Wednesday, 5 August 2015

#31 That Was The Season That Was

I was planning to write a long and detailed blog about all that was wrong about last season, but didn't want to be negative about our club on the eve of a new football season. We have all moved on so I will review a few key points last season, things that the club have now started to address.

May 2015 saw the R's finish at the foot of the Premier League for the second time in three seasons, having capitulated in the second half of the season. After a promising start, the good home form we enjoyed until Christmas deserted us as the remaining home fixtures pitted us in the main, against top ten sides. Goals were being scored, but woeful defending saw the R's leaking goals all season.

Rebranding concepts by Rs fan Dan Norris
Harrys inept pre season and poor transfer dealings, hardly gave us the best of chances. Alarm bells started to ring after Harry abandoned 3-5-3 following heavy away defeats early doors and went to 4-4-2 despite not having a recognised right back having sold Simpson. And we all know about losing every away game until January and the unwanted Premier League record that came with it.

Yes, there was a bad lot in the dressing room, with still too many at QPR for the money and the money only, happy to pick up their pay whether they played or not. Having said that this side was not as bad as the side that rolled over and submitted to relegation two years earlier. At least this lot had a go, they just weren't good enough.

But in my mind the biggest problem was Harry himself, and I for one was overjoyed after he spat his dummy out 8 hours after the transfer window closed, after uncle Tony finally put a halt to Harrys reckless spending and denied him his deadline day media exposure. There was no dignity in the timing of his resignation nor his fictitious reason. And still the man has no shame. Suffice to say Harry was overrated, well past his sell by date, passionless, clueless out of ideas and losing respect. Most infuriating about Harry was his refusal to take responsibility for the mess we were in on the pitch (or anything else) and he further compounded this by being a compulsive liar. I wont go into detail, but Clive Whittingham of Loft For Words has written an excellent article detailing many of Harrys "factual faux pas" which you can read on their web site.

Sadly, Harry was a very big part in what continued to be bad about QPR, Harry was never really passionate about the R's and only ever showed any kind of exuberance when we beat Southampton at St Marys. I wont go on any more about him as its all been said, but we did manage to get promoted at Wembley despite Harry being in charge.

Another point that has to be mentioned is the embarrassing way the club has been run since we came out of administration, which has got worse year on year. I've lost count of the amount of times we have been the laughing stock of football. Fortunately there are a few clowns running other clubs that have shoved us down the list of ridicule, so hopefully we can slip under the radar as we start to get our house in order.

Stan Bowles - King of Loftus Raod
Then there's Uncle Tony Fernandez......nice bloke, means well, and I genuinely think, loves our club despite his links with West Ham in the past. The problem with Tony is that he is very na├»ve when it comes to running a football club and has surrounded himself with the wrong kind of people. People that maybe good for business, but not good for football business. However, the penny has finally dropped with Tony, and the replacement of Mr Beard (FFP - there's another story) with the vastly experienced Hoos is a major step in the right direction as was the appointment of Sir Les as Director of Football and Ramsay as first team Coach.

Personally I like Ramsey. I think he knows the modern game and can get the best out of what we have. (Look at Matt Phillips) He also loves the club and wants the job and is grateful for it. I think these changes are a major step in getting QPR back to being what it used to be following the chaotic  appointments we have made on and off the field off late. For example, the old QPR would never have signed the likes of Barton, (much as he did for the R's last season) and the day he signed signalled the shape of things to come in terms of our desperate transfer policy over the last 3 years.

This summer we have signed lower league, up and coming, hungry players who see coming to QPR as an opportunity and a step up. Time will tell if our change in buying habits will bear fruits but added to this the last of the dead wood and wrong sorts have almost all gone so hopefully this should drive us forward - plus, the 30 June 2015 was a day to celebrate as SWPs contract ended and we no longer have this parasite at our club.

