for the usual surging runs by Murty and
Igoe, and all in all it was diabolical to watch. When Henderson came on
I thought the game turned. He at last gave them something to think about
and even looked good with the ball at his feet. Rougier ran around a lot
but in truth created little. Cureton looked like he would score eventually,
and created the only real chances of the game, but there is only so much
you can do in 12 minutes at the end! I feel we need a couple more quality
players, and some more imaginative tactics to get out of this division,
because at the moment we've got no chance whatsoever! I don't know if
there is an answer with the side we have, but I felt Henderson and Cureton
showed enough in the final section of the game to suggest that they must
be first choice, and that we have got to stick with them until they start
scoring, and not keep switching the strikers around.
No one builds any confidence that way. After that? Well I hate to say
it... is Pardew good enough to get us up? I am sure some other correspondents
are going to be less kind... and maybe they are right?
-- Gary - Woking
It seems to me that Alan Pardew is spoilt for choice when it comes
to strikers, bit like Fergie at United really, but his excuse is based
on Premier and Euro commitments where over the campaign he needs everyone
of the four or six he employs. Not so at Reading. Butler and Cureton must
be first choice based on their record of last season. Fozzie will fit
in just behind the front two to give pace and width. So why do we bring
the divisions best goal poacher on with just 23 minutes left against a
team like Bury? Sorry Mr Pardew but your team selection leaves a lot to
be desired. You play the best team every game without fail or we will
be in the same division next year. I would suggest you give Mr Rougier
a little shooting practice ( How many goals has he scored since leaving
Port Vale)? and Mr Rooster a lesson on keeping the ball on the deck and
passing to a Reading Player. We lost our auto promotion slot thanks to
Colchester last year. Suggest their fall from from the top of Division
two this year should be continued with a good thumping by our boys, that
is if Mr P selects the right team.
-- Disappointed Devon life long supporter
Having lived in Newcastle for the last 4 years I have missed the opportunity
to watch the Royals in action. So when I finally got the chance yesterday
I was hoping to see us destroy a team that had lost its last 9 games!
How wrong can you be?? In fact Bury had the chances to win the match,
thank god they couldn't finish for toffee. To point at any one problem
would be hard so here's a list of what I reckon is going wrong (as I know
sod all about football management these may be incorrect!);
1) Robinson is a massive pile of SH@TE. Harsh I know but you should really
expect a defender to have some defensive or even attacking qualities.
2) The midfield stays in the middle, there are no players getting wide,
thus no variation in attack.
3) Rather than passing to feet we seem to feel the need to hoof the ball
up in the air. This is a major problem as we are a top quality side when
the ball is on the floor but cannot compete with larger teams in the air.
4) Someone needs to tell Forster that there are 9 other outfield players
on the pitch and he's allowed to pass to them.
5) We really need a player who can put his foot on the ball and slow the
game down and use the ball sensibly. Preferably the same person would
be able to cross the ball from set pieces and maybe even have a shot.
Now I've had my rant, I'd just like to say how nice it was to hear Parky
is getting his testomonial and to see Cureton coming back to fitness.
It was a very disappointing performance and result. We were unconvincing,
unimpressive, but worst of all, boring. I suggested a while ago that we
were on the brink of something good. Forget it. On the evidence of this
performance, and indeed the other recent debacles, we have a few more
seasons in the lower divisions. The management has a responsibility for
ensuring some sort of confidence, enthusiasm, and spirit.
All three were sadly missing.
-- Kevin, Worthing Royal.
The positive news is that with everyone else dropping points were
within a win or two of getting back up there, the concerning point is
will we, confidence is low and the team isnt clicking. For example,
the second half against Wycombe seemed pretty poor to me given we were
playing against a 10 man team that were already beaten. We should have
put 5 or 6 past them.
Lessons from last season:
We needed a big target man.
