Wow, who would have thought we could stick at this long enough to deal with interviewing someone twice? I was thinking of ducking the challenge and finding a different Reading fan this time around, but then I remembered that the last time I chatted with Dan from The Tilehurst End coincided with the last time I saw Latics win a league game in the flesh and the only time that I’ve seen a Spaniard score a hat-trick.
So I got straight onto him…
You spoke very kindly about Wigan the last time we spoke. Has your view changed any now that things are a little tighter? You would have been glad to see us stay up then, I assume you’d be a bit happier to see us go down now?
I still greatly respect all that Wigan have achieved over the past decade or so, they’re certainly an inspiration to any smaller side and some of the results you’ve pulled off have been magnificent over the years. I can’t say my views on that side of things have changed in the past three months but I’d be lying if I said I wanted Wigan to stay up over us this season. Sadly it really is looking like three from four right now and with that in mind, only one of Reading or Wigan look like being a Premier League side come August.
Stick your neck out, who do you reckon the bottom three will be, come the end of the season? Of the realistic candidates, who would you rather see there?
To be honest I’ve tipped us both to go down as I just think Villa will scramble their way out of trouble somehow. In Benteke they’ve got arguably the best player in all four of the bottom teams and when you factor in returning outcasts like Bent… well, I just think they’ll scrape out of it. So for the absence of doubt I think it’ll be QPR, Wigan then Reading in 18th though I’d love more than anything to be wrong about our own prospects!
Assuming you’re keeping the faith and Reading aren’t in your bottom three then what’s going to keep you up? If you’ve doomed yourselves, what would you need to change that?
If I throw my pessimistic side out the window, there are plenty of reasons to think Reading can actually stay up. The first is that we’ve been in very good form since Christmas, with only Tottenham really handing us out a proper beating. Aside from that 3-1 defeat, we’ve only lost by 1 goal to Man City and Stoke with wins over West Brom, Newcastle, West Ham and Sunderland, so we’ve certainly established ourselves as a team that can pick up points.
The move back to 4-5-1 has certainly proved a good one and the signings of Stephen Kelly and Hope Akpan have also added a bit more depth to the squad. Throw in scintillating runs of form for Jimmy Kebe and Adam Le Fondre and we certainly have enough to win most of our key home games.
It’s those home games that provide us our best chance of survival with yourselves, QPR, Aston Villa and Southampton all having to visit the Madejski Stadium before the end of the season. Win those four and we’ll survive. Anything less than 9/10 it’s then I can see my prediction above coming true.
You’ve had more recent experience of it than our fans, sell us the benefits of the Championship.
46 games, with at least one every seven days and usually two.
You get to go to games and not get charged £50 to sit in the away end knowing you’ll get beat. Or book a train ticket and then have the TV companies ruin it by moving the game.
Every single game is winnable.
You usually get to see products from your own academy rise through and get games.
You look forward to an FA Cup/League Cup draw and getting a Premier League side.
Less players roll around/dive/cheat
You stand a chance of actually winning a trophy.
Now for the serious business. The game at our place turned out a bit of a good one (especially for those of us Wigan fans who haven’t spent the last three years looking for any excuse to lay into Jordi Gomez). Are we in for a thriller tomorrow or will the pressure ruin the game? Where do you see the six points ending up?
It’ll be a much tighter game this time around, with Reading probably looking to go 4-5-1, keep it tight then go 4-4-2 in the closing 25 minutes if we haven’t nicked a lead by that stage.
It’s those closing 25 minutes that will provide the most drama as Reading have managed to score in the last 25 of just about every game in 2013, so my advice is to not leave early, or if Wigan are leading then to leave early and then not turn on the radio or look up the result until you’re home and nobody will get offended at you screaming ‘Adam F’ing Le Fondre again?!’
I do think Reading will edge this one 2-1 or maybe 1-0. Wigan aren’t the greatest travellers and we’ve not been dire at home so I think it’s the Reading fans that will go home happy after a very tense 90 minutes.
I’m assuming that we didn’t convince you to take up pie eating last time, but any advice to our travelling fans on where to pick up a decent pastry product? If not then tell us which pub they need to visit, and why?
Alas my trip to the JJB for the 2001 play-offs remains my only visit to Wigan so for now I’ll have to appreciate pies from afar, after my customary pre-game hotdog that is!
Pastry wise you can get some inside the ground which are your standard football ground fare, i.e nothing too spectacular but will still cost you a fair bit. Otherwise you’re probably best off picking up something from the town centre with your usual high street bakeries all present within walking distance of the train station.
If you do fancy a pint, I’ll highly recommend the following guide written by Reading fans over on the Royals Rendezvous site, which gives a comprehensive guide of where you can wet your whistle as well as other practical information on your trip to Berkshire.
Needless to say I don’t think you’ll get any aggro at all from what are some of the most passive fans in the league and hopefully you’ll have a good day… well except for the result.
Regardless I wish you all of the best for the season and here’s to hoping we can both avoid the trapdoor and see Newcastle hilariously tumble back into the mix 😉
Ha, cheers again Dan, I’m not going to wish you luck this time, but fingers crossed that Fulham, Norwich, Sunderland, Villa and QPR all lose tomorrow. Then Southampton & Newcastle draw on Sunday and West Ham get hammered on Monday. Worth a bet you reckon?
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