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Friday, October 31, 2008

A Look at Briatore Involvement and Impact at QPR ...Briatore on Wanting Ainsworth

The Times/Kaveh Solhekol - November 1, 2008 - Flavio Briatore keen to make Gareth Ainsworth manager
- Flavio Briatore wants to make Gareth Ainsworth the manager of Queens Park Rangers. The QPR chairman has been so impressed with Ainsworth since he became the caretaker manager last Friday that he is preparing to offer him a full-time contract. “I want to work with Gareth,” Briatore told The Times yesterday, “He has done a perfect job so far.” QPR beat Birmingham City 1-0 on Tuesday despite playing the second half with ten men and drew 0-0 with Reading in Ainsworth's first match in charge last Saturday.
- “The commitment of the players since last weekend has been fantastic,” Briatore said. “This is the QPR I want to see. Everyone says that we need someone with experience but sometimes you have to give someone a chance to get experience.
- Ainsworth, the 35-year-old player-coach, was thrust into the spotlight when Briatore dismissed Iain Dowie after their relationship broke down. Briatore has been accused of making Dowie's position untenable by telling him which players to pick but the Italian insists that he did nothing wrong.
- “I was not happy with results and the football we were playing,” he said. “Surely I'm allowed to ask the manager why don't you play some of the players we signed in the summer? This is not picking the team, it is just normal discussion between people in sport.” The Times

The Independen/Matt Bright - Briatore's hands-on approach to running QPR
- When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea he splashed out £110m on Juan Sebastian Veron, Claude Makelele, Joe Cole et al. When the Abu Dhabi United Group bought Manchester City they signed Robinho for £32m, made an offer for Dimitar Berbatov and inquired after Fernando Torres. When Flavio Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal, combined wealth estimated at £50bn plus, acquired Queen's Park Rangers last autumn, their first transfer window resulted in £5m expenditure on seven players. The big signings were Matthew Connolly and Rowan Vine at £1m apiece.
- Clearly this was one billionaire takeover that was not going to be a flashy, arriviste, crass, subversion of footballing values. Instead, explained Briatore, the £14m takeover aimed at a steady development. "QPR is a very nice story," he said. "You start from the bottom and reorganise the club. It's much more sexy to take a Championship club up [to the top]."
- Outsiders may be surprised but many QPR fans applauded this outlook. Dave Thomas, veteran founder and editor of the two-decade old fanzine, A Kick Up The R's, explained: "We all had a good laugh about being 'the richest club in the world' and all that, but once we thought about it most people thought, 'We don't want to sell out our soul, we don't want to become another Chelsea'. A lot of what Briatore said about running the club along proper economic lines made sense."
- However, the mood at Loftus Road has soured. This campaign season-ticket prices were raised significantly then, three matches into the season, so were match-day admissions with the most expensive tickets costing £50, a new mark in the Championship. There was a sense that this was not value for money, either on the pitch, where the summer signings were largely free transfers, or off it. The ground has been treated to a lick of paint, and the corporate areas given a stylish makeover, but most of the seats remain cramped with many suffering from partially obstructed views. A fans' protest has since brought a reduction in ticket prices but at the cost of revealing an apparent split in the philosophy of the club's owners. Briatore, who is a mere multi-millionaire, is seen as the man behind the increase. Amit Bhatia, son-in law of the unfeasibly rich Lakshmi Mittal and vice-chairman of QPR Holdings (Briatore is chairman), is regarded as proposing the reduction. Ecclestone, meanwhile, appears to have lost interest.
- Of the three, Briatore is the most heavily involved. He is the visible presence at matches, at the training ground, and in the dressing room. He is the man who brings celebrities and glamour models to Loftus Road and, it is alleged, has pondered changing the club's name to London Rangers, or Queen's Park City, to capitalise on its location. It has been noted that the words "Loftus Road, London" appear on the redesigned crest.
- Briatore has spoken of wanting to create "an international brand" and a "boutique club". QPR, he boasts, is the talk of the F1 paddock. Having run a successful F1 team [Benetton] he obviously relishes now having a football club. Defender Peter Ramage said of Briatore, "I have never encountered an owner who is so hands on." That involvement, it is now suspected, extends to having a say on team selection. Briatore is on his fourth manager. Having worked his way through John Gregory, Luigi de Canio and Iain Dowie he is now weighing up caretaker Gareth Ainsworth's suitability. To cynics Ainsworth's chances are growing, not because QPR have taken four points from two daunting fixtures – away to free-scoring Reading, and at home to then-leaders Birmingham – but because he has done so with a team which appears heavily influenced by Briatore. The chairman already appeared to dictate transfers.
- De Canio, having come from Serie A, intimated he was happy to defer to others but it is understood Dowie's pre-season spending plans were abruptly dismissed by the board. One player who did arrive was Daniele Tommasi, the 34-year-old former Italian international, on a free transfer from relegated La Liga club Levante. He failed to play under Dowie but made the bench at Reading last Saturday and started against Birmingham in midweek. The scorer of that game's only goal was Samuel Di Carmine. Another summer arrival, on loan from Fiorentina, the Reading game was his first league start.
- Back in the team at the Madejski was Daniel Parejo, on loan from Real Madrid. It was his first start since September. Another presumed Briatore recruit, Emmanuel Ledesma, on loan from Genoa, was in the team against Birmingham. It is widely believed that Dowie, who won eight and drew four of 15 matches in charge, left following a row with Briatore on team selection. "I don't pick the team," said Briatore subsequently. Ainsworth said, after the Reading game, "I picked the team. There are discussions about the team and individual players with Flavio Briatore – he has put a lot of money in the club and wants to know how his investments are going – but I have the final input on who goes out there." It may be that, as with Roman Abramovich, Briatore merely wants to be kept in the loop and feel an insider among football professionals.
- Or he tells Ainsworth: "You pick the team, just make sure these guys are in it." Either way it is working. On the message boards of QPR fan websites outright dissent is now mingled with admiration for the team selections, whoever is making them.
- Rangers, who are at Ipswich today, are on the brink of the play-off places. But so are most Championship clubs. It is unlikely that Terry Venables, Roberto Donadoni, Roberto Mancini or Gianluca Vialli, all of whom have been linked with the post, would brook any interference. Nor would they take kindly to Briatore shouting instructions to the dug-out from the directors' box, which eyewitness accounts suggest happened on Tuesday. Thomas, whose dedication is such he commutes from Bolton to games, said: "No one is burning effigies but there's now an enormous amount of cynicism and mistrust of Briatore. There is a perception that he is only interested in his celebrity friends. We're a bit uneasy now."
- New faces How Italian has influenced the line-up
*Iain Dowie's last starting XI (21 Oct, v Swansea, 0-0)
Radek Cerny
Damien Delaney
Damion Stewart
Fitz Hall
Peter Ramage
Gavin Mahon
Mikele Leigertwood
Martin Rowlands
Lee Cook
Dexter Blackstock
Akos Buzsaky
*Ainsworth/Briatore's first starting XI (25 Oct, v Reading, 0-0)
Radek Cerny
Mikele Leigertwood
Damion Stewart
Fitz Hall
Matthew Connolly
Akos Buzsaky
Gavin Mahon
Martin Rowlands
Lee Cook
Samuel Di Carmine (right)
Daniel Parejo
*The new introductions
Matthew Connolly (signed January 2008 from Arsenal – Undisclosed)
Samuel Di Carmine (July 2008 from Fiorentina – Loan)
Daniel Parejo (August 2008 from Real Madrid – Loan)
Interesting? Click here to explore further The Independent

Analysis of Briatore and QPR'S Managers...QPR Seeking but not Finding Manager - Except Ainsworth...Ainsworth on Team Selection

Ealing Gazette - Five managers in a year - and counting
- Flavio Briatore's taste for change since becoming owner and chairman must make the QPR hotseat the least secure posting in English football in the past 12 months.
- Perhaps only Newcastle United have known such instability in recent months.
- Iain Dowie was in charge for only 15 games, which is a far cry from the start of the decade when Ian Holloway ruled the roost for 252 matches and lasted five years (2001-6).
- With a winning record (53 per cent) not matched any of his predecessors since he was in charge for two matches in 1998, Dowie was clearly not ousted because of results.
- The widely accepted explanation is that Briatore was unhappy with Dowie's team selection - and in particular his reluctance to grant Daniel Parejo a regular starting role.
- Briatore announced Parejo's arrival on loan from Real Madrid amid great fanfare and it was noticeable then just how much the chairman enjoyed his coup - and the public parading of his close contact with Madrid president Ramón Calderón.
- Rather than allow Dowie to conduct the press conference, the manager was forced to stand at the back of the room as a beaming Briatore - dark shades firmly in place - took centre stage in front of the cameras and assembled journalists.
- It was a humiliation Dowie was prepared to swallow, along with the continental-style system which gave him little say over who came into the club.
- When Alan Curbishley quit West Ham and Kevin Keegan walked away from Newcastle earlier this season, it was because they were at the mercy of directors of football deciding who joined the squad.
- Dowie was never going to follow suit over any of the men Gianni Paladini and Briatore recruited as long as he was still in charge on match day, but that still brought him into conflict with his bosses.
- "I've always said that as long as I'm in charge of team s ele c t ion , I ' m happy," he told the Gazette a few weeks ago.
- "The game's changing and you either resist it or go with it. Team selection is the holy grail for me."
- But that was the trouble. Briatore was unhappy that Parejo was being overlooked along with striker Samuel Di Carmine, while Italian midfielder Damiano Tommasi - another big-name recruited by Briatore - had yet to feature.
- No sooner was Ainsworth appointed as caretaker boss for Saturday's 0-0 draw at Reading than Di Carmine was drafted in in place of top scorer Dexter Blackstock and Parejo was given a starting role.
- "Flavio has put a lot of money in the club and wants to know how his investments are going," Gareth Ainsworth neatly summarised after conceding that Briatore likes to discuss team matters with his coaches.
- We can probably take with a pinch of salt the hugely popular Lancastrian's insistence that there is no overall interference.
- "I have the final input on who goes out there. He doesn't discuss the strategies," Ainsworth said of Briatore.
- But there is such as thing as unspoken pressures and it clearly is interference to a degree that is alien to the British game, albeit one which coaches are having to stomach to stay in work.
- For a new kid on the mangerial block like Ainsworth, that means taking it on the chin more than an experienced manager with no financial worries.
- Briatore's determination to assume control over all matters on and off the field was evident again last week when he clashed with vice chairman Amit Bhatia over pricing policy at Loftus Road.
- Bhatia, the son in law of Lakshmi Mittal, whose family own 20 per cent of the club, is unhappy about the recent matchday price hikes and Briatore was unhappy that Bhatia went public over his disapproval.
- According to Paul Finney of the fans' website indyrs, many Rangers will be feeling disillusioned this week, in spite of the club's undoubtedly sound financial footing.
- "The club is just becoming a rich man's plaything and there seems to be no regard for the culture and history of the club," Finney told the Gazette.
- "It doesn't bode well for the future when football people are being sacked. We are fed up with being a showbiz club." Ealing Gazette

