Sunday, October 05, 2003


A bloke at the football has a replica shirt emblazoned with the legend ‘We 8 Reading’. This is nearly as perplexing as the gutsy singing of the Hokey Cokey at the Kassam recently; how on earth do you…“do the Scott McNiven and you turn around?” I’m perplexed because much as we try to 8 Reading, no Oxford fan can really bring themselves to do it.

Hence, the banks of the East Stand faithful sing “We hate Reading (‘suppose) and we hate Reading (‘suppose)”. OK, well, they don’t, but they did sing “You’re only here ‘cause it’s Oxford” to Reading fans who were indeed only there because their team was playing in Oxford which does strip the song of the irony it had when it was sung to 30,000 Arsenal fans at Highbury.

Like the game at Highbury we were cut to ribbons by a Reading side who passed their way through our lumbering back five on countless occasions and enjoyed considerable shooting practice from the edge of the six yard box. Oxford are a team built for the third division, Reading for the first. Oxford’s pitch offers, quite literally, too level a playing field upon which expensively constructed teams are invited to outclass us. It’s all so clinically obvious, it’s difficult to be bothered about it.

I wandered whether it was just me but the blokes behind me confirmed it wasn’t. When they spotted the bloke in the We 8 Reading shirt one turned to the other and asked…

“Do you think he 8’s writing too?”

To which his mate replied, in a rare moment of quality East Stand humour

“He probably 8’s all school”


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