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Monday, July 31, 2006

Ex-QPR's Johnnie Hollins Concerned re Crawley Axe

Kind of sad, given how nice he's meant to be; and what a star he was for QPR (and Chelsea and Arsenal and Chelsea). And at the beginning of his coaching career, was a really hot prospect, who QPR tried to appoint manager in the mid-1980s.

BBC - Crawley boss is fearing the sack

John Hollins fears for his future at CrawleyCrawley manager John Hollins accepts that he could be out of a job by the end of this week.
A new owner is expected to be announced at the Conference club by administrator Rob Sadler, and that could end Hollins' tenure at Broadfield Stadium.
Hollins believes a new owner may want to bring in his own manager and told the Brighton Argus: "I'm long enough in the tooth to know I could be out.
"We've shown signs of improvement, but we have to wait and see what happens."
Collins, who was appointed manager at Crawley last November, added: "All I can do is carry on working hard and continue to improve the team.
"I thought Alan Lewer and I did a good job last year, we improved the players' fitness, stopped letting goals in and we got results under difficult circumstances."

QPR Target, Stoke's Carl Henry...Having Trial With Wolves

BBC - Stoke star handed trial at Wolves
Out-of-contract Stoke midfielder Karl Henry is hoping to earn a deal with Wolves after being handed a trial by new manager Mick McCarthy.
Former England Under-20 international Henry, 23, played for Wolves in Steve Bull's testimonial match against Aston Villa on Saturday.
He was named as a subsitute but came on after just six minutes of Villa's 3-0 win at Molineux.
Henry has failed to agree a new contract at the Britannia Stadium.

Two Ex-QPR Stars Profiled - Ian Holloway and Rodney Marsh

Two very nice pieces about two Rangers stars in the Times....Just not nearly enough focus on their time at QPR!

The Times - July 31, 2006
Holloway's crazy days of summer - By Tom Dart

Our correspondent finds the former QPR manager refreshed and ready for his new challenge

STILL BARKING. “HE BREEZED INTO THE room, more or less hijacked the interview completely, took it over with his enthusiasm. His passion is unmatched, I’ve never met anybody who’s got that much life about them. It’s not just football, it’s the whole of his life. It’s lifted the whole city,” Damon Lenszner, a Plymouth Argyle director, said.
Thus, famously, spoke Ian Holloway after winning promotion to the Coca-Cola Championship with Queens Park Rangers in 2004: “They say every dog has his day. And today is Woof Day. I want to go out and bark.”
Last season, the noises emanating from Loftus Road were more like agonised howls, but now Holloway’s tail wags once more. His managerial CV is solid but it is his personality that has made him a cult figure. Last year, Time Out magazine named “Olly” the fifteenth-funniest Londoner, ahead of the Little Britain duo and Paul Merton. Not bad for a Bristolian.
In 2004 he painted a canvas called Promotion in the style of Jackson Pollock for a BBC documentary called Stress Test, in which he was shown crying when talking about his wife and battling bouts of rage as he tried to cope with managing QPR and being a husband and father to four children, three of whom are profoundly deaf and so were unfazed when he ranted at them in an argument about a cushion.
As with José Mourinho, Holloway’s best quotations are collected in book form: The Tao of Ian Holloway. A modest man, the 43-year-old would presumably reject the implication that it is possible to base a life-guiding philosophy around his musings, yet extraordinary charisma shines from his small frame. His enthusiasm is contagious because it is so sincere and omnipresent.
Sentences flood out like a burst dam and drench listeners with metaphors that are often magical even if they are mixed. Desire, honesty and conviction are his petrol as interviews drive off in a straight line then veer off-road without warning and a routine trip turns into a safari.
The chunky West Country accent adds a lyrical hue and there is no sense of ironic self- parody, the creeping archness that infected the work of another noted benefactor to football’s lexicon, Ron Atkinson. “What I want to do is add one or two players, but I’ll take my time,” Holloway said after a pre-season friendly on Friday. “Slowly, slowly. The way I look at it, I want to drip-feed some of the things that I want.” He mimed a hospital infusion pump. “Tonight, they were so keen to impress me, they cut the bag and it all whooshed over the floor in the first half. If that makes any sense. It should be just drip, drip, drip.”
Barry Hayles played for Holloway at Bristol Rovers so knew what to expect when he joined from Millwall this summer. “A few of the boys have been a bit surprised,” the striker said of his manager’s ardour. “He’s very excited, he made it clear he’s got big plans, he wants to get a squad that’s good enough to challenge for the top six.”
Holloway managed Rovers for 4½ years, then took over at QPR in 2001 and won the Londoners promotion, making them an established Championship club despite a paltry budget. A feud between directors last season led to Holloway being caught in the crossfire.
He was placed on gardening leave by QPR in February and arrived at Home Park at the end of June to replace Tony Pulis, who rejoined Stoke City. Holloway denied that the souring of his relationship with QPR had sapped his morale. “Not in a million years,” he said. “I probably feel the best I’ve ever been. I’ve had five months to sort my life out, to see what I want to do. I think I got thrown into football management [at Rovers)]because I was cheap, I could do two jobs [player-manager] for the price of one. I’m very proud I took that opportunity, people can never take that away from me. What I want to do is leave a mark on the next club I’m managing, which is this one.”
Holloway took Plymouth to the Memorial Stadium for a friendly on Friday and was generously received by the locals, especially since the League Two side won 1-0. “That makes Bristol Rovers as good as Real Madrid,” Holloway pointed out. This month Plymouth lost by the same scoreline to the Spanish behemoths in a friendly arranged as compensation for Real taking Plymouth’s hotel at pre-season training in Austria. “Who are they to move us?” Holloway had said. “I don’t like it myself — we’re Argyle, get out of our way! We’ll leave something on a few of them and I don’t think they’ll like that too much.
“In three, four, five years we’ll be pushing for one of those play-off places with that man in charge,” Lenszner said. If that sounds like a relaxed timescale, he points out that it took John Madejski 15 years to bankroll Reading into the big-time. Plymouth were only promoted from the bottom division in 2002 and the board, without Madejski’s millions, are focused on incremental growth. “It’ s going to take time and I’ve only been here two minutes,” Holloway said. “If this is a 24-hour clock, the alarm hasn’t even gone off yet, has it?”

The Times - July 31, 2006 The ultimate maverickBy Rick Broadbent
Our correspondent delves deep into the colourful complexity of Rodney Marsh

IF MARTIN PETERS WAS TEN YEARS ahead of his time, Rodney Marsh was 200 years late. “I should have been born in the late 1700s,” he said. “That was the time of highwaymen and rascals and romance.”
It is a neat summary, but it barely hints at his kaleidoscopic guises as a Blitz baby, a boy beaten with a belt called “Kennedy” and an England player sealing his fate with a gag about masturbation.
An hour into the interview and Marsh has spoken about Salvador Dali and Chinese ink paintings, Elton John and the Rolling Stones, “f***ing idiots” and “total a***holes”. History books tell you that he played for Fulham, dropped to the third division to inspire Queens Park Rangers’ League Cup win in 1967, captained Manchester City and got a tan in Tampa. They omit the bits about the family history in which a relative smashed an ashtray into his mother’s face and the two days drifting in and out of consciousness after being bashed in the head during a game against Leicester City.
This is Marshland, a maverick world where the stories are Day-glo but the opinions black and white. Maybe it is this gift of the gab, learnt as a survival mechanism, that makes him more able than most to explain the psyche of “The Entertainers”.
Exhibit A: “I’m playing for Manchester City against Birmingham. We’re 3-0 up and playing brilliantly. I get the ball in the outside left position. It’s almost like looking through my own mind’s eye and all the other 21 players are there to watch me. I’m going towards a defender. I keep dropping my shoulder. I’m oblivious to the whole game around me. The defender falls on his backside. I’m ten yards from goal. I just need to shoot or pass square to Colin Bell who will score. I try to chip the goalkeeper. It bounces on the crossbar and over. The crowd give me a standing ovation. The manager says, “what the f***ing hell were you thinking?”
Exhibit B: “I’m playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies against the Memphis Rogues. It’s 1-1 and we get a last-minute corner. The ball comes in and I hit a bicycle kick into the top corner. Jimmy Husband runs after me. He’s going to hit me, so I turn round and butt him first. There’s a 22-man mêlée. Fans are on the pitch. The referee sends me off and I throw my shirt in his face. I ’m like a matador in the bullring. Brilliant.”
Marsh says that “The Entertainers” were a club with George Best as their leader and Terry O’Neill their photographer. “Did we know we were different? Christ, yeah. It was a brilliant era. There was rebellion everywhere and nothing was off limits — drinking, gambling, nightclubs until 5am. You got ten parking tickets and you threw them away. We were part of the anti-establishment. They say you get nothing from evolution, it has to be revolution.”
It was no surprise that Marsh, hirsute and sharp-suited, would clash with officialdom. “I fell out with the manager” is the interview’s refrain. “There is an institutional fear of genuine talent in England,” Marsh said. “If Ronaldinho had been English it would have been drummed out of him. It’s astonishing the level of distrust. I would be told, ‘play the way you ’re facing’, but I’d say: ‘I’ve got vision.’ ”
The most famed falling out was with Sir Alf Ramsey. “Me and Alf were oil and water,” Marsh said. “He had a regimented attitude and wanted to get me to play like Geoff Hurst. I wanted to pack in after three caps. It was only Malcolm Allison who kept me going. I got nine but never did myself justice.”
It was 1973 in the dressing-rooms at Wembley when Marsh made the quip that ended his England career. Ramsey gave warning that if Marsh did not work hard enough, he would be pulled off at half-time. “Christ!” he replied, ambivalent about the consequences. “All we get at Manchester City is a cup of tea and an orange.” It was his last cap.
The brashness and honesty have long conspired against him. In his football afterlife as a pundit, he caused a furore by making a joke about the tsunami. He counters by saying society is too restrictive. “Now you have rules a, b and c, subsections eight, nine and ten.” It was ever thus. When Peter Swales, the chairman at Maine Road, called him in to ask for his opinion of Tony Book and Ian MacFarlane, the manager and head coach, he gave it straight. “I said the truth is they are f***ing useless. They sacked me and put me on the transfer list for that. Elton John’s manager rang and said did I want to take his private plane to LA. So I did. Elton was out of it but sensational company.”
The United States may appear a suitably artificial epitaph, but there was always substance behind the Marsh style. Beaten by his father and “Kennedy”, he went deaf in one ear after his accident against Leicester and spent a depressing ten months as a teen wondering if his career was over. He is a voracious reader and history buff, once stopping the team bus to check a fact in a library. He owns three Dali etchings and “did some shadow-painting of birds recently”. He hates political correctness but loves football, wishing he had played under Arsène Wenger. He has also come to appreciate lesser talents, even those such as the team-mate who labelled him a performing seal. “It’s the things that are ordinary that make the greatness what it is,” he concluded.

