Tim Dellor's Royals Watching: Reading can't fight back after points punishment
Let’s not talk about Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United. It was a horrible evening out, with team selection, formation and tactics all over the place, but all sharply put into perspective by the disturbing injury to visiting player John Fleck. As the result leaves Reading on the brink of the relegation zone I’m just not prepared to discuss the evening any further.
On the other hand, last Saturday the game against Nottingham Forest is well worth some column inches. It was entertaining, exciting, high quality, and at times laugh out loud funny.
We were pleased to be back. At the end of a week during which Reading had been docked six points and having been starved of domestic football during the international football, everyone seemed happy to be at the game, including the players. The biggest crowd of the season so far packed into the SCL Stadium, producing a raucous atmosphere.
You knew it was going to be a good afternoon when, ahead of kick off across the tannoy came the following message – “Would the owner of the Rolls Royce, registration xxx xxx please return to their vehicle”. At the end of a week when Reading had been punished for over-spending it seemed appropriate the fan who had left his lights on or parked illegally drove a Rolls Royce. Reading is a different class.
The game ebbed and flowed throughout, and Scott Dann’s slick finish was a deserved equaliser. A draw felt a just result and everyone went home happy, apart from the club’s owner and his impressively large entourage. He and his groupies were in no mood to head home. After all it was the first time since the Pandemic struck he had been able to attend a game at the club which he bank rolls.
While I was all alone with the manager conducting our usual post-match interview on the touchline, the owner appeared out the tunnel, along with about 20 friends. Considering his team had just played out a draw, been docked points, and he had lost millions keeping the club afloat, he looked remarkably happy.
Unusually, Dai Yongge, who looks considerably older than his 53 years stated on Wikipedia, decided what he really wanted to do was have a running race with a couple of his mates. I guess, when you are worth 26 billion pounds and are amongst the richest people in China, you can do what you want when you want. If you fancy a running race in a Championship stadium, buy it and then pop your trainers on.
He did a lap of the pitch and then did a couple of sprints up and down. Based on Tuesday night’s performance, he is quicker than a couple of the players. Mr Yongge does not look like he is in the gym every day, so watching him recover from this outburst was nerve wracking. Without him there is no Reading FC.
Off to Swansea we go this Saturday. A win is imperative, because the relegation zone is looming.