01 November 2005

Sing for the Royals!

My blogging partner, an avowed Arsenal supporter, has often chided me for not throwing my support wholeheartedly behind a club. There is a certain amount of truth to his claim. While I do follow certain teams consistently- Real Madrid, AC Milan, Aston Villa, Seattle Sounders- I tend gravitate toward those teams who are playing the most attractive soccer. While this may make me appear to be a fair weather friend, I prefer to consider myself a fan of the game, rather than a single club.

But today, all that changes, sorta. I am officially declaring my undying allegiance to Reading FC, temporarily residing in the second tier of English football. The truth is I've been following their exploits for the past several years, ever since they acquired Marcus Hahnemann. Reading have a long history, but it's hardly storied or impressive. In recent years they've consistently flirted with promotion to the Premiership, but have always found a way to come up short. In that respect, they are reminiscent of my beloved Saints and Tigers. Last season, the Royals were on track for automatic promotion after the first half of the season, but went winless for 3 months after Boxing Day to fall out of contention.

Again, this season, Reading are off to a fine start and they and Sheffield Utd. have built a comfortable lead on the the rest of the chasers. In typical Reading style, they've done it on the back of the stingiest defense in the Championship, allowing a league low 9 goals in 16 games. The difference this year is that they're scoring goals at a frenetic (for Reading) pace of 2.1 per game. Today, they take on, and will surely dispatch a struggling Sheffield Wednesday. Given that Wednesday have a stingy defense themselves, I predict a scoreline of only 1-0, but that will be enough to ensure Reading extend their unbeaten streak to 19 games.

By the way, my decision to support Reading is completely unrelated to the fact that they were drawn to face Arsenal in Round 4 of the Carling Cup. Come on you Royals!

UPDATE: Reading 2 - 0 Sheffield Wednesday

Ah well, it's only the Carling Cup. You probably won't even mind losing. =)
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