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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Indian International Wishes Was at Loftus Road...Helguson Speaks re QPR...Help Haiti...Flashback: No China Game at Loftus Road...Old Football Grounds

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- On This Day: Three FA Cup Games for QPR

- West Ham's Karren Brady Suggests a name Change for West Ham United!

I wish, I had my QPR career: Sunil Chhetri
Times of India - Marcus Mergulhao, TOI Crest, 23 January 2010,
- The one thing Sunil Chhetri would change in his life/career if he could:
- I was close to realizing my European dream when I had a three-year contract with English first divisioners Queens Park Rangers (QPR). But my dream was kept on hold after the British government denied me a work permit.
- The rejection hurts to this day and it is something that I would have loved to change, if it was in my hands!
- Being so close and not getting there is disappointing. I still have a lot of football ahead of me and, hopefully, such opportunities will come knocking again. It’s not the end of the world, I know, but that one thing means a lot to me.
- Apart from the rejection, I am content with the way my life and career has shaped up. Times of India

Watford Observer

- "...Manager at the time, Paul Hart, had told Helguson he would play should he remain at Loftus Road but a loan move to Watford was secured and shortly afterwards, Hart left the club after just five games in charge.
- Hart was QPR's ninth manager since Italian Flavio Briatore took charge of the club in August 2007 but Helguson claims the constant change at the West London club will not affect him during his loan spell at Watford.
- He said: "It is not something you think about at all. I do follow what is happening. There are a lot of things happening and there is never a dull moment there – it keeps the papers happy and the journalists going.
- "Whoever is in there, there is no reason to worry about things because chances are there might be another new one in there in the summer, so we will wait and see then." Watford Observer

- Football has joined international governments, charities and aid agencies in the battle to help Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake that hit the island two weeks ago.
- The Football League has pledged its support to the recovery effort by placing the Disaster Emergency Committee's (DEC) Haiti Earthquake Appeal donation form inside every one of the 72 programmes over three weekends for free.
- Programmes for matches in Coca-Cola League 1 and League 2 will carry the advertisement on January 30 and February 6 and it will also feature in all Coca-Cola Championship matchday programmes on February 6 and 13 giving fans across England and Wales the opportunity to donate vital money to the people of Haiti.
- The full-page advertisement publicises the DEC donation line - 0370 60 60 900 - and includes means of donation by credit or debit card and cheque.
- Gavin Megaw, Director of External Affairs at The Football League said: "The Football League is pleased to be working with the DEC to raise awareness of this cause. We hope our small gesture helps the humanitarian effort at such a desperate time for the people of Haiti."
- West Bromwich Albion and Bristol Rovers are just two clubs that have already responded to the urgent appeal for humanitarian assistance.
- The Baggies played with the DEC Haiti Appeal logo emblazoned across their chests during the 2-2 draw with Newcastle United on Monday night and auctioned the 18 shirts off after the match to raise vital funds.
- Rovers called on volunteers to help hold a bucket collection for the appeal around their League 1 clash against Hartlepool United on Saturday.
- Click here to donate directly to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal.
Football League

Flashback: QPR Announce No China Game at Loftus Road
Three Years Ago after reports in the press that QPR would be play a friendly against China, the club issued a statement/denial on its official Site:
"[b]Correction: The Club has had it brought to its attention that Ceefax and Teletext are reporting a game between QPR and China on February 8. We would like to confirm that no such fixture is taking place at Loftus Road and we have already asked both parties to remove the story. No China Game."

- Pre-QPR Statement Press Reports of China Olympics Team UK Visit
International Herald Tribune/AP -China's Olympic soccer team to play three friendlies in England
The Associated Press Monday, January 22, 2007
- China's Olympic soccer team will play three friendly matches next month in England, part of the club's two-week training stint with London club Chelsea.
The Chinese Football Association confirmed Tuesday that its Olympic team will face Chelsea's reserve team on Feb. 5, followed by matches against Queens Park Rangers on Feb. 8 and Brentford on Feb. 16.
Queens Park plays in the League Championship, the level just below the Premier League. Brentford plays in League One, two rungs below the Premier League.
China, coached by Ratomir Dujkovic, is training in France and is expected to arrive on London on Feb. 1. Tribune

Chinese People Daily Dates confirmed for China Olympic soccer team's England tour
- The Chinese Olympic team's two-week England tour schedule has been confirmed with Ratomir Dujkovic's men expected to arrive in London on February 1, according to the Chinese Football Association.
- China will go up against the Chelsea reserves on Feb. 5 and two more friendlies await the team on February 8 (League Championship side Queen's Park Rangers) and 14th (League One side Brentford) before the squad returns home on February 16.
Queen's Park Rangers is standing at 21st at the 24-team League Championship with 30 points, one position above the relegation zone. Brentford is at the bottom of League One with 22 points. ..... Source: Xinhua

