Date:Thursday April 20 2006
The chant 'who are yer?' may not be so suited to Reading. They are, afterall, the Championship Champions, and could get a record points and goals total with two games left in the current campaign.
The Royal's have simply been a class above the rest and deserve their place in the Championship. Without spending millions of pounds, Steve Coppell has set an example to the rest of the Championship, and a very good example at that.
We asked Reading fan James Boyle his thoughts on the season - and unsurprisingly, he's quite happy with playing Premiership football next season!!
1. So, what's it like to be Champions?
How do you think it feels? Absolutely fantastic!!!!!!! Though we were so far clear in the run up to us being champions that when we were actually crowned champs at Leicester it didn't really sink it. It weas quite sureal! Now it's starting to sink it more and I can't wait for those premiership fixtures to come out in the summer! No disrespect here, but I can't wait to look out for the Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool matches rather than QPR, Plymouth etc! Let's just hope we do enough to stay there and follow the example set by Wigan and West Ham.
2. What are your views on Steve Coppell?
An absolute legend here at Reading as you can probably imagine. And the thing is, he hasnt gone out and spent bucket loads on players like Sheff United have and Wolves etc. We've built a great team out of players. He's just gone by his usual business and when others expected us to trip up we've just carried on winning! Hopefully his buys can be as shrewd this summer as they were last summer.
3. How do you think you'll do next season?
I'd love to say we'll do as good as Wigan and West Ham but I know it won't be that easy. Look at Sunderland. They won the league quite easily last season and look set to break the record for the lowest ever points total this season. We'll have to buy a couple of players for sure. Maybe a left back and a right back and an experienced midfielder or two. I've every confidence in Lita and Doyle bagging the goal for us but we need players who've been to the top level and done it before. That's probably what Sunderland have been lacking and we don't want to make the same mistake. I'd be happy enough with 4th bottom next season, and touch wood, we should achieve that if we get off to a decent start.
4. You mentioned Lita has undoubted class - how he progressing after his injury?
He should be back sooner than expected but he won't be in action again this season. Hopefully we can get him back to full fitness just in time for the new season kicking off. He's off his crutches now and will feature in the pre-season games for sure. His injuries have been a bit of a problem for us this season. I just hope he isn't marred by them next season and he shows the premiership what he's made of! An England call up may well be on the cards if so. If Darren Bent can, then I'm sure Leroy can!
5. Who has been your player of the season?
Every player in the side has been fantastic this season, and without any of them we wouldnt be the team we are. Everyone knows about Lita and Convey. Doyle has to be the man of the season though. We only signed him for an undisclosed fee from Cork in the summer, and most Royals fans thought he'd just be a bit part player for us. How wrong we were!! He's been the player of the division by a long way and has got us 18 precious goals this season aswell as creating many many more. I'm sure he'll be a star for us next season and will also get recognition for the full Republic of Ireland side!
6. I noticed you're fans are number 13 in your squad list - what's all that about?
Haha. We get this all the time! Basically we had the number 13 shirt spare when Pardew was in charge and a Royal fan came up with the idea of having the fans take up the jersey! When the England under21's played here a few years back Sven came to watch and held up a shirt with 'Sven 13' on the back. Since then the idea has stuck and the fans have been part of the squad ever since! The fans are the main part of any club though, so it's only right that we have our very own jersey!
7. Steve Sidwell has got a load of plaudits this season, what kind of player is he?
Brilliant! He's up there along with Doyle and Lita and is probably the most likely to progress in the Premiership. I wouldn't be surprised if we went on to bigger and better things in the next few seasons if we don't impress at that level. We got him from Arsenal, who always have a good youth set up, and he's a strong determined typical english central midfield player. He also gets the odd goal now and again. You could say he's our very own Steven Gerrard! He should have got the best player outside the premiership award recently, but was pipped by Phil Jagielka!
8. I feel daft asking this to a Reading fan - but if you could take one SWFC player to Reading who would it be and why?
Is this a trick question? :p I've heard good things about the youngster Chris Brunt and I've seen that a couple of his goals have been absolute screamers! So I'd have to go for him. Sorry, I don't think I'd take anyone else off your hands at the moment!
9. Any players you could offload to us now you're in the Premiership?
Haha! I'm not sure how much our nice chairman will give us in the summer to spend, but we need a few players. One thing about the Premiership is that you need a big squad to survive so I think we'll make sure we've brought in enough players before we can sell. Look at Birmingham with their injuries. They have a good enough squad but have struggled because of injury problems.
10. Whats your most memorable Wednesday Vs Reading match?
The one on Saturday probably! I think we'll bring a few up for a party, and it couldn't be much of a better setting! Looks like you'll be celebrating aswell by staying up so it should be a good game. We need the goals to break the 100 mark, and the points to help break Sunderlands record in this league! We just need 4 points to do that from the final two games so we can't lose on Saturday. The match at our place wasn't the best, you deserved more if Im being honest. In fact I can't remember a classic game between us!
11. What do you think the score will be?
I think it will be a high scoring game. We need the goals to break the 100 barrier and you seem to be on good form of late anyway, and with no pressure on you who knows! We need a win so I'll go for 3-1 to us with it being a lot tighter than the scoreline suggests! Good luck anyway and with next season, hopefully you can join us soon in the promised land!!
THANKS JAMES! Congratulations to the Royals on their promotion to the Premiership as Champions, and hopefully they can carry on the good name of the Championship and cause a few upsets like West Ham and Wigan have! Good luck on Saturday too.
NEXT UP...Derby County
Date:Thursday April 20 2006
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