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Opposition view: Apathy at a new low for Reading fans ahead of trip to Norwich

Reading manager Jaap Stam has the backing of his board, if not the fans. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Reading manager Jaap Stam has the backing of his board, if not the fans. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

This week’s opposition fan in the hot seat is Graham Loader, founder and editor of online Reading fanzine Hob Nob Anyone?

Omar Richards has impressed for Reading this seaosn. Picture: PAOmar Richards has impressed for Reading this seaosn. Picture: PA

One win in 17 league games, just how has Jaap Stam not lost his job?

The ‘Stam Out’ movement never really gained any pace before it became clear that Stam had the support of the board and was going nowhere. Since then apathy has hit new levels and everyone accepts Stam has the rest of the season regardless. Crowds have dropped and those left at the end of another home game without a win can’t even be bothered to show their displeasure.

How concerned are you about relegation at this stage?

I still think we will stay up – but only thanks to the terrible form of the bottom three. We keep dropping points but don’t get any closer to the drop zone. We might stay up without winning another game. However, if someone in the bottom three picks up some form then we could be in real trouble. We deserve to go down but will probably narrowly survive.

What have been the big problems, after doing so well last season?

Things haven’t changed that dramatically. Last season we won games by the odd goal and this season we’re drawing or losing those games. The style of football is the same. Fans weren’t that excited last season either, but you can’t complain when you’re in the top three! This season the only real difference is the confidence has gone. Mistakes are slipping in to our dull possession game and we are getting caught out in defence.

Have any of the players impressed?

One positive to come out of a depressing season has been the emergence of academy players into the first team as Stam looks for other options. Omar Richards has been excellent, and there is bags of potential from Thomas Holmes and Sam Smith. Where Stam jumped into the transfer market Mo Barrow has impressed and caused some rare attacking excitement from the Royals.

Which have been disappointing?

Sone Aluko has been a big disappointment. He’s been anonymous since taking a huge slice out of the transfer budget. Yann Kermorgant was going to be our saviour after returning from injury but has failed to re-discover his form.

Have you been surprised to see Norwich struggle after their win at the Madejski?

Norwich just about deserved that win in a close game, but it was definitely Norwich that looked the better organised. Norwich fans are probably as frustrated as Reading fans. It all looked so good for you guys back in October when the play-offs looked a good shout, but now there’s nothing to play for.

Will you be wary of any of the City players?

James Maddison has already scored against us this season, and I see he got a hat-trick the other night. Two of those might have been from the penalty spot, but right now Reading are gifting the opposition chances, so surely he must be good for yet another goal against a poor defence. He’s set up more goals for you guys than anyone else too so he could be in for a good afternoon.

And lastly, what is your prediction?

I should probably say a draw as both clubs are becoming experts at grinding those out. Both teams are due a win of course, but I think Norwich will be the team to get it. So another 2-1 to Norwich with at least one goal coming from a defensive mistake from Reading. Nervous times for Reading fans as we check results of those below us.

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