And Also: Clive Whittingham/QPR Rivals Interviews with with Mauro Milanese, Lee Cook and Nick Ward

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Five Years Ago ...Crouch, Darlington, Murray, Ready and Harper among those signing for new Clubs

July 2001 - QPR in Administration and Gerry Francis/Ian Holloway's QPR Relegation Side were Moving on to Other Clubs;

[And meanwhile that same month, then-agent, Gianni Paladini was arranging Fabrizio Ravanelli transfer from Lazio to - Derby County while Kevin Gallen was moving from Huddersfield to Barnsley]

Players Departing QPR in July 2001:

Peter Crouch to Portsmouth
Jermaine Darlington to Wimbledon
Paul Murray joined Southampton
Karl Ready to Motherwell
Lee Harper to Walsall
Michel Ngonge went to Kilmarnock
Alvin Bubb and Ross Weare to Gerry Francis' Bristol Rovers
Leonne Jeanne to Cardiff
Tony Scully to Cambridge

And Joining QPR in July 2001: Steve Palmer and Chris Day

All Transfer Information from

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Difference of a Decade: 1966/67....1976/77...and 1996/97

The Difference a Decade makes.

1966/1967: Forty Years ago, QPR were on the cusp of unimagined glory as the 1966/1967 Rodney Marsh season beckoned. For the next 21 months, QPR fans were living in a dream world: Division 3 Championship; League Cup Triumph...and then even more incredible...promotion to the FIRST DIVISION....
And the season began: August 20, 1966 - QPR 2-Shrewsbury 2. Les Allen & Marsh
(Springett, Watson, Hazell, Keen, Hunt, Sibley, Lazarus, Collins, Allen, Marsh, Morgan, R)

1976/1977 - Flash forward a decade: And QPR Fans were anticipating the 1976/77 season with a sense of a great sense of loss as the continuously relived one of the club's most tragic moments: The "loss" of the English Championship because Wolves "folded" to Liverpool in those final 20 minutes. (And of course harking back to what might have been, but for Norwich)...And QPR were swiftly made aware that the dream had passed them by when the new 1976/77 season began (August 21, 1976) with an unbelievable scoreline: QPR 0 Everton 4.
(Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Hollins, Mclintock, Masson, Leach, Busby, Bowles, Thomas - Shanks,

1996/1997 -Ten Years ago, we were fairly confidently looking forward to QPR's immediate return to the Premiership under Chris Wright and Ray Wilkins- With Gallen, Dichio, Sinclair, Quashie, Murray, Impey and a host of others..
And we opened, August 17, 1996) with a 2-1 win versus Oxford.
(See Photo: http://www.qpr-mad.co.uk/news/loadfeat.asp?cid=ED22&id=25072

Today? An ABC Loan...A massive debt and discontent...

QPR Defeat San Antonio Abate 4-0

"Rangers signed off their pre-season tour with a 4-0 win over San Antonio Abate. A goal in the first half from Nick Ward was followed by second half strikes from Marc Nygaard, Shabazz Baidoo and Ray Jones to seal the win at the Angri FC stadium.....
San Antonio Abate: Spicuzza, Giorgio, Pisano, Rufini, Ruggiero, Del Sorbo, Bizzarri, Villa, Tortora, Capucceilli, Alfano
Rangers: Jones, Bignot, Milanese (Howell), Rose (Kanyuka), Fortune, Rowlands (Bailey), Ainsworth, Ward, Cook, Nygaard (R Jones), Czerkas (Baidoo)
[And photo of "Gianni Paladini with the cup presented to QPR"]

Also: Clive Whittingham/QPR Rivals - Match Report


Ron Norris/QPR Net - Match Report

Friday, July 28, 2006

BBC - Power challenged to buy back QPR

BBC -Power challenged to buy back QPR

Gianni Paladini has challenged the man he ousted as QPR chairman to come up with a bid to buy back the club.

Bill Power, a lifelong R's fan, has invested in Swindon Town since leaving Loftus Road after losing a bitter struggle for control last year.

But Paladini has hinted that ex-agent Antonio Caliendo, the London club's current main investor, could quit.

"I keep hearing people didn't want Bill to go and think he should come back. This is their chance," said Paladini.

"Let him or anyone else who thinks they can do a better job come forward and let's hear what they have to say."

After a series of behind-the-scenes problems, Power was forced out when former Brazil captain Carlos Dunga attended an all-important board meeting and voted with Paladini to remove him.

Power had sought to gain a controlling interest in the club but Dunga's unexpected appearance tipped the balance against him.

We will listen to anyone that wants to make an offer
Gianni Paladini

Paladini and Caliendo seized control and chief executive Mark Devlin was then sacked.

Dunga had previously not attended any board meetings having become a director as part of the Caliendo-led Monaco-based group that bought a stake in 2005 and now effectively own the club.

Dunga stood down as a director this week after landing the job of Brazil coach.

And Paladini has suggested that Caliendo and another board member, Italian businessman Franco Zanotti, may also now quit.

But Paladini insists they expect to recoup the money they have put into the club and has previously said it would take an offer of over £8m for them to relinquish control.

Any would-be buyer would also then have to tackle Rangers' sizeable debts.

"If Caliendo and Zanotti pull out it would make it difficult for me to carry on because I don't have that kind of money," Paladini admitted.

"If Antonio doesn't want to carry on I don't know what will happen. We will talk on Tuesday and discuss the way forward."

But he added: "We will listen to anyone that wants to make an offer but it will not come cheap, that's for sure.

"Bill Power got 6.5p-a-share when he sold his stake and the same would have to apply here.

QPR Injury News Update

Update on Injuries - Official Site from QPR physio Prav Mathema -

"...Kevin Gallen picked up a strain during training tonight....Gallen stepped out of training with a slight groin problem and will now miss the fixture tomorrow. The focus will now be on intense treatment and rehab to enable him to be fit for the Burnley game....
" Mauro Milanese has recovered from a groin injury has come through fitness testing well. "He then joined in full training for the first time today and will look to play a part in Friday's game....
"Of those left at home, Egutu Oliseh is recovering well from a thigh strain and we're looking forward to him taking part in full training next week.
"Sean Thomas has now fully recovered from an ankle injury and he'll also play against Lewes.
"Dominic Shimmin is back in training now following toe nail surgery and Simon Royce is now looking to join back in on full training next week following a groin problem which has kept him out of pre-season training to date...
", Paul Furlong broke down during rehab of his thigh strain and may have another extended period out."

Ex-QPR Goalie, Chris Day, Turns 31

Chris Day Turns 31. Born July 28, 1975.

Signed Five years ago on a free Transfer from Watford as Ian Holloway started rebuilding the team after their relegation to the (old) Division Three. Played 87 games for QPR including the Playoff Final defeat in Cardiff. A year after our return to the First Division, Day joined Oldham on a free. Now with Millwall.
Ray Wilkins originally tried to sign Day when he was an England-U-21 goalie at Spurs (at the same time that Wilkins signed Steve Slade)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

QPR Holding Chairman, Antonio Caliendo Statement re QPR Post-Dunga


In the wake of widespread and further inaccurate reporting, Chairman of QPR Holdings Ltd, Antonio Caliendo, would like to issue the following statement:

"Despite Carlos Dunga tendering his resignation as a non-executive director on Tuesday, he will continue to support the Club financially.
"The Board's objective remains the same as it always has been - to get QPR back on a sound financial footing and in time, a return to the Premiership.
"I want to reassure the shareholders and supporters that we are doing everything possible to achieve that goal.
"We have invested wisely in the squad this summer and I believe we are in a fantastic position to challenge in the top half of the Championship.
"Last season was a very difficult time for the Board. Since September, we've put in over £4million to ensure the Club's finances are in a stable position to build for the future.
"As a Board, we aim to keep our promise of not selling our best players. Obviously there are certain clauses in players' contracts which means we have to allow them to speak to other Clubs, but our aim is the Premiership and to achieve this we need to keep all our best players.
"The Dan Shittu situation is a perfect example. The bottom line is that we want to keep Danny at the Club. He's a fantastic professional and a tremendous player, but if we receive a £3million bid then he has the freedom to talk to whoever comes in for him.
"We love Queens Park Rangers and we are doing everything possible to safeguard the prestige of this wonderful Club.
"Together, there is only one voice - We Are QPR.''