London Informer/Paul Warburton - Only Gaz fancies manager's job
- There are no takers for the QPR manager's job even though 10 different candidates have been sounded out following the sacking of Iain Dowie last Friday.
- Not one of a prestigious who'swho of coaches will consider the post while chairman Flavio Briatore insists on a role where he also has a say in team selection.
- Sam Allardyce, Steve Cotterill and Terry Venables are just three of the 10 who have given Loftus Road the thumbs down, while insiders have discounted the possibility of moving for Darren Ferguson at Peterborough.
-Heartened by the creditable 0-0 draw at Reading last Saturday, Briatore made it plain he intends to leave well alone by jointly managing Rangers with caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth for the next three games at least.
- Matters came to a head when Dowie's second spell with the club ended last Friday after Briatore told the coach he appointed 15 matches ago what his starting line-up was to be against Reading.
- It was the final straw for the former Northern Ireland international, who briefly managed the club as caretaker in 2001 prior to Ian Holloway's appointment.
- But the 58-year-old chairman is confident the club he saved from bankruptcy with fellow formula one supremo Bernie Ecclestone can be run more efficiently with the current coaching staff - or an outsider willing to accede to Briatore's involvement.
- A QPR source said: "There was a time when Flavio thought QPR was a burger bar, but now he's involved it's become his life's work - and he genuinely believes he has what it takes to help manage the team." London Informer

Ealing Times/Simon Mail - Ainsworth enhances QPR job credentials
- Queens Park Rangers caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth enhanced his credentials for the permanent job after guiding them to a 1-0 win over promotion favourites Birmingham City on Tuesday night....
- It capped a memorable end to a turbulent week at Rangers which saw Iain Dowie dismissed as first-team coach on Friday. QPR also battled to a goalless draw at highflying Reading on Saturday and the two results mark Ainsworth out as a potential candidate for the managerial hotseat.
- Dowie was sacked at the club's Harlington training ground last Friday after allegedly refusing to accept owner Flavio Briatore's interference over the team to face Reading.
- The QPR board have had a major say in recent team selection, but Ainsworth insists he has the last word on the lineup and also believes the consultation between them is a good idea.
- Ainsworth said: "I would be lying if I said it was 100 per cent down to me. It is my job to discuss players and push forward my case.
- "At the end of the day I have the final input on the team. I am very open and listen to the case of other players. It is me at the helm. Any talk of people shouting down orders is not true. We are very professional and I had to make serious decisions at half-time against Birmingham.

- "The team selection is my final input but there are discussions. They (board) want to know how the players are doing, not just in matches but also in training. I think it's a good thing because they are looking after their investment."
Ainsworth has always had his eye on management and the fans' favourite would relish the opportunity to continue the role on a full-time basis at Loftus Road.
-But he admits he does not know if the board have interviewed anyone for the role. Roberto Mancini is the favourite for the job but other big names such as Sam Allardyce, Terry Venables and Gianluca Vialli are also believed to be in the running.
- He said: "I love the club and I didn't think the emotion of winning promotion could be beaten but being caretaker manager is something else. I'm really enjoying it, I'm just taking it game by game.
-"It is fantastic, I've always had ambition. I took the reserve job at the start of the season with the ambition I would one day be the manager but didn't think it would happen as quickly.
- "The lads have been absolutely fantastic and have given me 100 per cent. I have had a massive response from them and that has been a big help." Ealing Times

Ealing Gazette/Yann Tear - Gaz stakes claim
If gritty backs-to-thewall wins with 10-men count for anything in the new era of glitz-driven ownership, Gareth Ainsworth is on his way to securing his first fulltime managerial job.
For all the talk of big names parachuting in from foreign climes to take over from Iain Dowie - Roberto Mancini, Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Donadoni have been mentioned - it may be that Flavio Briatore turns to the rock and roll kid from Lancashire to oversee the next phase of his QPR project.
On the evidence of Tuesday night, he could do worse.
Ainsworth was given his first taste of the nightmares you can encounter from the touchline when he had Mikele Leigertwood sent off for a high challenge on Lee Carsley on the stroke of half time.
But he managed to inspire a famous 1-0 win against Birmingham City - the deposed Championship leaders appearing not to share Rangers' appetite for a scrap in a Loftus Road blizzard, or indeed Ainsworth's appetite for an early and unexpected foray into management at the age of 35.
"I'm really proud every game I go out at the helm for QPR," said the caretaker boss.
"It's an honour and of course I've got a taste for it.
"I wouldn't have agreed to be reserve team manager if I didn't have ambition. It's something I want to pursue in my career, but at the moment it's game by game.
"I've been given no indication about my long term chances. All I want to do is focus on QPR and whatever capacity I'm in, you'll get 100 pe r c en t f r om Ga r e t h Ainsworth."
Talking about a week which began with him stepping into Dowie's shoes just 24 hours before the 0-0 draw at Reading, the man who fronts a rock band said: "It has all been very sudden, very quick.
"The games are probably a good distraction at the moment. They are coming thick and fast and I've not really had time to think. I'm just getting on with it, and the boys have been fantastic.
"The day-to-day role has changed. I have to take the sessions and create them and put things on for the boys that I think are going to be relevant to the upcoming games.
"It's an experience for me and it's an experience for them and it seems to be going well.
"There will be discussions again with the other parties over team selection before the next game. I put my case forward for players and other people put their case for certain players, and then the final input is mine.

"I don't want to comment on Iain's departure too much. I've got too much to think about with the caretaker manager's job and that's all I wish to say on that."
Dowie was apparently axed for not picking Daniel Parejo and some of the Italian players brought to the club by Briatore, and it turns out two of them had a big say in Tuesday's win.
It was Damiano Tommasi who won the tackle in midfield which set up Samuel Di Carmine for the blistering 25 yard which settled the contest in the 54th minute and both did well throughout.
But if the suspicion remains that he has no choice but to play the men favoured by the chairman, the inspiration was all Ainsworth's own work.
He kept faith with an attacking approach as much a possible after losing Leigertwood, although he shored up the midfield by replacing Lee Cook with Gavin Mahon.
Yet it was the resolute defending which impressed and a tribute to the organisation that Radek Cerny was never really tested after the break - the keeper having done his work early on with fine saves to deny Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips.
"I said to the boys at half time: 'I believe in you and I believe we can go on and win this game.' The commitment they've shown is the reason we've won."
Praise for Tommasi will not harm Ainsworth's cause with the paymasters, but it was justified, given the former Azurri international's impressive debut.
"I thought he was outstanding today," Ainsworth said.
"He was everything I expected of him and more. He's come to the club amid all sorts of rumours of why and how and what, but on Saturday at Reading, although he never got on he said afterwards: 'Gaz, I'll be ready when you need me,' and that's Damiano through and through.
"Today, I really think he was outstanding in central midfield. You can see his contribution to Italian football throughout the years and he's a great pro to have, a fantastic asset for QPR.
"Not many have the experience he's got and that will only add to what we have at the moment." ..Ealing Gazette

Marc Bircham Interview on his Five Years at QPR - Claims "[In 2006] we got locked out of the training ground because the bill hadn’t been paid"

Fascinating QPRNet Interview with Marc Bircham.

Bircham talks about joining QPR in 2002 and about various on and off the field issues. A number of things have been previously reported (or rumoured). But of course it's interesting that Bircham says what he says.

Bircham speaks about various games at QPR which all fans will remember; the playoff final and promotion the following season; and then the following season; the Italian tour and players left behind. He is very positive about Ian Holloway as manager "thought the way Olly was treated was terrible." Waddock "was a bit of a puppet really." He gives his view about then Chairman Paladini and makes the claim, the club categorically denied at the time
"we got locked out of the training ground because the bill hadn’t been paid."

- Read the well-worth-reading interview at QPRNet Interview with Marc Bircham

- Marc Bircham Wikipedia Profile

IPSWICH Manager ON QPR Managers Dowie & Ainsworth

EADT 24 - Magilton backs Dowie after QPR departure
BLUES boss Jim Magilton has backed old mate Iain Dowie after he left QPR as a matter of principle.
Dowie left Loftus Road last week amid claims he was unhappy with the interference from chairman Flavio Briatore.
It was the fifth club Dowie has managed since starting out at Oldham but the second within a year that Dowie has left.
Magilton said: “It is on his CV and I don't think Iain deserves that. It is twice now that he has been harshly treated. He was harshly treated at Coventry City and now at QPR.
“Iain is very strong-willed man and will stand by his principles to the point where it has cost him his job.”
Magilton and Dowie became good friends playing for Northern Ireland and the Town boss is godfather to one of Dowie's children.
Player-coach Gareth Ainsworth has been handed the caretaker-manager's role and has already overseen two clean sheets with a goalless draw at Reading and a1-0 win on Tuesday over former league leaders Birmingham City.
Like Magilton Ainsworth is stepping straight out of the dressing room door as a player and back in as the boss, which can bring added problems.
On top of that he is the lead guitarist in band that the players go to watch
Magilton feels Ainsworth will relish the opportunity but hints that he may not have the control the Ipswich boss enjoys.
He said: “It is a big change over for Gareth and I'm sure it is big change over for him but I'm sure he will adapt. He has been at the club a long time and this is great opportunity for him and I'm sure one he will enjoy.
“He has an owner who will bring in good players.”.... EADT 24

Some Recent Items of Interest

Below: Links to a few articles of interest posted on the QPR Report Messageboard in the past couple of days but not onto this blog - at to best of knowledge, other QPR boards. Some are of obvious direct or tangential QPR pertinence. Many are more of general football interest interest.

- "Larger Than Life: The World Of Flavio Briatore"

- QPR's new train station!

- Bhatia Speaking on Sports Business Opportunities in India -

- Premiership Clubs' focus on India

- Least and Most Ethical (Premiership) Clubs (According to one group) -

- Clubs Should Pay Staff Living Wage..What Highest-Paid Directors are Earning

- "I do the money, coaches do football"

- Are Sporting Directors on Way Out in England?