Sir Les and Chris Ramsay
The other thing about Uncle Tony is that he desperately wants to be liked by everyone and is constantly on a charm offensive, spewing out his spin and courting the media like some kind of media whore, he just cant help himself. Tony really must learn when to keep his mouth shut, as sometimes he can be the cause of more ridicule to our club e.g. "I've got my dream manager" or he can be damaging to his own future plans e.g. the new stadium plans all over the media before he's even talked to, ( let alone struck a deal with) the land owners. (Car Giant) Personally I don't think this stadium is going to happen at Old Oak, but Tony is confident it will happen, we'll have to wait and see. I still like Tony and he is good for QPR and with Ruben taking a more hands on role, if he does learn from his mistakes he could achieve a lot of what he wants for QPR.

So on to the forthcoming season, back in the Championship, which is where I really think we fit. Whilst not being the biggest fish in this pond, we are one of the larger species and should ably compete at this level in what I think will be a season of consolidation. I would like us to have a decent season playing football the QPR way, finishing just outside the play offs, ready for a good crack the following season or maybe the season after. With the acquisitions we have made this summer I would be surprised if we were involved in relegation battle this season, though I would have liked to have see a new centre half come in. Nedum as captain, a new contract for Clint Hill and re-signing Mackie were good decisions and the kind of decisions the old QPR would have made. Once the season beds in I will comment further on the new boys but, on what I have seen so far, Luongo looks like he could be a good buy. Other than that I am not sure what to expect this season but I am hoping that the spirit and attitude of the new squad is back to what QPR is all about.

Stan in action
On a separate note, we were all sad to hear that QPR legend Stan Bowles has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's aged 66. As you all know, King Stanley was the gifted football maverick that lit up Loftus Road for many years and it was truly a pleasure to watch him play for our club. A true QPR man, we could do with more like him and those of his era down at the Bush now. I along with all R's, wish him all the best for the future.


Finally, it's a shame about the back of the new kit. The front is right, but the back isn't - We are Hoops and what Nike has done is unforgivable. Daniel Norris is a R's fan on Twitter that is a graphic designer and his kit and new badge concepts are fantastic. If there is one R's fan the club should listen to about branding its him. I've put a little pic of his work on this blog but follow him on twitter for more @DanKNorris.
or better still click on this link to see his QPR concepts on Tumbler. Design QPR by Dan Norris


That's all for now. Charlton Away for us to look forward too, followed by Cardiff home with Yeovil away in the cup sandwiched in between. What price on three wins I wonder.... what price on a cup run! Time will tell.

All the best for everyone and everything QPR in the new season.

Blog to you soon.

The Bush Ranger.


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Beat about the Bush Ranger Blog Update

Blogs have been scarce this season what with waiting for away wins and other commitments.

Next blog will be at the end of the season where I hope to review the many happenings in W12 this season. Plus a few other off field issues worth a note.

Till then it's looking unlikely that we will be in the PL next season but we live in hope!.

Blog to you soon, Come on U R's.


The Bush Ranger

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bush Ranger's Christmas Bulletin



HARRY'S CLEAR PLAN FOR QPR THIS SEASON
If you're wondering why there has been a lack of blogs this season I made the decision not to blog until we get an away win. Sadly this has not happened yet so I will change it to getting a point. (so it could be Easter then!)

To tell you the truth, home form aside, it has not been enjoyable supporting the R's this year and the away results have left me feeling sick and emotionally wrecked. Why cant we get it right? Why is Harry such a dinosaur? He aint got a clue. The results at home, in my opinion, are down to Hoddle because Harry doesn't know what our best team is and has more excuses than solutions. Harry doesn't instill belief in the players and they don't believe they can win away. I won't say anymore because if you can't say anything good its better not to say anything at all.

QPR's coverage in the media is negative re away from, training grounds and new stadiums, but wait until our accounts are made public, there will be a media frenzy heaping more embarrassment to our club.

So until we get an away point, its bye for now. Let;s hope things get better.

Come on U R's.

Bush Ranger


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

#30 That Great Day in May starts bucking the trend for the better at QPR.

It’s been a nice summer for QPR fans, thanks mainly to a last minute strike from Bobby Zamora at Wembley in May to send forty thousand R’s in Wembley Stadium ecstatic.