We needed a play maker to help Caskey
We should have bought one or two class players around February for the
final push to make sure we went up automatically
Caskey should have played in the play off final.
Weve got Henderson (but hes young and cant be relied
on for a whole season)
We havent (even) got Caskey
Weve not bought big
literally, we seem to have a midfield the
size of Igoe and when its muddy and were playing the big cloggers
of this division, guess what.
We need to buy now and break out of the division a la Fulham, not muddle
along in hope. If we werent good enough last season why do we think
virtually the same team will do it now. And I remember how Bristol City
took us apart twice, and theyre still with us.
Harpers not Caskey and nor will he be consistently, hes
only 19 and too much is expected of him. I watched him on Saturday, he
does show himself but the team dont give it to him and then he disappears.
What we need is one or two class midfield players (Tim Sherwood on loan?),
players that know too much for this division. Id always admired
Kavanagh and its Cardiff that pay out a million for him, what does
that tell you. Defence and Attack are fine what we need is something in
midfield and at present we havent got it. Its called class,
it doesnt come cheap but without it, its second division again
next season. The club cant afford that and the support, given success
on the pitch, is there.
Finally, Pardew. Ive heard a lot of rubbish about the management
team and getting rid of them. Mad Dog it seems to me is the motivator,
dont think on his own he could do it. And Pardew might not be brilliant
but once he puts the players out there its up to them and at the
moment theyre the ones not doing it. Some of our play on Saturday
was clueless but is that the Managers fault? If I balls it up at
work, is it my Managers fault? I dont think so. Changing Pardew
now will only set us back and hes done well to get us where he has,
remember how bad we were when he took over. And when it comes to the money
weve spent, to put it in perspective, how does it compare to Fulham,
or even Man City, when they were in Division Two? So whilst he might be
good at finding nuggets in the lower leagues lets not rely on just
One point on tactics, if Rooster's not doing it why not go 5:3:2 with
the three Adies across the back and the wing backs Murty and, say, Alex
Ill go back to my first point. No one seems to be pulling away yet,
the league is there for the taking but at the moment we dont look
like doing it at all. We need some class in the middle, get it now and
we could be away. And yes I was a Caskey fan. No one else did for us what
he did and now hes gone, no ones doing it for us now.
Absolute 100% total bollocks! If we get nothing from Colchester and
Swindon, Pardew and Allen must go! I've not seen such crap since the depths
of the old Division Four days at Elm Park. Against a team that are on
a run of ten consecutive defeats and rock bottom of the league, we were
lucky not to get beat 3-1!
-- Nick Newbury
I have today witnessed a display of such mind boggling ineptitude it defies
belief. I must have watched a worse game than this but the only problem
is I honestly can't remember when. It really is enough to drive a man
to drink, make mine a large one please. There isn't a word in the English
Oxford that adequately describes the utter bilge served up yesterday.
I know, I looked. Bury arrived at the Mad Stad, going for a club record
10 defeats on the spin, their coach having broken down en-route and with
about as much hope as Bin-Laden being awarded the Nobel peace prize. Only
to be met by a Royals side, bereft of ideas, imagination, confidence and
after this performance, any realistic hope of promotion.
Lets be under know illusions, this was a point salvaged for us, as a very
ordinary Bury side had very acceptable chances to have put the game beyond
us by half time. Their equaliser on the stroke of full time was the very
least their efforts deserved. So what's gone wrong? Pardew blames his
strikers, true, Butler seems out of salts but do we need to remind him
that Jamie and Butler scored over 60 goals between them last season, so
have they suddenly become poor players. I think not. And is it their fault
we keep on conceding soft goals? Anne (the weakest link) Robinson was
again caught ball watching for the goal and Addie should be dealing with
bread and butter crosses like that for a pastime.