- A Look Back at Wimbledon FC & Their Fans

- Insanity at Sheff Wed - Their Takeover Backers

- Brian Glanville on England, Cappello and Beckham

- Ben Sahar Unhappy

- ABC Loan (Derby's) - 3 Ex-Derby Directors Charged

- Complaints re Ticket Prices at Another Club!

-Alternatively, just scroll through QPR Report Messageboard for the various articles.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Snippets -Leigertwood Loses Appeal (Ban Increased!)... Swansea Manager Not Interested...Paul Parker Not Impressed by Big Money

The Club's appeal against the red card Mikele Leigertwood received in Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Birmingham City has been rejected by the Football Association.
In response, the FA deemed that the appeal tabled had no chance of success.
As a result, the midfielder's ban for the straight red card has been increased from three games to four matches.

The ban begins immediately, meaning Leigertwood will be forced to sit out this weekend's Championship fixture at Ipswich Town, as well as further league games against Cardiff City and Burnley. The 25-year-old will also be unavailable for our Carling Cup tie at Manchester United. QPR

Sporting Life -Martinez rubbishes QPR rumours
Swansea manager Roberto Martinez insists he has 'no interest' in leaving the Liberty Stadium, despite being linked with the vacant QPR job.The Spaniard is reportedly a contender to take over at Queens Park Rangers after Iain Dowie was sacked last week.
But Martinez - who has steered Swansea to 11th in the Championship table - has rubbished speculation he is set for a move to Loftus Road.
"I'm not interested in leaving," Martinez told the Daily Star.
"I've got too much work to be thinking about these things, but it shows we must be doing something right.
"We're all committed to Swansea and we'll carry on working hard. We want to achieve great things." - Sporting Life

Paul Parker/Bexley Times - Parker Pens: Addicks better off without Zabeel money
-CREST-FALLEN Charlton fans fearing that their whole world fell apart following Zabeel Investments' pullout from a potential takeover must remember: 'Money does not buy you happiness.'
All Addicks supporters have to do to see that massive investment does not necessarily guarantee a return to the Premier League is look at my old club, Queens Park Rangers, merely a few miles across the capital.
Iain Dowie has just lost his job at Loftus Road and I believe this buyout would have only increased the escalating pressure on the SE7 club's faithful, players and an already under-fire Alan Pardew.

- I cannot see the squad or their boss reacting negatively to these off-field developments either and it should be business as usual at the training ground.
- Pardew has been around long enough to know that he just has to knuckle down and get on with it. As an experienced manager, there is no risk that he had prematurely spent the money in his head. His immediate task now is ultimately to get the best out of what he currently has at his disposal.
- Charlton's main aim too will be to ensure that they avoid the drop and, in this respect, the outlook for this season may have drastically changed almost overnight.
- Just a few days ago, Charlton's followers may have been dreaming of new Brazilian and Italian signings arriving in January to help propel them towards the top flight, but that is no longer the case.
- We have seen in the past how quickly teams have fallen from grace - Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday are two sides that spring to mind - and the first objective must be to stop that happening.
- People have been quick to point out that the performances of Pardew's men in recent matches won't have done the club any help with this prospective Zabeel purchase. This, however, is irrelevant because foreign investors don't buy into what is presently there and take a more long-term approach. Bexley Times

Ex-QPR Snippets: Shittu to Birmingham?...Walton's Difficulties

From BBC Gossip: Would seem unlikely "Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has lined up a £1.5m bid for Bolton defender Danny Shittu." (Daily Star)

- MANAGER Paul Sturrock has insisted he has 'great faith' that midfielder Simon Walton will be a success at Plymouth Argyle.
Walton was signed for a potential club record £750,000 transfer fee from Queens Park Rangers on the eve of the season.
- The 21-year-old started the first five Championship matches, but then fell out of favour with Sturrock.
- Walton had not even been on the substitutes' bench, until Argyle's away game against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday. And he was called upon in the 62nd minute at Hillsborough, when he replaced David McNamee.
- Walton slotted into the centre of midfield as captain Karl Duguid moved to right-back for the closing stages of the Championship clash.
The Pilgrims held on for a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a 23rd minute goal from former Owls' striker Steve MacLean.
- It was the first time Argyle had won a league game in which Walton had taken part.
Sturrock said: "I think Walts had a torrid two or three minutes when he went on.
"I was nearly subbing the sub, but, to be fair, he realised that and put his hand up when he came in."
Sturrock continued: "People keep forgetting this boy is only 21. From the age of 16 to now, he has basically been in people's first teams and maybe a lack of work has been done on him.
"He has come out of this team because of bits and pieces.
"But I have got great faith in him that, sooner or later, he's going to turn the corner.
"He's going through a learning curve at this minute and it's important I get some input. But the problem with playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday is that it's very difficult to do that.
"He was back on the bench on Tuesday and got on the pitch.
"He has just got to learn there are certain things we want him to do, and he has got to churn that out."
Like Walton, MacLean fell out of favour with Sturrock earlier in the season but has now returned to first team duty.Lions..." Plymouth Herald

- [Visit the QPR Report Messageboard]

Next: Ipswich (Away)

With Gareth Ainsworth presumably still in charge, QPR next play Ipswich in what on paper at least, is a winnable game for QPR.

- Ipswich are currently 13th with 18 points from 14 games with a home record of 2 wins, 3 draws, 2 defeats. (QPR are 7th with 22 points from 14 games, with an away record of 1 win, 3 draws and 2 defeats. League Table -- - Ipswich 2008-09 Results

- Ipswich in Stats: - Complete Ipswich statistics for the season

Ipswich First team squad:Ipswich First Team Squad

Last Time two clubs met
-Head to Head: Pretty even, with Ipswich marginally ahead.Head-to-Head Results: Ipswich will always have a special place in QPR history for the fact that the two teams were promoted together (Ipswich as Champions) back in 1967/68. And for the fact that Ipswich were the very first team (and one of only four teams in total) who QPR beat in their 1968/69 disastrous season in Division One.

Last season: both games were drawn. QPR drew 1-1 at home last October(near the end of the Harford era); and then near the end of the season drew 0-0 at Ipswich (with QPR lucky with a handball.
The two teams'last meeting was at Ipswich, in March 2008 - The two teams:
Ipswich Town: Bywater, De Vos, Bruce, Garvan, Williams (Roberts 77), Lee, Castro, Haynes, Simpson, Quinn, Sumulikoski.Subs: Colgan, Wright, Trotter, Rhodes.

QPR: Camp, Mahon, Stewart, Mancienne, Blackstock, Connolly, Agyemang, Ephraim (Balanta 92), Vine (Lee 65), Hall, Leigertwood (Rowlands 57). Subs: Barker, Pickens.

Ipswich 0 QPR 0 - Match Reports and Comments --- Additional reports and comments

Past players in Common:
- Alan Brazil, Frank Clarke, Colin Clarke, John O'Rourke (almost Colin Viljoen)..Santos.

- [Offer your view about the Ipswich game at the QPR Report Messageboard]

Year FLASHBACK: Bartoli and Pavese in...Neil Out...Buzsaky Signs...League Table...Ex-QPR Birthdays

Flashback one year: Warren Neil Leaves QPR as De Canio Brings in Two coaches of His Own.
(Note: When the two coaches departed QPR last summer, after De Canio left, there was no mention of it on the QPR Official Site; and in their time at QPR, they received very little publicity. Of course in recent years, at QPR, Assistant Managers and coaches have come and gone with some regularity]

- Italian duo Iuri Bartoli and Paolo Pavese have joined the QPR backroom team.
Bartoli, 37, and 50 year-old Pavese met the Rangers first team squad this morning, ahead of Luigi De Canio's first training session in the QPR hot-seat.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, De Canio welcomed his two new coaches to Loftus Road, commenting: "I'm very happy to have them both with me.
- "I've worked with them both before and I know they are both very capable coaches.
"They are very enthusiastic and looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead."
Former Rangers defender Warren Neill, who joined the R's coaching staff midway through the 2006/07 campaign, has followed in Mick Harford's footsteps by leaving the Club. QPR

Also: Photos from the First Day of the New De Canio "era"

October 30, 2007: QPR Official Site - EXCLUSIVE: BUZSAKY JOINS
Queens Park Rangers Football Club are delighted to announce the two month loan signing of Hungarian international Akos Buzsaky, who has been handed the coveted No.10 shirt.
A dead-ball specialist with fantastic individual ability, Buzsaky becomes new First Team Coach Luigi De Canio's first signing and is expected to go straight into the R's squad for Saturday's Championship showdown against Hull City at Loftus Road.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, the 25 year-old expressed his delight at the move, commenting: "I am really looking forward to playing here.
"It is a nice honour to be handed the No.10 shirt, but for me it is more important how you play rather than the shirt you wear.
"I haven't played a full match for three weeks, so I am excited at the prospect of playing against Hull City on Saturday."
R's fans know only too well the ability Buzsaky possesses. The Hungarian notched a contender for Championship goal of the season during the 1-1 draw between the two sides in October 2005.
It's an afternoon he recalls with some fondness.
"I remember the game really well," he added. "I opened the scoring with a nice goal, but Rangers equalised and the fans went crazy. As a visiting player, it was like hell!
"The QPR fans seem to be very appreciative. You know if you play well, they will really support you." -- Various Profiles and reports re Buzsaky

Ex-QPR Birthdays: Lee Harper & Colin Clarke-

Ex-QPR Keeper,Lee Harper Turns 37:
Born October 30, 1971. Goalie signed by Stuart Houston from Arsenal in 1997 for approaching half a million pounds, Harper played four seasons (over 100 games) for QPR until was released after QPR's relegation to the old Third Division. See Harper/Wikipedia Profile

Colin Clarke Turns 46
Born October 30, 1962. Northern Ireland Internation forward played for a number of clubs. Signed by Trevor Francis from Southampton for a then QPR record, 800,000 pounds in March 1989.Joined Portsmouth in the summer of 1990 for 400,000 pounds. Making his debut for Southampton, Clarke got a hattrick - against QPR! Coached in the United States and now head coach of Puerto Rico. Colin Clarke/Wikipedia

Champions Table: One and two years ago on this date...

