Impossible dream can be reality

Thursday 7th March 2013 15:54

Madejski Stadium: Key to Reading survival

Madejski Stadium: Key to Reading survival

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FanZone's Reading blogger Stephen Dempsey insists it is time for the Royals to stop dreaming and take control of their Premier League destiny.

It echoes across the empty ground as the supporters, almost reluctantly these days, drag themselves into their seats. Accompanied by bleary images of better days that mostly look like they've been nicked off somebody's phone, the 'impossible dream' has developed from a cute gimmick into a pre-match routine that, in my opinion, has an untold significance on how our club has approached this season; a season that could have been the start of a new era but has started to look like a golden opportunity that has slipped through our hands.

Given that this musical misery has been blasting out of the PA from the beginning of this season, you might be questioning why I'm only mentioning it now?

I'll admit that before our game against Stoke I actually thought it was a nice touch; reminding us of how much we had achieved before our biggest challenge yet. But we are now at a stage of the season where, beaten (usually) and bloodied, we need to face up to the reality - we are teetering on the edge of disaster and rose-tinted glasses aren't going to make that any better.

Given that the majority of these crunch games will be played at the Mad Stad, the impact that the Reading faithful can have on the team's motivation should not be underestimated. That's why the 'impossible dream' has become a bit of a nightmare.

Don't get me wrong, I actually really like the song and totally understand why it can be an inspiring piece of music. Facing seemingly impossible tasks, refusing to give up and all that jazz can be stirring stuff but it all comes from one foundation: that the task you're tackling is one that should be beyond your capabilities.

This belief that Reading are facing the impossible needs to be let go. We are a small team with modest means and with little experience in this league but we are, I think, well within our rights to expect more than to just avoid a season of repetitive humiliation. This pre-match montage doesn't inspire anyone to expect anything more than noble effort, and that's worth precious little where we are at the moment.

Whilst I'd never want Reading to end up like some east-London clubs (who seem to believe they have a God-given right to play in the top flight every year), our quality is such that we should go into most games believing we can get a result, even if it doesn't work out like that in the end.

We should never forget how astounding last season was, and I don't think many Reading fans will, but, as Brian says, we move on. The Madjeski needs to become a fortress again; a place where the fans believe and the players do too.

Ditch the fatalistic tune and the self-comforting footage and let's get focused on what matters; proving we deserve to play in the best league in the world. 17th place is not an impossible dream - it's one great performance short of reality.

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