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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pre-QPR: A Reading Perspective of Reading Football Clubon-and-off-the Field

- New Book Out "West London Born: The Early Years of QPR


Wimb, from the Reading Fansite, The Tilehurst End www.thetilehurstend.com has very kindly answered some questions

Starting with the game in all our minds: How do you think the Arsenal comeback will affect Reading? (I can think of two great QPR comebacks from 0-4 downs - and obviously QPR have thrown away 2-0 lead. But I can't recall QPR ever having done what Reading did on Wednesday.) So what impact- Short term vs QPR and long term?
Make you more determined? Shatter you Confidence? Reveal Flaw you can rectify

It's impossible to say right now to be honest. On the one hand it could flatten confidence, shake belief in the manager and lead us to crumble, on the other hand it could bring us together and galvanise the squad to do better, or somewhere in between. That may sound like sitting on the fence... and well it is because right now I have no idea. My gut feeling is that we'll come out fighting. Tuesday was arguably the lowest point for the club since the play-off final defeat to Swansea last may but we responded to that in emphatic fashion by winning the league so here's hoping Sunday is the start of another good run.

Starting simply: How long have you supported Reading?

My first match was in January 1995, as I watched us lose 3-1 to Oldham in an FA Cup tie at Elm Park.

How long have you been involved with your Website? How did you get to your site?

I started The Tilehurst End up around April 2011 as looking around the internet there didn't seem to be a site that catered to longer blog posts and discussions that were harder to come by on message boards. I asked a few friends and fans I knew if they wanted to help out and it just went from there really. In July this year we moved over to the SB Nation blog network and that's given us more tools than ever before so hopefully we can continue to grow over the coming years.

How do you get on with the other Reading fan sites: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are - or certainly were - between certain QPR boards!)?

We've been quite lucky to get on really well with other sites really. Reading's two main web forums are Hob Nob Anyone? and The Royals Rendezvous but as forums they are quite different to what we do so we're all supportive of each other. At the end of the day all any of us do is provide starting points and a place for debate and I like to think we've done that in the last 18 months or so!

Who's Reading's biggest Rivals?! (Is it Oxford?)But is it Envy/Hatred/Disdain/Contempt or none of those?

Historically it's always been Oxford, Swindon and Aldershot but given Reading's recent successes we've not played any of them in a league game for at least a decade so the rivalry has died down some what. In it's place we've had minor rivalries with a few sides such as yourselves in the 'Fake Hoops' Derby, Chelsea over the Hunt/Cech or West Ham/Wolves over poaching our managers but there's little hatred for anyone at the moment.

Are you happy with Reading and how things are? - Can you explain/do you understand how things got to this point?

I wouldn't say I'm happy being second from bottom but I don't think many of us expected much more from the first eight games, especially given the caliber of opposition. Some of our new signings haven't quite worked while injuries and a very staggered fixture list have all contributed to us not really finding a rhythm so far. On top of that, few players have truly been at their best and all that's combined to mean we haven't really put together a good 90 minutes yet. The fact we've competed and got results from teams like Newcastle and Fulham is positive but we do need a win sooner rather than later.

What do you think of the current - and previous- Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

I believe they are a group of super villains with intentions of taking over the world....

In all seriousness we don't know a great deal about TSI and new owner Anton Zingarevich other than he's from a wealthy Russian family,is nuts about football, spent time being educated in Reading during the 90's and he's got a stunning model of a wife! The few media interviews he's given have been positive while the length of time it took to get through the owners & directors test implies that all of the right background checks have been done. The most reassuring thing was the fact that Sir John Madejski endorsed him and given Sir John's long relationship with the club there's no way he would have sold to anyone who he wasn't convinced had our best interests at heart.

There's perhaps a few fans that are disappointed that we didn't spend more in the summer but its certainly more than the old regime would have spent and they've made all the right noises about sensible investment so we'll see what happens going forward.

Were you a supporter when Maxwell tried to merge Reading and Oxford into Thames Valley Royal (QPR have had a couple of similar "Near Death" Merger Experiences)

I wasn't born when the 'Thames Valley Royals' were being mooted so sadly can't speak from personal experience. Those I've spoken too about the incident all stress just how close we were to going out of existance and I'm just happy that there were those in the club that had the strength to stand up to Maxwell and keep the club alive.