[QPR currently after 14 games, currently have 22 points]

Table October 30, 2007
P GD Points
1 Watford 13 12 32
2 Bristol City 13 8 26
3 West Brom 13 12 23
4 Ipswich 12 5 21
5 Wolverhampton 13 2 21
6 Stoke 13 2 20

22 Cryst Pal 13 -4 11
23 QPR 12 -11 11
24 Norwich 13 -11 8

October 31, 2006 - Bottom 8
Stoke 15 18
Crystal Palace 15 18
Sheff Wed 15 17
QPR 15 15
Leeds 15 13
Hull 15 12
Barnsley 14 12
Southend 15 10

Current League Table - October 30, 2008
Wolverhampton 14 11 31
Birmingham 14 9 30
Cardiff 14 7 25
Reading 14 14 24
Burnley 14 1 23
Sheff Utd 14 8 22
QPR 14 2 22

21 Barnsley 14 -5 15
22 Southampton 14 -10 13
23 Nottm Forest 14 -12 9
24 Doncaster 14 -15 8

- [Visit the QPR Report Messageboard]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chopra and Sturridge Update

Don't know what lies in the future of these two ostensible QPR targets; but certainly know about their present! Michael Chopra played for Sunderland tonight. Danniel Sturridge played for Manchester City tonight. Sturridge started, and went off half-way through the second half. Chopra came on in the second half. Neither players scored; (both their teams lost)

- Sunderland Match vs Stoke

- Manchester City vs Middlesbrough Match

Stan Bowles Speaks

...About Subbuteo! From a book out tomorrow, "Teenage Flicks: Memories of the Sub-beautiful Game" by Paul Willetts

The Independent, October 29, 2008 "Subbuteo: Plastic fantastic
" For men of a certain age, Subbuteo was the beautiful game in miniature. Nick Harris recalls the joys of a phenomenon which at its peak captivated millions"
Bill Shankly did it at home in his living room. Graham Taylor bonded over it with his father in the early 1950s, then used it as a tool in management. More than once it was used to promote the FA Cup final, as in 1976 when Southampton's Mick Channon took on Manchester United's Martin Buchan before the Saints slayed United in a real giant-killing.
- Jeff Stelling did it, as did Stan Bowles, Will Self, Alastair Campbell and millions of others. And if you are a man born between 1945 and 1980, the chances are that you did it too. Subbuteo rocked.....

Stan Bowles, Former QPR, Man City and England midfielder

- "Subbuteo kept me busy while I wasn't on a football pitch. I used to play after I'd finished training. And right from my early days as a professional footballer, I met loads of managers who used it to talk through tactics. I remember that happening when I was at my first club, Man City. Dave Sexton was also keen on using Subbuteo when he took over as manager of QPR. He was very thorough. He'd move the little men around and explain how he wanted us to play. Course we didn't take any notice of him. You know what footballers are like. To tell you the truth, I thought he was talking a load of bollocks. Then I started thinking about what he'd said, and I realised he was quite clever..."

From The Independent


- Further QPR and football-in-general items can be read at: QPR Report Messageboard. Among the general articles of interest posted there in the past couple of days:

- Bhatia Speaking on Sports Opportunities in India

- Clubs Should Pay Staff Living Wage..What Highest-Paid Directors are Earning

- Are Sporting Directors on Way Out in England?

- A Look Back at Wimbledon FC & Their Fans

- Insanity at Sheff Wed - Their Takeover Backers

- Championship Teams of the Week

- Brian Glanville on England, Cappello and Beckham

- Ben Sahar Unhappy

- ABC Loan (Derby's) - 3 Ex-Derby Directors Charged

- Charlton Dreams Ended - No Takeover!

- Complaints re Ticket Prices at Another Club!

QPR Report Messageboard

Snippets: Chopra and Sturridge Update...Ainsworth Prepared to Play Again and Talks About HIS Changes and HIS System

Supposed QPR target, Michael Chopra is in the Sunderland squad for tonight's game against Stoke. Supposed target Danniel Sturridge [Edited!]- Manchester City reportedly saying no deal.

Max Rakin - London Informer Ainsworth: 'I'll be there to play again'
- Gareth Ainsworth is ready to roll up his sleeves and get out on the pitch if it comes to that.
- The QPR caretaker boss admits he's already grown accustomed to his slot on the touchline.
- But if the powers unveil a new boss sometime in the future, the flying winger is ready to play again.
- He said: "I'm a player-coach, so if I'm called upon - I'll be there to play again."- However, Ainsworth, relishing his position, believes his heart-on-sleeve approach is rubbing off on the players.
"I wouldn't have taken control of the reserves if I didn't have ambitions in management," he said. "I approach managing like I do everything else in life - with passion.
"There may have been a few eyebrows raised with some of the changes I've made, but my system is working, and its because of the commitment and togetherness shown by the players."
Ainsworth introduced Damiano Tommasi against Birmingham and it paid off with a precious 1-0 win, despite Mikele Leigertwood's red card." London Informer

A Scathing Opinion of The Role of QPR Managers Under Briatore...Ramage Praise For Dowie

Ben Kosky Comment - Kilburn Times - Hats in the ring for Briatore's circus? Don't bother29 October 2008
- DURING the last few days, several people have asked me who I thought would be the next man in charge of QPR.
- Terry Venables or maybe Sam Allardyce, former World Cup stars Zinedine Zidane or Roberto Mancini, or perhaps the incumbent Gareth Ainsworth, whose chances must have been boosted by the win over Birmingham?
- My answer may have surprised them - the truth is, I replied, it doesn't matter one little bit.
- As the brief reign of Iain Dowie demonstrated, the title of manager, coach or whatever the QPR board choose to call it, is now completely irrelevant. All they are seeking is someone to lead training sessions each day.
- For every Rangers supporter, the real issue surrounding Dowie's sacking should be not whether you wanted him to stay or go, or to be appointed coach in the first place.
- It's whether you consider it acceptable for one man with tinted shades, a colossal ego and little understanding of football to wreak havoc with the club you have loyally followed for years.
- Flavio Briatore has hidden under the cloak of 'ambition' ever since he first swaggered into Loftus Road with promises of a boutique club, global brand... oh yes, and Champions League football.
- It's hard to think of any struggling Championship club that has ever come close to realising those dreams by changing the bulk of its playing squad every season and its manager or coach every few months.
- What exactly does Briatore expect of his coaches? Luigi de Canio was given six months in charge, during which he hauled Rangers from the relegation zone to mid-table and produced some attractive football along the way.
- But, let's be clear, whatever nonsense was spouted at the time about communication difficulties and homesickness, De Canio was sacked because Briatore felt not enough progress had been made.
- Ninth place in the Championship - a position Rangers have NEVER bettered since they dropped out of the Premier League 13 years ago - and reaching the last 16 of a major cup competition might seem reasonable progress to a reasonable owner.
- Especially when you consider Briatore, along with sporting director Gianni Paladini, had foisted unwanted additions to the squad on their coach instead of funding the signing of the proven goalscorer QPR have long been crying out for.
- While fully aware of that situation when he arrived, Dowie had been led to understand that team selection would be, as he put it, the 'holy grail' - and, when that proved not to be the case, his position became untenable.
- So the question has to be asked: who in his right mind would want to manage/coach QPR right now?
- Who could accept having his line-up and tactics dictated by the interference of an owner with no football background - not even an ex-pro turned director of football - yet still being held culpable for poor results?
- There are only two options open to Briatore. Either find someone with no management experience, so grateful for a job that he will do it under any circumstances... or, swap the expensive jacket and designer jeans for a tracksuit and do it himself.
- It isn't without precedent. Ron Noades appointed himself manager just down the road at Brentford and Michael Knighton - a man whose grip on footballing reality was about as tenuous as Briatore's is - did it at Carlisle.
- Kevin Keegan would be a perfect appointment. He has already managed a soccer circus - and that is what QPR have become under Briatore.
- So out of touch with ordinary football supporters that he thinks £50 is a fair price to watch Derby County play and so out of touch with the game that he thinks promotion automatically follows from giving the stadium a lick of paint and bringing in West End caterers.
- When the new man is appointed, he will no doubt be expected to spout bland rubbish about ambition and expectation.... and do little more than put out the cones at Harlington each morning. Kilburn Times

Kilburn Times/Ben Kosky - Magpies model can lead to a shambles
- QPR defender Peter Ramage reiterated the players' unwavering support for Iain Dowie just hours before the manager was booted out on Friday morning.
Ramage also revealed that Dowie's appointment as Rangers boss five months earlier had played a major part in his decision to leave Newcastle in favour of Loftus Road.
The right-back, who missed the games against Reading and Birmingham through injury, told the Times: "The gaffer here's got the respect of every single player in the dressing room.
"He's the best manager I've ever worked with, the way he goes around the place and you can have a laugh and a joke with him, training's intense but fun, but you know you can't cross him either.
"He's got the right balance and it was one of the major factors, if not the most important one, in my decision to come here, knowing he was the manager
"I spoke to quite a few people about him and they had nothing but good words to say. He's the right manager to get us out of this league, without any shadow of a doubt."
Ramage knows plenty about how destabilised a club can become through regular changes of manager - Newcastle United, after all, are regarded as something of a laughing stock by football fans around the country.
The 24-year-old worked under five managers - Sir Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce and the since-departed Kevin Keegan - during his time with the Magpies.
"I always believe a manager should be given time - but no manager who was at the club was ever given that," Ramage added.
"Graeme Souness gave me my debut, but he was only there about 18 months and we had rotten luck. Michael Owen got injured and when you're without your top player, you're going to struggle.
"The first time Kevin Keegan was at Newcastle, the club were literally about to go into the old Second Division - in the space of 18 months, they were challenging at the top of the Premier League.
"Look at the top teams - Arsene Wenger's been at Arsenal 12 years and Alex Ferguson 20-odd at Old Trafford. It just shows that if you stick with the right man, you can achieve things."
Dowie's dismissal left Rangers searching for their sixth boss since Ian Holloway's five-year spell at Loftus Road ended in February 2006.
But co-owner Flavio Briatore hinted that he was in no great hurry to make a swift appointment after handing veteran midfielder and reserve team boss Gareth Ainsworth the reins in the short term.
"It was the decision of the board. There was no argument - we are not happy, simple as that," said Briatore. "We're not rushing - we have the players, we have the coach, we have everything
. Kilburn Times

Your opinions re QPR managers and Chairmen welcomed at QPR Report Messageboard

Ainsworth Column on Hiatus
Kilburn Times: Stepping off the Gaz... for now
GARETH Ainsworth has decided to take a break from penning his weekly Times column after being placed in temporary charge of the first team at QPR.
Our heartfelt thanks go to Gareth for his contributions to this newspaper over the last few years and we wish him all the best in his new role. Kilburn Times

FLASHBACK: One Year Ago Today - Luigi De Canio Appointed QPR Manager (on a 2 1/2 Year Contract)

One Year ago today: QPR announced that Luigi De Canio had been appointed manager of QPR (on a 2 1/2 year contract). The departure of Acting Manager Mick Harford was announced simultaneously

QPR Official Site -October 29, 2008 - EXCLUSIVE: DE CANIO APPOINTED
Queens Park Rangers Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Luigi De Canio as First Team Coach.
- The contract period runs until the end of the 2009/10 season.