That Goal from Zamora
Needless to say, that goal secured QPR’s return to the top flight. But the feel good factor amongst R’s fans appears to be down to much more than just the return of Premier League football to Shepherd Bush. No, it was the fact that we actually won at Wembley…we actually scored at Wembley. After the disappointment of the FA cup replay in 82 and the game we don’t like to mention in 86 v Oxford, what a great feeling it was for all the R’s around the world, to see the Superhoops finally win at Wembley, after a forty seven year wait. Not only that, but with the odds stacked against us, reduced to ten men and seemingly without a chance of scoring and hoping to hold out for penalties. But the team battled valiantly not to lose and then took their chance when it came and punished Derby's failure to capitalise on their advantage. I don't know how we did it, but we did it. It was meant to be. It was finally our time… our time for a Wembley victory. The fact that it happened to be the play off final was just an incidental, us QPR’s fans wanted something to really celebrate, something we've dreamt about for years, and my god we got it. The R’s support was simply breathtaking and magnificent in every way that day and the prize of being in the top flight was a fantastic bonus, as us R’s finally got what we have craved for decades…. and it don't half feel good.

Only now on the eve of the 2014/15 Premier League season am I beginning to think about the R’s being back. I've been too occupied with feeling good about winning at Wembley all summer to think about it. Every day someone, somewhere, be it on Twitter, Facebook or any of the other platforms, some kind of media file relating to that Great Day in May is posted to make us feel good, and it’s great. E.g.BBC radios Phil Parry's Bobby Dazzler commentary and his “Would-you-be-lieve-it” Follow this link to listen. http://audioboo.fm/boos/2193529-qpr-hear-bobby-zamora-s-winning-goal

40K Rs fans doing QPR proud
Most R’s wouldn't have been too fussed about not going up, but they didn't want to see another Wembley defeat. However, for all their insistence that all would be fine should we fail to be promoted, Tony Fernandes and Co really wanted this promotion, and they wanted it bad.  With their relief evident and with a second bite of the cherry, we must hope that the QPR hierarchy have learnt from past mistakes and do a better job of things this time. With the consequences of FFP it is vital that Fernandes and Co don’t fail. This is their chance, this is our chance. Some may say second chance. Survival in the top flight is only half of it, we must now become sustainable and viable. It’s not an overnight solution and quick fixes won't do. The owners must now apply diligence in applying the foundations for the future of QPR.

So with a Premier League season to look forward to and with memories of that great day fresh in our memories, everyone and everything QPR is feeling good. So what have we done in the summer to make sure we stay in the top flight?

Despite it being a world cup year, the press still occupying themselves with linking QPR with most players with a pulse, regardless of whether or not the story has legs or not. So no change there in not being able to rely on the press for any meaningful information re transfer news. Having said that we did get Rio Ferdinand after the press bleated he was QPR bound all through the World Cup. Yes, he is getting on, but he has an abundance of experience and was a factor that influenced Steven Caulker decision to come to us.  The Caulker signing bucks the trend of previous QPR transfer business in that he is young, doesn't get injured much and is a good player. While Rio will be used sparingly, I would expect Caulker to be ever present at the centre of a back three next season, with Onuoha, Hill, Dunne, and Donaldson all competing to partner him.
That great day in May

Harry plans to play with a 3-5-2 formation next season and has acquired the services of Chilean international Mauricio Isla on loan for a season. Isla had a decent world cup and is an attacking wing back that Harry believes will create extra opportunities going forward. Harry has also managed to sign another fine young player in Jordan Mutch. Harry’s belief is that Mutch is ideal in fitting in to his plans for the way we play next season. Mutch is a quality midfielder that had a great season in the Premier League despite being relegated with Cardiff last season. Loic Remy was all set to move to Liverpool when a seemingly failed medical quashed that deal and is now back at QPR and it looks like he could start the season with us. Should we manage to keep him and he wants to stay, it would be like signing a new striker. Remy and Austin up front in a 3-5-2 is a mouth-watering prospect.