Paladini on Shittu & WBA

SkySport - Rangers drop Shittu hint
By Chris Stanton - Created on 27 Jul 2006

Queens Park Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini has hinted that West Bromwich Albion are close to meeting his side's asking price for Danny Shittu.
Rangers have been vehement in their insistence on recouping a £3 million fee for Shittu this summer - a price stipulated in the player's contract.
Premiership new boys Watford fell short in their bid to land the 25-year-old Nigerian, who also interests Birmingham, but Paladini admits Championship side Albion could be about to succeed where The Hornets failed.
"This has taken so much of my time, it has to be finished off now," said Paladini.
"If we have to wait for the money in instalments, then that's fine, but I always said the fee would be £3 million.
"When you see other players of similar talent going for more, you realise that what we want for Danny is more than reasonable."


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One Year Ago Today...QPR 0 Charlton 3

And Holloway wasn't happy! And when you see the players and you think of the turnover on and off the field in the past year (with more players going)...And a few days later, QPR defeated Birmingham http://www.qpr.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/NewsDetail/0,,10373~692679,00.


A Darren Bent hat-trick was the undoing of Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road this evening.The former Ipswich striker netted twice in the first half before converting a penalty with ten minutes to go to complete his own personal milestone.But in truth, Charlton were the better side all over the pitch and thoroughly deserved a comfortable pre-season victory.Ian Holloway will be happy for the opportunity to give a large proportion of his squad a good run out against Premiership opposition and he will doubtless have learned from the experience.

Holloway gave a run out to Ugo Ukah, Dominic Shimmin and the well again Marc Bircham.Between the sticks, Jake Cole was given a rare start against Simon Royce's former club after the stopper suffered a back problem last week.

It was Georges Santos playing up front who had Rangers' first effort on goal. Making his way into the box, he squeezed the ball round Stephen Andersen in the Charlton goal and picked it up on the other side.With a dink towards goal, Santos' effort was goalbound but for the last ditch clearance from Jonathan Spector.But it was the Addicks who took the lead when a fine passing move between Danny Murphy and Dennis Rommedahl finished with Darren Bent shooting from the edge of the box and landing in the opposite corner of the net.

Up the other end of the park, Aaron Brown was trying to get Rangers back on level terms, but his shot blazed over the bar.Charlton were not content with sitting on their lead and were still pushing on up front. Danny Murphy hit a vicious volley just wide of the target after 20 minutes as the Addicks looked to extend their lead.Three minutes later, Murphy dispossessed Martin Rowlands in midfield and tried an audacious lob from 35 yards that sailed over a relieved Jake Cole's cross bar.Charlton doubled their lead three minutes before the break when Rommedahl's ball across the face of goal was met by Bent.From a tight angle, he fired the ball goalwards and the ball ricocheted off the unfortunate Cole before looping over the goal line.

Ian Holloway made multiple changes in the second half in a bid to see as much of his squad as possible.Rommedahl got the second half off to yet another attacking start, bending his effort in towards goal from the right wing but just missing the target.

Dan Shittu then had the fans in the lower Loft ducking for cover when he sent in a venomous 35 yard effort that crashed back off the cross bar.Charlton nearly added to their lead with 18 minutes to go when Bent's cross was met by a rising first time effort from Rommedahl.But substitute keeper, Wayne Henderson got a hand to it and deflected the ball onto the cross bar when it appeared destined for the back of the net.Charlton were then given the chance to extend their lead further when Marcus Bent stepped up to the penalty spot after Marcus Bignot fouled Spector in the area.Bent was not going to be denied his hat-trick and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.There was no coming back from this scoreline for Rangers, but the run out for the majority of Holloway's squad will no doubt have served it's purpose two weeks before the Championship season starts.

Rangers: Cole (Henderson 45), Ukah (Bignot 45), Rose (Hislop 45), Bean (Cook 45 (Brown 57)), Shittu, Shimmin, Rowlands, Bircham (Doherty 45), Furlong (Nygaard 62), Santos (Gallen 45), Brown (Miller 45)

Charlton: Andersen, Young, Hreidarsson (Fortune 76), Kishishev, Perry, Spector, Rommedahl, Murphy (Thomas 62), Bent, Smertin (Holland 71), AmbroseSubs: Fortune, Keilly, Hughes, Euell, Sam, Jeffers, JohanssonScorers: Bent 17, 43, 80Att: 3,256

Dean Sturridge Turns 33

QPR's recently-released, forward Dean Sturridge, turns 33. Born July 26th 1973.

QPR signed Sturridge on a free transfer from Wolves a little over a year ago. Made 6 +5 League appearances without scoring. (Although did score for QPR in their pre-season Ibiza Tournament) Sturridge Joins QPR

Sturridge recently signed for non-League Kidderminster - Sturridge signs for Kidderminster

Record - http://www.soccerbase.com/players_details.sd?playerid=7701&seasonid=127

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

QPR's Italian Tour

The tour was first announced in April:

Paladini a couple of months ago - Why Italy:
" I don't want people injured all the time for no reason. It was always the same - hamstring, hamstring, hamstring - and something can't be right there. ... I believe that going to Ibiza last summer wasn't the best preparation, especially working on the plastic pitch and I won't take the team there again." In Italy there will be better training facilities - and also it's an easy way for me to get home for a week!" http://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/content/camden/kilburntimes/sport/story.aspx?brand=KLBTOnline&category=sportfootball&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=sportklbt&itemid=WeED10%20May%202006%2011%3A13%3A18%3A41 7

Paladini's QPR Rivals Interview (May 2) -New Suits
"... When we go to Italy in the pre-season all the players will have tailor made suits, with the club badge on so the players will really look the part for next season. That's another deal we've done."

Paladini & Waddock Visited Italy at the End of April:
Also in that May 2, QPR Rivals Interview of Clive Whittingham's
"What will the team be doing this pre-season?
One week, the 23rd to the 29th of July I think, in Sorrento. Gary and I have been in Italy this week looking at the hotel and the facilities and it looks fantastic, a really first class place. We'll be playing two games against Savoia and Cavese, just warm up matches and then we're hoping to come back and play Fulham that Sunday but that hasn't been confirmed yet. Hopefully we'll be able to take some supporters with us to Italy, three hundred people for three hundred pounds each or something like that but there'll be more details later. http://queensparkrangers.rivals.net/default.asp?sid=925&p=2&stid=8410348


This summer, QPR will be preparing for the Championship season with a pre-season tour of Italy.
Gary Waddock and his squad will be travelling to the Gulf of Naples on July 23 and will face Sorrento Calcio and SS Cavese in a warm up to the 2006-07 campaign.
This season has been a successful one for both Italian teams. Sorrento finished top of Serie D Girone I and won promotion into Serie C2. Cavese also clinched promotion from Serie C2B and will play in Serie C1 next year.
Rangers will play on the Tuesday and Friday night, before returning to England where the final fine tuning will take place before the season begins.
The club are currently negotiating with Travel Counsellors to agree the best possible deal for fans wishing to travel.
The official trip will consist of accommodation, transfers and match tickets and will be seven days, six night from July 23 to 29.
Flights will have to be booked separately and can be done so via Travel Counsellors.
Any supporters who would like to register their interest can contact Carly Charteris at Travel Counsellors on 0845 058 7681.
A full and complete price package will be in place by next Wednesday May 10.
For all those supporters wishing to travel and pre-register, details will be sent to you no later than Wednesday evening.
Below is a brief outline of the history of Cavese, and for any Italian speaking Rangers, links to the clubs websites.
Sorrento Calcio
Cavese were founded in 1919 as Unione Sportiva Cavese, and played its first match ever against Salernitana, ended in a 3-2 win for the Aquilotti. In 1922 the team merged with Libertas Sporting Club, another local team, in order to build a more competitive side. That same year, the team was admitted to the First Division (the equivalent of the nowadays' Serie A).
In 1974, after the relegation of the original team, who was playing the Serie D at the time, Cavese merged with Pro Salerno, another Serie D team, and renamed itself as Pro Cavese. The team returned to Serie C in 1978 and took back its original denomination in 1980.
In 1981, Cavese was able to gain its first (and only) promotion to Serie B. The first Serie B season for Cavese ended in a 15th place which allowed the team to avoid relegation. The 1982/1983 was the top season ever for the Campanian team in its whole history: in fact, Cavese was almost to reach a incredible promotion to Serie A, ending the first half of the season in a third placed, which would allow the promotion, and sixth at the end of the season.
That championship is remembered especially for the crushing 2-1 victory in San Siro against AC Milan. The scorers were Joe Jordan for Milan, and Tivelli and Di Michele for Cavese: after this shocking win, the team was nicknamed Real Cavese by the Italian sports columnists.
However the next season Cavese relegated to Serie C1, and was not able to reach Serie B anymore. The team was even cancelled from Italian football in 1991, and readmitted in the regional Eccellenza league with the current denomination.
Cavese website
Sorrento Calcio websitehttp://www.sorrentocalcio.com/indice.htm

R's fans making the official pre-season trip to Italy this summer will have the unique opportunity to mix with their heroes.
Gary Waddock and his squad travel to the Gulf of Naples on July 23 and will face Sorrento Calcio and SS Cavese in a warm up to the 2006/07 Coca Cola Championship campaign.
Supporters wishing to meet the managerial staff and players can do so at their Sorrento training camp on Thursday 27 July.
"Pre-season is a vitally important time for me and the players, but it'll be nice for them to be able to mix with the supporters,'' Waddock told qpr.co.uk.
"Although we'll be pushing them very hard in Italy, you can't expect it to be all work and no play and this will be a fantastic opportunity for them to chat with the supporters and share their views on the forthcoming season.''
You can rub shoulders with Wads' and Macca in Italy

21 - July 2006 QPR OFFICIAL SITE
Sorrento FC
As the clock ticks down on the R's pre-season preparations, qpr.co.uk brings you the final details of the Club's trip to Italy.
Gary Waddock's side face Serie C outfit Sorrento FC on Monday (6.30pm local time), before a trip to San Antonio Abate FC on Friday (6.30pm local time).
Please note, the San Antonio fixture replaces the scheduled game against Cavese FC.
The Italian Club's pitch is currently unplayable and as a result, the R's have been forced to switch their opposition at the eleventh hour.