I still think we have as strong a squad as anybody in the division. People
may say it's easy to point the finger at the manager and the coaching
staff. Well, it is easy when they are almost certainly the root cause
of the problem. Pardew and Allen may be good motivators (and I'm not entirely
sure that's true) but its becoming painfully apparent they have not got
the cunning and guile to educate the players on the finer points of tactical
awareness and even less idea of how to change things during a game when
its so obvious that things are not working. Madejski, change it now before
it's too late. It seems certain that the likes of Peter Taylor will soon
be available, a man with a proven track history of tactical awareness,
an asset so blatantly lacking under the present regime. Pay him whatever
he wants, anything to get us out of this crap division. Colchester away
next week. Doesn't exactly inspire the imagination does it.
Please somebody save me from this nightmare.
-- Lobby, Thatcham
I really expected a goal-fest, a good game for our strikers to get
a bit of confidence back and a big boost after some inconsistent performances...
however I witnessed a clueless performance that was so poor that I thought
I'd been beamed back in time to the Tommy Burns era! I really thought
the Cambridge game was probably one of the worst games of football I have
ever witnessed but at least we won that, today was a disgrace and I can't
put my finger on the worrying lack of tactics and ideas shown by the players.
I think the Club should stop selling the 'tenacity,spirit,flair' T-shirts,
it's getting a bit embarrassing, wearers may get sued under the Trades
Description Act. Surely the chance to see Rougier, Butler, Forster AND
Cureton in one afternoon should be every Royals fan's dream but the fact
is that we are having real problems scoring goals, there doesn't seem
to be any confidence, what the hell is going on at the training pitch?
Butler has been a big favourite, his work rate has often been under-rated
but yesterday he looked as though he just didn't give a shit, he didn't
win one header, in fact he didn't bother jumping half the time, it almost
seemed like he was playing poorly on purpose. Cureton looked lively when
he came on and if current form is anything to go by, Henderson and Cureton
should start and get a few games together under their belts. Henderson
has really impressed, I thought he was a real donkey in his few appearances
last season, but his touch and distribution has improved and at least
he gives 100% and he really deserves his chance, something he probably
could not have imagined happening with all the quality strikers at the
Igoe and Murty generally have been excellent this season, again like Henderson,
they made an effort, and generally contribute to all the best attacking
moves. Nothing comes from the middle of the pitch at all, there is no
creative midfielder as Caskey was (sometimes)...Harper is very poor, he
is still passing backwards instead of trying to prise open defences.
Well done to Bury, they forced a couple of good saves from Whitehead and
missed 2 absolute sitters (the "best" of which was so bad that their striker
even pretended to be injured because he was so ashamed...great stuff!!)
I want to be positive, (I was pissed off with some dickheads shouting
for Pardew to resign) but it's up to the Royals to make us positive.
One last thing, it is great that The Club have agreed to Parky's testimonial,
but in my opinion it is a disgrace that there was any doubt about it in
the first place. The Club says that players earn a reasonable wage already,
which is true, but the fans don't think of it like that, it is a chance
for The Club AND the fans to show appreciation for his loyalty and commitment
to the Royals and I know that every fan would have supported him and organized
something if RFC had stood by their decision not to allow one.
-- Steve W
I cant find words to describe the utter crap I witnessed on Saturday,
1 point from 2 games against sides in the bottom four, hardly promotion
form. Make no mistake we were lucky to escape with a draw on Saturday.
If 'Anne' Robinson is now not the worst left back in the world then I'm
the pope, he was again no where to be seen at the far post when Bury equalised.
I agree with LOBBY THATCHAM, Pardew out.
-- Bob, Newbury
I have to agree with a lot of what has been said.
If the squad is as good as the manager and chairman say it is then who
takes the responsibility for failure? The answer is obvious. It is clear
that the manager has a real problem with Cureton and he was hoping and
praying that his no.1 choice,Forster,would do the business. All of this
is reminiscent of Branfoot-the arrogance where the manager always knows
best and the fans know nothing. How fit do players have to be? Many other
teams in this league have to resort to patched-up old pros or totally
untried youngsters to even put out a side some weeks and yet our players
have to be fit enough for the Olympics before they make it to the bench.
