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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Poor Ticket Sales....An Assessment of QPR's Managerial Search...Reece Crowther Misses Out

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- Inquest: A Tragic Accident

- Several QPR Players in Las Vegas!

- 2009-2010 QPR Schedule (Thus Far)

- Year Flashback: Iain Dowie Talking About QPR (and Making Sense!)
- Five Years Ago: QPR's Promotion Victory Parade
- Half-a Year Ago: Paulo Sousa Appointed to be in Charge of QPR
- re a Tappa/QPR Rumour: What Tappa Said a Few Weeks ago re QPR and Managing

Dave McIntyre/BBC606 - Still in the frame
- No British manager has emerged as a clear frontrunner for the QPR job and the door is still open for the potential return of Luigi De Canio.
- By Tuesday evening no decision had been made on an appointment despite a number of possible candidates being assessed – most of them British.
- With Flavio Briatore now due to fly to Monte Carlo ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, the chances of an appointment being made this week look slim.
- Former Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd is the latest man to be considered, but it seems a decision is no nearer and that the chances of a foreign coach – possibly De Canio – being installed are now growing.
- De Canio has been in the frame since Paulo Sousa’s future was under scrutiny earlier this year and the Italian has remained a strong contender while others have dropped out of the running.
- He looks like failing in his bid to save Lecce, whose relegation from Serie A would increase the chances of De Canio returning to Loftus Road.
- Keeping them up would almost certainly lead to the offer of a lucrative contract to stay put. But as things stand, De Canio will be open to offers when the Italian season finishes at the end of this month.
- There seemed a real willingness to consider British managers following the termination of Sousa’s contract in April, and perhaps Briatore will still go down that route.
- But as more potential managers from these shores fall out of contention, the chances of an overseas coach being brought in increase - although Gareth Ainsworth remains an option.
- Claudio Ranieri may be approached following his sacking by Juventus and Antonio Tapia, currently in charge of Spanish side Malaga, has suggested that QPR have been interested in him.
- And what price a famous ex-player in the Sousa mould? Paolo Maldini, whose playing career is about to end, would be a jaw-dropping appointment but has apparently indicated he will stay at AC Milan in a coaching capacity.
- That’s all speculation. What is for sure is that De Canio has been seriously considered and that none of the other possible contenders have so-far wanted or been able to secure the job.
- Briatore has attracted criticism for his running of the club but could claim that De Canio was always the man he wanted to coach the team.
- He was his choice following the sacking of John Gregory and left for personal reasons at the end of the 2007-08 season.
- That said, De Canio’s brief spell was not without its problems. His future was in doubt just weeks after he was given the job, but improved results in the second half of the season helped to shore up his position.
- He was happy working with Briatore and Gianni Paladini, which in itself made him a frontrunner for the job once it became vacant again.
- Having managed to correctly call the appointment of the last six Rangers managers, I’m not confident about getting it right this time.
- The situation is uncertain, the club don’t seem to be clear about what they want and there is always a chance that someone could be brought in by Briatore completely out of the blue.
- Sousa, for example, was hired very quickly after Ainsworth lost favour following a defeat at home to Burnley last season.
- There is always a chance that a conversation or change of plan could lead to one of the men recently linked with Rangers suddenly being announced as manager, or a new guy could pop up from nowhere.
- If that seems like I’m covering my back, it’s because I am. I'm really not sure what will happen.
- At one stage this year I would have put money on Darren Ferguson being at QPR next season and a few weeks ago I told friends the next Rangers manager might be Neil Warnock. Wrong on both counts.
- But I do now think that Gigi De Canio could well be on his way back. We shall see.