Official Site - Player Scott Donnelly on the Tour

QPR's pre-season trip has begun and each day we'll be catching up with the latest happenings with our players' diary entries.
Today a home sick Scott Donnelly told qpr.co.uk how his first day had been as Gary Waddock walked past three times, unable to get his door key to open his room.
Despite the fact that Monday was pencilled in as a rest day for the players - an hour long meeting this morning, followed by a pre-match meal left little time for any play.
A local tailor then came to measure the players for matching suits and then it was off to Sorrento.
Here's how Scott Donnelly has found the first day of his first trip abroad.
"I didn't mind the flight, it was a nice steady journey all the way - there were a couple of the lads who don't enjoy it as much but thankfully they got here in one piece!
The hotel is unbelievable and the food is lovely. The people are really friendly as well, they just can't understand us!
The pool looks nice, but it's been all work so far and none of us have had a chance to go in it yet.
We had a meeting this morning to go over what we'd be doing throughout the week and what our schedule will be.
We went through everything to do with pre-season so far. We were given the opportunity to go through things that we didn't like, but hardly anyone had any complaints.
It's been spot on throughout and there wasn't very much negative feedback at all. In fact, the only complaints were that some of the lads wanted to do MORE training.
Then we went through tonight's game against Sorrento and talked about how we're going to approach it.
I'm rooming with Jake Cole, I get on really well with him and he's in the same boat as me.
It was a massive thing for me that I got picked to come here and really was made up, this is my first trip away with QPR and it's great to be here and it's a great experience.
I've never been to Italy before, but I'd definitely come back with my family or my girlfriend. I'd like to be able to order my food and drink on my own though without having to ask Mauro or Marc!
I'm looking forward to the game tonight; I've never played a foreign team before so this will be a bit of a change for me."

Dunga's Time at QPR

Carlos Dunga and QPR

August 2004:
Soccernet " Dunga revealed as QPR benefactor
Brazilian World Cup-winning captain Dunga has been revealed as one of the benefactors pumping money into QPR.
Rangers chairman Bill Power has confirmed that the star is a backer of Barnaby Holdings, the firm hoping to take a 29.9% stake in the Loftus Road club.
The company recently acquired 10% of the club's shares and is likely to make a further investment in the next two weeks, increasing the stake by a further 19.9%, reports the club's official website.
Power is clearly excited at such high-profile interest, as well as the £1.7million it could bring the club.
'Dunga is part of a football consortium that has shown a real desire to be involved in what we are doing here at QPR and I believe that their investment underlines what excellent progress we are making as a club,' he said.
'I'm thrilled to welcome a former player of the very highest calibre to Loftus Road - his standing and achievements in the game are there for all to see.'

Evening Standard

Dunga shares in lofty ambitions for Rangers
Evening Standard (London), Aug 24, 2004 by WAYNE VEYSEY

BRAZIL World Cup-winning captain Dunga is set to attend his first Queens Park Rangers match within weeks.
The football great has emerged as one of the figures behind the Monacobased consortium poised to buy nearly a third of Queens Park Rangers.
Barnaby Holdings has already purchased 10 per cent of the club's shares, worth around Pounds 550,000, and are hoping to wrap up another 19.9 per cent in the next fortnight.
Dunga, 40, is one of five men who have invested equally in the club.
The former Fiorentina and Stuttgart midfielder didn't join his fellow investors, three Italians and a Frenchman, at Saturday's 2-0 defeat against Derby and will not attend tonight's Carling Cup game against Swansea.
But Rangers chairman Bill Power said it was only a matter of time before the Brazilian, who won 90 caps before retiring from international football after the 1998 World Cup, makes his first visit to Loftus Road.
"Dunga is definitely coming to watch some games," Power said. "All the investors were sent a DVD of the highlights of last season - whether or not it has impressed them I don't know."
Majority shareholder Gianni Paladini and director Kevin McGrath went to Monaco a fortnight ago to tie up the deal and were introduced to Dunga.
"He doesn't speak much English, but they said he was courteous, polite and charming," Power added. "He knew all about QPR and has shown a real desire to be involved.
"I am thrilled to welcome a former player of the very highest calibre to Loftus Road."
Meanwhile, Ian Holloway has vowed to put out a full-strength team for tonight's home game against Swansea.
"I don't have the luxury of resting or rotating any player at the moment," the Rangers manager said.
"We will be going for the win against Swansea."
(c)2004. Associated Newspapers Ltd.. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4153/is_200408/ai_n12093969

August 2005: Dunga Flies in for The Bill Power/Ouster Board Meeting
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Tom DartQueens Park Rangers 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0EVEN by Ian Holloway’s unmatched standards it was an extraordinary post-match press conference. The Queens Park Rangers manager launched an impassioned defence of his club and their two feuding directors after last night’s dull goalless draw against Sheffield Wednesday.Bill Power, the chairman, was removed from his post, and Mark Devlin, the chief executive, was sacked after Gianni Paladini, a director, ousted Power at a board meeting on Wednesday with the help of Carlos Dunga, the former Brazil captain, who flew in from Japan to vote.Holloway said that the uncertainty was affecting his players and used the analogy of a dysfunctional family. Given that a director is alleged to have been involved in the threatening of Paladini at gunpoint before the previous home game, dysfunctional may be an understatement.“......
.Power intends to challenge his removal on the basis that Dunga, although a director, was ineligible to vote. ..http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,435-1752939,00.html

The Sun - Gianni in Power at QPR -By VIC HOLLYGIANNI
PALADINI has seized control of QPR — with former Brazil captain Carlos Dunga’s help.The Italian director was recently alleged to have been threatened by an armed gang at Loftus Road.But yesterday Paladini ousted chairman Bill Power and claimed victory in a bitter struggle for control of the club.Dunga represents a Monaco-based group that owns a stake in Rangers and little had been heard of him since he was made a director last year.But he stunned lifelong fan Power by flying in from Japan and voting with Paladini at a crunch board meeting.Power, hugely popular among fans and club staff, was voted out and chief executive Mark Devlin sacked. .” http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2002390000-2005390649,00.html

Also: The Evening Standard report on that Board Meeting http://www.queensparkrangersfc.com/papersoct0105.htm

MAY 2006
Sporting Life: " DIRECTOR DUNGA EYEING PLAY-OFFS ""As Brazil legend Dunga believes QPR are capable of reaching the play-offs next season after becoming a director at Loftus Road.Dunga - who captained Brazil to victory in the 1994 World Cup - was appointed a non-executive director of the club in September last year, when Gianni Paladini took over as chairman."We need to look at getting into the play-offs," Dunga told the club's official website. "This is a big club, and it is what the fans want."The most important thing is to build foundations here. You cannot always be changing from one day to the next."At any club, a manager needs to be given the chance to work effectively."http://www.sportinglife.com/football/cc_championship/qpr/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=nonwire_soccer/06/05/26/manual_160354.html&TEAMHD=qpr&DIV=nat1&TEAM=QPR&RH=QPR&PREV_SEASON=

It's the interview they all wanted, but only we got. Over the course of the next few days, QPR World speaks exclusively to Carlos Dunga.The Brazilian World Cup winner and QPR non-executive director took time out from his hectic Soccer Aid schedule to give a candid interview about life with the Superhoops and his thoughts on the forthcoming FIFA World Cup finals in Germany.The midfield maestro will line-up for Ruud Gullit's 'Rest of the World' side against Terry Venables' England in the Soccer Aid showdown at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.But he had time to speak to QPR World about his role on the board at Loftus Road; his thoughts on the forthcoming Coca Cola Championship campaign; and also revealed his favourites for the summer showcase in Germany.And as if we needed another big name to add to the mix, Gustavo Poyet is our translator in this exclusive QPR World interview.Dunga happily pulled on the Hoops and Poyet was full of praise for the new away kit.Even the big names can't get enough of QPR World! http://www.qpr.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/NewsDetail/0,,10373~833154,00.html

re Dunga

After missing QPR targets, Dunga has switched tribes
Evening Standard (London), Jul 26, 2006 by WAYNE VEYSEY

FROM director of Queens Park Rangers to manager of Brazil.
That is some quantum leap for Carlos Dunga, the midfield footsoldier who lifted the 1994 World Cup and has now been trusted with guiding Brazil to the top of the tree in South Africa in 2010.

