Tag: Reading

The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Cardiff City 0-3 Reading (0-3 Agg)

For so much of this season, Cardiff City’s promotion to the Premier League has had a feeling of the inevitable about it. Perhaps it was the arrival of Craig Bellamy on loan from Manchester City at the start of the season. Bellamy has matured with age, and had the feel of being a player around which Dave Jones could build a team capable of getting back into the top division of English football for the first time in half a century. In the league, however, Cardiff were edged out of the automatic promotion places in their penultimate league match of the season, a home defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough that radiated shell-shock out from The Cardiff City Stadium to the audience watching at home. The media, meanwhile, is salivating at the possibility of a South Wales derby match being played out at Wembley on the very last day of the domestic season, after Swansea City booked their place in the final with a win against Nottingham Forest. Setting aside the chaos that could be inflicted upon the M4 on a Bank Holiday Monday, any element of presumption regarding this fixture being played out rather overlooks one significant factor: Reading FC. True enough, Cardiff go into this evening’s second leg with home advantage and, arguably, the feeling that they may be the favourites after a drab goalless draw at...

Read More

Match Of The Midweek: Everton 0-1 Reading

For all of the surprises that this season’s FA Cup competition has provided, the quarter-final draw has a wearyingly familiar look to it. Unless Leyton Orient can cause one of the greatest FA Cup shocks of all time at The Emirates Stadium tonight, seven of the clubs left in the last eight of this year’s competition will be from the Premier League, including each of the current top four. Normal service, we may reasonably assume, has been restored and the divvying up of the League and Cup between an exalted trio of clubs remains well and truly on course. The tournament may yet have a sting in its tail – Arsenal found out last Sunday that cup competitions can retain their capacity to surprise and bewilder – but it seems likely that there will be some very familiar faces at Wembley in May. And yet… Here are Reading. A mid-table Championship club, and now the only non-Premier League competition with both feet in the quarter-finals of this year’s FA Cup. They’re six points but five places from a play-off spot in the league, but last night they summoned the energy to seize the opportunity of a midweek trip to Merseyside and a win against Everton that propels them to a position in which they are now one just one match from a Wembley semi-final. It’s true that things aren’t...

Read More

Match Of The Week – Reading 0-2 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough are trying to find an instant route back into the Premier League but, after a strong start, the wheels have come off their wagon a little of late. Their opposition this weekend, Reading, may be starting to offer cautionary tale on the dangers of not getting promoted straight back after relegation from the Premier League.

Read More

In Praise Of… Burnley Football Club

This evening’s Championship play-off semi-final between Reading and Burnley was a battle between old and new. In the blue corner were Reading, snatched from the jaws of obscurity by John Madjeski, who dropped them into a brand new stadium and gave them the means to challenge for a place in the Premier League. In the claret corner, representing “old football”, were Burnley. In many respects, Burnley are the anti-Reading. Stoically northern (it’s almost impossible to even say “Burnley” without lapsing into a cod-Lancastrian accent), they still play at the pleasingly onomatopoeic Turf Moor, which is one of the oldest football grounds in English football and which seems to almost sit overlooking the town as a reminder of glory days gone by. They are a club with a rich and deep history who, should they get promotion into the Premier League through the play-offs, would be taking their place in the top division of English football for the first time since 1976. Founder members of the Football League in 1888, they are one of just three clubs to have spent their entire history playing in that competition (with Preston North End and Notts County – one of the original twelve, Accrington, folded and was replaced while all of the others have managed at least one season in the Premier League). Every defining characteristic of the traditional football club is present...

Read More

The Championship – The Final Day

They’ve been stumbling, lurching and tripping on their shoelaces, but Birmingham City are a Premier League club again. As it turned out, it was a surprisingly untense day. Kevin Fahey’s early goal at The Madejski Stadium meant that events at Selhurst Park, where former Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock had a tug of love going on in taking two points off the club that he never tires of telling everyone that he supports. Kevin Phillips added a second Birmingham goal before Reading pulled one back, but by this time everyone knew that the game was up and that Reading, who had briefly threatened to look like a steamroller during the autumn, would join Sheffield United in the play-offs. The race for the final two play-off places was between Preston North End, Burnley and Cardiff City. Cardiff should have been absolutely nailed on for one of them, but they had failed to win in their previous three matches – seeing off Ninian Park in the process with a 3-0 home damp squib against Ipswich Town – and they failed again yesterday, going down 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. This result left a window of opportunity for the two Lancashire clubs, and they both took full advantage of Cardiff’s end of season implosion. Burnley brushed Bristol City aside by four goals to nil in the manner that one would swat at a...

Read More