[Jordi Lopez Update]
- While Rangers wait to fill their vacancy, Jordi Lopez is waiting for his future to be resolved.
- Unlike Liam Miller, whose departure was confirmed this week, Lopez has been offered a new contract after impressing while on a short-term deal.
- The Lopez situation is a delicate one.
- There have been doubts about his fitness, making the offer of a long-term contract a potential risk.
- A one-year contract might seem the obvious answer but now the former Uefa Cup winner has arguably proved his fitness he could well attract interest from other clubs offering better terms.
- And if he were to sign for one year and impress next season, Rangers would run the risk of losing him on a Bosman free transfer 12 months from now.
- One solution could be to assume Lopez will remain a free agent for the time being at least, and allow the incoming coach/manager to have a look at him.
- Lopez’s agent, former QPR midfielder Alex Bonnot, made it clear when I spoke to him that that wasn’t the player’s preferred option.
- Bonnot is hopeful an agreement can be reached soon, although he did stress that other clubs have shown an interest in Lopez.
- A canny defensive midfielder is always useful – especially if De Canio's brand of football returns.
- But with Lopez assessing his options and Rangers looking to cut their cloth more carefully this season, this one could go either way. BBC606

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - Ticket sales drop as fans watch and wait
- QPR are becoming increasingly desperate to fill their managerial vacancy after season ticket sales plummeted even further than anticipated.
- The Times understands that Rangers have sold barely 3,000 season tickets so far as supporters wait to learn the identity of Paulo Sousa's successor.
- Many fans feel disenchanted by Sousa's sacking and the team's general lack of on-field progress last season, but the club hope a new appointment will encourage them to dip into their pockets again.
- Last summer, the club announced they were restricting season ticket sales to 10,000 - but it looks highly unlikely that move will need to be repeated.
- In a risible and illogical statement earlier this week, Rangers announced that the 'early bird' deadline - offering fans a five per cent discount on last year's prices - had been extended to Friday due to a 'backlog' of applications.
- Meanwhile, Rangers have also confirmed a pre-season friendly away to Blue Square Premier side Oxford United on Friday July 24, kick-off 7.45pm.
- The Rs had been due to meet Oxford in a friendly last summer, but the fixture was called off." Kilburn Times

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times on Reece Crowther- So near... now Reece is so far
- MOST players look back on a 3-0 defeat with regret, but Reece Crowther has even more reason to rue that scoreline a year later.
- For the majority, QPR's capitulation at Norwich in April 2008 has faded discreetly into the record books, but to the young goalkeeper it represents unfulfilled ambition.
- Crowther came tantalisingly close to making his first-team debut for the Rs that day - in fact the coaching staff hurriedly ordered him to warm up as they thought first choice keeper Lee Camp was about to be sent off.

But the red card was shown to Damion Stewart instead, Crowther returned to his seat on the bench and opportunity would never knock on his door again before Rangers released him a few weeks ago.

Now the 20-year-old is bidding to kick-start his career Down Under in the A-League - but is still determined to make his name in English football long-term.

"Everyone had thought Campy was going off and that night I couldn't help thinking 'that was my chance, now it's gone'," Crowther told the Times.

"That's the one thing I'll always be thinking back on, that I didn't pull on the QPR jersey in a competitive fixture. It's still bugging me that I never played in the first team and I feel I've got a score to settle.

"The game's really started to grow in Australia and I'm going out there to help build up the A-League and get experience, but I'd like to come back to the English league eventually, without a doubt.

"This is a new challenge. I had some good keepers ahead of me at QPR and it's sometimes harder to break through when you've come up via the youth team."

Both Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide FC have offered Crowther a trial period and the keeper - who was born in San Diego but grew up in Australia - hopes he will finally be able to call himself a genuine number one.

During his three years at Loftus Road, Crowther found himself behind the likes of Simon Royce, Paul Jones, Lee Camp, Radek Cerny and Jake Cole in the pecking order.

But, despite the frequent changes of manager in that period, Crowther feels the knock-on effect of working under many different specialist goalkeeping coaches was actually beneficial.

He recalled: "Tony Roberts was the coach when I arrived, he'd been the QPR goalkeeper for years and then we had Ed de Goey, who had so many caps for Holland.

"Mark Bosnich was one of my heroes when I was growing up and Tim Flowers had been an England international. So it was good for me to get so many insights into keepers who had played at a high level.
- "In a specialist position like goalkeeper, it's important to try different methods and see what works for you, and I learned different things from all of them.
- "Of course it's tough with the manager changing all the time, but it was out of my control, the same as every other player. I could only get my head down and try to impress whoever came in."
- Crowther didn't quite manage to catch anyone's eye in that never-ending queue at Loftus Road - but he may yet be back one day in the future to show QPR what they missed. Kilburn Times

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