It is an extraordinary show of faith from the five-times winners, given that Dunga has no managerial experience and has turned down dozens of offers to move into coaching since retiring seven years ago.

A knock-on effect of the 42-year-old's appointment is that he has resigned as a non-executive director at QPR - even though he was not required to do so under FIFA rules.

Rangers say Dunga will continue to be a shareholder "for the time being" but it seems only a matter of the i's being dotted and t's being crossed before the final whistle is blown on one of English football's most bizarre relationships.

The Brazilian icon became involved with QPR 22 months ago when he emerged as the figurehead for two mysterious Monaco-based consortia, Barnaby and Wanlock, who had invested Pounds 1.7million for a 30 per cent stake in the club. But what exactly has he contributed to the Super Hoops?

Still instantly recognisable with the buzz-cut hairstyle that he paraded as one of football's most reliable midfield enforcers, Dunga was greeted with enthusiasm by supporters when he first arrived at Shepherds Bush.

He explained he had been persuaded to come on board by his friends at Barnaby, who included QPR kingpin Antonio Caliendo, a former football agent, and looked forward to being an ambassador for the club, promoting their name across the globe and using his South American contacts to alert them of any top young talent. In an interview with Standard Sport, Dunga displayed a deft touch in public relations by naming all the Loftus Road heroes of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s.

Some were sceptical of his involvement but others appreciated the muchneeded glitz and glamour he brought to Loftus Road, qualities which had been absent in the post-administration era.

There were fears that Dunga had been recruited to unseat manager Ian Holloway but the multilingual Brazilian stressed he had no ambitions in that field, ironic as that now appears.

"I've got no intention of being a football manager," he explained. "I get phone calls every week from clubs asking me to be their manager. In Brazil, I've been asked three or four time this season to manage Flamengo."

However, Dunga was to have little time for QPR in a hectic schedule that centred on his work as an ambassador for the Brazilian national team and consultant to one of his former clubs, Jubilo Iwata in Japan.

He went to only a handful of Rangers games in two years and failed to bring in any South American talent, blaming work permit restrictions on the players.

When quizzed by one supporter at last year's AGM what he actually brought to the Loftus Road plate, Dunga was evasive before chairman Gianni Paladini leapt to his defence, claiming: "He brought in money to save this club, that's what he has helped with."

The former Fiorentina and Stuttgart star was one of five men said to have invested equal sums of around Pounds 500,000 in QPR, a shareholding that now stands at 49 per cent.

Yet it would appear not to be a match made in heaven for Dunga, who cynics suggest may have been recruited by the Monaco consortia as a frontman to appease supporters dubious of investment from unknown foreigners.

Apart from the cash and the publicity, it seems his legacy to Rangers will prove to be the role he played in ousting Bill Power and Mark Devlin, the former chairman and chief executive, from the board last summer.

This dramatic coup ultimately paved the way for Paladini and Caliendo, now a director, to assume full control at the cash- strapped club.

Dunga had not attended any of the previous six board meetings before he flew into London to use his casting vote to axe Devlin and Power. Maybe it was that kind of ruthlessness which so impressed the powerbrokers at the Brazil Football Federation.

Brazil Star in a nutshell

After missing QPR targets, Dunga has switched tribes Brazil star in a nutshell Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri (nicknamed Dunga, which is Portuguese for Dopey) Born: 31 October, 1963, Rio Grande do Sul Position: midfielder Clubs: Internacional (1980-84, 1999-2000), Corinthians (1984-85), Santos (1986-87), Vasco da Gama (1987), Pisa (1987-88), Fiorentina (1988-92), Pescara (1992-93), VfB Stuttgart (1993-95), Jubilo Iwata (1995-98) International career: Brazil (1987- 98) - 91 games, six goals; led country to 1994 World Cup triumph Post-retirement: QPR director 2004-2006, Appointed Brazil head coach July 2006

QPR Director Take Over Brazil!

As has been widely reported, QPR Director and Investor, Carlos Dunga has been appointed the new coach of Brazil. (what this means in terms of his "investment" in QPR remains to be seen.)
Update: Dunga has now resigned from the QPR Board

New Brazil boss Carlos Dunga has tendered his resignation as non-executive director of the R's. Dunga - who joined QPR in September 2004 - was named as Brazil's new boss on Monday evening....Speaking from the Club's first team training camp in Italy, R's Chairman Gianni Paladini said: "Dunga has resigned with immediate effect.'' Paladini continued: "I'd like to wish him all the best and thank him for everything he has done for Queens Park Rangers Football Club.'' Dunga will continue to be a QPR shareholder for the time being.

Just a couple of months ago, Dunga was talking about QPR's Promotion Prospects:

"As Brazil legend Dunga believes QPR are capable of reaching the play-offs next season after becoming a director at Loftus Road.Dunga - who captained Brazil to victory in the 1994 World Cup - was appointed a non-executive director of the club in September last year, when Gianni Paladini took over as chairman."We need to look at getting into the play-offs," Dunga told the club's official website. "This is a big club, and it is what the fans want."The most important thing is to build foundations here. You cannot always be changing from one day to the next."At any club, a manager needs to be given the chance to work effectively."

BBC - Brazil appoint Dunga as new coach
Dunga was skipper of Brazil's 1994 world championsFormer captain Dunga has been named as the new coach of Brazil.
The skipper of Brazil's 1994 World Cup winners replaces Carlos Alberto Parreira, who quit after Brazil lost to France in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Ricardo Teixeira, president of Brazil's football federation (CBF), said: "The choice of Dunga will fully satisfy the desires of Brazilian fans."
Dunga, who is on the board of directors at QPR, has no previous coaching experience in the game.
But the 42-year-old said: "I want to bring the same determination I had as a player.
"Motivation and will to win are fundamental for anyone who wants to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team."
His first game will be a friendly with Norway on 16 August in Oslo.
Brazil are not due to play any competitive games until next year's Copa America in Venezuela.
As well as leading Brazil to victory in 1994, Dunga also played in the 1990 and 1998 World Cups. He made 116 appearances for Brazil and also won the Confederations Cup in 1997 and the Copa America in 1989 and 1997.
Former national team coaches Wanderley Luxemburgo and Luiz Felipe Scolari had been linked with the job, along with Paulo Autuori, who took Sao Paulo to the Copa Libertadores and World Club Championship last year

Sorrento 5 QPR 1



Gary Waddock admitted that the scoreline in Sorrento didn't worry him one bit - it's all about Burnley.The 5-1 drubbing is of little importance to Rangers' pre-season training schedule and Waddock has still got his sights firmly on the game at Turf Moor in just under two weeks.
Speaking after the game, the manager said: "Nobody wants to get beaten by a scoreline like that, but we've had to play on an artificial surface which we weren't due to play on.
"It was meant to be a grass surface so we've had to change the team accordingly.
"I've got players in positions they aren't used to Alan McDonald and Tony Roberts had to play in the end to make up the numbers.
"So although we got beat, there are reasons for that and this game wasn't taken too seriously at all.
"Sorrento won their league last year and it was an exhibition match and a celebration for them.
"The most important thing was that we didn't pick up any injuries and we didn't lose three points.
"I didn't want to play Cook, Rowlands but one or two of the lads were feeling the heat a bit.
"We'll need every single player against Burnley, not a game against Sorrento.
"We don't play on this sort of surface during the year - the scoreline doesn't bother me at all."

A first half hat-trick from Ripa sealed Rangers' fate as they fell 5-1 to Sorrento Calcio.The Italian's goals were too much for QPR, despite a cracker from Adam Czerkas in the first half.
No matter how hard the Rs tried in the second half, the Italians were much more at home and the visitors were unable to get a look in.
The plastic surface meant that many first team regulars were rested for the first game, but Rangers were still able to field a strong side against the Italian outfit.
Waddock was able to give his youngsters a run out with Jake Cole taking up a spot between the posts and Ray Jones lining up alongside Czerkas.The first job for the squad was to clap the travelling support along with the local fans that had turned up to see the Londoners.
Rangers must have still been adjusting to the one hour time difference, because no sooner had the game kicked off, Sorrento took the lead.
Cole seemed to have gathered Ripa's shot, but somehow the ball seemed to slide through his fingers and into the back of the net.
Cue party time for the Italian fans.
Donnelly though almost restored parity seconds from the kick off when his free kicked tested Ambra in the Sorrento goal.
The hundreds of QPR fans behind the goal were treated to some quick footwork from Nick Ward, many of whom were seeing him for the first time.
At one point the Australian steamed through the middle in support of Adam Czerkas, but the Polish striker needed no help at all as he unleashed one hell of a strike into the back of the net.
Despite the heat, Rangers refused to take their foot off the gas and Waddock's words of advice about taking the game easy seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.
Ward was showing what an engine he has and Ray Jones was proving to be a threat up front.
However, Ripa clearly felt that the Rangers back line were in fact playing the game at 50 per-cent when he completed his hat-trick in two minutes.
Cole found himself beaten twice in quick succession to certainly make this a case of the Grim Ripa wreaking havoc with the R's.
Ward then tried in vein to get QPR back in the game just before half time, but his 30 yard effort clattered against the post.
There was a whole new meaning of 'exhibition football' when Alan McDonald made a special appearance in the second half.
But the Rangers legend had his work cut out when three minutes into the second half, Rastelli brushed off the appeals for off side and slotted past Cole.
Waddock then gave some of his tired troops a rest with Czerkas and Ward being replaced by Cook and Rowlands.
Anyone would have thought that Rangers were struggling to make up the numbers when veteran 'striker' Tony Roberts came on in place of Fortune.
The introduction of the two midfielders however did seem to make a difference.
Cook went close to scoring an impressive solo goal, but the midfielder put his effort just wide of the near post after travelling a full 30 yards untouched.
It was soon 5-1 despite some excellent recovery work from Jake Cole who had twice denied Rastelli before he finally finished the job.
Rangers then had two chances to pull one back when Cook and then Donnelly both had fierce strike parried to safety by Ambra even though they had both looked certain to score.
McDonald then incensed the home fans with a rather 'over friendly' challenge on their star man - good to see some things never change!
A disappointing result, but a decent work out all the same.
Sorrento: Ambra, Ferrara, Pezzella, Marciano, Ferraro, Iorio, Ingenito, Ottobre, Ripa, Russo, Maiorano
Subs: Rastelli, Solimene
Rangers: Cole, Bailey, Armel, Fortune (Roberts), Howell, Ward (Rowlands), Baidoo, Pinto (McDonald), Donnelly, R Jones, Czerkas (Cook).

