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Monday, February 09, 2009

QPR's Sousa Profiled and Praised...Further QPR - Nottingham Forest Reports...Lee Camp's Words...QPR Youth Team Start World Tournament Today

- Visit the "Boutique" QPR Report Messageboard: A board that aspires to be different: (as suggested by the Messageboard's Honorary Moderators) and with a focus solely on QPR and football. Beyond the discussions, the board also includes a daily smattering of ("Macmoish-style") posted articles of general football interest. Recently-posted re Football and Finances:

- Snippet: Schmeichel's agent No comment re QPR/Schmeichel

- Alan Hansen notes was once pursued for QPR Manager Job
- Top Clubs to Learn if Restrictions on Wage Spending (Will Hurt Chelsea Most)
- Coming Very Soon: The Football League's Latest Agents Fees Report
- World's Fifty Highest-Paid Footballers)
- 2009/2010 Season Ticket Prices at Other Clubs
- Lakshmi Mittal Ranking in "World's Wealthiest CEOs"

- No QPR Players in Championship Team of The Week!

- Good luck to QPR Youth who play their first game today in the Viareggio World Tournament, against...Inter Milan! (See bottom of this blog post)

The Times/Alex Wade - February 9, 2009Golden boy going through hoops at QPR
- “For the past five or six years, England has been the centre for football. The atmosphere, the crowds, the way the game is played — for everyone involved, from players to coaches, referees and fans, the game here is the best. It’s the country that can give the best feeling for everyone who loves football.” So says Paulo Sousa, installed last November as the manager of Queens Park Rangers and, until injuries got the better of him aged 31, one of Europe’s best defensive midfield players.
- Sousa was one of Portugal’s “Golden Generation”, a player who held his own among names such as Luis Figo, Rui Costa and João Pinto. In an illustrious career, he won the Portuguese title and cup with Benfica and the Serie A title with Juventus, while also being capped 51 times by Portugal. Sousa is also one of two players to retain the Champions League title in successive years, winning it in 1996 with Juventus and again the next year with Borussia Dortmund.
- What, though, is one of the modern European game’s luminaries doing at QPR? The club’s travails have been well chronicled in recent years and include going into administration, off-field tragedies, the “Great Brawl of China” and a remarkable court case in 2006 after Gianni Paladini, then the chairman and now sporting director, alleged that a gun was held to his head before a home game.
- But things began to change when the Formula One men went to Shepherd’s Bush. The takeover of the club by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore — later joined by the world’s fifth richest man, Lakshmi Mittal — saved QPR from financial ruin. Ecclestone insisted, though, that the club’s new owners would not throw money at it and cautioned that ambition had to be tempered by pragmatism. His words are echoed by the 38-year-old Sousa, the sixth manager — including caretakers — of the club since its takeover by Ecclestone and Briatore.
- “I knew about QPR and its history,” he says. “It’s a beautiful club with a fantastic story and I want to be part of this story. The owners are ambitious, like me, and my dream is to fulfil their ambitions for the club. But we have to be realistic. We need to create a club philosophy, something which everyone from the kit man to the manager and every player and fan shares. We must all know what we want to achieve.”
- Sousa speaks passionately about QPR’s past. He smiles when the club’s mid-1970s heyday is mentioned, saying that the style of quick, pass-and-move football played by the club then, by players of the calibre of Stan Bowles, Gerry Francis and Dave Thomas, is “how I like to play the game — not the long ball, but to feet.”
- Happily for QPR fans, this sense of the club’s past is, he says, integral to the creation of the club philosophy in the present. “You can’t forget the past,” he says. “You need to link it to the present.” There is a smile as he speaks of Lee Cook, QPR’s highly rated winger. “His control is of the highest standard. He could become a player in the style of the club’s great No 10s.”
- As a Uefa grassroots ambassador, Sousa mingles often with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and José Mourinho. The former Chelsea manager is a friend who has been happy to be on the end of the phone, offering advice, for his countryman. But Sousa is also an innovator in his own right. He is one of the founders of the University of Lisbon’s “Management and Leadership in Football” course and reads books on sports psychology as one of his recreations. Above all else, he is a family man, devoted to Cristina, his wife, and children Magdalena, Guilherme and Natasha.
- Sousa never played here, although he was offered a contract with Arsenal. He rejected it because “at the time, the English game was still too much about the long ball.”
- Now, though, he is relishing life at QPR. “I have an excellent relationship with Flavio, Gianni and the board, and the fans have given me a wonderful reception,” he said. “Football has been very good to me, but I want to give something back. I try to make the players understand this, too. You must never forget that the fans make all this possible.”
- The charismatic Portuguese laments the loss this season, through injury, to two of QPR’s more creative players — Rowan Vine and Akos Buzsaky — but a run of nine games in which they are unbeaten sees QPR poised for a push for the play-offs.
Despite this, Sousa sees next season as the one in which QPR will seriously push for the Barclays Premier League, with this as one of consolidation, in which “my dream is for this club to build on its potential and be a big club again, in the top division.” After a prolonged spell on the managerial merry-go-round, it may just be that QPR have got their man. The Times