How do you think Reading treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

I think the club treats the fans pretty well, though as with most clubs were more often treated as customers than fans these days. Ticket prices have always remained fair while they've offered good incentives over the years such as kids for a quid, early renewal discounts etc etc. The club's main voice to the fans is through the supporters trust STAR and they seem to be doing a pretty decent job of getting relevant gripes and complaints across. There's been the odd falling out over this and that but generally we've been pretty lucky to have ownership that have valued us.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Jimmy Kebe and Pavel Pogrebnyak are two of our players most likely to create something out of nothing but you can never rule out others like former Rangers target Jobi McAnuff or Jason Roberts. Subs like Garath McCleary and Hal Robson-Kanu have made important contributions this season while Noel Hunt has quietly gotten three goals in three games without very much fanfare or attention.

Who would you say was the greatest Reading player that you yourself personally saw? (You can name more than one if it's that close!)

The older generation will probably say Robin Friday but he was well before my team. Shaka Hislop and Simon Osborn were both magnificent in my earliest footballing memories while recently I've never seen a more effective midfielder than Steve Sidwell. Kevin Doyle and Dave Kitson were also both vital cogs in our greatest seasons of success. I can't really single any one of them out and that's symptomatic of watching a club that's always been built on having a good team unit rather than superstars.

Prediction for season? And how would that compare with pre-season prediction? In your heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season for Reading?

Coming into the season I thought we'd be 15th and I've not really seen much to dissuade myself of that opinion. We've not been excellent but we've shown enough glimpses of ability to suggest we'll be able to compete for safety with the likes of yourselves, Norwich, Wigan, Southampton and Villa.

What is your view and the general Reading view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness) or of Mark Hughes?

I can't speak for the fanbase but personally I've been mystified and staggered at how and why you've spent so much money and turned over dozens of players from the squad in the past 18 months. The way you've just snapped up journeymen like Wright-Phillips doesn't sit well and I really do fear for you if you go down. Mark Hughes is a decent manager though he's never done anything particularly spectacular, especially since leaving Blackburn.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? We share quite a few, including 2 or 3 in the current Reading team (depending on if any one is dropped!)

When I think of QPR v Reading I think of 0-0's and red cards as we seem to have had plenty over the years! The best memory is either clinching the 106 point record on the final day in 2006 or one midweek game when I was younger and saw Reading win 2-0 at Loftus Road with Reading taking an early lead through Trevor Morley and adding to the lead late on with an own goal in a game that also saw Karl Ready get a red card I seem to recall!

Favourite player wise and I loved Trevor Sinclair when he was at his best. That overhead free-kick against Barnsley sticks in the memory to this day. The likes of Matthew Connelly, Mikele Leigertwood and Kaspars Gorkss all helped play a big part in our title success, while the previously mentioned Simon Osborn was magnificent in his one season for us. The less we mention Michael Meaker the better....

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

I was but then saw you were charging �45 to sit in a seat with half an inch of leg room and which sometimes doesn't even see the whole pitch... So this time I'll be watching it on the TV, probably hiding behind the sofa as two sides desperate for a win slug it out. On the bright side it's a game both sides will be desperate to win so should provide plenty of drama.


I'll be optimistic and say reading will sneak a 2-1 win.

Where, realistically, do you think Reading will be in five years time?

Hopefully an established Premier League side or at least a yo-yo side constantly around the top of the Championship as West Brom were for 6-7 years.

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up [meant stay up!]? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager

If you mean if you stay up, then I'd suggest a bit more stability and less reliance on big name players. Try and build a hungry young side rather than getting players on the wane.

What one or two questions do you wish I had asked you (and how would you have responded?!)

Can't think of any to be honest!

Final Question: How do you feel about wearing QPR's Hoops?!

Oi those are our Hoops!

Many thanks again to Wimb, from the Reading Fansite, The Tilehurst Endwww.thetilehurstend.comfor answering these questions

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