Other rumours that seem to have legs in them link QPR with Ajax striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Villareal midfielder Jonathan De Guzman. There is the usual press speculation that Harry is trying to get Townsend back from Spurs, but I don’t think anything will come of that.  On the other side of things Messer’s, Balanta, Benayoun, Ephram, Granero, Hitchcok, Hughes, Johnson, Mbia, O'Neil, Park Shariff and Young have all parted company with the club. However, the R’s are still burdened with the salaries of Wright-Phillips and Cesar who have shown little inclination to move on and are happy to draw their salaries with little or no time on the pitch. Meanwhile Adel Taarabt has returned to Loftus Road with Harry now saying that he is in his plans as QPR mull over a £3m bid from AC Milan. So we're pretty much in the same situation as we were last year with the Moroccan genius. So a clear bucking of trends in our transfer business has seen the R’s combine youth with experience, players that seemingly want to play for us and not on extortionate wages, which the R’s have also tightened the reins on.

As I write this blog it has been announced that QPR have given a coaching role to (another) former England manager in Glen Hoddle. I for one am pleased with this appointment as I believe Hoddle is a fantastic, forward thinking coach that can bring what Harry and his existing staffs are missing to our club.

Glen Hoddle - QPR's 1st team coach
So what of our chances in the Premier League this season? It’s a hard one to call and after the amplified optimism following our carte blanche signings in summer 2012, I am going to have to reserve judgement. Preseason friendlies didn't reveal much but at least we got the results we should have against the standard of opposition. However, it does look as if QPR could continue to have problems scoring although measures have been taken to improve our defence for this campaign in the top flight. Survival is not going to be a walk in the park and we are going to have to fight for every point. It is essential that we buck the trends of our past tenure in the top flight and really consolidate some home form. We must be looking to win at least eleven home games to be in with a chance so I would like to think Harry will be emphasising the importance of making home advantage count. The appointment of Hoddle could also have an enormous bearing in steering this campaign in the right direction, in a similar way to McClaren last season, but hopefully with a little more flair at home. Either way we are QPR so you know its going to be a very bumpy ride.

Hull are first up at Loftus Road for the season opener, so here’s hoping that this time round the R’s can continue to buck trends, as they have been this summer, and not get stuffed at home, but start with three points. A sell out Loftus Road will be waiting in eager anticipation to see what drama our beloved club will serve up this season.

Before I go, watch this video it should put a smile on your face.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YC7HBrDgmHI



Blog to you soon.
Come on you R’s

The Bush Ranger


Friday, 11 April 2014

#29 QPR's Season So Far - A Different Perspective

LATEST RESULTS
The R's completed their 41st league game of their Championship campaign with another away defeat, this time to Blackburn Rovers, following another predictably poor performance from another injury ravaged QPR team (Even Luke Young got a game). The result saw the R's slip to 4th in the table, comfortably in a playoff position with a 9 point cushion with 6 games to play. However, following QPR's inability to capitalise on Burnley's recent blip that saw them drop 5 points as we only picked up 1, the playoff option remains our only realistic chance of a quick return to the Premiership.

An unexpectedly good start to the season back in August, saw the R's seemingly vindicate the bookies decision in making us favourites to win the league, as we occupied the promotion places whilst being the last team in the country to suffer a league defeat. Then in December after the home defeat to Leicester, things started to take an alarming turn for the worst for Rangers with runs of poor results and performances leading to discontent amongst the majority of R's fans along with much frustration and disappointment. Results were only part of the problem as the R's and Harry had to contend with more than their fair share of injury losses. Harry has not competently dealt with this problem and has seemed lost in finding a solution where others may have done better. On the whole, opinion seems to be that we have disappointed, and let ourselves down... But have we?

After the horrors of last season with disastrous transfer dealings, mercenaries, totally inadequate players and spending way beyond our means, nobody knew what to expect this season. Many an R thought it could be back to back relegation and very few would commit to automatic promotion being realistically achievable this season. Many I have spoken to were content to finish mid table and hoped to maybe make the playoffs. Harry and the board had much to do in the summer and somehow managed to divert and get rid of  most of the dross and financial burdens, whilst bringing in new personnel  (mostly loans, including more dross) and giving us a chance of at least trying to challenge.(On paper)  So where did all the disappointment come from? Disappointment that has lead frustrated R's fans to turn on each other as divided opinions  have met head to head at Rangers games and in the social media.

