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Friday, August 07, 2009

Opening Day: QPR vs Blackpool

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- Updated Throughout the Day

- Fascism and English Football
- Hours Per Week Fans Spend on Football - Survey Findings

- Daily Mail's Top 50 Football League Players
- Carlisle Win Tribunal Case vs Watford

- Blackstock on Nottingham Forest's Prospects
- Coca Cola/Football League Promotion/Prizes
- Video Snippet: Sousa as Swansea's Special One

- Masters Cup Final Draw

- Comprehensive Compilation of Assessing QPR's Championship Chances

- QPR vs Blackpool: Past Games

Blackpool Gazette/Steve Canavan - Preview: QPR v Blackpool
By Steve Canavan

THE general consensus in football is that Jim Magilton is a very brave man.

Earlier in the summer he accepted the job as manager at QPR, with Flavio Briatore as his chairman.

But how long will it last? Rangers have had five managers and two caretakers since Formula One millionaire Briatore took over the club in September 2007.

It has been rumoured on several occasions that Briatore has upset managers by insisting on having an input in team selection.

It's enough to make most managers quake in their boots, but not Magilton.

Looking forward to a fresh challenge after three years at Ipswich, the Irishman said: "I don't see there is a problem if an owner or a chairman has an opinion.

"We are all managers, supporters and referees. It is a game of opinion. I'll back my decisions win, lose or draw. I'll certainly stand by them."
Magilton succeeds Paulo Sousa, who lasted just 26 games at Loftus Road before departing.

Souza revealed that during his time in charge, striker Dexter Blackstock's loan move to Nottingham Forest was agreed without his knowledge.

Iain Dowie lasted 15 games before clashing with Briatore, while John Gregory lasted less than a month after Briatore took charge.

So far the longest incumbent of the Briatore reign was Luigi De Canio, who made it to six months. Just.

Yet Magilton, who was installed as boss in June, insists he is not concerned.

"I was at a club previously (Ipswich) where the owner certainly had an input," he said.

"I don't think you can put me under any pressure because the pressure I put myself under on a daily basis would far outweigh any pressure they put me under.

"The bottom line is that I'm really looking to the challenge of managing a great football club.

"The board are highly ambitious but they are very realistic. Our aim is to keep progressing, year after year.

"There is a very strong group of players here and with one or two additions we can expect to drastically improve on the 11th place finish secured last season."

QPR are one of the wealthiest clubs in British football, bankrolled by Briatore's millions.

Magilton has not gone wild in the transfer market but he has been fairly active, bringing in Italian striker Alessandro Pellicori, Tottenham midfielder Adel Taarabt (on a season-long loan) and former Ipswich keeper Andy Marshall, Argentine midfielder Alejandro Faurlin was Magilton's first and biggest signing.

The 22-year-old joined from Instituto in Argentina's second tier for £3.5m.

"We've had a good look at him and I believe he will be a valuable addition to the squad," said Magilton.

"He's a likeable young lad who plays with a smile on his face, so we'll have no problems."

The bad news for Rangers is that Faurlin is set to miss out tomorrow with a thigh strain.

Pool will have a decent surface to play on. The Loftus Road pitch was relaid at a cost of £500,000 during the summer.

Former Seasiders Kaspars Gorkss has been a regular in defence during the pre-season and is expected to start.

QPR (possible): Cerny, Ramage, Borrowdale, Gorkss, Hall, Balanta, Taarabt, Buzsaky, Agyemang, Routledge, Mahon

Star man:Wayne Routledge. Still only 24 yet playing for his seventh club, this talented and pacy winger needs stability to fulfill his potential, Has a tendency to chip in with useful goals and is a genuine match winner. Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Gazette/Steve Canavan - Ollie wants to make history
- ON the eve of his first Championship match as Seasiders boss, Ian Holloway stressed his desire to bring the good times back to Blackpool FC.
Holloway is aware of the club's proud past but wants to write a new chapter and make history himself, saying: "I am aiming up towards the top of this division."
- Buoyed by club president Valery Belokon's financial backing, the manager has been outlining his plans for the coming campaign, which includes bringing in several more players.
- So far he has signed Charlie Adam, Jason Euell and Billy Clarke, but Holloway was trying to add more new faces today before the big kick-off at his former club QPR.

Oldham right-back Neal Eardley remains a key target, with some reports suggesting a fee has been agreed for the 20-year-old.

Holloway, who can name seven substitutes this season, is also looking at making loan signings, possibly including former loan favourite DJ Campbell who is out in the cold at Leicester.

The boss has a long-term plan for the club – and is not scared of aiming high. Holloway said: "It's not about what we've achieved in the past, it's where we are going. We are making progress.

"The stand is going up and we are starting to look like a professional club. We've got something going here and there is a buzz about this place.

"You get a wedge of money to buy good players and get better training facilities, and you have someone in charge who wants to get to the Premier League.

"I remember Bill Shankly talking this way when Liverpool were in the second division. Look where they are now. Everything has to start somewhere.

"There is a perception of Blackpool as a small club – but look at the walls at Bloomfield Road. We are a fantastic club with a great tradition and still envied by a lot of people.

"People think I'm a joker but I'm not. When I do my job I do it properly and I want these lads to keep learning. I want to get this club and the perceptions of this club back where they should be. We have to be looking to get towards the top."

Holloway freely admits he hasn't yet got the squad in place to do that – but that's where Belokon's cash backing will come in. "The balance of my squad is nowhere near what I want," added the manager. "I will try to bring quality in because that is the only proper way to do it.

