I did intend when resuming posts to try to come up with alternative themes to avoid falling into the trap of this blog being just an endless stream of anti-Duchatelet rants. But it's hardly my fault that he and his board are the only game in town and keep providing ample ammunition for any sane person not to be able to let pass without criticism (or without an ever-deepening desire to see the back of them).
One of the themes was going to be some recollections of moments or games, perhaps not the obvious ones, involving upcoming opponents. A wizened old git like me should have enough stored. But for the life of me - and it's no reflection on them - I can't think of anything much with respect to us and Reading, except perhaps that we sold Richie Bowman to them (now there was a midfield terrier). If there have been great moments/classic encounters, even strange incidents, I can't recall them. All of which leaves me with the thought that perhaps the most memorable incident has yet to happen but may take place tomorrow, for obvious reasons.
I could never bring myself to wish for anyone to score against us (I did come dangerously close last season when Scottie Parker was coming in for crazy booing at The Valley, apparently repeated recently), or cheer any opposition goal. But as others have already commented, if Yann buries one (just the one then, when we've already won the game) the reaction of the crowd will be at least sympathetic. I'd happily settle for an iconic image of Kermorgant on a lap of honour wearing a black and white scarf, just as we cheered him to the rafters at the promotion/champions celebration game when he wore his Breton beret. In the interim, I hope the crowd, in addition to dreaming of a team of Kermorgants, will pick up on the "deluded" tag for our owner (and his board).
If Duchatelet and Meire don't understand why the man is held in such high regard by supporters, I'm not going to explain why. They should ask someone, and listen. That way they would learn something they didn't previously know, something which might help them to do their jobs better .... Whistling in the wind. When Duchatelet talks about learning from mistakes he means himself and his lackeys discussing amongst themselves what aspect of their masterplan might have been undermined by some external factor. Suffice to say that in the years to come we will still sit around and talk with affection about the time that Yann got clattered and was back up again, when he was harshly sent off just for accidentally kicking someone, or whether he really meant that volley as a shot or an attempt to square it, when anyone mentioning Duchatelet or Meire will get blank stares and be told to go and wash their mouths out.
Deluded does just about sum it up. I remember that when a valued employee informed me that he/she was resigning to take another job (usually for a much higher salary than I was paying them, the ungrateful bstards) I would feel lousy, thinking about how long it would take to find and train a replacement, how much extra work would be involved etc. But after a day or two, when you've come to terms with it, I'd have persuaded myself that the person leaving was a waste of space, that the next in would be a marked improvement, and that I couldn't wait for the change to come. So when Duchatelet describes Kermorgant as a player who "wanted to leave" he may simply have persuaded (ie deluded) himself that this was indeed the case, nothing to do with him (Duchatelet) screwing up and making an awful decision based on ignorance and arrogance. The difference is that even at the time I knew I was kidding myself and just trying to make the best of a bad job; I'm not sure that our owner is capable of distinguishing fact from his own fiction.
We all know the significance of tomorrow's result; Riga and the players may with justification talk of positives from a performance but as each round passes and the gap to safety either widens or gets no narrower the need for a win and nothing else increases. I am in the 'stranger things have happened' camp, not out of any sense that we are likely to avoid relegation (let alone will avoid it) but that it is still feasible. I wrote back in January, following Riga's return, that in light of the fixtures if we are still in the bottom three after playing MK Dons on 8 March we would surely be set for the drop. I guess now even as the eternal optimist we would need to win our next three games, including the MK Dons one, to have an outside chance of being out of the bottom three by then. Adjust and adapt. The gap by then just has to be materially narrower than it is now. Starting tomorrow.