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Sunday, July 22, 2007

One Year Since QPR's Italian "(Mis)Adventure"

A year ago, QPR's pre-season tour of Italy got under way. It was an experience that QPR under John Gregory, did not seek to replicate this pre-season.
The teams for the two games: Game 1- Cole, Bailey, Armel, Fortune (Roberts), Howell, Ward (Rowlands), Baidoo, Pinto (McDonald), Donnelly, R Jones, Czerkas (Cook).
Game 2: Jones, Bignot, Milanese (Howell), Rose (Kanyuka), Fortune, Rowlands (Bailey), Ainsworth, Ward, Cook, Nygaard (R Jones), Czerkas (Baidoo)

[Also while on tour, QPR Director Dunga resigned and there were reported comments by Paladini about the Directors' future at QPR; and then an official statement by Antonio Caliendo]

QPR Set Off For Italy
July 21, 2006: QPR OFFICIAL SITE re "Italian Job"
"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

- 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. QPR

GAME 1: Sorrento 5 QPR 1

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). QPR

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." QPR

Additional Match Reports: Report/Background from Ron Norris/QPR Net

And Clive Whittingham/QPR Rivals

PHOTOS Of Players in TrainingPhotos of PLayers in Training in Italy

QPR Official SIte - The FANS's Views of the tour

QPR will face San Antonio Abate at The Stadio Pasquale Novi on Friday.
The R's have been forced to find an alternative ground to host the fixture, after San Antonio Abate informed the Club that they could only provide an astroturf surface.
The stadium - situated a mile from their hosts normal home ground - has a capacity of 2,100 and is located in Angri, Campania. QPR

Report & Photos (inclding 'Trophy' Presentation
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.
Gary Waddock named a strong starting line up for tonight's game against San Antonio Abate.
But at one point, Rangers boasted five current and recent youth products in Shabazz Baidoo, Ray Jones, Pat Kanyuka, Stefan Bailey and Andrew Howell - and they certainly didn't look out of place.
Matthew Rose recovered from a knock he picked up yesterday, but Kevin Gallen was not risked ahead of the Burnley game next week.
Despite the 8.30pm kick off, the heat was still extreme - so much so that during the small sided warm up game, the midfielders chose to hold their bibs to avoid having to put them on.
The Rangers players must have thought they were on international duty when they lined up to sing the national anthems.
Gareth Ainsworth played the skipper's role well, belting out 'God save the Queen' with his hand on his heart.
QPR wasted no time in testing the San Antonio keeper with Martin Rowlands sending in a free kick from the left wing which had to be held.
This was certainly a different team to that of Monday night, in the most literal of senses.
Rangers were popping the ball around with ease, only to be let down by the final ball.
Nygaard and Czerkas then linked up well for the move of the match so far with the big Dane knocking the ball down into the path of the Polish front man.
Czerkas beat his man and he certainly had power in his finish, but Spicuzza managed to beat the ball away to safety.
The flowing football was put on hold while the referee got a little whistle happy and proceeded to cease the game every few minutes.
Capucceilli them got the show on the road when his stinging drive had to be tipped over by Paul Jones just when it had looked as though the deadlock was going to be broken.
It was hard to tell whether the referee or the heat had killed the game, but suddenly, the action up front was at a premium.
Nick Ward then attempted to put Rangers ahead but after the ball had dropped on the edge of the area, the Australian skewed his shot wide.
Rangers did have the ball in the back of the net just before half time, but the linesman's flag saw Nygaard's shot ruled out.
Finally, Rangers broke though when Ward scored his first goal in a QPR shirt.
With the ball played through by Czerkas it dropped down for Ward who volleyed it spectacularly with his left foot into the top of the net.
That was the last of the action before half time and Rangers regrouped in the centre circle for their team talk a goal to the good.
Gareth Ainsworth got the second half off to a positive start when his shot from outside the box had to be saved once again by Spicuzza.
Nygaard then had a glorious chance to double the scoreline when Ainsworth sent in a peach of a cross which the front man simply had to stroke home.
Despite having only the keeper to beat and being dead centre, Nygaard still managed to drive into the keeper's arms.
But he made no mistake moments later when once again Ainsworth set him up.
This time he hit the ball sweetly past the San Antonio keeper.
Even though Rangers' finishing may have been somewhat wayward at times, at least the Italian keeper had seen some action.
An hour in to the game and Paul Jones had only had one save to make.
But up the other end, Rangers were flying. Ray Jones made up four yards on his man, nicked the ball and struck from outside the box only to see his effort rebound off the far post.
Rangers then started to pick apart their opposition, scoring two goals in quick succession.
Ainsworth charged the ball down and pulled out a deep cross for Baidoo to slot home from close range.
Then moments later, Pat Kanyuka fed Ray Jones and the youth player took on the advancing keeper and came out on the winning side after sliding the ball past the grounded stopper.
The scoreline may have looked like a walkover, but Rangers certainly worked hard for their victory.
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) QPR


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." QPR



August 1, 2007 OFFICIAL SITE - STATEMENT FROM CHAIRMAN, GIANNI PALADINIHaving just returned from the R's pre-season tour of Italy, QPR Chairman Gianni Paladini can't wait for the big kick-off.
"The trip to Sorrento was a great success, providing the players and coaching staff with an opportunity for some intense training and team bonding.
"Despite the players staying in one of the town's grandest hotels, and having been fitted with brand new QPR tailor-made suits for every player, the trip paid for itself and the Club even managed to make a tiny profit from it....QPR


[While in Italy on Tour, QPR Director, Dunga, resigned as a QPR Director to take over Brazil - DUNGAR RESIGNATION Announcement.
And in the aftermath of certain comments, a statement:


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.''

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.
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. BBC

Background to QPR's Italian Tour-
The tour was first announced in April:

Paladini - 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!" Kilburn Times

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." QPR Rivals

Paladini & Waddock Visited Italy at the End of April:
"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. QPR Rivals

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..... QPR

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

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