Whist 2009 was clearly not one of our better years in recent history (failure to return to the Premiership, failure in the play-offs, Steve Coppell leaving, Brendan Rodgers' sacking and us ending the year nestled nicely near the bottom of the table), 2010 has had many highs to go with some lows.
This year has very much been the year of the kids. After years of false promises from the academy we are finally reaping the rewards. There were five ‘home grown’ players in the match ay team that faced Derby on Saturday, and this is largely becoming normal. With Alex Pearce improving with every game, three of our starters have also come through the youth system of the club, a stat to really be proud of.
Of course, without Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to Hoffenheim, there would have been another youth product in our first team. Whilst his sale is probably one of the lower points of the year (especially coming days before the window shut), the fact that one of our academy players sold for so much is a testament to all who work with the young players. And getting to watch him play for the short period he was here was better than nothing.
As for player of the year it’s hard to look past Jimmy Kebe. Whilst Brian McDermott has worked his magic on many of our players, the transformation in Jimmy has been amazing, especially considering the fans reaction to him throughout 2009.
On the pitch, starting the year with the Liverpool cup games and McDermott’s appointment lifted the club after the disappointments of the previous year; it was great to begin a new year with so much positivity around the club. The FA cup run was the sort of thing dreams are made of, and the high scoring league form that stemmed from it was a joy. It was back to watching Reading at our best.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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