- See other past articles by Alex Wade

Nottingham Forest vs QPR
Daily Mail/Alan Biggs - We blew big chance, admits Sousa
Paulo Sousa blamed the referee and his players' lack of killer instinct as Rangers lost ground in the promotion race.
The manager insisted official Darren Deadman made a 'big mistake' by allowing Forest's second goal after claiming goalkeeper Lee Camp was impeded before Chris Cohen's far-post headed equaliser. But he refused to exonerate his team.
Sousa said: 'Our goalkeeper was blocked. Maybe the linesman needed to help the referee.
'Ours was a very good performance in the second half, but I wasn't happy with the first. It's two points lost because we had opportunities to be two or three goals up - and Forest built chances from our mistakes.'
Rangers have an impressive blend of power and skill and will threaten the teams in the play-off places if they improve their finishing. They are now unbeaten in nine matches, but captain Gavin Mahon said: 'We were in control but we've got to kill teams off.'
Matteo Alberti's first goals for the club either side of the break - after the Italian had conceded the penalty from which Lewis McGugan put Forest ahead - gave QPR hope of a first win at the City Ground.
But home goalkeeper Paul Smith made crucial late saves as Forest, bereft of strikers after Nathan Tyson and Joe Garner joined Rob Earnshaw on the casualty list, clung to Cohen's leveller.
Wes Morgan embodied Forest's resilience by continuing to defy a family crisis in leading his side to a plucky point. The defender anchored his team's back line after committing himself to a three-match week while his nine-month-old son Rio battled pneumonia.
After the game he rushed back to Leicester's Glenfield Hospital, where he has been staying overnight throughout his son's ordeal.
Talking about his son, Morgan said: 'It could have gone either way. He's been on a ventilator but they took him off it just before the game and that's a big step. His lungs have been drained - it's been quite scary. After a tough couple of weeks I hope we're through the worst of it.' Daily Mail