When Saturday Comes (WSC) Grounds for thought
22 January ~ In WSC 267 (May 2009) Ian Plenderleith identified the best websites for browsing old and extinct football stadiums

There's an online version of a book filled with aerial pictures of Lost Football Stadiums that shows the sites of demolished grounds. Some are shockingly prosaic views of housing projects, industrial estates and supermarkets. To many of us, it seems like sacrilege not just to demolish a ground, but also to leave little or no evidence that it ever existed.
- Scunthorpe's Old Showground is nothing but a memorial brick in a wall, while the flats of Leicester's Filbert Village no more resemble a rural settlement then they do a former football stadium. The preservation of Highbury's fa├žade is an honourable exception.
- Down at ground level, though, it's a depressing experience to wander along the aisles of, say, Sainsbury's in Scunthorpe, trying to imagine that right here by the stacks of Special K was the spot where Vince Grimes once regularly displayed his gargantuan talents. According to the website: "The site of the centre-spot was highlighted by a plaque in front of the delicatessen counter (however this was later removed and all that remains of the site's former use is a plaque by the entrance)." Were the meat slicers haunted by the sounds of a referee's whistle and the scrape of studs on thigh? Or were there just too many sad-eyed nostalgists standing in front of the honey roasted ham simulating the knock forward of an imaginary ball instead of ordering 12 ounces of Emmenthal?
- One of the eeriest settings for a ghost ground is at Stoke City's former Victoria Ground, which has remained unused in almost 12 years since demolition, to the ongoing chagrin of Stoke fans. One of them, Gareth Cooper, has written an entire website devoted to the venue – The Victoria Ground. Another, David Barker, decided to move on to the land this past January, reasoning that the law of adverse possession would allow him to own it after ten years if he stayed the decade and improved the land, which he began doing by picking up litter. The downside was that he had to live in a tent, and following the mysterious burning down of his shelter (Barker was not inside), the temporary tenant vacated the land, scotching his scheme to donate the land to the city for conversion into a public park.
- The property company that now owns the site, St Modwen, "the UK's leading regeneration specialist", claims on its website that it is "continually mindful of the impact of our developments on the communities in which we operate". Mike Herbert, the company's regional director, said its plans for "a residential-led scheme" – which was put on ice late last year because of the recession – allowed "for certain features to be incorporated into selected properties, in order to commemorate the sporting heritage". Which could turn out to be either 60-foot kids' climbing frames modelled on the original floodlights, or the token plaque in an outer wall.
- Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur fan Jim Tuite has founded a site to preserve part of the club's physical history in the light of recently announced plans to tear down White Hart Lane and build it anew. Tuite's not opposed to that at all, but just wants to Save The Red House close to the ground's entrance that for 60 years served as Tottenham's main headquarters and postal address, 748 High Road.
- The club's blueprint for the future contains no space for the Red House. It would be replaced by... open space. The architect himself told a public meeting that the Red House would block "a vital exit point", although the plans don't back up that claim. Then the justification was amended to say that such an old building would spoil the view of the spanking new stadium. Which sounds more honest, at least, just like the spokesman quoted by the site as saying: "Having the Red House sitting there by itself would just look stupid."
- The site has a better idea: "Tottenham propose incorporating a museum into their proposals, one that will surely house many pictures of the Red House. Could not the Red House be incorporated into a club museum?" If you agree that a shiny new vision should include more than a nod to the past, check out the site and write to the club.
- If campaigning for lost causes in football's corporate age becomes too depressing, at least there are sites that will cater to your wistful wallowing. Tim Rigby's Tim's 92 site is the kind of rigorous documentation of current league grounds that you'd expect from a conscientious groundhopper, but he also takes the trouble to check out ground graveyards when he's on his travels – you can see here, for example, the above-mentioned desultory plaque at Sainsbury's commemorating The Old Showground, or the no-thrills sign that marks the beginning of Lineker Street. Better still are his shots of Darlington's charming but vandalised former home, Feethams, just days before it was demolished, and Arnold Town's now sadly extinct Gedling Road ground.
- Other alternatives include cyber-flights around the country courtesy of the addictive Google Earth, or Old Football Grounds,an offshoot of Duncan Adams's much-lauded Football Ground Guide websites. This features not just dismantled grounds, but stands too, such as Crewe's Popular Stand and its precarious press box. On the site of Huddersfield's Leeds Road, there's now just a brass plaque in the tarmac of a retail estate to mark the centre spot. With the exception of that stadium's impressive successor, uniform functionality is eradicating character in stadium and stand design, but for those who can't help themselves from looking back, the internet has become the most accessible resting home for the game's extinct structures. When Saturday Comes

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