After losing to Swansea in the play-off final, I couldn't have ever imagined in my wildest dreams that in a year's time we would be celebrating promotion back to the Barclay's Premier League, back in the big time.
If losing the play-off final wasn't enough to destroy the players morale, the loss of two key players over the summer in Matt Mils and Shane Long would surely have done it.
But Brian McDermott instilled in his men a belief so strong that they, out of nowhere, rose up through the ranks silently. Without being feared by others and with no particular flair they managed to win the Championship title just by winning games, by being difficult to break down and scoring when we needed to.
But will it work in the Premier league?
Many seem to have already tipped Reading for relegation, and they're being branded as having 'no hope' or 'doomed' before we've even kicked a ball. Our squad is weaker than the others, but that's just how it was last season. If McDermott can keeps his players in that same winning mentality, the sense of togetherness and all working for one goal, who knows why it can't work? We got torn to shreds last season at the West Ham and Southampton away trips, but defended strong, and scored when we had to.
Another factor for our success last season was the outstanding form of Australian goalkeeper Adam Federici. Our defence were difficult to break down but they had the reassurance to know that the best shot-stopper outside the Premier league was behind them as he proved with his 18 clean sheets this season, more than any other in the division. Aussie international Federici produced some remarkable moments, and wonderfully acrobatic saves throughout the course of the season, as he has done since he first made his breakthrough appearance in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in February 2007, where he won the player of the round for his efforts.
Royals academy graduate and centre back Alex Pearce won the club's Player of the Season award and deservedly so. Pearce (along with Federici) played every minute of the league campaign and risked life and limb to stop the other team scoring. Pearce will prove vital to the squad next term as the defence will prove to be a key area to focus on if Reading are to stay in the Premier League.
Central midfielder and playmaker Jem Karacan is also an academy graduate, and is many fans favourite play to to his skill, ability and flawless work rate. The Turkish U-21 international worked tirelessly throughout the season, and despite falling out of favour early on, worked his way back into the team before he broke his ankle after a clumsy Michael Brown challenge against Leeds, meaning Karacan missed the climax of the season. He produced one of the goals of the season with a wonderstrike in a 4-0 victory away at Barnsley.
January saw the arrival of target man Jason Roberts, who had the best start anyone has ever had to a reading career, winning all 8 of his first 8 games. His arrival seemed to bring that spirit of togetherness within the squad, and resilience and Reading reaped all the rewards of the striker's experience as won the league title with a game to spare.
This summer has seen the arrival of free agents Garath McCleary, Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak after their contracts expired at Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United and Fulham respectively, with the promise of more signings to come. Before becoming manager, Brian McDermott spent 10 years as Reading's chief scout- meaning that he is no fool in spotting talent. Finding players who will fit in with the club ethos built last year and fit easily into the group will be key in Reading's quest to retain their Premier League status.