The 50 year-old has an extensive coaching pedigree having taken charge of Udinese, Napoli, Reggina, Genoa and most recently Siena in Serie A - who he helped keep in the top-flight for two consecutive seasons before leaving.
- Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, De Canio said: "I am very excited at this fantastic opportunity to join Queens Park Rangers as their First Team Coach.
"For me, it will be an honour to work for Queens Park Rangers, a Club which is backed by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, two businessmen with an incredible track-record of success in sport and other fields.
- "I would like to thank them and tell them I will not disappoint their expectations. I am fully committed to the project and I am looking forward to getting to work with the players in preparation for our forthcoming home fixture against Hull City on Saturday."
On behalf of the new management of QPR, Chairman Gianni Paladini expressed his delight at the capture of De Canio, commenting: "The Club is going through a phase of total restructuring and for us the appointment of Luigi De Canio is the first important step ahead in our long-term strategy.
"De Canio is a highly motivated professional, whose dynamic and aggressive approach fits perfectly with the image and philosophy of the new Management."
Paladini added: "De Canio is fully aware of the high standards and objectives that the new Management has set for the future of the Club, and he is ready and eager to take up the challenge"
- Mick Harford, who has acted as Caretaker Manager since the departure of John Gregory in early October, has left the Club with immediate effect.
- Paladini added: "We offered Mick a role within the new set-up and we're disappointed that he has turned this down. He has done a fantastic job since he arrived here in the summer and his contribution will never be forgotten.
"We all wish him the very best for the future."
*The Club will be making no further comment at this stage. R

How QPR's De Canio Appointment and Harford Departure Was Reported

- Mail -QPR ditch Harford and give job to De Canio

- Goal.com - Luigi De Canio Takes Charge At QPR

- BBC - Former Napoli boss takes QPR role

- The Times - October 29, 2007 Luigi De Canio confirmed as QPR coach

- Telegraph - Luigi De Canio named as new QPR coach By Patrick Nathanson and agencies

- AP - Queens Park Rangers appoints Luigi de Canio as coach on contract until 2010

QPR Report - Press Coverage

Further Reports and Comments re QPR's Birmingham's Triumph


- The obvious questions: Should Ainsworth be appointed QPR Manager (First Team Coach)? Will he be? And should the Chairman be "involved" in team selection?Offer your opinion on this or anything else QPR Report Messageboard

Damiano Tomassi failed to hide his delight at the final whistle last night, as the Italian midfielder marked his full home debut with a man-of-the-match display against in-form Birmingham City.
Samuel Di Carmine's second half strike inevitably grabbed the headlines, but after the controversial dismissal of Mikele Leigertwood on the stroke of half-time, Tomassi was the shining light in the R's midfield during the second period, cleverly breaking up play and keeping possession intelligently, as the R's held on for a vital three points.
"I said to Gareth that I would wait for my opportunity," Tomassi told www.qpr.co.uk.
"When I arrived here I needed to get match fit, but I've worked hard for a month or so and I was delighted to play my part in a very important and deserved win.
"I enjoyed every minute of the match. I feel very proud to have played for QPR."
As the R's players rejoiced at the final whistle, Tomassi's contribution for the only goal of the game was almost overlooked.
For the record, however, it was his short, sharp pass that was latched on to by his fellow countryman, Di Carmine, who sent a stunning 25-yard drive beyond the out-stretched arm of Blues custodian Maik Taylor.
Typically, Tomassi chose to praise the goalscorer and his fellow team-mates, instead of highlighting his own important role in the goal.
"Sami finished it really well," he said.
"I played the pass, which is nice, but every time you score a goal it is the work of the team."
Tomassi added: "Every time you play 11 versus 10, each and every player needs to step up a level and we did that.
"It was a good effort against a team at the top of the division and I'm really pleased."
R's Caretaker Manager Gareth Ainsworth reserved special praise for the Italian, commenting: "I thought Tomassi was brilliant.
"He warmed up on Saturday late on but didn't get on. Then he said to me, 'Gaz, I will be ready when you need me.' "He was everything I expected him to be - he is a great asset to QPR." QPR Official Site

The Sun
HANDS-ON Flavio Briatore helped knock Birmingham off top spot in the Championship.
The flamboyant QPR owner shouted instructions from the directors’ box down to caretaker-boss Gareth Ainsworth as 10-man Rangers stunned Brum.

- And it was Briatore’s signing Samuel Di Carmine who hit a superb winner on 54 minutes.
- Briatore sacked Iain Dowie last week because the manager would not accept interference from the Italian in team selection.
- Yet Ainsworth seems quite happy to pick the side by committee
- Di Carmine, who is on loan from Fiorentina, was restored to the line-up for Saturday’s impressive 0-0 draw at Reading — replacing R’s top-scorer Dexter Blackstock.
- And his 25-yard thunderbolt to seal the three points last night suggested Renault bigwig Briatore knows his football as well as his Formula One.
- Yet Ainsworth insisted he is still the man in control. He said: “Flavio puts his case for players forward and I put mine forward and I am happy to be in those meetings.
- “But I have the final say on who goes on the pitch and what goes on during the game.
- “I have been given no indication if I am in the running for the job or not but however long I am in charge of QPR then I’ll give it everything.”
- Di Carmine’s thunderbolt from Damiano Tommasi’s pass came nine minutes into the second half.
- The R’s were already a man down by this stage after Mikele Leigertwood had seen red for a foul on Lee Carsley on the stroke of half-time.
- And Ainsworth added: “I told the players I believe in them and I believed we could win the game — even with 10 men. I kept playing two up front even when we were a man down.
“I thought Tommasi was brilliant. He was everything I expected him to be — he is a great asset to QPR.
“Samuel’s goal was fantastic too. Every single player has given me 100 per cent since I have been in charge and that is all I ask for
- QPR keeper Radek Cerny made two early saves to deny Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips.
But Brum struggled against 10 men. After going behind, their best chance of a leveller fell to Phillips but Gavin Mahon blocked his effort on the line.
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish said: “The performance was a big disappointment.
“I can take a defeat but I can’t accept a poor performance.
“You could see the QPR players were all fighting for Gareth.” The Sun

Telegraph/Sam Green - Samuel Di Carmine at home with Flavio Briatore at Queens Park Rangers
- Perhaps Flavio Briatore does know a thing or two about football after all. Four days after Iain Dowie was forced out at Queens Park Rangers, allegedly because he did not appreciate his chairman's involvement in team affairs, two of the players the Renault Formula One team boss brought to Loftus Road combined to knock Birmingham City off the top of the Championship.
- Former Italian international Damiano Tommasi, who was impressive throughout, set up Samuel Di Carmine for his first goal for QPR, a second-half strike that allowed Wolves to replace Birmingham at the summit.
- It was all the more remarkable because Rangers played the second half with 10 men and this result greatly strengthens the hand of caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth.
- Afterwards Ainsworth confirmed his ambition to go into management but said he had been given no indication about his future from Briatore.
- On the question of who was responsible for team selection, he sent mixed messages. Asked if it was him, Ainsworth said: "They want to know what is going on and I'm happy to be in those meetings."

- So who would pick the team for Saturday's trip to Ipswich? "There will be discussions with parties and I will put my case forward and the final say is mine on the pitch," Ainsworth said.
- QPR's starting line-up here included a number of players Briatore is understood to have signed, with midfielder Tommasi making his debut and another of Briatore's Italian compatriots, striker Di Carmine, making his first home league start.
- The game was also notable for being the first back in the Championship for referee Stuart Atwell since his infamous 'ghost goal' blunder at Watford.
- Birmingham, who arrived unbeaten in six with no away defeats this season, threatened early on, Radek Cerny down well to save from Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips.
- In first-half stoppage time Mikele Leigertwood was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Lee Carsley and Atwell was plunged back into controversy, the whistle greeted by a piercing chorus of boos and furious complaints from the home players and Ainsworth.
- But anger became joy nine minutes after the restart, when Tommasi's short, sharp pass found Di Carmine, who thundered his shot into the top corner from 25 yards out.
- Kevin Phillips thought he had equalised at the last, but it was ruled out for outside, leaving Birmingham manager Alex McLeish downcast. "We had too many players off the boil," he said. Telegraph

Daily Mail/Ian Gibb - Ainsworth rocks - stand-in manager is a hit
- Gareth Ainsworth, wannabe rock guitarist, will have to take off the rock and roll shoes - he might just be very good indeed at the management business.
The QPR caretaker boss, flung into the hot seat after Iain Dowie's sacking, toppled Birmingham from the Championship pinnacle with 10 men - just three days after stopping the Reading home juggernaut in its tracks with a brave away draw.
- It may be that QPR's Italian co-owner Flavio Briatore is having more of a selection say than is healthy - but there's now denying that it's Ainsworth who is getting them going once they get on the pitch. His first programme notes ended with the word "let's get this place rocking". His brave men certainly did that.
Despite the dismissal of Mikele Leigertwood for a studs-up challenge on Lee Carsley on the stroke of half-time, Ainsworth sent them back out inspired and Samuel Di Carmine let rip from 25 yards into the top-left corner of the net for the 54th-minute winner. It was only his second start and came after outstanding work by midfield debutant Damiano Tommasi.
- Though Kevin Phillips netted for Birmingham in time added on, it was disallowed for offside by controversial referee Stuart Attwell. He, of course, was the man who awarded the phantom goal for Reading at Watford in September and he had the Rangers fans howling with his red card.
- A delighted Ainsworth, who still doesn't know whether he will get the permanent managers job: 'I didn't think I could beat the flush of emotion that went through the body on Saturday - but I did it tonight.
'Those boys were outstanding and the commitment they showed was the reason we won. I said to all the boys at half-time: 'I believe in you and I believe we can go and win this game.'
- 'We have something going here where everybody is pulling tight together and backing each other. I kept two upfront even with 10 men because I believed we would score. Then I quickly changed it when we did! I'm very proud of every player - not only the ones that played but the ones we left out on the night.
'Tomassi was everything I expected. He warmed up on Saturday late on but didn't get on. Then he said to me: 'Gaz, I will be ready when you need me'.'
Ainsworth had the cool head to get his players to calm down as they came off at half-time, though Tomassi and Lee Cook were booked for protest. The caretaker boss added: 'I told the referee I didn't think it was a red and he said 'Gareth, get off the pitch'.'
Ainsworth also indicated that Briatore is having a selection input, with Tomassi starting and Emmanuel Ledesma coming back in. And to retain Di Carmine worked brilliantly with his spectacular win.
Ainsworth explained: 'Others do have an input but I get the final say so.
A bitterly disappointed Birmingham boss Alex McLeish got it absolutely right when he said: 'I'm disappointed we didn't put more pressure on 10 men - but they had a bit of a cause after that, no doubt about it.'
McLeish lost striker Garry O'Connor in the warm-up and then QPR keeper Radek Cerny made excellent early saves from Cameron Jerome and Phillips.
- But this was Ainsworth's night and QPR could do a lot worse than throw him the job. He's on a roll. Mail