The Sun
SKIPPER Wes Morgan led relegation-threatened Forest to a precious point as they fought back to get a draw.
Then the Forest central defender left the City Ground to see an even bigger battler... his nine-month-old son Rio.
Baby Rio has been in hospital intensive care for the past two weeks fighting off a life-threatening attack of pneumonia.
Wes and his girlfriend Shaneen have been living in the Leicester hospital to be at baby Rio’s bedside.
He said: “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us but I think we have got through the worst of it now.
“Rio is still in intensive care but today they’ve taken him off his ventilator so things are looking a bit better.
“The first week was the worst because it could have gone either way.
“He was in a Nottingham hospital but was transferred to Leicester because he had to go on a lung bypass machine for a while. He came through that all right and things are better now.
“We knew it was very bad at the time but he has improved a lot. It was scary to see your little baby lying there helpless... it’s hard.
“Life is short so it makes you think of things a lot. Rio had pneumonia and it all began from there — his lungs have been drained and it’s looking better
“He’s a big strong lad — just like his dad — and I knew he was going to pull through.
“The manager has been really supportive. He told me to take as much time as I needed.
“The lads and staff have been tremendous as well. I’ve had flowers and presents for Rio and have had loads ot texts and phone calls checking on how he was progressing. We’re a close unit and I felt the love.
“As soon as I thought Rio was over the worst of it I felt comfortable enough to come back to training.
“Football is my livelihood but family comes first. There is always another game of football around the corner but you don’t get second chances when it comes to family.
“I still love my football and can’t ever see that changing but it’s family and football for me in that order.”
Morgan’s men took the lead through a 45th minute Lewis McGugan penalty only for Matteo Alberti to fire his first QPR goal three minutes into stoppage time.
Alberti, 19, put Rangers ahead three minutes after the restart with a snap shot. But Chris Cohen’s 67th minute header from Luke Chambers’ far post cross made it 2-2.
Morgan added: “We knew we had to bounce back after losing to Derby in the FA Cup here in midweek.
“It was a real blow to concede a goal just before the break but we showed a lot of character. We did well to get back from 2-1 down and in the end it’s a good result.”
QPR keeper Lee Camp, who spent 15 games on loan at Forest earlier in the season, insisted he was blocked on the line by a Forest player for Cohen’s equaliser.
Camp said: “Just as I’m about to jump I got smashed from the right-hand side. I asked the ref but he said not a chance so you have to accept it and move on.”
Penalty hero McGugan stepped up for the first-half spot-kick — awarded for an Alberti trip on Chambers — because Robert Earnshaw was out injured and Nathan Tyson was substituted after 12 minutes with a bad gash above his right eye.
Camp said: “We did some penalties in training when I was here and I saved a few from Robert and Nathan.
“But I never got anywhere near any from Lewis when I was here. And, credit to him, it was a good penalty.”
SUN STAR MAN - MATTEO ALBERTI (QPR). Stinger winger. The Sun

- See Also:
- Other QPR vs Nottingham Match Reports

- Simon Skinner/QPR Net - Match Report

- Clive Whittingham/LoftforWords - Match Report

Nottingham Evening Post - Camp would relish working for Forest boss Davies again
- LEE Camp would relish the chance to work with Billy Davies again if the Nottingham Forest boss tried to bring him back to the City Ground.
The QPR keeper received a great ovation before Saturday's 2-2 draw against the club he played for 15 times earlier in the season.
He returned to London at the end of his three-month loan in December, just as Davies replaced Colin Calderwood.
Davies sold Camp when he was manager at Derby, but the pair embraced after the match on Saturday, and Camp says there has never been a problem between them.
"Billy Davies and I never had a cross word or disagreement. A lot of things came out from Derby about me and Billy that were absolute rubbish. He was always very honest with me.
"As a manager he had big decisions to make and you can't please everyone. But at the end of the day I was part of his promotion-winning squad and I was on the bench for the play-off win at Wembley. That was a big day for me and my family.
"He is possibly the best manager I have worked with, and I have worked with a lot, although they always seem to get sacked! His attention to detail is exceptional.
"There is no problem between us, and I would have no problems working with him again. Some people like to jump on the bandwagon and make out a problem exists, but we know it doesn't.
"He sets his teams up well, and makes sure they conduct themselves in a certain way. I always remember him saying that in pre-season, teams either prepare for a promotion-winning season or a relegation season.
"And he made sure that in every day of training, his team was working towards promotion and his players gave 120 per cent. He is a winner, and he has made me think about training like that every day. He keeps standards high every day."
-Camp says he is under no illusions of how hard it will be to stay in the QPR first team under Paulo Sousa – and would not be against a permanent return to the city Ground.
"I can't control it. If they want me, they have to do what they have to do to get me here. It's out of my hands.
"It has been a difficult few weeks since I finished at Forest. I have not been involved in the QPR side and the manager had not spoken to me, until Radek (Cerny) got injured.

"The team has been going well and I know that if Radek had not been injured, I would not have been in the squad today."
And Camp thanked the 25,000 fans who cheered his return to Nottingham.
"It was really enjoyable and I was grateful for the response I got from everyone. It was a fixture I'd looked out for as soon as I went back to QPR and I enjoyed the game.
"I thought a draw was just about fair, and the teams cancelled each other out. Forest were organised and solid, and difficult to break down.
"For the penalty I didn't see the contact because the ball was coming through to me, but there were not many protests which is usually a good indicator. Lewis hit it very well. For the second goal I thought there might have been a foul on me, I think by Garath McCleary, but the ref didn't see it.
"Forest do seem harder to break down now than when I was here, and are keeping a few more clean sheets, which is a sign of progress. I think they will be fine and that Billy Davies will be a success." Nottingham Evening Post

