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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

London Fan Census Findings: 20% QPR Fans Supposedly Not Renewing...QPR Reject Parma Friendly...Ex-QPR Andy King Recovering From Heart Attack

- For cutting-edge, continually-updated news about QPR: Visit the combination, quasi-blog/messageboard QPR Report Messageboard. QPR and football. Nothing else! All posters and all views welcome!
- Club Changes Name to Incorporate Sponsor
- Snippet: Thirty-Nine Years Since the Signing of arguably QPR's greatest-ever goalkeeper
- FA Silence on Panorama Claims
- Setanta Collapse: Biggest Impact on Smallest Clubs
- Horrible Strips: Some Examples of Clubs' Shirts
- Five Years ago Today: QPR Chairman Nick Blackburn Resigns and is replaced by Bill Power.

This is London/Raoul Simons
Fuming fans show referees the red card

- Referees are falling short of the standards expected of them by football supporters.That is the stark message to the game's authorities from the Evening Standard's 2009 London Football Report.

More than 2,000 fans were asked to rate the performance of middle men in matches involving their clubs last season and the results reveal widespread disillusionment.

Only 12 per cent said the referees were "good" or "very good" as opposed to 31 per cent who responded "bad" and a further 13 per cent who said "very bad". The remaining 44 per cent labelled refereeing standards as "ok".

The barrage of criticism follows a season marred by high-profile gaffes from top officials. When the report's results are broken down by club, Chelsea and Watford fans are the most damning with at least 70 per cent in the "bad" or "very bad" category.

It is perhaps no coincidence that the Blues and the Hornets were on the receiving end of two of last season's worst refereeing displays.

Tom Henning Ovrebo's failure to give clear penalties to Chelsea in their Champions League semi-final second leg was widely blamed for the club's away-goal defeat by Barcelona.

Similarly infuriating was the award of Reading's "ghost goal" - when the ball crossed the line wide of the posts - by Stuart Attwell against Watford at Vicarage Road last September.

The report's damning verdict on referees comes at time when their performances have never been under greater scrutiny. Other errors - such as Howard Webb's dubious penalty to Manchester United against Tottenham in April - highlight more deficiencies.

Concerns have also been evident within the game and were highlighted in a recent review by the Professional Footballers' Association and League Managers' Association which called for a referee overhaul to raise standards. As the Football Association and UEFA continue to demand greater respect for referees, the report indicates that fans expect improved performance in return. A minimum representation of 100 supporters from each of London's 14 professional clubs took part in last month's survey, which was conducted online and in person by research company Football Fans Census.

The results are published in two parts, starting today with the fans' verdict on referees, plus four other key talking points - player and fan behaviour, pricing and television coverage.

Tomorrow, part two features approval ratings for London's managers and boards along with the fans' view on whether players are doing enough to justify their salaries.

London fans are savvy enough to know that referees are not alone in shouldering the blame for the game's onfield ills. Players faking fouls to win free-kicks continues to be a big concern. Asked about offenders from their own clubs to produce a more accurate result, 81 per cent admitted seeing their side's players "dive" last season. That compares to 76 per cent in last year's survey and 70 per cent in 2007. By club, 97 per cent of Arsenal fans said their team's players were guilty at least once which was the highest score ahead of Chelsea (90 per cent), Crystal Palace (88 per cent) and West Ham (87 per cent). Most fans believed their players were guilty on one to five occasions, although 19 per cent of Chelsea fans - a London high - put their divers in the highest available category of more than 20 times.

Since its inception in 2006, the report has monitored racism and hooliganism at matches. While neither problem has been eradicated, our results show that incidents of both are declining. Only 22 per cent of fans reported racism or hooliganism last season compared to 25 per cent in 2008. The club with the biggest issue with football violence last season was Crystal Palace with 28 per cent of fans witnessing it.