"I had a few loan deals lined up but they have all chosen to go somewhere else. We'll keep plugging away and there are things imminent."

Holloway hopes to get off to a flier at QPR, where he was in charge from 2001-06. Asked if he was relishing the trip to Loftus Road, he replied: "If you met your ex-missus in a pub would you have any feelings for her? Of course you would. You might hate her because it ended horribly. You might still love her, who knows?

"I am going there to win. And I don't just want to win, I want to win with style. Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Gazette/Steve Canavan - Pool hit by injury blow
DAVID Vaughan is almost certainly out of the Seasiders' Championship opener at QPR tomorrow after picking up a knee injury.
But trialist Ishmel Demontagnac has a chance of playing after Ian Holloway revealed he is to offer the former Walsall winger a contract.

Demontagnac, 21, is the only one of Holloway's six trialists to be offered a deal so far.

Defender Will Haining has been allowed to leave Pool as has former Chelsea and Espanyol frontman Enrique de Lucas.

Also on the way out are 18-year-old Australian Anthony Brann and Nigerian midfielder Blessing Kaku – a former Bolton player – who trained with the Seasiders but wasn't deemed fit enough to start a friendly game.

Midfielders Mark Hudson and Adam Nowland, who both played against Everton on Tuesday, have been invited to train with the Seasiders on Monday and will be given more time to impress.

Holloway kept his promise to make a swift decision about the majority of his trialists, though he admits that letting Haining go was difficult.

The manager said: "Sometimes in football things change and I will try to find a left-footed centre-half. That's what I need, rather than just taking another right-footed one.

"Will is very upset and I did apologise, but I'm not here to fail or to be nice. I am here to do what's right for the club.

"Hopefully he'll get in at the club where he has been offered a contract."

Vaughan is the only new injury blow ahead of tomorrow's London encounter, though the midfielder has been one of Pool's best players in pre-season.

"David has a knock on his knee and I am very upset about that," added Holloway.

"He is going to come on the trip and we'll have a look at him tomorrow morning." Blackpool Gazette


Fitz Hall insists a fast start is essential if Rangers want to be considered as serious contenders this term.

The R's kick-start their campaign against Blackpool on Saturday afternoon and Hall and co. are determined to hit the ground running.

"We need to get out of the blocks quickly," he told www.qpr.co.uk.

"It's of paramount importance that we start with a good performance and victory, because our home form will be vital this season.

"It (our home form) has not really been a problem in my time at the Club, but there are no easy games in this division, and nothing can be taken for granted."

Rangers have enjoyed a productive pre-season campaign, but Hall insists that will count for nothing come the big kick-off on Saturday afternoon.

"Blackpool are a very hard working side," he told www.qpr.co.uk.

"They proved that in the fixture here last season, when we had a lot of possession but struggled to break them down.

"They scored a great goal and even though we got back in it and dominated for large spells, we could only manage a draw, which was very harsh considering the amount of possession we had.

"Now Ian Holloway is there, they'll be even more difficult to beat, because he's the type of Manager that demands an unbelievable work ethic from his players."

*You can read more of Fitz Hall's exclusive thoughts in Saturday's matchday programme. Available in and around ground for just £3.99, your new-look 'Hoops' is a must-read on matchdays. QPR


Saturday's opening day fixture against Blackpool promises to be a tremendous occasion - both on and off the pitch - and our new Catering deal with Azure will give Rangers fans real food for thought.

Indeed, those supporters who arrive at the ground between 13.30pm-14.00pm on Saturday lunchtime will be handed a special voucher, which entitles them to a discount on our new and improved meal deal.

The voucher - which must be used before 14.15pm - will enable you to snap up a Pukka pie, a bag of Walkers crisps and either a soft drink or a bottle of Carlsberg, for just £5!

What's more, we'll have Magners on sale for the very first time at Loftus Road, and a portion of chips will now cost you just £1.50 - a fantastic saving of 50p from last season's prices!

Adam Elliott, Managing Director of Azure, told www.qpr.co.uk: "Our new partnership with Queens Park Rangers Football Club presents a fantastic opportunity for both Azure and QPR.

"Our experience and knowledge of hospitality in sporting venues will enable the expert team to challenge the status quo and ensure that the offering at Loftus Road reaches its full potential and beyond.

"By harnessing the team's know-how and passion, and its commitment to maintaining the highest service standards, we are making it our business to give players, fans, corporate guests and non-football-related customers alike, the quality hospitality experience that is synonymous with an Azure venue.

"It's been full steam ahead since we started operating on July 1st and we very much look forward to the exciting times ahead, working closely with the Club and the wider community."

Some Rangers fans had the chance to sample some of our new products at our recent Family Fun Day and the feedback has been really positive.

Karen Hampshire sampled some of our new vegetarian options, including the Veggie Burger, which will be available from kiosks number 2, 9 and 13, commenting: "Goodbye to making do with crisps and chocolate, at last a decent range of vegetarian food at Loftus Road.

"The welcome return of the tasty cheese and onion Pukka pasty and the new Monty's Margherita Calzone was a real treat."

Fellow Official Supporters Club member, Alison Burgess, added: "There seems to be a wide range of food available this year, with tastes and prices to please most people.

"The meal deals available are certainly a vast improvement on the inedible fare of the past."

QPR's Deputy MD, Ali Russell, added: "We've listened to the fans' feedback and we're really confident we've got a variety of products that will please all of our supporters, both young and old.

"The return of Pukka pies and the introduction of the Monty's range in the home kiosks offer far greater variety than ever before and we're confident the supporters' matchday experience will be significantly enhanced as a result." QPR

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