Rants and raves (but mostly rants) about following a 2nd division team.
So the cup run is over. With a 4-2 loss at home to Aston Villa on Sunday morning, the Royals were finally eliminated in the FA Cup. And obviously, it would have been a dream to make it to the semi-finals and play at Wembley. But there are still so many positives that can come out of the impressive run all the way to the quarter-finals.
Going into the 4th round draw against Liverpool, Reading was in the bottom 3 of the Championship, unable to win consistently, especially at home. But a 1-1 draw that forced a replay at Anfield was the spark the boys needed apparently. From there, the Royals defeated Liverpool, Burnley and West Brom in the cup. They only lost once in 7 February games and managed to pull themselves out of the relegation zone in the Championship. And the loss to Villa on the weekend was the first home loss of 2010.
The cup run, providing we do stay up, will be looked at as the turning point in a season that looked like it could be heading for disaster. But wins over Premiership sides gave the boys the confidence to turn things around in the League, highlighted by Reading’s 5-0 thrashing of fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday last weekend. There are many that thought that Reading, with a little luck, would be able to challenge for a play-off berth this season, and the recent run of play has shown that had the early months of the season not been so dismal, we could. They’ve played positive soccer, looking dangerous and capable even when failing to grab a victory. Even in the loss to Villa this weekend, Reading led 2-0 at half time, with Villa reaching deep and showing their class for a second half comeback.
That there will be some major upsets and that the confidence from those upsets can mean big things for a smaller, lesser known club is one of my favorite parts of a cup competition. I would love to see a cup competition built into the Casa season for those of us that play here in Philadelphia. With 40 teams spread out over 4 divisions, I am positive that there would be plenty of upsets. And it could inspire a mid table Tercera teams to dream of big things. Unfortunately some major roadblocks exist for this to happen including most notably a lack of field time.
I am happy for Reading’s run. It was nice to see them on TV twice while they were still involved. It’s great to finally put some faces with names. And it sure is nice to actually see my team win, rather than just read about it or hear it on the radio. And I hope we found a few new fans, who appreciate a gritty, positive 2nd division team holding their own with the big boys, at least for a little while.