Season 2012-13 Result
Reading 2-2 Newcastle United
 Kebe 58,
 Hunt 62.
 Ba 58,
 Ba 83.
Date: 29/09/2012  Venue: Madejski Stadium  Competition: Premiership
Crowd: 24,097
Match Report Submitted on 05/10/2012 by Beat
“Blow-up doll with real hair”

It was George’s idea – discussed in The Half Moon in Easington – to have a long over-due away trip, and since Reading away was a 3 o’clock kick-off on a Saturday (first Sat 3pm of the season) and only about 10 miles from Kirky’s Wokingham abode it seemed, at last, as if George had come up with a good idea.

Friday to Sunday, at the Holiday Inn, Reading (with its ‘Olympic’* sized swimming pool) was booked and the trip even appealed to Michael and Charlie who hoped to get permission from their wives. They asked me to get tickets but permission wasn’t granted.... As for George he scratched when he realised that the date clashed with Smike’s silver wedding party at the Ramrod. When Endean told him he was as soft as $hite for choosing a mid-life event, he was insistent that he had made the right decision to opt-out and go to a “once-in-a-lifetime” celebration (his words!)

Smike was asked for his thoughts about George missing the trip. “Get him to the match, he’s as soft as $hite”

So in the end me, Endean and junior Kirkwood set away at 3.30pm on Friday for the c300mile trip, with me driving (first time in years). You know you’re getting old when you cannot face a there and back in one day trip and you take Zantac and Gaviscon to get you through it. But the trip came at a good time for Mark as he’d just split up with his long-term girlfriend and needed a change of scene. Endean’s sympathy lasted less than 30 seconds (get over it, you’re as soft as $hite).

After a short delay to allow him to roll a fag (he’s taken-up the weed again after Kirsty finished with him) he spent the best part of an hour working out train times from Reading to get him into Central London that night so he could meet up with Kylie. After a can of Stella and Julie’s buns he gave me a target to catch a train by 8.20pm. We made it with a bit to spare and set him on his way to Shoreditch, via Waterloo, with orders to be back with us by noon the next day.

We went to Wokingham for beer and a curry.

Mark duly turned up the next day looking a lot happier after being entertained by Kylie. And so we headed off to a pub “easy walking distance to the Madejski Stadium” recommended to us by local toon fan (and Brian McDermott look-a-like) who we bumped in to in The Bull in Wokingham .
The pre-match pub, The Swan at Three Mile Cross, (clue in the place name to how handy for the ground...) was undoubtedly a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours pre-match, and the beer garden is class. It was there, amongst the carefully tended lawns, hanging baskets and topiary, that Endean continued with Mark’s relationship counselling ........
“I’ve had a word with your fatha..he’s gonna get you a blow up doll with real hair for Christmas”
Although I wouldn’t necessarily agree that “Reading is a $hit hole and I want to go home” as sung by our excitable followers to their similar teenage throw-backs (who reckoned we’d all come in caravans) the stadium and its location certainly are crap. A typical tin- shed in the middle of an industrial estate. Why bother? It was a slog to get there on a sunny warm afternoon. A trip there for cold, wet night-match would really pi$$ you off. I moaned all the way there and back. And when you arrive there’s the madness of pre-checks of tickets to endure before stewards let ten at a time through their cordon. They were all rightly abused; after that yomp everyone was desperate for a pi$$.
As for the match....

Reading will go down as most established teams will have enough about them to do what we should have done. Yes, a point’s a point, but we were poor all over the team. Gutiérrez offered nothing creatively, as usual, and a centre-half pairing of Williamson and Perch can only have an inevitable consequence this coming Sunday.
Post-match hiking and disinterest in half-time bar queue wrestling meant that thirsts had returned in spades and after getting back to the Bull in Wokingham we found a table, watched bits of the Spuds win (lots of their fans there for some reason) and the Ryder Cup, had 8 or 9 pints and we were the last to leave. A couple of disagreements sensibly petered-out and Kirky found a new drinking buddy (Louis Spence) to meet-up with for future TV games. Endean ended with a bit of Riverdance.
Sunday was a formality. Endean’s gaviscon alongside “Ellie Simmonds’ Secret Hangover Cure” (ask him, it works) saw two of us in the hotel pool before a full-monty breakfast. Mark slept most of the way home but livened-up considerably when he learned that me and Endean had both left coats in the hotel room wadrobe......
Kirkwood snr was called to go and collect them.
Endean.. “What did he say when you asked him to pick up the jackets?”
Mark...... ”Useless fcukers of course!”
*Carrville Mags Olympics Results 40 mtrs individual medley
1st place: Ellie Simmonds (Bailey) breast stroke
2nd place: Michael Phelps (Kirkwood) front crawl
40 mtrs freestyle
1st place: Ellie Simmons 35.73 seconds
2nd place: Michael Phelps 35.89
Technically it was a handicap as we’d been out until midnight and “Ellie” had chicken dopiaza, mushroom bhaji, pain rice and a naan for supper before the 9am challenge. “Phelps” was very confident that his 10 years of training would put him a strong position and gave Ellie a short head start, but to no avail.