Date: 19th January 2014 at 7:57pm
Written by:

The game I’ve been dreading finally happened

What the hell was that?

I honestly don’t know what to say to you.

I’m still ill but that isn’t the reason I haven’t posted a reaction to what went on in Berkshire, Saturday afternoon. My hands have hovered above the keyboard several times- during the game, also- but with my gob well and truly smacked, I couldn’t muster a solitary word.

Your comments have kept coming and they’ve been pretty much what was expected. But the conclusion of what happened at the Madjeski Stadium had even aussiemike rocked back on his heels- Mike’s worse would have flattered them.

The records that the current Wanderers team are setting are nothing short of embarrassing. The worst start to a league campaign in over a century and now the worst drubbing in a game in over 30 years have fans wondering how bad is it going to get before things improve.

Can it get any worse? Course it can.

I knew it was bad at the Reebok, but I didn’t know it was this bad. I had a feeling something beneath the surface was rotten, but to what extent remained speculative until those seven strikes tallied on the big screen.

The ‘team-formation’ discussions you guys have brilliantly submitted over the weeks; the ‘starting-11’ musings you’ve offered and the ‘pro-con Dougie’ debates you guys have detailed, unfortunately have all been futile. In our little circle- by that, I mean, we who don’t know the full extent of disaster bubbling beneath the turf- they’ve felt epiphanic. I really felt we were getting to the root-causes of our problems and by discussing such problems, could eventually call for what tweaks needed to be tweaked to galvanise a squad, only slightly out of synch… Not even close.

Things are bad… Very bad. We can carry on with the formation discussions if you like, but what happened at Reading over the weekend, discussing formations for a team so lost, is like discussing what shape and colour of sticking-plaster do we put on this fractured skull.

Is that an over-reaction? I mean, it was only one game.

It is only one game, but if I’m honest with myself, that game has been coming for quite some time.

Please, batter me in the comments section. I welcome it. Because if you do give me plenty of stick in the space provided, it means I’m wrong.

If you’ve got a solution, even better.


13 Replies to “Reading Between The Lines No More”

  • I’m no football manager, but I can’t believe that Freedman dien’t make a change at half time. Imagine how demotivating it would be being one of those young players on the bench and seeing that Freedman would rather put his faith in the hopeless ‘stars’ that had embarrassed themselves in the first half instead of them? The same can be said about the rest of our season, imagine being Bolger and seeing Zat ‘Calamity’ Night get in the starting line up week in week out, making mistake adter mistake, whilst Bolgers not even been given a chance. The same can be said about players like Zac Clough or Wilkinson, imagine how they must feel seeing N’Gog get into the team before them, despite only having a handful of decent games a season, whilst they’re regularly playing well in the reserve team. I know a lot of people have said this, but this time Freedman has no excuse not to give any of the young players at the club a chance. They can’t do any worse than our current first team. We might even see a little bit of passion.

  • Please forgive me for my spellings in the comment above, my phone won’t let me see half of what I have typed on the screen, which doesn’t help when you’re dyslexic!

  • Over the last twelve months or so, we have been built up with hype about the players being top notch in this league, readily buying into ‘the plan’ and working their socks off on the training ground, putting into practice Dougie’s bright, new ideas to get us back into the Premier League. Or at least getting us into the play-offs. I’ve often quoted some of his post-match, facile comments after a sad loss (Charlton away last year springs to mind). Now it appears, all that has changed. As we suspected all along, these players aren’t good enough to take us back to the Promised Land. We’d better dig in for the long term, I’m afraid. Forget the manager leaving, Gardside has already said that he is doing a great job, and he should know!!!

  • For me the penny dropped a long while ago, we have poor quality players, lots of them. Ream, N’Gog, Mills, CYL, Mido, Baptiste, Mears, Eaves, Sordell, Eagles and worst of all Knight and Pratley. It seems more of us can see that unless we can somehow offload most, if not all of these as soon as possible, we cannot get replacements that can help us stabilise the declining situation. We are slipping down with this lot and they either aren’t bothered or are unable to do anything about it.

