It was actually a delight last week to flick between Sunday’s matches without having palpitations about who’s scoring where and how that’ll affect us as we were being played off the park by a buoyant Everton celebrating the end of a successful 11 year reign. Surely only the most miserly of West Ham curmudgeons, though, could begrudge a fitting finale for Moyes at Goodison Park and at times the football from Everton was scintillating.
Typical that it was us who had to play the bridesmaid rather than get away with playing out another safe midtable 0-0 end of season tie elsewhere. And talking of end of season 0-0s, in hindsight the previous match against Newcastle had that written all over it if I’d actually stepped back from the excitement of the trip over from the Sandpit to make my solitary Boleyn Ground appearance for the season and properly surveyed the scene. Disappointment in the result and the match in general became a mere afterthought in comparison to the mightiness of the pretty much twelve plus hours of revelry.
Which brings us neatly to this weekend and the hope that the match has a little bit more to offer as a spectacle than two weeks ago because it would be great to finish in 10th and be in the top half of the table and it would be great to stuff Reading for a change because, quite frankly, they tend to do one on us all the time. It’s one of those curious quirks that get thrown up in football all the time but for some reason we tend to be particularly rubbish against Reading. I’ll refer you to the away fixture in the festive period which was possibly the direst of the season.
Last season was even worse with them banging in seven past us over the two fixtures and in the away fixture we successfully managed to get two players sent off to help them along to a comfortable victory. Things fared better in 2007/08 where we scored a hefty four points out of six but nothing can compare to the previous year where our players must have enjoyed a raucous New Year’s Eve – a shambolic 6-0 New Year’s Day mauling led Mr Benayoun to say ‘we played like a bunch of drunks’ – never a truer word said in jest perhaps?
We were rubbish at home against them that season too. So lets finish the season on a high, shall we? We need a win to guarantee a top ten finish but also lets have a performance to banish the ghosts of Reading past into the bargain, sending us off to graze contentedly in our summer pasture before the madness starts all over again in August.