The Mirror/Lee Reynolds - GLORY IS ALL MINE
- Sam comes in from the cold as City high-fliers are sunk QPR 1 Birmingham C 0
- Whoever's picking the team at Loftus Road, they are not doing a bad job.
- In the five days since Iain Dowie's departure over Flavio Briatore's interference in team affairs, caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth and his side - chosen by committee - have blunted Reading's sharpshooters and beaten high-flying Birmingham.
- Not bad for a side in crisis - especially as the wonder goal that gave Ainsworth his first taste of victory as a manager came from the man who apparently cost his predecessor his job.
- It was Samuel Di Carmine, Briatore's favourite who Dowie wouldn't play, who turned and arrowed a shot past Maik Taylor after 54 minutes.
- The win was made all the more remarkable given that the hosts were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half time when Mikele Leigertwood was sent off for a high tackle on Lee Carsley.
- It was a harsh decision and one that earned referee Stuart Attwell a blast from Ainsworth as he left the pitch at half time. Ainsworth said: "I thought it looked very harsh but I'll have to learn to keep my head in those situations.
- "I said to him that it wasn't a red and he just told me to leave the pitch. We didn't get a lot of favours after that, either.
- But everyone pulled tight together - that's the spirit we've got at the club."
- The hosts had made a shaky start, keeper Radek Cerny producing two saves to deny Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips in the space of a minute.
- After that, QPR were well on top.
Emmanuel Ledesma had a good penalty shout turned down when his header appeared to hit Liam Ridgewell's hand and Dexter Blackstock almost touched Lee Cook's low cross past Taylor. It looked like Attwell's harsh decision would undo all their good work, but after Di Carmine's strike the promotion favourites barely threatened.
- Phillips had a late goal ruled out for offside, but QPR were comfortable - apart from having to endure a snowstorm late on.
But Ainsworth revealed he is no closer to knowing whether his impressive start in management will see him handed the job permanently, adding: "There have been no talks, but I'm proud to be caretaker and I'd love to be in charge on Saturday.
- "Of course I've got a taste for it - that's why I wanted to become reserve team manager, because I've got ambition
. The Mirror

- For additional reports and comments -See also: Ainsworth post-match comments and other QPR-Birmingham Match Reports - And the The two Official Sites Match reports

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Match Reports and Managerial Comments re QPR Win Over Birmingham

QPR Official Site- Gareth Ainsworth - BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS
-Caretaker Manager Gareth Ainsworth insisted no praise could be too high for his players, as Samuel Di Carmine's stunning strike gave the hosts victory against high-flying Birmingham City.
Rangers played the entire second half with ten men, after Mikele Leigertwood was given his marching orders on the stroke of half-time for an innocuous looking foul on Blues midfielder Lee Carsley.
- Despite disagreeing with the decision, Ainsworth chose to draw on the positives rather than dismissal, telling www.qpr.co.uk: "I'm a very proud man tonight.
- "I believed we could win the game at the break and that's why I chose to keep the two front-men on the pitch. It paid dividends and that's because each and every player gave me and the Club absolutely everything.
- "I acknowledge when a player gives 100 per-cent - if we go down, we go down fighting together, but that wasn't the case tonight and we've beat one of the best, if not the best side in this division."
- Ainsworth paid special praise to match-winner Di Carmine, commenting: "He proves time and again in training that he's capable of something like that and I'm just delighted for him.
"It was a fantastic strike - absolutely stunning."
The 35 year-old also spared a thought for Leigertwood, who he believed was harshly done by.
"I thought it was a very harsh decision," he said.
"We didn't get many decisions go our way tonight, but that can't detract from what was a whole-hearted, committed performance and a great, great victory."
Ainsworth concluded: "Without the commitment, we wouldn't have won.
"The boys are incredibly tight as a unit and you could see that with the way they performed.
"To draw against Reading and then beat Birmingham within the space of four days is beyond my wildest dreams." QPR

Gareth Ainsworth put forward a strong case to be named QPR's permanent manager by guiding his 10-man side to a surprise 1-0 victory over Birmingham.
Ainsworth, in caretaker charge following Iain Dowie's sacking last Friday, looked on as Rangers - who played for the entire second half a man down following Mikele Leigertwood's sending-off - knocked the visitors off the top of the Coca-Cola Championship.
"It's all been very sudden but the boys are as tight as ever and and it showed tonight," said Ainsworth.
"I've got a taste for it. It's something I want to pursue in my career but I'm just taking it game by game.
"If I'm still in charge on Saturday I will take the team to Ipswich. I've had no indication, my only focus is on QPR winning games."

Ainsworth could be an ideal candidate for Flavio Briatore, if the chairman and co-owner is wanting to take a hands-on role in picking the team.
Today's team selection was vindicated when Samuel Di Carmine, who barely figured under the former manager but has started the last two games, lashed home a superb winner from 25 yards in the 54th minute.
Fellow Briatore signings Damiano Tommasi and Emmanuel Ledesma were also in the line-up, but Ainsworth insists he has no issue with the perceived interference from above.
"There will be discussions on players from the parties, I'll put my case forward for players and other people put their case forward for players - and then the final input is mine on the pitch," he added.
"People might have opened their eyes at the changes tonight but the main thing is QPR have won this game 1-0 with 10 men.
"The investment in this club is massive and people are interested in their investment and want to know what's going on.
"I'm happy to be in those meetings and discussions about players, but on a Saturday it's me in the dug-out."
Ainsworth felt the straight red card shown to Leigertwood by referee Stuart Attwell - he of the 'goal that never was' at Watford last month - for a crude challenge on Lee Carsley was "harsh".

But Birmingham, who forced fine early saves by Radek Cerny from Kevin Phillips and Cameron Jerome, rarely threatened again until Phillips had an injury-time strike ruled out for offside.
"It was a great start, we looked dangerous but that was about the sum total," said manager Alex McLeish.
"I'm disappointed we didn't put more pressure on them with 10 men but they had a bit of a cause.
"But the disappointment for me was the performance level. I can take a defeat but we had too many players off the boil." Sporting Life

Birmingham Official Site - McLEISH'S POST-QPR THOUGHTS
When it comes to football matches Alex McLeish likes to pick up results. He knows that sometimes, inevitably, every team loses games - but he much prefers winning and that's a mentality he's working hard to instil into all of his players.
That's why the Blues boss was so disappointed with the manner of his side's 1-0 defeat at the hands of Queens Park Rangers on a cold, wet and, at times, snowy evening at Loftus Road. McLeish is not despairing - he is delighted with a start to the season that has yielded 30 points from 14 league games - but following the game in the capital there could be no doubting his disappointment.
Alex McLeishHe told bcfc.com: "I'm disappointed, not just with the fact that we lost but more with the manner of our performance. Early in the first half we controlled midfield and had a couple of excellent chances - shots from Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips that were both saved by Radek Cerny - so from that point of view it could have been very different if we had gone ahead at that stage, but we didn't and really the rest of the game was very disappointing.
"I was raging at full-time and I'm sure that the fans who came down here and once again gave us wonderful support were raging too, and I can understand that.
"With the players we have we should have been better but in the end it wasn't to be and what is important now is that we bounce straight back, starting with the game against Coventry at St. Andrew's next Monday."
The fact that the Coventry match has been put back 48 hours for television may well help Blues' cause with regards to getting injured players fit again.
The Loftus Road defeat was compounded by a groin injury picked up in the pre-match warm-up by Garry O'Connor and a hamstring problem suffered by Stuart Parnaby after just ten minutes of the game. Seb Larsson had earlier been omitted from the squad due to a groin injury and Blues also have Damien Johnson, Stephen Kelly, Radhi Jaidi and David Murphy in the treatment room.
A bright spot on a frustrating night at QPR was the debut of 19-year-old Jared Wilson, the Academy product getting his big chance when Parnaby was carried off.
McLeish said: "Jared is an excellent player and I've always said I'd have no problem putting him in the side at some point. He did very well when he came on and although all players can always keep learning and improving, I've no doubt he's got a very bright future in the game." Birmingham

The Times/Kavey Solhekol - Samuel Di Carmine strike settles QPR's nerves - QPR 1 Birmingham City 0

Flavio Briatore is a man of many talents. As well as running the Renault Formula One team, the Italian businessman is also the chairman and co-owner of Queens Park Rangers. He also owns nightclubs and restaurants — which might explain the money that has been thrown at the fixtures and fittings at Loftus Road, especially in the VIP areas that boast walls of marble and leather — but most of his time recently has been taken up by QPR.

A difference of opinion over team selection led to Iain Dowie, the manager, leaving the club last week and since Briatore started having a more hands-on role in choosing who would play QPR have started to look a team who could be playing in the top flight next season. On Saturday they became the first side to leave the Madejski Stadium with a point this season and last night they produced their best performance of the campaign to beat the Championship leaders despite playing most of the match with ten men.

Despite the off-field drama, most QPR supporters are backing the Briatore’s regime and few were sad to see the back of Dowie. The former Charlton Athletic manager was in charge for only 15 matches, but that was long enough for the chairman to realise that Dowie was not a leather-and-marble kind of manager.

Dowie’s face did not fit because his idea of boutique football — a term coined by Briatore to describe his QPR masterplan — was playing with a lone striker against Blackpool and Swansea City. The Italian wants his team to play with two strikers, especially at home, and the next permanent manager will have to be someone who entertains and wins while taking on board some constructive input and criticism from his employer.

Cynics would say that last night’s QPR team had a distinctly Italian flavour with Damiano Tommasi, the 34-year-old former Italy midfield player, starting for the first time since his summer move from Levante, of Spain. Gareth Ainsworth, the caretaker manager, was in the dugout, but the chairman is in control.