Also: Report/Background from Ron Norris/QPR Net

And Clive Whittingham/QPR Rivals


A QPR 11 reportedly defeated a University of BATH Team 5-0 (with a Bircham hattrick
This was a pre-match notification

Football: TeamBath FC to take–on a QPR XI in pre–season friendlyFriday, 14 July, 2006
TeamBath FC kick-off their pre-season friendlies with a mouth-watering home match against Queen’s Park Rangers.
The University of Bath side meet a QPR XI at Twerton Park on Monday 24th July in a 7.30pm kick–off as part of TeamBath’s preparations for their forthcoming season in the British Gas Business Southern Football League Premier Division. QPR’s first team players will be on tour in Italy at the time, but they are expected to bring a strong reserve team squad to Bath for the contest, including some younger players aiming to break into the first team this season.
The match will be particularly poignant for two members of TeamBath’s coaching staff – head coach Andy Tillson and assistant coach Ivor Powell – both former QPR players. The fixture was arranged because Tillson is close friends with QPR manager Gary Waddock – the pair transferred from QPR to Bristol Rovers at the same time. QPR reserve team manager Justin Skinner also played for both clubs.
“The QPR game will be a good fixture for us and an important part of our pre–season build–up,” said Tillson. “Our pre–season friendlies are part of our strategy to make sure we hit the ground running when the season gets underway on the 19th August. “We were looking for a balance of games to help get us ready for the season,” he added. “Some of the games will be tough, some are against teams in different leagues but at the same level as us and some of them we should hopefully do quite well against to give us a bit of confidence.”

Hat-trick hero Marc Bircham

Marc Bircham bagged a hat-trick as the Reserves thrashed Team Bath 5-0 on Monday evening.
The victory - sealed by late goals from Steve Lomas and Stefan Moore - ensured a winning start for the R's new Reserve team boss Justin Skinner.
"It was a fantastic performance,'' Skinner told qpr.co.uk.
"The senior pros put on a very positive display. The attitude was first class; the work rate was fantastic; and the quality shone through in the end.''
The R's were made to wait until the 55th minute before making the breakthrough at Twerton Park.
Bircham opened the floodgates with a tidy close range finish from Matt Hislop's cross, before going on to bag his hat-trick soon after.
Stefan Moore was on target
Lomas and Moore put the icing on the cake for the R's - to the delight of Skinner.
"We couldn't have asked more of the players,'' he told qpr.co.uk.
"When the goal didn't come in the first half we had to regroup a bit at the break - but we took it to them and the class shone through in the second half.
"Each and every player has come out of the game with huge credit.''
Although Gary Waddock and the rest of the first team staff are currently in Italy, Skinner revealed he'll be reporting back to the gaffer on a daily basis.
Justin Skinner got off to a winning start
"I've already spoken to Wads and I'll continue to keep him updated throughout the week.
"It was nothing but good news from my point of view last night though. The players were excellent and the travelling support really made a difference.''
QPR Reserves: Trialist, Yelland, Hislop, Evatt, Stewart, Doherty, Lomas, Bircham, Cousins, Arthur, Moore. Subs (all used): Sandercombe, Brown, O'Brien, Goode, Maguire, Rose.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Some Holloway Snippets re QPR

[ All quotes from this Plymouth Diary Link of "SEMPER VIRIDIS" http://www.semperviridis.co.uk/diary.html

July 3 "Ian Holloway admits he is unsure whether he will be able to bring Gary Penrice and Tim Breacker to Argyle as his coaching staff. Like Holloway, both Penrice and Breacker have been on 'gardening leave' from QPR since February. "I have got two different problems," said Holloway. "I have got the first two days of pre-season training to make sure the lads get to know me and it is organised with a new set of staff that I don't know. I have met them before, but I don't know how they work, so their situation has got to be sorted as well. I have spoken to Tony Pulis - I don't know what is happening there. Hopefully that confusion will be sorted out one way or the other. I then need to ring my people who have been working for me to get my lists of players that I have had - because I pay people to do jobs and so I need to get all that from them. I haven't even got that yet. Gary Penrice has got my lists of names which I will have to get off him - he has been on holiday. Tim Breacker is also compiling everything that he did for me and I am going to have to bring that with me. Whether they come or not I don't know as they are still employed by QPR. But at the moment I have got some really decent people who have done fantastic for this club, who might go with Tony, might not - I don't know yet. I have had some fantastic people who work hard for me who are sat up there being paid by somebody else, so that is all being worked on."

June 28-30

Ian Holloway's appointment as Argyle manager almost collapsed on Monday, Paul Stapleton has revealed. Ian Holloway could not take up any new position until a settlement on his QPR contract was agreed, and that proved to be problematic. It took the intervention of Stapleton to persuade QPR chairman Gianni Paladini to ease the way for Holloway to complete his move to Argyle. Stapleton got to know Paladini at the Football League chairmen's annual meeting in Portugal earlier this month. He said: "Sometimes in life things happen by chance and this is one example of that. Last season we played QPR and we had a cup of tea with the chairman and met his daughter.

When Robert Dennerly and I went to Portugal, Mrs Paladini didn't really know anybody and was quite shy but she became part of our party, with our wives. Because of that, Gianni Paladini spoke to us quite a bit. In those two or three days we created a relationship with him so when there was a hiccup over Ian coming, and there was no movement at all, I was able to ring Gianni and see if there were things that could be done. He said because he liked Robert and I, he wanted to get things sorted out and he actually made things move. Without that it would have been very, very difficult indeed, and, therefore, Ian was pleased I was able to do that. We are all interested in our own clubs but, at the end of the day, I explained to Gianni it was silly having two managers on his payroll when just to have one was probably more economical. We had a sticky point on Monday. It was all off then. But Gianni rang me at 8.30am on Tuesday morning and we had a good conversation. I have got to thank Gianni for what he did."

Paladini had suspended Holloway after he expressed an interest in talking to Leicester City about their then managerial vacancy. Stapleton said: "I don't know all the ins and outs of that. Ian is probably a bit bitter but he will not ever say that because he's respectful to former employers. We are just pleased it has been sorted out because one of the most pressing things for me and the rest of the board was that we wanted a manager in place by tomorrow morning. We had to put certain deadlines out for things that were dragging on because I didn't want to go into pre-season without a manager."

Holloway was interviewed by the Argyle board in Taunton on June 19th, along with Stan Ternent. Stapleton said: "He knew a lot about us as a football club and he understood our geographical situation. He's not going to be a manager who says, 'look at the budget Leeds and Wolves are coming with'. He's going to be a manager who says 'we are Plymouth Argyle, you come down and we will give you a battle'. That came across in the interview. He believes he's a really good manager and he's going to prove that to everybody. He's very positive. He's a genuine person who wants to succeed. We believe he has got contacts in the game and we believe he has already made inquiries about positions we might need to strengthen. We are in the situation where we have got to push this football club on. We have got to get people to come and watch us. If they don't come and watch us then the club will go backwards." Stapleton denied Argyle had spoken to Holloway before officially completed his move to Stoke City on June 14th. He said: "We had a full and frank interview with Ian and it lasted quite a considerable time really. We hadn't spoken to him before then, other than to invite him for an interview, and he was really keen for this job."

Ian Holloway has praised his predecessor Tony Pulis for keeping the club in the Championship last season. .....
The scars of Holloway's final months as QPR manager were clearly close to the surface as he reflected on his departure from Loftus Road. He said: "From my point of view, I had a very emotional year. Most managers get a few problems but in my last job I had far too many to talk about. It has made the book I was going to publish about Olly and the Rangers totally unreadable because it wouldn't be believable. To end up sat in my garden as I was, for as long as I was, in the circumstances that happened and being a very proud man, was difficult. But I'm absolutely delighted now to be sat with a group of people who made me believe again. They made me believe in where I want to go, and how I'm going to get there. I don't care how long it takes, I want to work towards making something all shiny and all new and look fantastic. I want to be remembered for that. So it's not just about what we are going to do this year, or next year. I don't care how hard it is, and what anybody else is paying players. It's not about that. We are going to work hard together to bring in the right people to help us get there. I want to be part of it so much it hurts..."

