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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sousa Wants QPR Overseas Pre-Season...New QPR Pitch...Blackstock and QPR's Ticket Sales...QPR's Lack of Youth Development and Marcus Bean

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Kilburn Times/Kilburn Times - Paulo planning a trip abroad
- PAULO Sousa wants to take QPR on their first overseas trip for three years as part of their build-up to next season.
-Rangers have not played outside the UK since their shambolic jaunt to Italy in the summer of 2006, when the quality both of playing surfaces and opposition was labelled sub-standard.
-A year earlier, the Rs' Ibiza Cup victory was tainted by crowd trouble in the final against Coventry and, since the Italian fiasco, John Gregory and Iain Dowie both preferred to conduct their pre-season programme at home.
-But Sousa told the Times: "I want to have one part here and one part abroad.
- "We have to have a good pitch for training and we want to keep the union of the team and know each other better.
- "Of course, this depends on the decisions of the board because sometimes it costs money. I think you need to play the right games against the right teams in pre-season, but not so many.
- "For a coach in this league, the pre-season is very important because we are playing so many games in the season that we don't have as much time to train.
- "We have six weeks in pre-season to make our ideas clear and if we start the season well, like Wolverhampton did this year, everyone will have the confidence to continue these ideas."
- Sousa's plans for next season have also been boosted by news that the club intend to install a new pitch at Loftus Road following their last home game of the campaign, against Plymouth Argyle on April 25." Kilburn Times

Kilburn Times/Ben Kosky - Just the ticket? Maybe not
- THE message couldn't be clearer: stump up your cash right now if you want to watch QPR's top goalscorer in action next season!
- That's him. Dexter Blackstock - Rangers' poster boy, the face of the club's future... and on loan to a club in the Championship relegation zone.
- You could have been forgiven for thinking it was an early April Fool's joke. Sadly, it was very much in keeping with the absurd, asinine way QPR conduct their football business these days.
But it will be fascinating to see what effect the astonishing decision to offload Blackstock to Nottingham Forest has on Rangers fans pondering whether or not to renew their season tickets.
- The club have offered supporters until April 17 - just over a fortnight away - to purchase season tickets at current prices. How much they will be charged after that date remains classified information.
- Some fans will be wondering why this supposedly 'ambitious' club are so keen to part with a player who has hit the net more than twice as often as anyone else this season.
- Or why the club - following two good home wins that kept the door to the play-offs fractionally ajar - appear to be slamming it shut by sending out such a negative message.
- Or why on earth supporters should part with more hard-earned cash so that the board can squander it on ridiculous signings like Daniel Parejo, Damiano Tommasi and Gary Borrowdale all over again.
- But footballing logic was swept out long ago at Loftus Road, along with any semblance of a youth policy, Jude the Cat and a number of loyal club stalwarts.
-No doubt some optimists will be clutching at the straw of signing a big-name striker in the summer, someone who will bang in 20-plus goals next season and lead the Rs to the Premier League.
-Isn't that what we were all expecting this time last year? But the proven goal poacher never materialised because the club were too busy signing players that - with the exception of Kaspars Gorkss and Lee Cook - they didn't actually need.
-The question is whether you trust the people who run QPR sufficiently to give them a second chance, to learn from their mistakes and get it right in future.
-It might help if any club official had made some attempt to explain the baffling decision to get rid of Blackstock, as Kevin Keegan did after Newcastle sold Andy Cole to Manchester United many moons ago.
- Needless to say, the silence from the club is deafening - and perhaps not surprising, given that their last two managers have also had to pack their bags without any kind of official explanation.
- That silence says all you need to know, because it would be difficult for QPR to admit the truth, namely that Blackstock had to go purely because interfering co-owner Flavio Briatore took a dislike to him.
- Already, a myth has been spun that Paulo Sousa was the one who didn't rate Blackstock - yet, when fit, the striker was involved in almost every game since the coach arrived
-True, Sousa admits he would prefer to play with a traditional target man, but there is no reason why Blackstock should not have been able to feed off that kind of player as the second forward.
- Let's not forget, Blackstock - who is still only 22 - rarely had the chance to fill that kind of role at Rangers, yet managed to score goals at a healthy rate in a side that was often average at best.
-Who will fill his place remains to be seen. But there may be many other empty spaces at Loftus Road next season. Kilburn Times

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - They've all Bean and gone
SINCE the turn of the millennium, only one player has risen through the ranks to make more than 50 appearances in a QPR shirt.
- Marcus Bean, who left Loftus Road three years ago, is that man - and he is astonished that no youngsters, from either his own age group or more recently, have followed in his footsteps.
- The tough-tackling midfielder, who is now back in west London with League Two front-runners Brentford, featured 76 times for Rangers over a three and a half year period.
- "I think everyone loves to break through when they've come from the youth team," Bean told the Times. "You really feel that sense of pride when you put the shirt on.
- "I wouldn't like to criticise and I don't know the quality of young players at QPR at the moment, but through the years they always had a good Academy down there.
-"All that youth team were good players when I was there - Justin Cochrane and Wes Daly, to pick two names out of a hat - and that was shown by the fact that we got to the under-19 league final against Nottingham Forest.
- "It's a shame that none of them broke through and I'm surprised to see that nobody's broken through since - it's a crying shame, really. Maybe it's just that the foreign owners want to do things their way and bring in big-name signings instead."
- Angelo Balanta is the main ray of hope for Rangers fans who may despair of ever seeing their club develop homegrown talent again, but the current owners appear to have little or no interest in realising that goal.
- The wasteful level of player turnover at QPR in recent years also makes it less likely that any youth teamer can aspire to even match the career Bean enjoyed at Loftus Road.
- And, with respect to the 24-year-old, he was rarely a regular choice in the Rs' starting line-up, especially after promotion in 2004, and was loaned out twice to Swansea City before finally joining Blackpool 18 months later.
- Having struggled to establish himself at Bloomfield Road, Bean dropped into the Football League's basement last summer, but has flourished as a vital cog in the Bees side this season.
- "I'm enjoying my time at Brentford," Bean declared. "Things didn't go so well at Blackpool over the last couple of years, so I'm glad to be plying my trade in London again and I think that has contributed to my performances this season.
- "It's good to be back with my family because I was a bit despondent in Blackpool. I know there were a few eyebrows raised and people said to me maybe I should have held on and looked for something else.
- "But the manager, Andy Scott, was really positive. I liked what I saw and I knew we'd be capable of pushing for promotion this season."
- And Hammersmith-born Bean certainly hasn't given up hope of returning to Loftus Road to face his old club on a level playing field at some stage in the near future.
- "A couple of promotions on the bounce is not unheard of - Peterborough and MK Dons are challenging again this year," he added.
-"I feel we've got a good enough squad, with a few additions, to push on next season.
-"I'd love to go and play QPR again. I still speak to Lee Cook and Kaspars Gorkss, who's a friend of mine from Blackpool, and I've been to watch them a couple of times recently.
- "When you're at a club for as long as I was, it's gut-wrenching to leave. But I wasn't getting enough games and I felt it was the right time to move on.
-"With hindsight, maybe it wasn't, but I wish QPR all the best. Kilburn Times

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