Tim Holland speaks to Tony Burrell, Madejski Stadium season ticket holder, about where it all went wrong, bouncing back and Jussi’s 48th birthday

How do you rate Reading’s season

How do you rate Reading’s season?

Our start to the season wasn’t too bad but from November onwards we were abysmal. I think the cracks started to emerge and we just started caving in a little. I think all Reading fans knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming into the Premier League and that a relegation fight might have been on the cards but in fairness we didn’t even see the fight for most of the season. Most fans just feel a bit let down. It feels a bit like we didn’t take our opportunity.

Do you think the club made the most of the January transfer window?

I think the fans realised that if the squad wasn’t improved in January then we would be relegated. The club’s response was to buy a young lad from Crawley who played well against us in the cup, an unknown Portuguese defender and Stephen Kelly, hardy inspiring stuff. I think this was where it went wrong for us. I understand that the club didn’t want to do a QPR and buy mercenaries for over-thetop prices but at the same time if we’d have bought some quality players, strategically at the start of the transfer window, then we could have easily got out of the relegation zone in four and a half months.

Brian McDermott was sacked in early March. What was your view on that situation?

Brian McDermott split fans’ opinions at the start of the season but after a number of shocking results between November and December which I think included seven straight defeats, the majority of fans turned on him. Personally I don’t think he was capable of managing in the Premier League and his tactics and substitutions were constantly being questioned. Whether he was backed in the transfer window is something that also needs to be understood because some of his transfers were poor to say the least.

What have you made of Nigel Adkins’ arrival?

I think it was too late for Nigel to really have an impact as by the time he was in place it was the end of March. If it had happened in January or February perhaps things might have been different. I like Nigel and at least we’re getting a manager who will be able to get us out of the Championship but there is a feeling that we haven’t improved on McDermott particularly with this appointment.

Pavel Pogrebnyak is reportedly on £65k a week, what are your thoughts on his season?

I hope he’s not on the £65k a week that was rumoured when he signed last summer. He’s scored five goals in the Premier League which isn’t the best return but he does have more to his game than just goals. Fortunately Adam Le Fondre has been a revelation this season and his goals have taken the pressure off Pavel and our other strikers.

Do you think you’ll be able to return to the Premiership at the first time of asking?

I’d like to think so given how poor the Championship has been this season. I think it’s always difficult to bounce back at the first attempt but if we keep the core of the team together then we have a chance.

Who should West Ham fans be wary of in the Reading when the club’s meet?

Adam Le Fondre especially can be difficult to play against and always goes for the shot on goal. I would also say Jimmy Kebe after what happened last season!

Which of your players do you think will move in the summer?

I don’t think we’ll be able to afford Pavel Pogrebnyak next year so I think he’ll be one of the first departures out of the Madejski. Given the amount of goals Adam le Fondre has scored I think it will be difficult to hold onto him. Also Alex McCarthy and Hal Robson-Kanu are both players that I think will move on after having good seasons this year.

Do you think Reading will be active in the summer transfer window?

I think it will be more of a forced decision that anything. I think we’ll struggle to keep hold of a couple of players and we’ll look to thin the squad. Also Nigel Adkins didn’t get the chance to put his mark on the squad in January so this will be his first opportunity to do so.

What’s been your opinion of West Ham this season?

You’ve done a lot better than I expected to be honest. I think at times your style of play has been negative and although you do play decent football it gets undermined when you resort to long balls. That being said I’d love Reading to be West Ham’s position with a game to go.

You’ve done a lot better than I expected to be honest. I think at times your style of play has been negative and although you do play decent football it gets undermined when you resort to long balls. That being said I’d love Reading to be West Ham’s position with a game to go.

Which West Ham players would you have in your squad?

A lot has been said about players like Diame, Jarvis, Nolan and Carroll but I think you’ve really stood out defensively. Winston Reid and James Collins/Tomkins have been outstanding and Collins especially is happy to throw himself at anything heading for goal. Jussi’s done well considering he’s approaching his 48th birthday as well!

What’s your prediction for both clubs next season?

I think West Ham will struggle next year as your long ball tactic becomes even more predictable – 16th. Reading slip into the Championship Play offs and seal promotion in the final.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.