A major contribution to this has been our old enemy, expectation. Or more accurately, false expectations. In this case the expectation was fuelled by the fantastic start to the season that I mentioned earlier. Our league position has been living off the back of that good start for the last 30 games, as our form since then has been that of a mid table team, not even playoff position form. Look at the tables below they do not lie. It it wasn't for the points and lead we accumulated early season we would not be sitting in the top  4 today.

FORM TABLE OVER LAST 10 GAMES

FORM TABLE OVER LAST 20 GAMES

FORM TABLE OVER LAST 30 GAMES
 (SINCE GAME 31)
W
D
L
G

(SINCE  GAME 21)
W
D
L
G

(SINCE GAME 11)
W
D
L
G
1.
B’mouth
10
8
1
1
21:6
25

1.
Leicester
20
14
5
1
44:20
47

1.
Leicester
30
20
6
4
60:31
66
2.
Burnley
10
7
2
1
19:9
23

2.
Burnley
20
11
7
2
33:19
40

2.
Derby
30
17
6
7
51:29
57
3.
Leicester
10
6
3
1
21:10
21

3.
Wigan
20
11
5
4
30:17
38

3.
Burnley
30
15
12
3
45:27
57
4.
Bolton
10
6
3
1
18:7
21

4.
B’mouth
20
10
6
4
32:18
36

4.
Wigan
30
15
7
8
40:29
52
5.
Wigan
10
5
3
2
17:11
18

5.
M’boro
20
8
8
4
21:13
32

5.
Brighton
30
13
9
8
35:25
48
6.
M’boro
10
4
4
2
12:8
16

6.
Derby
20
9
5
6
27:20
32

6.
Ipswich
30
12
10
8
35:31
46
7.
Ipswich
10
5
1
4
10:12
16

7.
Watford
20
8
7
5
34:20
31

7.
B’mouth
30
12
9
9
40:33
45
8.
Watford
10
4
3
3
20:11
15

8.
Shef Wed
20
9
4
7
30:21
31

8.
Reading
30
12
8
10
47:39
44
9.
Brighton
10
4
3
3
13:10
15

9.
Ipswich
20
8
6
6
22:21
30

9.
Blackburn
30
11
11
8
39:40
44
10.
Derby
10
4
2
4
13:7
14

10.
Reading
20
8
5
7
32:25
29

10.
M’boro
30
11
10
9
36:26
43
11.
QPR
10
4
2
4
12:12
14

11.
Brighton
20
8
5
7
21:19
29

11.
Bolton
30
11
10
9
44:38
43
12.
Charlton
10
4
2
4
6:12
14

12.
Blackburn
20
7
8
5
30:29
29

12.
QPR
30
12
7
11
35:33
43
13.
Blackburn
10
3
4
3
18:18
13

13.
Bolton
20
7
7
6
30:29
28

13.
Shef Wed
30
12
6
12
41:35
42
14.
Shef Wed
10
4
1
5
14:14
13

14.
QPR
20
8
4
8
25:26
28

14.
Watford
30
9
11
10
44:38
38
15.
Reading
10
3
4
3
12:13
13

15.
N Forest
20
6
8
6
31:31
26

15.
N Forest
30
8
13
9
41:42
37
16.
Barnsley
10
4
1
5
9:15
13

16.
Doncaster
20
6
5
9
19:25
23

16.
Charlton
30
9
8
13
22:36
35
17.
Doncaster
10
4
1
5
9:15
13

17.
Charlton
20
6
5
9
14:27
23

17.
Leeds
30
9
6
15
42:50
33
18.
Millwall
10
3
2
5
9:11
11

18.
Barnsley
20
5
6
9
19:28
21

18.
B’ham
30
8
9
13
40:48
33
19.
Yeovil
10
2
4
4
14:19
10

19.
H’field
20
5
4
11
25:33
19

19.
H’field
30
9
5
16
37:47
32
20.
B’ham
10
3
1
6
16:23
10

20.
B’ham
20
5
4
11
27:37
19

20.
Barnsley
30
7
10
13
27:41
31
21.
Blackpool
10
2
1
7
7:17
7

21.
Millwall
20
4
6
10
15:28
18

21.
Doncaster
30
8
7
15
26:46
31
22.
H’field
10
1
3
6
10:15
6

22.
Yeovil
20
4
6
10
24:38
18

22.
Yeovil
30
7
9
14
35:48
30
23.
N Forest
10
0
4
6
8:21
4

23.
Leeds
20
3
4
13
20:40
13

23.
Millwall
30
6
10
14
28:47
28
24.
Leeds
10
1
1
8
9:24
4

24.
Blackpool
20
2
5
13
11:34
11

24.
Blackpool
30
5
7
18
22:50
22

As you can see from the tables above, we have consistently performed as a mediocre mid table team for 75% of the season so far.(30 of 41 games) The point I'm making here is if you take away our good start and look at what's left, then maybe there would not have been the expectation that most of us have coveted this season. Instead we may well have been content to have consolidated our status a championship side, abated any relegation fears and even have started to get excited about maybe sneaking into the playoffs. Things may not have seemed so bad then and maybe we could all accept that this team is not good enough for automatic promotion. We are what we are, deal with it. It would certainly have made the season a little bit more palatable than it has been to date. Had our season gone this way, but the early season form we had was to happen now, we would be ecstatic and swinging off the rafters, still only 4th, but happier none the less.

