FanZone's Reading blogger Stephen Dempsey writes three letters to Pavel Pogrebnyak, Danny Guthrie and Alex Pearce as he feels sorry for them.
Although it is often easy to berate players for their lack of effort or skill, recently I have found myself feeling a lot of sympathy for some of Reading's lost souls.
I felt like writing to them directly might ease the pain but given that I'm cheap and don't want to pay for postage, putting them here will have to do...
Dear Pavel, even for a man bred in the desolate climate of Russia, the kind of isolation you experience every week at the head of this team must be pretty hard to take.
Many fans have been on your back about your lack of goals or attacking play but I can't understand why. Having had an impressive career at major European clubs like Zenit, it's obvious that you have the quality to succeed so what has gone wrong? In short, nothing you can do anything about. Having the ball pelted at your head from 50 yards away isn't really the sort of service quality strikers tend to thrive off and even when you do manage to hold the ball up, the whistle has usually gone for half-time before any other Reading player has bothered to make it into the opposition half.
I understand your frustration and even though it's hard to justify showing it in the way you did against Wigan, I'd probably have done something similar in such bleak striking conditions.
Dear Danny, what can I say? Despite being our obvious choice as a midfielder who can actually kick the ball anywhere but into the stands, the subs bench seems to have become your home away from home.
So your attitude could have been questioned after Sunderland-gate but since then, you've been one of our stand-out performers and I can't understand how Leigertwood can keep you out of the team after some abysmal displays. Other than laying off on the McDermott-Dr Eggman jokes, I can't see any other way for you to force your way back into the side so all I can do is apologise for how your career at Reading seems to have come to a dead-end.
If it makes you feel better, I'm as confused as to why you aren't one of the first names on the team-sheet as you are.
Dear Alex, so you want a new contract? That's no big deal. As player of the season last year and a home-grown talent, you're well within your rights to request parity in wages with your better-paid peers. Negotiations over contracts are, again, nothing special so why have they seemingly led to you being frozen out of the side? The results the Royals have achieved with you in the side make pleasant reading compared to those without, so why are we risking our Premier League survival over such a non-issue?
The best way to convince you to sign a new contract is to recognise you as an integral part of this team and to make sure we avoid relegation...something that is unlikely to happen with the Morrison/Mariappa partnership.
Nobody with the talent to play for a solid Premier League side is going to sign up for a team that has sunk into the Championship, particularly if they have been treated the way you have.
It looks to me like Reading will be throwing their future club captain out the window for no reason and, in my opinion, there's nobody to blame for that but the club itself.
ps, I apologise to all three of you for posing questions that you have certainly considered already and are similarly stumped by.
Maybe that's half the problem; nobody seems to know what's going on at Reading Football Club.