READING THE RUNES
Mickey Blue Eyes
Fresh off the back of the usual demolition job on Sunderland you would expect an equally routine rogering of lower league Reading in the FA Cup. Last time I checked the league tables the opposition were tenth in the Football League Championship and had scored fifty-one goals and let in thirty-nine for a goal difference of plus twelve. So, more or less average. To our great glee last season they knocked out our loveable neighbours at analfield, and oh how we laffed. All of which meant we would probably have a struggle on our hands if the Cup was its usual self.
Superficially, Reading can't claim an outstanding history because almost their entire modest existence has been spent in the lower divisions. However, they did experience a relatively admirable couple of decades and even spent two unexpected seasons in the Prem before sinking as quickly as they surfaced. It wasn't a bad achievement at all for one of those characterless, antiseptic suburban Tory towns that ring corrupt London like a Maginot Line trooped with Sun and Daily Mail readers and a smattering of UKIP nutters. Up to their brief encounter with footy fame you were likely to know more about Godalming Bell Ringers or Bracknell Methodists than you were about Reading. But in reality professional football couldn't exist without clubs like them and their fans. Actually, they are the bedrock of the game that shame our own small band of whining, ale-house hollow imbeciles. Needless to say the latter would be on miserable standby in the event we met playing disaster. As we all know, it doesn't take much to trigger them into neurotic reaction.
And when we lost - thoroughly and deservedly to a quite modest side - you can guarantee the usual dick head suspects will come flooding out of the sewers and manholes to howl their poison. Not that there was much of a defence. It was an appalling display by a bunch of players with little individual or collective pride, much the way it has been on too many occasions this season. You couldn't blame the decent Evertonians for booing. This season they have endured enough. Anyway, it doesn't matter too much because this team is about to be broken up by circumstances. We have to start all over again.
In the end it was like being mugged by a lower middle class Winnie the Pooh with a funny accent.