Posted by: RFC Blogger from Bridgend | February 20, 2011

Is mediocre ok? RFC 1:1 Watford 18.02.11

Right now we are bang slap in the middle of the table (as close as you can be anyway with an even number of teams in the league), which when you consider we have drawn nearly half of our games is probably not surprising. 

Looking at our stats positively, the team have only walked off the pitch having lost 8 times, only four teams have lost fewer (QPR, Notts Forest, Leeds and Norwich) and not surprisingly they are all above us in the league. Unfortunately the team have only walked off the pitch with the winning feeling 10 times. The other 14 times they have shared the points with the opposition, whether this felt fair or not is another matter, but it is the case. The last five games have been telling ones.

    Goals:        
    them us points dropped points    
away Cardiff 2 2 1 2   gave them a dodgy first goal, late dubious free kick, at times would have settled for a draw, then it felt like a loss
home QPR 1 0 0 1   late goal – hoped for a draw against the leaders
away Norwich 2 1 0 1   late goal – away from home hoped for a draw
away Sheff Utd 1 1 1 2   late goal – we should have beaten them
home Watford 1 1 1 0   poor performance lucky to get a point
        3 6    

 

Instead of 15 points we got 3. Based on the games I think we should have had a further 6, but late goals against us, some sloppy play and the general lack of finishing ability cost us those points and have seen the team slip down the table.

Team  Played Actual Points Actual Position Max points over 32 games Potential position on 32 games
QPR 32 61 1 61 1
Nott’m Forest 31 56 2 59 2
Swansea 32 56 3 56 3
Cardiff 32 55 4 55 4
Norwich 32 55 5 55 5
Leeds 32 53 6 53 6
Leicester 32 51 7 51 7
Burnley 31 47 8 50 8
Watford 31 45 11 48 9
Millwall 32 46 9 46 10
Hull 32 46 10 46 11
Ipswich 31 42 13 45 12
Reading 32 44 12 44 13
Coventry 31 39 15 42 14
Barnsley 32 41 14 41 15

 

We are into the last third of the season. Looking back at the first 14 games, we won 6, drew 4 and lost 4. Just to win a game would be good, although I have to remind myself what that feels like as its been over a month since we have won in the league. This feels like an annual cycle. In lots of recent seasons we have started well and then lost our way after Christmas. Last season was the exception where we started badly – and then had a good cup run which seemed to turn our season around.

We are still in the cup now of course although running a round behind everyone else! Most Round 5 games were played yesterday, but our next game is confirmed as against Everton on 1st March (I wonder if it will be on the telly?!) – even though the commentator on BBC’s football focus mistakenly said that Burnley are the only Championship side still in the FA Cup. I can only assume he was distracted by his team (I think he’s a Crawley fan) who were playing later against Man United. It’s a bit odd this year, there are a number of Premiership sides left in the Cup, two Championship sides, and then a few League 1 teams and a non-league team.

Anyway back to my title. The Royals are mid table. I expect that Brian McDermot would not be happy with mediocre as a description of his team as if I were in his shoes I would not be happy with anything less than my best effort. As a professional you would want your team to be seen as very good. As a fan I would too. But maybe for the likes of a town like Reading, a team that is usually there or there abouts in the league below the Premiership, is as good as it gets. Should we settle for this?

Being a Reading fan is not boring or dull, as they promise to deliver, keep us on the edge of our seats, have good runs, have their share of records (most goals, most points, most wins at the beginning of a season, the odd championship, they’ve won at Wembley), behave decently and in phases play decent football.  But maybe they are never going to be as excellent as they sometimes make us think they can be. And maybe that is what being a supporter is really like for most fans except if you support Barcelona or Manchester United.

My guess is that those teams that get promoted this year will maybe last a season or two in the Premiership, swapping places with some of those other teams that were promoted last year or in recent years. 

Anyway I am droning on now.

My reason for keeping this blog was really to chart the season as it passes by, and put down in words how it feels as the season goes along. Its obvious from the team’s performance this season that it has shown potential and there have been moments of moving in an upward direction. However underneath this there has been a general horizontal direction which means we should not be relegated, but I will be surprised if we make the play offs now. My wistful thinking side is thinking maybe if I give up hope then everything will come together and we won’t be playing Brighton next year!

Talking of my other teams – Brighton were beaten in the cup yesterday, so can concentrate on making the League One Championship and promotion their number one aim – good luck to them.

Crystal Palace beat Sheffield United (which we could not do) and keep themselves above the drop zone, Swansea won and swap places with Cardiff – who lost.

Looking ahead we play Millwall, and in Peter Hood’s words, if we beat them we overtake them in the league which is good psychologically. Looking further ahead we have a number of games against teams above us and teams in the lower positions in the league. My worry is that the Royals will not have the determination of those teams – those wanting to win to get promotion or playoff positions, and those wanting to win to avoid relegation, and may end up treading water or sinking! – I know this is doom and gloom – but 6 games without a win can do that to you! We’ll probably end up being grateful that Everton knock us out of the FA cup – so that we can concentrate on the League!

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