Saturday, 28 April 2012
A bloke on the Internet called 'Thongs' posted a link to the Reading fans' forum.
It was named after a biscuit. Eating biscuits. Biscuits. Some biscuit pun. Something about hob-knobs, it's funny you see, because it's 'wacky'. Biscuits, get it?
I noticed that the name fitted Reading well. When I think of somebody making puns about eating hob-knobs I think of a cringey, lamentable arsehole. And if that cringey, lamentable arsehole was personified as a club, it'd be Reading.
On the hob-knob forum one guy with a peach as an avatar mused:
'Birmingham was a dump'
Why couldn't the ground be isolated off a motorway and annexed to a Pizza Hut and a Mothercare on a tacky shopping complex?
That's what the Reading people like you see. The family club. Football, pizza and wet-wipes, all within reach of a solitary car park.
Of course, Small Heath isn't the greatest of places [I'm allowed to say that] but Reading? Come on. A tired, dated, commuter town where lowly office staff who can't afford to live in London dwell. A peeling, dilapidated vacuum of culture.
A town which produced Ricky Gervais. A tubby southerner who spends all day tweeting pictures of his cat and ramming home his militant atheism into people's bored faces.
If you drive in the triangle in between Bristol, Birmingham and London you'll see these places like Reading.
Creepy towns with wooden Safeway supermarkets from the 1970s; asbestos-ridden blocks of shops; a wetherspoons full of toothless locals, a café nero and a church.
'What more do you need!' I hear you cry.
At the game, at one particular moment, I stood up. Turning my head to the John Merrick stand, I viewed them in their end...
Plump women with frizzy uncombed hair smiling vacuously in spectacles as they banged clapperboards. Idiots in jester hats clapping their hands with mundane glee. Kate and Wills masks.
A tapestry of 'Fruits of the Loom' jumpers dancing around, hoping that waving inflatables conjured up the false illusion of good support.
I shook my head in disappointment.
4,500 Reading fans - you'd have been lucky to receive 450 four months ago.
The Reading fans on the biscuit forum were falling over one another to congratulate such 'magnificent support'.
Was it? Really?
After mewing out couple of muted post-match 'Championees' chants they slunk off out the ground.
Another 'nice', 'family' club of no importance in the Premiership then.
Let's see if we can't join them. A film or play with too many 'nice' characters is rather....dull.
There should be room for the bad guys.
There's no goal music at St Andrews. You can't buy ciabatta in the kiosks. We don't sing 'we follow, we follow'. We are overly hostile and partisan. We're not a family club. The ground and local area can be intimidating for away fans.
But you know what?
I wouldn't swap that for all the hob-knobs in Berkshire.