Staring Down the Barrel of a Gun

In 62 days, Reading have collected a mere six points. During that time, only one win has been registered. They have only scored over one goal a game twice in 11 games. The opposition has scored twice in 8 of those 11 fixtures.

No matter which set of statistics one would care to throw, none of them look particularly pretty.

We now have 84 days left of this disastrous season and for most Reading fans, it is now safe to say, they have had enough of what the current management appear to be able to muster from this squad.

A squad that has largely been assembled by the current men in charge, and lately, having spent an enormous amount of money in comparison to previous seasons. The points of failure are many and of those many can be attributed to the management – that much is an inconvenient truth.

The only mitigating factor that could be defendable are the injuries to key players, such as Swift and Obita for large parts of the season. Otherwise, a litany of errors has left the fans on the verge of begging for a change.

The persistence of a system that is now so easily read by the opposition that we form as much threat as a kitten. The unwillingness to change from that system to one that some sort of tempo can be found, or a formation that would at least help with minimising the defensive errors that have become the hallmark of the defence. The insistence on playing a 36 year old striker who’s better days have long since passed, sadly. The endless tinkering with a midfield that, at last count, has had 13 different combinations. Those are just the on the field issues.

Off the field, Jaap Stam has managed only to alienate almost every generation of fan, apportion blame to anyone but himself and reduce what, on paper, is without doubt, one of decent potential into an unproductive gibbering mess.

A psychologist would have a field day with what the players must be having to deal with once they go over the white line. The body language shown is tentative, withdrawn and negative. Any creativity is negligible and rarely is successful. The mere basics of professional football – passing, tackling, movement, ball control now seem to be the hardest of tasks to achieve. Lest we forget some criminal defending, arguments with team-mates and in-actions and actions towards the fans themselves.

In interests of fairness, I have tried to find something to balance out the failures; but there are none to find. Anything and everything that could be differed, bettered, matured or evolved simply has not happened.

There is little to justify keeping Stam in the job. Many managers have had better form than this and still lost their position. Any citing of a three year plan is moot as what club does not have a plan of sorts? Our plan currently is no better than one of a startup creche. The Chinese may have their eyes on the bigger picture, but if they do not start to control the nuts and bolts the wheels will soon fall off.

The mere thought of entering League One creates more financial issues that would be enough to cover an article much longer than this….and none of them would be ‘good’. Let’s not kid ourselves; a reset from League One would not be a walk in the park, nor would it be ‘for the best’.

We have 84 days left to arrest this trainwreck of a season. The change needs to come and come soon. There is only one course of action left to take.