Reading between the lines

Terry Wills on an unhappy day for the Albion.

“Club reeling from Day of Shame.” “Albion shame on and off the pitch.”

Two banner headlines that sum up the feelings of every decent Baggies fan at the end of a very disappointing cup exit to Championship Reading.

Not that I was surprised. Last week I said that FA Cup shocks could be expected and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it took a replay to determine the result.

Reading disagreed. After Darren Fletcher had opened the scoring they metaphorically shrugged shoulders, quickly equalised, then added another two goals too run out comfortable winners.

It was yet another (getting used to them now) poor, indecisive and negative display. Albion rarely causing serious problems in attack, and at the back they far too often failed to close down a team that looked as if they WANTED to see their name in the hat for the quarter final draw.

Baggies fans were naturally disappointed, but for the one ill-disciplined idiot who threw the coin, hitting Chris Brunt just below the eye, he tarnished the reputation of the club and us supporters. No matter how badly a team is playing, or how much one argues with Tony Pulis’ team selection and tactics THAT DOES NOT excuse this dreadful response.

Football is now a global product with many clubs in the hands of foreign owners and considering that Jeremy Peace has put the club up for sale ask yourself if such negative publicity will negate any potential purchasers?

Back to league action this week and if games against Leicester, Manchester United and Arsenal coming up weren’t daunting in their own right, it’s Crystal Palace visiting the Hawthorns fresh from beating Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Alan Pardew has encouraged Palace to adopt an attacking policy and with Albion’s seemingly non-stop run of injuries it will be a daunting task to salvage one point from a match where three would go a long way towards ensuring the possibility of being drawn into the bottom three could be discounted.

One thing is certain – Chris Brunt will receive a hero’s welcome. A bucket collection has been arranged with all donations passed on for him to donate to a charity of his choice in addition to a banner pledging support for a player who aleays gives 100% effort when wearing a blue and white striped shirt.

A final comment on the Reading defeat.It was a setback but I’ve always said, there are far more important things in life than losing a game of football.