Briatore was shifting uncomfortably in his seat in the directors’ box soon after the kick-off as Birmingham showed why they are top of the table after their best start to a season. Alex McLeish, the Birmingham manager, has an embarrassment of striking riches at this level, demonstrated by the fact that he could switch one Scotland forward, James McFadden, with another when Garry O’Connor was injured during the warm-up. McFadden caught the eye in the first half by drifting into space on the flanks to create chances for Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips.

Radek Cerny, the QPR goalkeeper, had to be at his best to deny Jerome and Phillips during the opening exchanges before QPR got back into the game through long-range efforts from Lee Cook and Martin Rowlands and close-range strikes by Dexter Blackstock and Emmanuel Ledesma.

In the dying minutes of the first half, Mikele Leigertwood, the QPR defender, was sent off for a crude late challenge on Lee Carsley. Stuart Attwell, the referee who was taking charge of his first Championship match since the Watford “ghost goal” controversy, had no option but to show him a red card.

Despite playing with ten men QPR took the lead in the 54th minute through Samuel Di Carmine. The Italian forward beat Maik Taylor with a stunning right-foot strike from 20 yards after Tommasi had won the ball from McFadden. McLeish responded by bringing on two strikers, Marcus Bent and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, but his team were not moving the ball around quickly enough to trouble the home defence.

Phillips could have saved Birmingham’s unbeaten away record when he found space in the six-yard box but Cerny and Mahon kept his close range-strike out before QPR threatened to double their lead through a 25-yard free kick by Emmanuel Ledesma that was saved at full stretch by Taylor. The Times

The GUARDIAN/John Ashdown - Di Carmine strike makes sense of Briatore's power gameGuardian report Match facts Championship

If the club owner Flavio Briatore is, as has been widely intimated, playing a role in QPR's team selection perhaps it is not the negative influence that it may seem. After becoming the first side to take a point away from the Madejski Stadium against Reading on Saturday, Samuel Di Carmine's thunderous drive gave Rangers, reduced to 10 men after Mikele Leigertwood's red card just before half-time, a win over the former league leaders Birmingham at a rain-sodden Loftus Road. Maybe this managerial lark isn't so tough after all.

Plenty within the club have spoken of Briatore's keenness to be actively involved in first team affairs - the defender Peter Ramage was quoted by the London Evening Standard yesterday for saying he had "never encountered an owner who is so hands-on" - so it was no surprise that Samuel Di Carmine, one of the players, it has been suggested, that Briatore had wanted to play a greater role, stayed in the team for his second start of the season.

Disappointingly for conspiracy theorists, his retention in the starting XI did not come at the further expense of Dexter Blackstock, the top scorer left out at the weekend. He returned to the side with Daniel Parejo, another thought to be a favourite of Briatore, dropping to the bench. The most exciting name on the team sheet, however, was that of Damiano Tommasi, the former Italian international midfielder, brought in for his first appearance at the club.

Briatore is nearing a year in charge of the club and is already searching for his third manager after the departures of Luigi de Canio in the summer and Iain Dowie last week. The Italians Roberto Mancini, Roberto Donadoni and Gianluca Vialli have all been linked - somewhat ambitiously - with the role, while the Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson is a domestic possibility. The caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth, himself a candidate, albeit an outside one, said this week he had thrown himself into the role "full blast" and it certainly appeared that way last night as, watched intently by Briatore from the touchline, he helped loft long balls for his centre-halves to head clear during the warm-up.

His team, though they matched his endeavour, initially struggled to match the league leader's incisiveness. Despite Garry O'Connor pulling out after an injury in the warm-up and Stuart Parnaby being carried off inside 10 minutes, Birmingham twice forced early chances. Cameron Jerome, playing off the back of Ranger's high defensive line, should have done much better when clean through and Kevin Phillips produced a superb save from Radek Cerny with a rasping volley.

Having survived that scare QPR began to disrupt Birmingham's control and Maik Taylor was forced into two smart saves, both from Martin Rowlands, before the break. But any building momentum appeared to be halted with the sending off Leigertwood for a high, studs-up challenge on Lee Carsley on the stroke of half-time.

Rangers, though, responded in the best possible fashion within 10 minutes of the restart. Tommasi caused trouble down the right and cut the ball inside for Di Carmine to unleash an unstoppable drive from 25 yards that flew into the top corner to put Ainsworth's side 1-0 up. Inside a minute later they were fortunate to hold on to the lead when Phillips' shot hit Gavin Mahon on the line. Fortunate is the right word - Mahon seemed unaware of the shot, appealing for offside.

Ledesma then stretched Taylor with a curling free-kick, with Rangers looking to pinch a second on the break as Birmingham pushed forward.

As Rangers sank deeper to protect their lead in the closing stages, Alex McLeish ushered his men onto the attack. The home side, with Tommasi excelling, stood firm, while City lost their place at the summit The Guardian

SKY SPORTS - Ten-man QPR stun Blues
Di Carmine seals win after Leigertwood sent off
- Birmingham were knocked off the top of the championship after going down 1-0 to ten-man QPR at Loftus Road.
- Samuel Di Carmine hit a stunning first goal in English football to secure the unlikely victory after Mikele Leigertwood's sending-off.
- The young Italian, who arrived on loan from Fiorentina in the summer, crashed home a powerful 25-yard drive in the 54th minute to inflict City's first defeat on the road this season.
- Chairman Flavio Briatore is rumoured to influencing team selection at Loftus Road, a thorny issue which seemed to lead to the surprise sacking of manager Iain Dowie last week.
- But Di Carmine, who barely got a look-in under Dowie, has started the last two games and vindicated Briatore's supposed interference with his brilliant strike.
- Rangers' win was all the more remarkable as they played the second half with 10 men following Leigertwood's sending-off.
- The defender was shown a straight red card by referee Stuart Attwell - on his first Championship outing since awarding the infamous 'goal that never was' at Watford last month - for a crude tackle on Lee Carsley in first-half stoppage time.
-Ruled out
Kevin Phillips did put the ball in the net deep into injury time but his effort was dramatically ruled out for offside.
Popular midfielder Gareth Ainsworth is in temporary charge of Rangers, and as well as Di Carmine he also named Briatore signings Damiano Tommasi - for his debut - and Emmanuel Ledesma.
The Birmingham team also needed some hasty reshuffling, with striker Garry O'Connor injuring himself in the warm-up and full-back Stuart Parnaby having to be stretchered off in the 10th minute.
In between time, Rangers goalkeeper Radek Cerny pulled off stunning saves to keep out fierce low drives from Cameron Jerome and Phillips.
But Rangers grew in confidence as the first half wore on, and as the break approached Maik Taylor clawed away a dangerous free-kick from captain Martin Rowlands.
Dexter Blackstock then slid in to meet a Lee Cook cross only to put it wide before Taylor blocked from Rowlands once more.
Straight red
And in stoppage time Attwell produced a straight red card for Leigertwood after a bruising studs-up challenge on Carsley.
But nine minutes into the second half the hosts took a shock lead when Di Carmine picked the ball up 25 yards out and unleashed a rocket shot which flew past Taylor into the top corner.
Ledesma forced a flying save from Taylor with a curling free-kick while for City, Jared Wilson's cross-shot missed everyone.
With snow by now falling in west London and City piling forward, Phillips slid the ball home in stoppage time but was flagged offside and Rangers clung on. Sky Sports

Birmingham Post/Dave McIntyre - Dismal Birmingham undone by 10-man QPR Queens Park Rangers 1 Birmingham City 0
- Dismal Birmingham City were knocked off the top of the Championship after losing to a Queens Park Rangers side dogged by problems on and off the pitch.
- Blues left west London with nothing after troubled Rangers managed to beat them despite behind-the-scenes chaos and being reduced to 10 men just before half-time.
- And Wolves’ victory over Swansea meant they leapfrogged their local rivals, who have no-one but themselves to blame after failing to capitalise on QPR’s woes.
- The Blues suffered setbacks of their own, losing Garry O’Connor just before kick-off and then full-back Stuart Parnaby after only nine minutes.
- Boss Alex McLeish had to change his line-up at the last minute after O’Connor suffered an injury in the pre-match warm-up – a major disappointment for the in-form striker following his brace against Sheffield Wednesday.
- And Birmingham were dealt another blow when Parnaby was carried off on a stretcher after seemingly suffering an off-the-ball injury.
- But even with the loss of two players, Birmingham’s troubles should have paled into insignificance compared to their opponents’.
- Rangers are swimming in money following last year’s takeover by Formula One magnates Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore.
- Yet the club has been in a mess, with veteran winger Gareth Ainsworth in caretaker charge after manager Iain Dowie was sacked after a training session on Friday for refusing to select a team suggested by Briatore.
- Briatore’s influence on team selection was evident again at Loftus Road, where former Italy midfielder Damiano Tommasi – a 34-year-old who had not played in a competitive match since last season – was handed a debut.
- That seemed like a gift for Birmingham’s strong midfield and the early signs were good as Lee Carsley and Medhi Nafti ran rings around the aging Tommasi.
- Blues should have taken an early lead when Cameron Jerome beat the offside trap to latch on to Nafti’s pass only to see his shot tipped away by QPR keeper Radek Cerny, who produced another good stop to keep out Kevin Phillips’ drive.
- The loss of Parnaby, who was replaced by youngster Jared Wilson, halted City’s momentum and they then had to withstand a spell of Rangers pressure.
- Winger Lee Cook sent a shot wide before Birminghamkeeper Maik Taylor denied QPR skipper Martin Rowlands.
The home team had strong appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Stuart Attwelll when Cook’s cross was headed back into the danger area by Emmanuel Ledesma and seemed to strike Blues defender Franck Queudrue on the arm.
Attwell, in charge of his first Championship game since infamously awarded Readinga ‘phantom goal’ at Watford, then angered QPR’s fans by showing Mikele Leigertwood the red card for a crunching challenge on Carsley.
But that only served to galvanise Rangers, who went ahead nine minutes into the second half with a blistering 25-yard drive from Samuel Di Carmine.
James McFadden, who had been drafted in to replace O’Connor, was at fault. He was caught in possession by Tommasi and when the ball fell to Di Carmine, the R’s forward unleashed a fine shot that flew past Taylorin the Blues goal.
Birminghamalmost levelled straightaway, when Rangers failed to clear McFadden’s corner and Phillips’ close-range effort was cleared off the line by Gavin Mahon.
With heavy sleet making conditions increasingly difficult, QPR continued to make life tough for Birmingham and Ledesma’s well-struck free-kick brought a save from Taylor.
McLeish made a double substitution in an attempt to breath life into his flagging team, sending on Marcus Bent and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.
But despite piling forward, they never looked like creating an equaliser and failed to register a meaningful effort on target until Phillips had a goal disallowed in injury time.
Phillips slid in to poke Owusu-Abeye’s low cross into the net but was denied a dramatic equaliser by an offside flag. Birmingham Post