".... You need the right balance and I believe strongly that you have a fantastic cake mix and you need some icing on the top of your cake. That's always the hardest thing to get right. It's the most expensive item, and that's what the fans are looking for - to be entertained by those type of people. I'm so excited about getting started and working with these people. That's what I have been missing. In my garden I have been staring at some fish and they don't respond to me the way humans do. So I can't wait to get that relationship going."

June 28th
Argyle today appointed Ian Holloway as the clubs new manager
Ian Holloway is fully aware of the areas that need improving at Argyle, but feels that the fundamental ingredients are already in place. The squad return for pre-season tomorrow, and Holloway said: "I know the positions that we need to strengthen and I might have to spend in order to do that. I think we've got a very strong cake mix but we need a bit of icing on the top, and those things can look very fancy. The icing on the top is really the players who put the ball in the net, and they are the ones that normally cost the most." Consolidation is seemingly the key word for Holloway after the fantastic success Argyle have enjoyed in the last five years. "In the last few years the club has run so fast that they've almost left their backside behind," he said. "Obviously I've got plans, but I doubt if I can bring in the type of people we need to get promoted instantly, but that's our eventual aim and target, and we'll die trying."

Ian Holloway was full of praise for the Argyle board, and the manner in which his appointment has come about. He said: "I was very impressed with the ambition of the board and, technically, I could have sat in my garden for another two years. That is not me, and I was shaken out of that situation by your chairman and board of directors in one meeting. The overall professionalism and the way they've handled this situation has been nigh on gob-smacking for me, so that's why I'm here and I'm ready to go to work."


QPR Set Off For Italy

[The 18? players going on the tour - along with whom else from the club will be going, has yet to be officially announced.]

"As the clock ticks down on the R's pre-season preparations, qpr.co.uk brings you the final details of the Club's trip to Italy.
Gary Waddock's side face Serie C outfit Sorrento FC on Monday (6.30pm local time), before a trip to San Antonio Abate FC on Friday (6.30pm local time).
Please note, the San Antonio fixture replaces the scheduled game against Cavese FC.
The Italian Club's pitch is currently unplayable and as a result, the R's have been forced to switch their opposition at the eleventh hour.

QPR OFFICIAL SITE - Waddock on Italy Tour -
.....''Rangers travel to Italy for the final chapter of their pre-season campaign tomorrow and Waddock is looking to use the trip as a team bonding exercise."The core of our squad will travel and although the games are important, working on our fitness and team spirit will be the priorities."We'll be training twice a day and aim to come back with the batteries fully charged for the first match of the season up at Burnley.

Paladini Q&A (from Ben Kosky/ Kilburn Times) May 10, 2006
"...I don't want people injured all the time for no reason. It was always the same - hamstring, hamstring, hamstring - and something can't be right there."I believe that going to Ibiza last summer wasn't the best preparation, especially working on the plastic pitch and I won't take the team there again."In Italy there will be better training facilities - and also it's an easy way for me to get home for a week!http://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/content/camden/kilburntimes/sport/story.aspx?brand=KLBTOnline&category=sportfootball&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=sportklbt&itemid=WeED10%20May%202006%2011%3A13%3A18%3A417

Paladini Q&A Rivals
"....When we go to Italy in the pre-season all the players will have tailor made suits, with the club badge on so the players will really look the part for next season. That's another deal we've done.

Gillingham 0 QPR 1 - The QPR & Gillingham Perspectives

Gillingham Official Site: - Gillingham 0 QPR 1
The Gills lost out by a single goal to their Coca-Cola Championship opponents in a pre-season friendly at Priestfield.A 69th minute goal from Ray Jones seperated the two sides as the Gills wore their new Blue, White and Red home kit for the first time.Striker Dean McDonald had the first real chance for the Gills in the 20th minute. His one-two with Matty Jarvis saw him through on goal but big QPR defender Danny Shittu intercepted as McDonald was about to shoot.Midfielder Nick Ward came close to breaking the deadlock for QPR in the 23rd minute, but his shot was pushed wide for a corner by Gillingham's trilliast goalkeeper, Raymond Homoet.Irish under-21 striker Gary Mulligan forced a save from Welsh interntaional goalkeeper Paul Jones in the 30th minute when his header met a Sean Clohessy cross.QPR captain Kevin Gallen broke through the Gills defence in the 32nd minute but his shot was saved by Netherlands Antilles international goalkeeper Homoet.Jarvis was a constant threat to the QPR defence and he forced a good save from Jones in the 40th minute with a cross after beating two Rangers defenders.Clint Easton was fouled a minute later by Marcus Bignot and referee Fred Graham booked the QPR right-back.Bignot was replaced by Stefan Bailey in the 44th minute.Congo striker Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu was introduced at the start of the second-half as a replacement for McDonald. During the interval, QPR replaced Ward, Andrew Howell, Marc Nygaard, Shittu and Lee Cook with Armel Tchakounte, Matthew Rose, Ray Jones, Pat Kanyuka and Scott Donnelly respectively.The Gills started off the second-half well and in the 50th minute, Jarvis' shot, from an Easton corner, was forced wide by defender Damion Stewart.In the 58th minute, the Gills had a great chance to break the deadlock.
Flynn's throw was flicked on by Bentley to Mulligan, but the striker rifled over into the empty Rainham End stand.Two further Gillingham substitutions were made in the 59th minute when Brent Sancho replaced fellow Trinidad and Tobago international defender Ian Cox and Welsh international midfielder Andrew Crofts replaced BentleyJarvis had another good chance in the 62nd minute but his cross, after beating his market, was again cleared for a corner by Stewart.Midfielder Crofts picked up a cut in the 66th minute and returned to the pitch after treatment in the number 34 'blood' shirt.
QPR broke the deadlock in the 69th minute when Martin Rowlands' cross was sent towards goal by Ray Jones and trickled over the line at the Town End goal.Crofts came close to equalising within two minutes of the restart, but his header, from a Jarvis cross, went inches wide.Midfielders Alan Pouton and a triallist called Karim replaced Easton and Flynn in the 73rd minute whilst Shabazz Baidoo replaced Rowlands a minute later.Baidoo had a chance to double the lead in the 80th minute but he mishit his shot straight at Homoet.Frannie Collin replaced Jarvis in the 83rd minute.Defender Leon Johnson picked up a knock in the 88th minute and Craig Stone came on for the centre-half.The Gills travel to Hayes Lane on Tuesday to play Ryman Premier Division side Bromley in a pre-season friendly that kicks-off at 19:30.
Gillingham: Homoet, Clohessy, Cox (Sancho 59), Johnson (Stone 88), Jackman, Jarvis (Collin 83), Flynn (Karim 73), Bentley (Crofts 59), Easton (Pouton 73), Mulligan, McDonald (Ndumbu-Nsungu HT).Sub Not Used: Beckwith.
QPR: P Jones, Bignot (Bailey 44), Stewart, Shittu (Kanyuka HT), Howell (Rose HT), Ainsworth, Rowlands (Baidoo 74), Ward (Tchakounte HT), Cook (Donnelly HT), Nygaard (R Jones), Gallen.Sub Not Used: Cole.http://www.gillinghamfootballclub.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/NewsDetail/0,,10416~870994,00.html


Gary Waddock praised the first half performance of Nick Ward, after the R's beat Gillingham 1-0 at The Priestfield Stadium.
The Australian midfielder played his first 45 minutes for the R's, as Waddock's men made it two wins on the spin in pre-season.
"Nick did very well in the first half and almost capped his display with a wonderful goal,'' Waddock told qpr.co.uk.
"To be fair the keeper has pulled off a wonderful save and credit has to go to him for that.
"Nick has settled in well and we're all really looking forward to seeing him in action when the Championship kicks off on August 5th.''
In a match disrputed by substitutions, Rangers won the game courtesy of Ray Jones' 70th minute winner.
"I was pleased with the first half. We played some good football; our passing and movement was good, so from that point of view I'm delighted.
"The changes disrupted our play in the second half - but we've won the game, kept a clean sheet and that's obviously very encouraging.''
Rangers travel to Italy for the final chapter of their pre-season campaign tomorrow and Waddock is looking to use the trip as a team bonding exercise.
"The core of our squad will travel and although the games are important, working on our fitness and team spirit will be the priorities.
"We'll be training twice a day and aim to come back with the batteries fully charged for the first match of the season up at Burnley.''