There are signs that London's Premier League clubs are showing some empathy with fans hit by the recession. Taking into account ticket prices and other key expenses, fans of all five of the capital's top-flight clubs reported a drop in the cost of watching football. The average cost for a game in London was £55, the same as 2008, which includes a significant hike reported by fans of QPR (11.5 per cent). Despite this plateau in costs, 70 per cent fans still believe ticket prices are too high with 20 per cent admitting they will either attend fewer matches next year and/or not be renewing season tickets. Twenty five per cent of Arsenal fans said the price of tickets will mean they go to fewer games next season - the highest of all London clubs - while 20 per cent of QPR fans claim they won't renew season-tickets.

The disappearance of broadcaster Setanta will see few tears among fans. Only four per cent listed it as their channel of choice but that was still more than ITV (two per cent), perpetrator of the year's biggest TV blunder when it went to an advert break and missed Everton's winning goal against Liverpool in the FA Cup. Sky (49 per cent) pipped the BBC (42 per cent) to the top. This is London

Note: These Were the Football Fan Census Questions

Kilburn Times - Rs pass up Parma opportunity
-Action from Southampton's last visit to Loftus Road, when Saints defender Oliver Lancashire was sent off for bringing down Damien Delaney
QPR have surprisingly arranged a home pre-season friendly against a lower league side after passing up on the chance to play Serie A side Parma.

Parma were keen to take on an English side on Saturday August 1, but the proposed game at Loftus Road fell through and the Italians will now face Watford on that date instead.

Rangers, meanwhile, will complete their preparations for the new season - which starts a week later - with an uninspiring home game against relegated Southampton.

The announcement completes a generally drab pre-season line-up for the Rs, with trips to Aldershot, Forest Green Rovers, Oxford and Wycombe to come before the Southampton match. Kilburn Times

Former Everton FC player Andy King thanks fans for best wishes during his illness Jun 24 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo

ANDY KING has issued a huge thank you to all Evertonians who have inundated him with well wishes after he suffered a heart attack.

As a man who played with carefree zest and energy – and enjoyed making a nuisance of himself in derby games – King retains the affections of all Blues from a certain era.

So it was no surprise that many voiced their concerns after learning that he had fallen ill over the weekend and were anxious to learn of his plight.

King is currently in hospital awaiting to undergo an angiogram that will ascertain the extent of the damage he has suffered but, typically, the 52-year-old is taking a positive outlook.

And his spirits have been lifted by the messages of support he has received, along with a phone call from chairman Bill Kenwright that came out of the blue.

“I’d just like to thank everyone for all their good wishes and it says everything about the kind of football club Everton is,” said King.

“The first phone call I received when I came into hospital was from Bill Kenwright and that was overwhelming.

“Financially he might not be able to match (Roman) Abramovich but he has never made that out to be the case; Bill is a Blue and having a chairman like that means more than having someone with stacks of money who doesn’t care for the club.

“It’s more than 25 years since I last played for Everton yet the chairman still felt compelled to ring me straight away. That symbolises the kind of care and warmth the club has as a whole.”

Signed by Billy Bingham in April 1976, King was a precocious talent when he arrived from Luton Town and quickly made a name for himself on the Gwladys Street thanks to the energy and passion in his displays.

That bond was cemented in October 1978 when he scored the goal that gave Everton their first win over Liverpool in seven years – a 20-yard volley which flew past Ray Clemence – and he was talked of as being a contender to play for England. He was eventually sold to Queens Park Rangers two years later but never made any secret of the affection he held for the Blues and once claimed he would “crawl back over broken glass” to play at Goodison again.

Howard Kendall made that wish come true in 1982 but a string of injuries stopped his progress and he never really established himself in a team that went to become the best in England for a period and he joined the Dutch club Cambuur Leewarden.

In total, the 248 appearances he made during two spells on Merseyside yielded 67 goals and he has been given a warm welcome whenever he has returned to these parts in the time since.

“It’s humbling that people have been concerned about me and it’s just a question of waiting now for the results of the angiogram,” said King, who had a couple of spells scouting for Everton in between managerial jobs with Swindon Town and Grays Athletic.

“Hopefully everything will be ok in the long run and in time, I’ll make a full recovery; with a bit of luck I’ll be fit enough to give Tim Cahill a run for his money!”

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