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Ten-Man QPR End Birmingham's Undefeated Away Record

- QPR defeated Birmingham 1-0 to end Birmingham's undefeated away record this season. 0-0 at Half-time. Di Carmine on his home debut scored in the second half. Just before half-time, Leighterwood had been sent off for a foul. QPR then had several minutes of injury time in which Phillips scored but was disallowed (a fine ref!) before the ref blew the final whistle. The crowd on a terrible-weather night was just over 13,500. - QPR stay outside the top six, on goal difference: QPR are 7th with 22 points from 14 games. - Updated Table

Match Reports:

- Sporting Life Match Report

- Birmingham Minute-by-Minute

QPR Official Site - Match Report
QPR produced a breathtaking diplay that is destined for the archives after more than earning a 1-0 win over top of the table Birmingham City.
Samuel Di Carmine was the hero of the night after his bullet strike on 54 minutes raised the roof off Loftus Road and inspired a performance worthy of caretaker Manager Gareth Ainsworth.
Even when Mikele Leigertwood was controversially sent off, the R's battled hard and were well worthy of the victory.
Caretaker Manager Ainsworth made wholesale changes for the visit of the Blues to W12.
Damiano Tomassi came in to make his full QPR debut, while there were recalls for Dexter Blackstock and Emmanuel Ledesma. As a result, Gavin Mahon, Daniel Parejo and Akos Buzsaky all dropped to the bench.
Elsewhere, Patrick Agyemang missed out owing to the pelvic strain that has kept him sidelined in recent weeks. The good news regarding his fitness though arrived earlier in the day, with the pacy striker successfully coming through a behind-closed-doors fixture at Harlington, which could yet see him feature in the R's squad for the trip to Portman Road on Saturday.
Birmingham needed a reshuffle from the team first selected by Manager Alex McLeish. Garry O'Connor injured himself in the warm-up meaning James McFadden stepped up from the bench.
Elsewhere, there were starts for Medhi Nafti, Franck Queudrue and Cameron Jerome, whilst recent loan-signing and Rangers old boy Nigel Quashie took up residence on the bench.
At the match started with Radek Cerny picking up where he left off against Reading. The Czech keeper was at his very best from the off, pulling off a fantastic fingertips save to deny Cameron Jerome who had broken the offside trap.
Almost immediately he was called upon again when Kevin Phillips wriggled free inside the box and thumped a shot which Cerny dived fully to his right to strongly palm away.
Back came Rangers but Lee Cook could only screw his shot well wide after the Birmingham defence had half-cleared a Martin Rowlands free-kick.
A lull in the tempo finally brought a second Rangers chance. Mikele Leigertwood's long pass forward from right back was nodded into the path of Ledesma by Blackstock, but the Argentine could only drill a shot well wide of the target.
With chances at a premium, Rowlands nearly caught Birmingham keeper Maik Taylor unawares with an inswinging free-kick that needed tipping over from the giant Blues Number 1.
Rangers had upped the ante and Cook swung in a beautiful cross from the left, that the sliding Blackstock managed to guide agonizingly wide of the post.
With shades of the recent game at St Andrews still fresh in the minds, disaster struck in added time at the end of the first half. After a miscontrol from Leigertwood, the right back lunged in to block Lee Carsley and caught the Irishman with the sole of his boot. Referee Stuart Attwell instantly pulled the red card from his pocket to the disbelief of the R's faithful.
Caretaker boss Ainsworth responded to the dismissal by sending on Mahon for Cook.
The injustice of the red card inspired rangers and on 54 minutes they took the lead. And how! Tommasi's strong ran and interchange with Blackstock allowed the ball to find Di Carmine who strode forward and rifled an unstoppable shot beyond Taylor and into the top left corner.
Such was the quality of the goal that Ainsworth decided he'd celebrate too and dived head first to the ground Klinnsman-esque!
Birmingham responded and sub Mahon was the hero as he hacked off the line following a goal-mouth scramble.
Loftus Road was rocking as the R's fans encouraged the ten men on, generating a carnival-like atmosphere in the stands.
Ledesma almost joined the party minutes later when he won and subsequently took a free-kick that needed a full stretch Taylor to keep out.
Birmingham boss McLeish responded to the R's going ahead with a double substitution. On came Marcus Bent and Quincy Awusu-Abeyie.
Rangers were putting in a real shift to contain their top of the League opponents, with Fitz Hall and Damion Stewart impenetrable stalwarts at the back and Tommasi oozing class in the middle of the park.
Even as the snow began to fall at Loftus Road, the R's were more than a handful and, after withstanding a barrage of Blues pressure, manfully held on to claim an historic victory.
QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Hall, Leigertwood, Blackstock (Buzsaky 69), Rowlands, Connolly, Cook (Mahon 46), Tomassi, Ledesma, Di Carmine (Ephraim 74). Subs: Cole, Parejo.
Scorers: Di Carmine (54) Bookings: Ledesma (90), Cerny (90) Red Cards: Leigertwood (45)
Birmingham City: Maik Taylor, Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, McFadden, Phillips, Jerome (Bent 64), Nafti (Owusu-Abeyie 64), Agustien, Quedrue, Parnaby (Wilson 12), Carsley.
Subs: Doyle, Quashie. Scorers: Bookings: Wilson (39), Queudrue (81) Red Cards:
Referee: Mr S B Attwell
Attendance: QPR

Birmingham Official Site
- "London proved not to be a happy hunting ground for Blues as ten-man QPR received capital gain courtesy of a Samuel Di Carmine strike and put an end to the impressive unbeaten away record built up by Alex McLeish's side.
- James McFadden in action against QPR at Loftus Road.The visitors started well at Loftus Road and although they lost their way a little in wet conditions towards the end of the first half, the sending off of Mikele Leigertwood for a challenge on Lee Carsley must have given Blues renewed hope at the break.
- But a moment of magic from Di Carmine - a rifled shot into the top corner from 25 yards on 54 minutes - was enough to pick up all three points, despite frantic efforts from the visitors at the death to try and salvage a point.
- The disappointment was further heightened by not only injury to Garry O'Connor in the pre-match warm-up but also by the carrying off on a stretcher of Stuart Parnaby early on in the game.
- Blues started in lively fashion and on five minutes Cameron Jerome came close to opening the scoring. Nafti carved open the QPR defence with a neat pace and the striker, after charging through the middle, tried a low curled round Radek Cerny turned away low down to his left.
- Phillips then stung Cerny's fingertips with an angled drive as the visitors attacked with menace but in the tenth minute Blues were left facing adversity when, with just ten minutes on the clock, Parnaby went down injured out on the right touchline and was forced off on a stretcher.
- The travelling faithful looked on concerned as the defender was carried past them and the door was open for 19-year-old Wilson to make his Blues debut.
- Mehdi Nafti in action against QPR at Loftus Road.Seconds before he entered the fray Nafti forced a corner with a scything shot before, at the other end, QPR created their first meaningful opportunity in the form of a 20-yard half volley that Lee Cook sent wide with Maik Taylor untroubled.
- On 25 minutes QPR appealed for a penalty when Emmanuel Ledesma attempted to head a cross back across goal from the back post and the ball hit Queudrue. Ledesma led the clamour for a spot-kick but referee Stuart Attwell adjudged that the ball hadn't hit the Frenchman's hand.
-McFadden forced a Blues corner with a surging run down the right on the half-hour mark but QPR broke and led an attack of their own, one which resulted in a Samuel Di Carmine shot being blocked by Lee Carsley 16 yards out.
-As the rain poured down on Loftus Road once again QPR pressed and debutant Wilson went in the book on 40 for a foul on Cook six yards from the right touchline. Martin Rowlands lifted the resulting free-kick goalwards and Taylor was forced to tip behind as the ball headed for the top corner.
- On 42 Dexter Blackstock flung himself along the turf and got a touch on a teasing low Cook cross but could only direct the ball two yards wide before Rowlands broke into the area from the right and forced a low save from the feet of Taylor at his near post.
- Blues ended the first half in shaky fashion performance-wise but there was still drama to unfold with just less than a minute to go to the break when the Hoops' Mikele Leigertwood saw red for a late challenge on Lee Carsley after the Birmingham captain had moved the ball on.
- QPR must have been fearing the worst in the second half, what with only having ten men due to the sending off but often teams are difficult to play against with a man less and particularly when someone like Di Carmine pops up with a thunderbolt of a drive from 25 yards like he did with his right boot on 54 to give the hosts the lead. McFadden had been guilty of giving away possession by trying to do much deep in QPR's half and after Tomassi had broken clear the ball fell to Di Carmine, who did the rest.
- Blues responded almost immediately with Phillips turning and shooting from close range only for QPR sub Gavin Mahon - a Birmingham City fan - to clear off the line.
- On the hour-mark Ledesma curled a left-footed free-kick into the arms of Taylor from distance and within minutes McLeish made a double substitution to freshen things up, bringing on Quincy for Nafti and Marcus Bent in place of Jerome.
- With 66 minutes played a looping Wilson cross was headed out by a QPR defender right onto the left boot of Queudrue who let fly with a speculative 20-yarder that fizzed high over the goal and into the Blues fans.
- Cameron Jerome in action against QPR at Loftus Road.With sub Bent putting pressure on his kick on 71 Cerny scuffed his clearance and presented Phillips with a chance, from a central position, some 45 yards from goal. On a wet surface it would have taken a sublime finish even by Phillips' high standards to hit the target and unfortunately his placed effort was too high and into the crowd.
- The rain turned to snowflakes as the clock ticked towards full-time and Blues were left with just 15 minutes to get back into proceedings, something they very nearly did when Phillips' neat ball in behind the QPR defence found the marauding Wilson, who squared it across the face of goal - sadly however no visiting striker was on hand to knock into the back of the net and the Hoops escaped unharmed.
- Queudrue picked up a booking for a foul on 82 as the night got worse for Blues but to their credit the visitors did set about attacking QPR in a bid to pick up a point, with the livewire Quincy a constant thorn in the home team's side.
- Phillips thought he'd earned that point deep into injury time from close range after getting on the end of a low Quincy cross, but although the ball ended up in the back of the net the assistant referee flagged for off-side in what was to be the final piece of significant action in the game. Birmingham Official Site

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