It was a game that wouldn’t have mattered regardless. Whatever managers Nigel Adkins and Harry Redknapp said, both Reading and QPR already had one-and-a-half feet in the Championship.
And now it has been confirmed, as this afternoon’s 0-0 draw condemned both to relegation.
Both sides picked up pointless points that did nothing for either their league position or their sense of worth.
The truth is neither club has been good enough for the Premier League this season. And now both have exited it with little more than a whimper.
There is a habit among managers and fans to hold on to the sense of not being mathematically doomed; that until they can no longer be saved by a man holding a calculator, anything is possible.
But there is another way to be doomed.
And the next time a manager says something along the lines of, “We’re not mathematically down yet,” the response should be, “No, but you are common-sense-ically down.”
No, it’s not a word. But it should be; if only to insert some realism into transparent and ineffectual escape plans.
Hindsight comes to the fore in the face of actuality. But it needs to be said anyway. Sacking Brian McDermott made no sense.
It may have done, had they not employed his carbon-copy. But in bringing in Adkins they simply swapped one man who can get you out of the Championship for another man who can do that, too.
At least QPR replaced Mark Hughes – a man who used to be quite good but has steadily become anything but – with Harry Redknapp; saviour extraordinaire and canny bargain hunter.
But when you are in the position QPR were back in January, bargains just won’t cut it. Instead Redknapp spent big fees and big wages on two blokes who will be activating their relegation release clauses right about now.
There was a moment when both Reading and QPR were relegated but it wasn’t today. For the Royals it may have been when they dismissed McDermott, although in truth it was probably when they were promoted back in May.
They aren’t a top flight side yet, not in the sense of competing and excelling every single week.
The moment QPR were relegated is harder to pin-point. Redknapp may say it was the moment that brought tears to his eyes, conceding a last-gasp equaliser at home to Wigan.
But it was probably when Hughes spent a lot of money on not very much and called it a team.
Both sides will be back, one perhaps sooner than the other.
But in the end, every point they accrued this season was ultimately a pointless one; today’s is just another to add to the pile.
What next for Reading and QPR? Can they both make it back to the top flight next season, and will they be better equipped to survive when they do?
image: © markhillary