Yes, we promised a regular feature and three weeks on the bounce is not only that, it’s probably some kind of record for us as well. You might notice the change of name, which has come about because yours truly has failed to notice that his newspaper of choice has been running a piece called Joy of Six for, like, forever. No legal threats this time, but I thought it best to get it changed before the writ arrived.
Wigan Athletic – what do you really think of of us?
Personally I’m amazed at how long you’ve managed to survive in the Premier League on small budgets and without a large fan base. I liked the fact that you had a local businessman who cared deeply about the club and bankrolled it to glory, after all it mirrored our own story under Sir John Madejski.
Roberto Martinez is a decent manager who likes to try and play football the right way so there’s no issues there, my only problem is with the fact that you still can’t sell out the DW no matter how cheap the tickets are and how much success you’ve brought to the club. Not that big stadiums and history should entitle you to a place in the top division (if it did we wouldn’t be there…) but with all due credit and respect, Wigan isn’t a fixture anyone looks forward too and it’s hard to see Wigan moving forward long term.
Still, I’d love to be proved wrong and the longer you go on defying the odds, the better it is for smaller clubs in general.
Alan Pardew, Nicky Forster & Jamie Cuerton were bumped off most Wiganers’ Christmas card lists a long time ago. What are your memories of the early noughties and the battle to escape the Second Division?
Mostly ones of frustration and underachievement! As mentioned, Sir John was pumping in about as much as Dave Whelan but we were far more wasteful and it took four years of hard graft to finally get back to the second tier. Like yourselves we were often playing in a brand new but half-full stadium and teams raised their games when they came to the shiny new Madejski Stadium to play the rich boys of Reading. Thankfully after two years of dross under the late Tommy Burns, Alan Pardew came in and gave the club new belief and purpose. We should have won promotion in 2000/01 but bottled it, and drew yourselves in the play-offs.
My memories of those semi-finals is a sea of Orange as around 5,000 Reading fans came up to the North West but that the game itself was fairly boring. The second leg is obviously the stuff of legend for most Reading fans and those crazy final few minutes at the Madejski will live on long in the memory. We then lost horrifically to Walsall in the final but just about squeaked promotion the following year and didn’t look back except for 2005…..
8th May 2005, does the date have any great significance in Reading’s history? If the scorelines had been reversed then you might have made the play-offs, were you ready?
Up until Christmas that season we had looked a great side, more than capable of winning promotion. but we slowly lost traction and injury to Nicky Forster derailed us to the extent that we limped dismally out of the play-off picture. The bulk of that 2005 side would stay with the club and form the foundations of the 2006 team that won promotion with 106 points so the talent was clearly there, it just needed a bit of tweaking, which Coppell did magnificently. Coppell and many of the players have said that the scenes that day gave them fresh impetus to succeed so I guess in some ways we should thank you for that. The strike force you had of Roberts and Ellington was just immense and you more than deserved promotion.
Jason Roberts was our missing link that season, how do Reading fans see him now, how does he fit into Brian McDermott’s plans?
Right now he’s probably our best striker and his experience and work rate have been vital in keeping spirits up and giving the fans something to believe in. He doesn’t look his age and he still creates plenty of problems for Premier League defences so he’s very welcome in Berkshire!
How do you see Saturday’s game panning out, does victory against Everton mean your season is on the up, is it too early for a six-pointer?
Saturday’s win was just vital in so many ways. It’s lifted a huge amount of pressure from the players and staff and it’s given us something to really build on. We’ve had 3 or 4 games this year where we should have won but that fact has been masked by the general doom and gloom about the fan base and now we’ve shown we can get a win, anything is possible.
Even so, Saturday’s game will be vital as you never want to give a relegation rival points. In the grand scheme of things I’d happily trade a win over Everton for a win at Wigan as it’s the results against Wigan, Villa, Southampton etc that will decide our fate.
What’s your ideal method for eating a pie, what flavour do you go for and do you have any sauce with it?
Despite spending three years in Lancaster for Uni and going to football for 18 years, I’m still just not a pie man to be honest! My pre-match meal has always been a hotdog and chips but if they’ve run out then I’ll go for anything with chicken in it and always put a bit of ketchup on it. In my mind ketchup goes with anything!
Thanks Dan, hope you enjoy the game on Saturday, but hope I enjoy it more.
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