02 January 2006

Reading 5 - 1 Cardiff: where have you been all my life?

Things have changed around the Madejski. With Reading on a 26 game unbeaten run in the league, seven points clear of second place and twenty clear of third, the visit of Cardiff brought about a full house at the stadium. Thankfully, that full house included me.

Until now I have always been able to turn up to a match on the day and get a ticket. Today, however, I had to phone the Box Office in the morning to check if any tickets were left and wait 35 minutes (I kid you not) for my turn to speak to an operator. Thankfully, there was something left for me. Has was supposed to come but he changed his mind and decided to go see his girlfriend in Cardiff instead. That's right. He gave up the chance to see the league leaders to go see his girlfriend. One day when I fall in love with someone I will probably understand this behaviour but for now I still think he's crazy.

Crazy is just the word for the queue at the ticket office when I reached the stadium. Having waited 35 minutes on the phone in the morning, I stood in a line for just as long merely to collect my ticket. News of the Royals is spreading and now everyone wants to come see us play. (even Chris Tarrant was there to do the raffle draw at half-time). The Cardiff fans made light of this, singing "Where were you when you were s***?" towards the Reading fans, which made me chuckle a little. There were 22,000 people in the crowd today. Last year there were probably only about 15,000 for the same fixture.

After twenty minutes of the match, I saw that there was good reason for this rise. I've been to watch Reading about twenty five times over the last four seasons and never have I seen us play like the way we did today. We were awesome. The passing was slick, the movement was fast and we were going through the Cardiff midfield and defence like a hot knife through butter. It was no surprise when Sidwell knocked us in front...or when Sonko added a second, Kitson the third, Sids a fourth or even when Kit rounded it all off with a fifth from the penalty spot.

Where have you been all my life? No matter how high we've climbed, I've been a sceptic all season long about our chances of actually making it to the Premiership. However, after the fifth goal we started to sing "The Royals are going up, and now you're going to believe us". At that moment I think I really did start to believe. We can do it. We can make that promised land.

There are nineteen matches to go this season and our fate's in our own hands. The next home game is against Coventry on January 14th. I'd love to go if anyone else wants to...but please let me know soon so I can buy the tickets. On today's evidence, there won't be many left.

A full house at the Madejski

Congratulations for Sid after he opened the scoring

Backing the boys: celebrations after Sonko makes it 2-0

Now you're going to believe us...


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