A fortuitous winner from Ray Jones sealed an otherwise drab affair at The Priestfield Stadium.
Jones bagged the only goal of the game on 70 minutes, in a match disrupted by wholesale changes from both sides in the second period.
In truth, the R's did just enough to warrant victory, on a day when Nick Ward made his first start for the Club and Marc Nygaard and Dan Shittu made their first appearances of the pre-season campaign.
Despite decent chances for debutant Ward and skipper Kevin Gallen, it was goalless at the break.
Gallen went closest to breaking the deadlock just after the half hour, rifling a powerful shot in to the grasp of Gills keeper Raymond Homoet.
And in a half in which Rangers enjoyed the majority of possession, Ward forced Homoet into a terrific diving save at his near post.
Earlier, Ward had to wait just one minute and 42 seconds for his first touch in a QPR shirt, cushioning a neat touch into the path of Damion Stewart.
But it was Gareth Ainsworth who provided the first moment of magic, turning his marker on a sixpence with an outrageous piece of close control on the right touchline.
Rangers were calling the shots early on, and after fine interplay between Gallen, Marcus Bignot and Lee Cook, Martin Rowlands dragged his right foot shot well wide.
The visitors continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession and when Ward found Cook with a fantastically disguised left footed pass, the wingers' cross narrowly evaded the onrushing Nygaard.
The returning Shittu came to Rangers' rescue when Dean McDonald broke through the last line of the R's defence on 18 minutes, and from the resultant corner, Paul Jones gathered safely.
Ward was improving as the half wore on and after being involved in a fine Rangers counter-attack, he shot wide from the edge of the box.
The Aussie midfielder seemed certain to open his account for the R's on 22 minutes, but after a perfectly weighted through ball from Cook, his cushioned right footed drive from eight yards forced Raymond Homoet into a fantastic full length save.
Gallen was unlucky not to put the R's ahead on 32 minutes, when from a long punt forward by Jones, he shot straight into the grasp of Homoet.
The half ended on a sour note for Bignot, who just moments after picking up a yellow card for a rash challenge on Clint Easton, was forced from the fray with a suspected hamstring injury.
Stefan Bailey replaced him at right back, as the half drew to a quiet conclusion.Waddock rang the changes at the break, with Ward and Shittu among the seven players replaced.
The substitutions seemed to disrupt the R's pattern of play, with Gillingham creating the first chance of the half on 49 minutes courtesy of Clint Easton's in-swinging cross which narrowly evaded the Gills front-men.
Gary Mulligan's volley on the turn awoke a poor home crowd, before Gills boss Ronnie Jepson made a double substitution on the hour.
Buoyed by the introduction of fans' favourite Brent Sancho, Gillingham created two chances in as many minutes soon after, both of which were cleared to safety by Pat Kanyuka.
Rangers' first opportunity of the half arrived on 65 minutes, when from a quick throw in on the right flank, Gallen combined well with Ainsworth.
His back post cross seemed destined to find Ray Jones, but Homoet plucked the ball from the air and left Jones pole-axed by the far post.
Jones soon made amends though, seemingly getting the last touch to Rowlands' wide free-kick on 70 minutes, as the R's finally broke the deadlock.
As the ball tricked goalwards, the entire Gillingham defence seemed to go AWOL, and Homoet was powerless to prevent the ball from squeezing in at his far post.
There was certainly an element of luck to Rangers' breakthrough, but few can deny Jones deserved it, after another heartening display from the teenage striker.
Shabazz Baidoo should've put the result beyond any doubt on 80 minutes, but with the goal at his mercy, he shot straight at Homoet, when a more accomplished finish would surely have reaped greater dividends.
Undeterred, the pacy striker kept knocking on the door and was unlucky not to beat Homoet with a piercing left footed drive from an acute angle.
Gillingham: Homoet, Jackman, Flynn (Karim 72), Cox (Sancho 60), Bentley (Crofts 60), Mulligan, McDonald (Ndunbu-Nsungu 46), Easton (Pouton 72), Johnson (Stone 87), Clohessy, Jarvis (Collin 82).
Subs: Beckwith.
QPR: P Jones, Bignot (Bailey 44), Howell (Rose 46), Stewart, Shittu (Kanyuka 46), Ainsworth, Rowlands (Baidoo 72), Ward (Donnelly 46), Cook (Tchakounte 46), Nygaard (R Jones 46), Gallen.
Subs: Cole.
Bookings: Bignot 41
Sending Offs:
Goals: R Jones 70
Attendance: 1,472


From Nico http://www.pbase.com/qpr/gillingham

Photos from Gillingham Rivals

[And from just over two years ago, from a "real" Championship game betwee Gillingham & GPR: Telegraph-
Friday August 27th Gillingham (0) 0 QPR (1) 1
Gillingham: Banks, Ashby, Cox, Hope, Jarvis (Sidibe 71), Hessenthaler, Smith, Spiller, Hills, Roberts, Byfield (Agyemang 63).Subs Not Used: Brown, Leon Johnson, Perpetuini.Booked: Hessenthaler.
QPR: Day, Bignot, Forbes (Edghill 58), Santos, Padula, Rowlands, Bean, Johnson (Bircham 73), Cook (Cureton 73), Gallen, Furlong.Subs Not Used: Cole, McLeod.Goals: Bean 29.Att: 7,391Ref: M Thorpe (Suffolk).

One Year Ago Today....QPR 3 Iran 0

July 23, 2005 - QPR 3 Iran 0
Furlong, Ainsworth and Santos.

Sunday Times Match Report - July 24, 2005
QPR 3 Iran 0: Iran go under in away day to forgetBrian Glanville at Loftus Road
WAS their journey really necessary? Was it really worth the Iranians bringing a reserve team all the way to Shepherd’s Bush while five of their stars were in pre-season training with their Bundesliga clubs? At full strength, Iran, who have already qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals, are thought to have their best team ever. ..
I was quite relieved,” said the Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway, “that one or two of their most famous people didn’t actually start.”
As for Iran’s Croatian manager, Branko Ivankovic, he was “sorry our stars couldn’t come, they have obligations with their clubs, but they will be back five days before the next competitive game. Losing 3-0 is never the ideal result when you’re a national team, but we’ve only been training 10 days, and we weren’t fit for such a game. It was an excellent schooling for the future for the young players”.
But Ivankovic reflected, not surprisingly: “Three-nil from corners! Typical English scoring. We have to make some improvements in that area.”
Indeed they do, although Holloway said: “We’ve been working the last two days on those.”
Half-time was approaching when Lee Cook took a corner from the left, Dan Shittu knocked it back and Paul Furlong squeezed his back-header inside the right-hand post.
Earlier on the Iranians had looked the more likely to score. QPR’s trialist goalkeeper, Wayne Henderson, made a resilient double save from first Yahia Golmohammadi, then Arash Borhani. But Iran faded in the second half. Gareth Ainsworth headed in another corner by Cook and himself took the corner from which Georges Santos headed a third.

BBC -QPR 3-0 Iran
Paul Furlong opened the scoring for QPR on 41 minutesPaul Furlong, Gareth Ainsworth and George Santos all scored headers as QPR enjoyed a 3-0 friendly win over Iran.
The Iranians, who have qualified for next year's World Cup, held QPR at bay until the 41st minute, when Furlong headed Dan Shittu's cross home.
Substitute Ainsworth doubled the home side's lead 14 minutes after half-time, as he headed Lee Cook's corner.
And Ainsworth turned provider after 71 minutes, taking the corner which Santos headed to complete the scoring.
Summer signing Tommy Doherty made his debut for Rangers, playing just over one hour before making way for Marcus Bean.
Aston Villa trialist Wayne Henderson made an appearance in goal, while Derby trialist Jamie Vincent also played. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/q/qpr/4712187.stm

Furlong fells Iran but tourists get warm welcome Amy Lawrence at Loftus Road Sunday July 24, 2005The Observer
Like many visitors, they were feeling twitchy about visiting London so soon after the 7 July bombings. The Iran football team set off regardless in high spirits. This squad is drawn from the domestic league - exported stars excused - and the summer training camp is a chance for reserves and a few long shots to impress the manager.
Iran were among the first countries to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Germany and the race for places in their finals squad starts here. The team arrived in England on Thursday morning. They were inside Heathrow, waiting for luggage at a carousel, when news filtered through. More explosions. Tubes being evacuated. Something had happened at Shepherd's Bush. Wasn't that where the first game of the tour was
Representatives of Queens Park Rangers and the police were soon liaising with the Iranians. If they wanted to call off the tour and go home, everyone would understand. It could be arranged in an instant. But these footballers vehemently didn't want to go home. Iran 1 Inter Milan 0. ..
'We have had just 10 days' training and we weren't fit for such a game,' said Iran's Croatian coach, Branko Ivankovic. 'I am sorry the stars didn't come, but they will be back and we will be stronger.' Some 25 scouts were in the crowd to cast their eye on the rest. Although the young ones were raw, there was technique enough to convince Ian Holloway, the QPR manager, that he would be keen to take some on. Although they had the best of the opening period, five minutes before half-time the internationals were behind. Paul Furlong bundled in the opening goal for QPR after goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour went on a mad dash into no man's land. It was the first of three goals from set pieces.
'Typical English goals,' said Ivankovic, wryly. 'Good experience for my players, who don't come across this kind of game in Iran.' After the break QPR, who looked sharp and competitive, took more advantage as Iran gave in to heavy legs. Gareth Ainsworth's looping header and Georges Santos's drive made for a scoreline to please Holloway, the manager who outlined his mission for the season ahead as only he can: 'I would love to have a season like last year, minus our inconsistency.'
He found the whole event uplifting. 'Sport wins,' he said earnestly afterwards. 'Everyone in the stadium showed what the world is about. It is not about people who hide behind banners of religion or politics. I made some friends here and I'd invite Iran back any time.' Ivankovic seems happy enough with the experience thus far, although he is aware that losing 3-0 to anybody does not go down well with the 16 daily sports newspapers back in Iran. Getting a break from such a pressured environment was one of the reasons behind this working break. Iran are staying at Burnham Beeches, the tranquil, wooded retreat in Buckinghamshire used regularly by Sven-Goran Eriksson's England squad. Today they go sightseeing, before being treated to dinner at the Iranian Embassy. Then it is back to work. The tour is pressing on, with matches at Millwall, Portsmouth and possibly Crystal Palace, who have been in touch to see if they might fill in for those scaredy-cats from Italy.

Some photos of that match:

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