Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Wait is finally over

FOR two weeks there has been an eerie silence emitting from the Madejski Stadium. As the countdown to the Arsenal

FOR two weeks there has been an eerie silence emitting from the Madejski Stadium. As the countdown to the Arsenal game this Saturday continued the baffling management situation rumbled on. Within the club you suspect the players and staff were getting used to Eamonn Dolan. He is a likeable and capable operator capable of dousing the flames.

The problem is more externally, amongst the divided and mystified fans. The fixture list has been kind, with two away games ensuring fans have no opportunity to voice any unrest en mass. Even at Old Trafford a couple of thousand presumably disenchanted away fans seemed to enjoy singing about “Brian McDermott’s blue and white army”.

All the fans really craved was information. On Tuesday morning they finally got that information at a hurriedly arranged press conference. If like me, you live and breathe Reading FC it was exciting news, and would determine the next few years following the Royals. Unfortunately I was 36,000ft above Darwin at the moment of the announcement.

I say unfortunately but in truth I expect little sympathy. A fabulous week in Sydney for the Rowing World Cup was no hardship, and missing the unveiling of a new Reading manager is a small price to pay. If Great Britain were as supreme on the football field as they are on the rowing lake our nation’s psyche would be very different. No harping back to 1966, but rather making reference to the latest inevitable glory. The GB boats won four gold medals, one silver and two bronzes at a scorching Lake Penrith. Rowing gurus will tell you the most special of the golds was the Men’s Quad, who won for the very first time on the world stage. For me the victory for the Men’s eight was most memorable. As someone who remembers watching the eight win Gold at the Sydney Olympics 13 years ago on the telly it was a wonderful bit of sporting nostalgia to see the current squad recreate the effort.

What a place Sydney is? My view may have been skewed by the fact I was there for the hottest March on record in the city. It is full of energetic and healthy people loving life. The thirst for sport here is unquenchable. Football is a growing sport. Rugby, cricket and other more traditional Australian sports need to be wary of the juggernaut that is football rolling into town. Much as it is a great sport it does have a habit of flattening everything in its path. Already hour upon hour of TV coverage is devoted to an increasingly high standard of football.

Of course Reading has an Australian goalkeeper in Adam Federici. Having spent a morning at Bondi Beach and an afternoon in the Blue Mountains it is difficult to imagine the appeal of the Championship circuit of Barnsley, Leeds and Watford to Federici. He must really love football. Reading fans will be hoping he can get fit quickly enough to keep Reading on the Manchester, Liverpool and London circuit.

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