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Monday, September 25, 2006

QPR 2 Hull 0 - Additional Match Reports

Guardian - Monday September 25, 2006
Mark Tallentire at Loftus Road
Gregory starts to paper over Rangers' cracks

John Gregory has spent 3½ years away from club football, says he missed match days most and while he concedes that the big clubs have become increasingly bloated in that time, he feels that the Football League is broadly unaltered. And despite his appointment being the 14th change of manager since Terry Venables was doing the job and signed him in 1982, another thing is also very much as it was.
"This place hasn't changed since I left here 21 years ago," Gregory said. "There's still the same wallpaper in Terry's old office, same desk and the same old leather chair which I've inherited. It all needs a spruce-up. It's like moving into an old ramshackle house and decorating it the way you want it. And it's generally going to be a case of changing the habits of everybody right the way through the club."
It will take more than a few cosmetic changes to improve the long-term outlook for the west London side who have become the capital's punch bag since finishing fifth in the inaugural Premiership table in 1993, but in Gregory they have hired a manager who needs the success as much as they do.

This is the third time that he has returned to manage a club where he was well thought of as a player but the previous two he left under clouds and the experience at the last one, Derby County, which he successfully sued for wrongful dismissal after departing in March 2003, rendered him virtually unemployable.

"I've been absolutely positive all the way through it," he said of his unscheduled career break and after a win which took QPR off the bottom and out of the relegation zone. "Every day that I didn't get up and go to work I felt I was getting closer to a job. I've been desperate to get back into the game but not to somewhere that I didn't want to go."

Working for Gianni Paladini and a Monaco-based consortium would not seem such an attractive a prospect to many but Gregory has promised to throw himself into his task, had the players training at Loftus Road on Friday and managed to get a response out of Gary Waddock's players a day later, when the former manager, now coach was given a generous cheer although he was reduced to supervising the warm-up and handing out isotonic drinks.

The Rangers goals were headers from the strikers Ray Jones and Dexter Blackstock, a pairing which Gregory feels can cause problems in the division and one which has already given Hull's manager, Phil Parkinson, something to think about as his punchless team slumped to the bottom of the table.

"The fitness of my players can be better and it will be better," said Gregory, who considers himself to be a more mellow character these days, although after Blackstock met Lee Cook's hanging cross to clinch the game the manager's display of emotion was straight out from the Martin O'Neill school of celebration. "It was a mixture of happiness and delight, and frustration and anger for things that have happened in the last few years," he said. "It has been building up for a long time."

The fans were perhaps rightly sceptical about the change at the top and the 11,381 gate was a thousand less than their previous Saturday game. Give it a few weeks.

Man of the match: Lee Cook (QPR)

Queen's Park Rangers 2 Hull City 0: Gregory's Rangers return begins with a bang

For more than three years John Gregory has been on our television screens but not in the way he would like, explaining results and performances to viewers but not to any footballers. The pundit's seat is a more comfortable one than the hard plastic ones in the manager's dug-out but Gregory has ached for a return to running a club once more.

Not that he didn't have some doubts after returning to the job this week with QPR. Having overseen his first training sessions back at the club he played for more than 20 years ago, he confessed to asking himself if he had done the right thing. He only took a day to deliberate over the offer of taking charge for this season. If they stay up, his deal will be extended.

Despite having left so long ago, Gregory has noticed that not much has changed. He recalled the former manager Terry Venables luring him to the club. As a comment on how the club has barely moved on, you cannot do better than his remark that the wallpaper in the manager's office is still the same. In Gregory's time as a player, QPR reached the 1982 FA Cup final. Their priority right now is to avoid relegation and the former Aston Villa and Derby County manager does not boast huge resources.

What he will do is prepare his team better than his predecessor Gary Waddock, who is now first-team coach. Gregory was shocked to find there was no research prepared for Hull's arrival.

However, headers from Ray Jones and Dexter Blackstock were enough to dispatch Phil Parkinson's feeble side. Defeat sent them to the bottom, took QPR out of the relegation zone and put Gregory back where he likes to be.

Goals: R Jones (60) 1-0; Blackstock (80) 2-0.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): P Jones; Bignot, Rehman, Stewart, Rose (Kanyuka, h-t); Rowlands, Bircham (Ward, 65), Bailey (Lomas, 65), Cook; Blackstock, R Jones. Substitutes not used: Royce (gk), Baidoo.

Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Mills, Turner, Collins, Dawson; Fagan, Ashbee, Livermore (Marney, 75), France (Forster, 67); Parkin, Bridges (Yeates, 67). Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Thelwell.

Referee: D Deadman (Cambridgeshire).

Booked: QPR: R Jones, P Jones.

Man of the Match: R Jones.

Attendance: 11,381.

Telegraph - Lift for Gregory
By Nick Hoult
Queens Park Rangers (0) 2 Hull City (0) 0

The pitch is now made of grass and Terry Venables' sheepskin coat is nowhere to be seen, but Loftus Road has a familiar feel about it for John Gregory.

As a Rangers player in the 1980s, he was used to winning matches. Now, as the club's manager, he has restored that feeling and lifted them off the bottom of the table.

It was a comfortable start for Gregory; Hull offered nothing in attacking ambition.

In contrast, Ray Jones and Dexter Blackstock are both decent forwards; both scored, with headers, for Gregory. Lee Cook's invention on the right adds a dash of class and it was his cross, 10 minutes from time, to an unmarked Blackstock for the second goal, that decided the match.

Gregory's demeanour – arms folded, dark eyes piercing the play – suddenly dashed off on a victory jig. After three and a half years without a job, Rangers seems to suit him. "It hasn't changed since I was a player, 21 years ago. There is still the same wallpaper in Venables' office. I'm sat in his chair, at his old desk. He didn't leave his coat behind though. Or his wallet."

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