BBC - Keeper Camp keen on Forest return
- Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Lee Camp has told BBC Radio Nottingham that he would be interested in a move back to Nottingham Forest.
Camp spent 15 games on loan with the Reds, and saved two stoppage-time penalties in that time, including one against arch-rivals Derby County.
Camp said: "If Forest want to do something, fantastic. I'm under the impression that they know what to do.
"It would certainly interest me, but the ball is in Forest's court."
Camp left Forest after the win at Norwich at the end of December, and it had seemed that the appointment of Billy Davies as Reds manager would end his chances of a return to the City Ground.
Reports had claimed that Camp and Davies had fallen out when they were both at Derby, but Camp dismissed suggestions of a rift between the pair.
"Me and Billy never had a crossed word, a disagreement, or anything at Derby. He was always very honest with me, looked me in the eye and told me how it was." BBC

Also: - Vital Football/QPR re Lee Camp and Nottingham Forest (subscription necessary)

Lee Camp on Nottingham Forest World

- QPR Youth play their first game against Milan today (3pm kick off) - Tournament schedule

Mon 9th - Inter Milan 3pm
Wed 11th - Palermo
Fri 13th - A.P.I.A. Leichhardt Tigers

QPR Official Site From Last Month
- Next month, the R's Youth side will head to Italy to take part in the Coppa Carnevale, the most prestigious Under-20's Club tournament in World football.
Based in Viareggio, Italy, and with the biggest sides in Italian football represented by their youngsters, the three-week long tournament will provide the young R's with a unique chance to not only face some of the world's best sides, but also an opportunity to experience the football culture in a different country.
- Many former and current World superstars have participated in the Coppa Carnevale. The likes of Paolo Maldini, Francesco Totti, Gabriel Batistuta and Alessandro Del Piero all lit up the tournament with their talents and have gone on to achieve success, both domestically and on the international stage.
- And the draw for the Viareggio Cup has handed Rangers a dream ticket in their very first tie, with Inter Milan first up for Steve Brown's side.
After the glamour match with the Nerazzuri, further fixtures against another established Italian side Palermo, and Australian side A.P.I.A. Leichhardt Tigers, present two fascinating tests.
- Manager Brown is relishing the chance to lock horns with one of the biggest teams in the world, telling www.qpr.co.uk: "It's a massive match against Inter; it's fixtures like these you want to play in and the boys will relish a huge test first up.
- "We'll be up against a different style to what we are used to, but that is all part of their development as young players."
- Thoughts turn to the other two sides lying in wait for Brown's team: "Inter is huge but take nothing away from Palermo, who are up there amongst the best sides in Serie A. Tottenham Hotspur played Leichardt last season and beat them comfortably but once again it will be an interesting challenge.
- "But that's the draw of this tournament. In every group there is fantastic, quality opposition, from all Leagues in Italian football, and from around the world so we are delighted to have been invited."
- Rangers, however, will not be in Italy to make up the numbers: "Make no mistake; whilst it is a great experience, we are heading there to win football matches. It helps that it's an Under 20s tournament so we can take the likes of Danny Maguire and Romone Rose.
- "We will prepare ourselves as well as possible because we will travel with the intention of doing as well as possible. The sides we will face are used to playing the best Under 20 sides in the country. We're not, but that's where we want to be, and so this represents a massive opportunity for the boys, and will only serve to enhance their development."
- Such is the overwhelming recognition the festival receives from the media, Italian television crews will follow all the action, starting with the R's head-to-head with their Internazionale counterparts.
- English teams have enjoyed limited of success since its creation in 1949. Ipswich Town flew the flag for England, finishing runners-up in successive years in 1981 and 1982, losing out to AS Roma and Fiorentina respectively.
- The Viola are the tournament's most successful side boasting eight wins, and another seven times the Florence side have finished runner-up. They are intriguingly paired this season with the most successful foreign outfit in Dukla Prague of the Czech Republic, who have recorded six tournament wins, twice coming in second.

- Flashback Two Years: February 9, 2007: QPR Humiliated: Southend 5 QPR 0 - Reports

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