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Reading v West Ham: Match Preview

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 29 December 2012

Will Reading get relegated this season? Is paedophilia a national sport in Belgium? Do sheep get nervous when they cross the border into Wales? Is the Guardian a paper fit only for lighting fires with and using in the cat’s litter tray? Is the Pope a Catholic? Of course Reading (and QPR) are going down.

Both are on 10 points after 19 games. You might just be safe on 37 points. Of Reading’s remaining fixtures six are slam dunk nil pointers: Man U, Man City, Chelski, Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham away. That leaves 13 games to secure 27 points. For a side that has secured 10 points in its first 19 games that looks a very tall order – effectively Reading must win half of the 13 games and draw the other half. It just will not happen. If you are a Reading fan you might as well start checking out train times to Grim Northern Shit holes like Burnley, Blackburn and Bolton in preparation for next season.

That Reading are not good enough for the Premiership is thus a given. But West Ham has a nasty habit of losing games to weak teams when no-one expects it. You will note that Wigan are currently in the third relegation spot and we all know which side gifted Wigan its first home win of the season. But even if Reading win today they are going down.

West Ham is now on 23 points. I knew we’d lose to Everton. We always do. Win at Reading and on 26 points with QPR, Reading, Wigan and Norwich still to visit Upton park plus winnable trips to Fulham, Southampton and Villa and we really will find it hard to avoid staying up. Lose and my sense of nervousness will start to grow. 23 points plus 6 games we should win is 41 points. But we are bound to slip up somewhere and any team that loses to Reading deserves to struggle.

I have not been to an away game in years but I am travelling up the M4 to attend this one with a Reading fan. Let’s see. On paper West Ham should win but I have a bad feeling.

And that brings me to Fat Sam Allardyce. His contract is up in May. Yes, the Irons have played some blinding games (Chelski, City) but then we always do. It is always Same Old West Ham, always taking the piss. Because this season as per usual we then go and lose at Swansea, at Wigan (and also at home to Wigan in the Capital Cup) and get unimpressive draws against Stoke and Norwich. West Ham will finish in the bottom half of the league. Given who we face in the FA Cup Third Round (Man U) we will not see a cup run this year and that is after Fat Sam was given a massive transfer budget which he spent.

In League One, Paulo di Canio’s Swindon is back up to 5th. Having enjoyed cup glory this year, they will, I still believe, win promotion – they are five points off second place. That is good news for Reading fans as they get a nice M4 Derby game next season. But I stand by my view that come May, Fat Sam should be allowed to depart. And there is only one successor possible.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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