September 2016
Sour grapes? Maybe .. it's been a frustrating afternoon for this particular Red.

There may have been a few individual performances that had dipped below the recent standards they have set themselves. That happens sometimes. You would have to admit that Reading took their chances better than we did. And whilst statistics might suggest that Barnsley were the superior team versus today's visitors, it's goals that win games.

What galls me most is the negative way that Reading, but more especially Ali Al-Habsi, provided a masterclass in wasting time at every opportunity.

I simply wouldn't be doing my duty as a football fan and a defender of fair play, if I didn't use my vexation in a more positive way. So here goes. If any of his camel training mates are reading this, maybe you can share this post with him. And maybe next time he wants to waste a full hour and a half, please ask him to do it in his own time.

Out of generosity, here are 5 suggestions for Ali Al-Habsi and other would-be time smugglers:

1. Be King of France (nearly 5 times over)

Following his father, Charles X's, abdication on the eve of the 1830 French Revolution, Louis-Antoine d'Artois was technically king for a period of approximately twenty minutes on August 2nd, 1830. Louis-Antoine's only official act as king was to abdicate the throne to his nephew, the Henri, the Duke of Bordeaux.

2. Complete a full lap of the Earth during a space walk

According to Michael J. Massimino, an American engineer and former NASA astronaut, "Being outside during the space walk, the view of the Earth is just spectacular, and getting a chance to do that is just unbelievable, everything about it. You are going around the Earth at 17,500 miles an hour, so you have 45 minutes of sunlight followed by 45 minutes of darkness. You do a lap every 90 minutes."

3. Watch The Perfect Movie

There's a school of thought that says 90 minutes is the perfect length for a movie - the length of 3 TV episodes, just enough time to get in, tell your story, and get out without wasting any more of the audience's time. There are countless examples that prove the rule, economically told stories that feel perfect and tight without a second wasted. So crank up the 'Netflix' and be entertained by some of these examples: Airplane (88 minutes), Godzilla vs Megalon (78 minutes) or even Zoolander (89 minutes). You might even find a minute or two spare to enjoy a cuppa and a snack break too.

4. Stop smoking

Whether you are a light or heavy smoker, a casual or long-term smoker, smoke ‘regular’ or use ‘electronic’ cigarettes, Geoff Anthony reckons that he has a proven programme to make you a confident and happy non-smoker in just 90 minutes. So what's the catch? Unfortunately these specialist clinics only operate in the Republic of Ireland.

5. Take a day trip to Australia

Okay, we're maybe grasping at straws a little here. With current technology, the shortest journey from Europe to Sydney is around 30 hours. That's more than an entire day devoted to traveling. However, German space agency DLR has added their own solution to our slow travel problem: the SpaceLiner. This yet-to-be-developed vehicle would zip over the globe faster than the speed of sound, achieving this feat by flying higher than the stratosphere. Packed with rocket engine technology, the SpaceLiner would travel from Europe to Australia in just 90 minutes. You could realistically pop over to Grandma's for lunch and be back home for dinner.
Next up, Reading FC head up the M1 to Oakwell, unbeaten in four matches after a hard-fought goalless draw with Birmingham in midweek.

Ahead of Saturday's match, we caught up with Dan from the excellent Royals blog, The Tilehurst End, to find out what we can expect from our opponents.

How would you sum up Reading's season so far?

Pretty decent, without really venturing into the spectacular. Jaap Stam's arrival has seen a totally new style put in place, as he seeks to turn us into a Dutch style outfit playing 4-3-3 with a heavy emphasis on possession. The possession point hasn't been an issue as we lead the Championship in that category but sadly it's not translated to many goals, with the club averaging the fourth lowest shots on target rate in the league. Sometimes it's frustrating watching countless passes around the back, but Rome wasn't built in a day and unlike Brendan Rodgers, who tried similar with us seven years ago, Stam has been picking up regular points. The jury is still out, but so far, so good.

So where do you think you'll end up?

A solid midtable finish is on the cards unless we make some big signings in January. I think we'll flirt with play-off contention but I could equally see us going on a bit of a slump. I'll say a 10th placed finish right now.

Who should we be wary of on Saturday?

Winger Garath McCleary seems to have rediscovered the mojo that saw him linked with a host of Premier League clubs a few years ago, while Roy Beerens has shown glimpses of why he was so highly thought of coming up in Holland. John Swift has been excellent since arriving from Chelsea but injury has slowed him down in recent weeks.

Any Barnsley player that's caught your eye?

We were heavily linked with Tom Bradshaw last season so it was disappointing to see him head to another Championship club, and he now seems to be hitting into form. Likewise, Adam Armstrong has the potential to be a cracking player and I'm slightly surprised that Newcastle let him go again.

Any fond memories of games between the two sides?

We've had some fun days out at Oakwell over the years, with a 4-0 win in 2012 being one of the best. Personally I enjoyed watching us earn our first win over Brendan Rodgers with a 3-1 win in 2009, that led to protests against the manager from unhappy Tykes fans!

Any not so fond ones?

My first season watching the club was the 94/95 season when our two clubs were locked in a battle for the final play-off spot. I remember you came to Elm Park in the March and absolutely drubbed us 3-0 and it was the first time my young self had ever seen us humped so heavily (sadly not the last!).

Finally, give us a score prediction?

I'll say 1-1.