As it turns out though, something cataclysmic will have to happen if we are to miss the playoffs and even Harry and Co have finally conceded that its our best option for promotion, even though recent performances indicate this was accepted some weeks ago. Leicester and Burnley are far more deserved of the automatic promotion places than we or the rest of the division are but the last spot is up for grabs, so why not us? I don't think we are ready, or good enough, to go back up yet, but neither are any of our fellow challengers. We could still end up in May having our glory day at Wembley and return to the Premiership, whether we are ready or not. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Should we fail to accomplish promotion this year it will probably be a fair reflection of where we are as a football club. Harry will probably go, the time is right for that, and our disastrous financial shenanigans will no doubt see us face a transfer embargo come Jan 2015, but this does not have to be a bad thing. If we are to be honest, QPR as a club and a business is not run very well. Much as I like them, Fernandes and Beard have been dangerously naive in their football dealings and they don't seem to have learnt much from their mistakes. This would be an opportunity to get the right infrastructure in place for our club and to get us doing what has traditionally worked best for QPR. Start with getting in a QPR man in as Manager, someone with passion for the R's and who wants to manage the R's. Then get the right mixture of older pros that want to come and play for QPR (before the ban) and bring in the players from our development squad. Those with something to prove and the hunger to succeed, like we used to. It would be great to turn this club around in a similar way to what they have achieved at Southampton, not so long ago they were in the 3rd tier. Now they are a formidable Premiership side that plays attractive football with an abundance of homegrown talent that's improving all the time, and this was achieved without being silly with money. Take note uncle Tony and Co, that's how we used to do it at Loftus Road. Imagine if we could do something like that in the next few years, that would be nice!

ALEC STOCK
Finally I would just like to share my pleasure in QPR finally acknowledging one of the all time greats in QPR history, Alec Stock. The Yeovil home game was deemed Alec Stock day and this great QPR man was honoured and remembered for his 10 years service building all we love about QPR and of course, arguably our greatest achievement in the double winning season of 67/68 plus back to back promotions. Rangers fanzine " A Kick Up the R's" has a brilliant article about Alec Stock in its latest issue that has been excellently penned by regular R's writer John O'Mahoney. A better article on Alec Stock you will not find anywhere, a must read for a definitive account on how this man bought QPR forward. If you can't get a copy go to www.akutrs.co.uk for details.

So with 5 games to go and 6 points to clinch a playoff place, it's likely that Harry will just be seeing out these games in preparation for the anticipated playoff lottery. I hope he takes the opportunity to blood some of the talent Steve Gallen has been developing for our future. Has the season been that bad, all things considered.? In our case, when you look at it in another way, as above, things are easier to accept and you can be realistic....so no... things haven't been as bad as we initially thought......for a team in mediocre form for most of the season. What do you expect????

I don't anticipate much happening until, most likely, the playoffs, so blog to you then.

Come on you R's

The Bush Ranger