  • frustration overtaken by despair and everyone at a low ebb, there is little to say that is positive, almost reminiscent of the aftermath from Wembley 3 years back, but chins up , always another chance of redemption. If I had to re judge the players and the manager I would prefer to do it on what transpires over the next few games to see what fight or true capabilities, if any, they possess following Saturdays shocking defeat. Reading may have destroyed them but it remains to be seen if they can bounce back. Personally I have faith in the players even if I have none in the manager. Most telling for me last Saturday was the sad fact a local lad playing under our noses for several years at Rochdale & Stockport slammed a hat trick past us with aplomb, my immediate thought – why did BWFC not have this player on our radar, are we inept in this department also ? obviously we are, for me that fact alone polarised our loss. We are spending £ millions each year on wages to players who often are a complete embarrassment, yet quality young players across the North West slip through our fingers every year – are we even looking at the teams these lads play for ?, how much are we investing in scouting ? I guess what we pay Knight each game could see us watch a 100 young players every week across the land.

  • I would stick one person in front of a computer for a week or so and compile a list of every game in the lower leagues & none league, generate stats on every individual player, draw up a hit list of 100 and then have them watched, monitored. Slowly refining the list just like a bottle of milk, waiting to see those whose performances rise to the top like cream. You are going to tell me we already do this, okay sorry, just a thought.

  • Interesting that Dougie has come out and slammed the players, this is either the beginning of the end for him or (hopefully) the start of a turnaround. I went to Blackburn away and didn’t imagine we’d have a worse away game this season – how wrong I was. I think the scouting’s fine, Dougie knows who he wants to bring in, it’s just getting rid of the deadwood that is the problem. I really hope the players react the right way and don’t have some pathetic rebellion as they really do need to pull their fingers out, they have been defended for months to no avail. However, gut instinct and cynicism tells me that the overpaid morons who pull on our beloved shirt will win out, and Dougie is not for much longer at BWFC.

  • Mike’s right, let’s see how these players react to that loss before condemning everyone to the scrap-heap. We knew all along that the next few games would be very difficult and so they are proving. Dougie has protected them for months with his media comments, but he was fooling no one. Maybe he was right to give a severe kick up the back-side. It’s up to them to show him he was wrong and come out fighting.

  • I wouldn’t condemn every player to the scrap heap, but, I would get rid of a certain Zat Knight. Martin O’Neill couldn’t get a performance out of him so why do successive Bolton managers think they can? We need to pay Zat off. We know Jimmy Phillips doesn’t rate him so if we were to put JP in charge we’d have a problem with morale unless the board fund Zat’s exit. I hear that since Zat has come back we have conceded something like 16 goals in what 3 / 4 games. The guy’s contract up in the summer so Freedman could do no worse than to get this player of the books right now. Pay him the £1 million needed and say thanks but no thanks. Freedman will have to now think more creatively. Move Baptiste to centre back and bring in a left full back and a right back. then we can wait to see how Joe Riley and David Wheater have recovered from injury. We will also need to use some of the youngster ready or not. They only need to be used for 6 games maximum, that shouldn’t hurt the little darlings too much.

  • Nigel, for me putting Baptiste at centre-back is a frightening prospect. He’s too small. Even at full-back, he is beaten in the air many times and for speed by his winger. I really do think that he would be a liability in the middle. Except for his goal-taking ability, I have been quite disappointed overall by his performances.

  • Mike – whilst you might think I’m related to DF, I often think you must be related to half the playing staff when you keep saying that they’re good enough for the Premiership, that they were unlucky to be relegated, and that everything is the fault of people who never step onto the pitch. ED, PG, OC and DF are only able to influence so much. And the stuff they can influence is generally long term stuff. If you ask a manager what his least favourite time of the week is, it’s 3 while 5 on Saturday afternoon, because they have almost no control or influence over what’s going on. That was from Alex Ferguson’s autobiography and was backed up by pretty much everyone the press interviewed. Substitutions generally make little or no real difference unless they are done to change a formation, but unless you have players capable of thinking on their feet rather than following a set game plan that’ll do more harm than good. Professor Finkelstein proved that in the column he writes for the Times. All managers at clubs without huge resources are completely helpless as soon as a match kicks off and their actions are either preordained or taken in desperation. All a manager can do is go after the players he wants, work with what he’s got and prepare the team as best he can, and as soon as the whistle blows, there’s nothing more he can really do. So when he can’t spend any money, the players he’s been left with are awful and they decide to capitulate after going two down early on, what exactly is it that you want him to do? I’m simply not having it that there’s any more to get out of the players OC left behind, they stopped caring after the FA Cup semi and they need to go, barring only a couple of exceptions.

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