Outwardly the players show unity (pre-match huddle etc) but in a game
they seldom show the same team ethic-it looks like "Them and Us",i.e defenders
and forwards-you play at your end of the pitch and we shall play at ours.
How dare the manager call us a footballing side when the 2 Adies and Robbo
are obviously told to whack the ball forward at every opportunity-how
is it that central defenders are so often asked to play the final pass?That
is why they are central defenders, because they aren't good enough to
play up front or in midfield.
Like many others I feel that there is so much that is wrong it is possible
that we need a wiser old hand to come in and take a fresh look before
it is too late-look how Venables and Hoddle reorganised Middlesbrough
and Southampton last season using virtually the same players. Venables,Hoddle
and Graham are probably regarded as too expensive,but how expensive is
it for us to stay in this league?
Just a few more comments about certain players:- Whitehead-one day he
will kick or throw to the right areas and assert himself on crosses-shame
because his shot-stopping is terrific. Robbo-if ever a player has gone
backwards. Started off well but for the last 6 months has totally forgotten
hoe to tackle,how to close a man down and how to stop his man crossing
the ball. He also now has joined the aimless welly it forward brigade.
Jones-so much has already been said. There are some players who suffer
from Meaker syndrome,i.e we are so relieved that when they have just an
ordinary game (rather than diabolical) that we fall into the trap of thinking
that they can actually play a bit-other examples are Neil Smith, Stuart
Gray, Jim McIntyre etc. etc.
I even heard someone suggest that Parky's place might be under threat-sick
joke or what! The midfield - it's just not working - the manager thinks
it is the front men but we all know that it is the lack of quality in
the final ball.
After the Bournemouth game it was all the fault of the midfield and after
Saturday it was the fault of the front men - was it the fault of the front
men that Robbo didn't bother to challenge the wide man against Bury or
Bournemouth or at Cardiff in the play-off. What do the manager and all
his coaches see? Is there a total blind spot as far as Robbo is concerned?
What is it about Reading and left-backs - most other clubs seem to be
able to get them and yet we have struggled since Colin Meldrum! I don't
want to single out Robbo but he is the best example of the management
seemingly not knowing what they are doing. Maybe Pardew uses too many
long or difficult words (such as catalyst) for the players to understand
and Allen too many short words.
Whatever is going on at our club the players give the impression that
they do not know what they are meant to be doing, so whose fault is that?
Well I kind of expected this. Knowing how poor Bury were, and that
they had just been thrashed by Oldham. We were either going to give them
a going over, ala Wycombe, or repeat the Bournemouth farce. How we got
a point I just don't know.
I disagree with Pardew's defensive analysis. Right from the start we were
leaving ourselves wide open. They didn't break often, but when they did,
they were clear through. Sad to say but I called the equaliser. As the
ball came in I asked a mate, "who's picking him up on the far post?" Answer?
bloody nobody. I don't know what's wrong but Butler is clearly out of
sorts. He still works his socks off, but there's something not right.
Nicky Forster. When will you learn to look up? You aren't the only option.
All through the game we never seemed to take them seriously enough. We
just watch them string together an endless stream of passes, while being
incapable of completing more than 3 passes ourselves. I can't put my finger
on the problem, but I do think that when Pardew says we need to keep people
guessing as to how we will play, that shouldn't include his own team.
I think we should abandon these constant formation changes. Find a formula
that works, and stick to it. It's easier for other players to come in
to the side without throwing off the balance of the team.
Sure other teams will learn we always play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 etc.. So what?
If we are good enough and have the ability, we will win more than we lose.
As for those who were calling for Pardew's head.. Come on people. We have
time to put this right. I'm not ready to throw in the towel on Pardew
& Allen yet.
-- Paul, Thatcham Royal