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Friday, October 22, 2010

QPR Report Friday: Cypriot Joining QPR?...QPR Compared to Other Great Teams..Taarabt Threatens Morocco...Torment Ahead...Derry Almost to Ipswich...

- Mark Falco Turns Fifty

-For QPR and Football Updates throughout the day, visit the ever-growing (and hopefully, always-improving!)QPR Report Messageboard/quasi-blog . All QPR and football perspective welcome. Or simply feel free to read the football-only updates and discussions. Also see: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER
- Tonight (in televized game including overseas) QPR at Bristol City

- Gareth Ainsworth Represented English Footballers at a Memorial Service in France for Footballers Killed during the First World War: More on WWI Footballers Killed

- QPR Finances - Decade Flashback: Director of Football Gerry Francis on the State of QPR Finances

- Flashback Article: What Makes a True Football Fan?

- Damien Delaney on his Recovery From Terrible Injury

- Out-on-Loan Player Returns Back Injured: Danny Fitzsimons Returns from Histon

- "Money Bags" Crystal Palace?

- Making Death Threats vs Wayne Rooney

- Thursday's Lippi Stories/Denials/Responses

James Nursey/Mirror -Warnock signs Cypriot free agent
- Championship leaders QPR are set to boost their promotion hopes by signing free agent Giorgos Tofas.
- Cypriot midfielder Tofas, 21, has been on trial at Loftus Road since last month.
- The attacking midfielder left Anorthosis on a Bosman this summer and is set to sign at Rangers until the end of the season.
- He was offered a scholarship as a youngster by both Man City and Fulham but opted to stay in Cyprus. Mirror

QPR compared to other great Championship Teams
- But WITHOUT a mention of comparison to past QPR teams such as Alec Stock's 67/68 QPR team, Gordon Jago's 72/73 QPR team and Terry Venable's 1982/83 QPR Team]

Barney Ronay Blog/The Guardian Blog home QPR are good, but where do they rank among the greatest second-tier teams?
There is a heady list of contenders, ranging from Alf Ramsey's Ipswich through to 02-03 Pompey, via Leeds and Liverpool

These are heady times for Queen's Park Rangers, the Championship's current early-season hare. A second consecutive goalless draw, the latest against Swansea City on Tuesday night, might have stilled their boisterous momentum; but if Neil Warnock's team can avoid defeat at Bristol City on Friday night they will have equalled a club record of 13 matches unbeaten from the start of the season.

The larger picture is even more feverishly hopeful. Lakshmi Mittal, the world's fifth richest man, owns 20% of the club. With the likelihood of money to spend in January should they remain in the running for promotion to the Premier League, there has even been some cautious talk about Rangers finding themselves transformed before long into one of the strongest teams to have emerged at this level for some time.

This may be a little premature. Against Norwich on Saturday, Rangers looked solid and sprightly rather than captivating, lacking in the excess of attacking options that marks out the best teams. Warnock still sounds a little nonplussed by the efforts of his main centre forward, Heidar Helguson. And while much has been made of Adel Taarabt's subtle talents, the Moroccan seems often to decorate games rather than dominating. Rangers may – technically - be the richest club in the history of English football's second tier. But they are still some way short, as yet, of registering as one of the best at this level.

There is a heady list of contenders for that particular title. Any attempt to identify the greatest second-tier teams is fraught with handicaps, requiring as it does a comparison between disparate eras and also an awareness of the temporary nature of these things: success can often lead to the dismantling, or at least, derailing of even the finest promoted team. A flush of second-tier success can often be tarnished by travails at the higher level. But it is still worth celebrating in its own right.

In recent times the Portsmouth team of 2002-03 stands out. Inspired by an Indian summering Paul Merson, Harry Redknapp's team went top of the table in the autumn and stayed there for the rest of the season. Two years earlier Fulham, in the first flowering of their brief Manchester-United-of-The-South period had topped 100 points by the end of the season, with Louis Saha scoring 27 times.

Kevin Keegan's title-winning team of 1992-93 is worth a mention, as is, from a personnel point of view, the promotion-winning Newcastle United of 1983-84, who could field Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley and Keegan himself, soon to depart his playing career via post-match helicopter.

Howard Wilkinson's Leeds United demand consideration by their achievements alone: champions of the second tier in 1990, Leeds won the last Football League top tier title two years later with pretty much the same group of players. The 1981 West Ham United champion team was a delight: Billy Bonds, Alan Devonshire, Paul Goddard and Trevor Brooking had also played a part in winning the FA Cup from the second division the previous year.

Beyond that, things become a little fuzzed by the passing of time. There are those who will be able to make a case for Bill Shankly's Liverpool or Don Revie's Leeds, both of whom topped the second tier in the early 1960s.

My own preference, based solely on their enduring legend, would be for Alf Ramsey's Ipswich Town, champions of the Second Division in 1961 and then champions of the top tier a season later fielding an almost identical team. Under Ramsey, Ipswich came pretty much from nowhere, propelled by the benevolent chairmanship of the eccentric John Cobbold and inspired by Ramsey's innovative tactics that involved deploying the one-paced, one-footed but sublimely talented inside forward Jimmy Leadbetter in an unusual roving attacking role.

There are, no doubt, many unforgivable omissions in this list. The only thing that seems certain is that – club records and sub-continental fortunes aside – the current QPR team has some illustrious forbears to live up to in its pursuit, not just of promotion, but of extreme second-tier excellence. Guardian

Ian Winwood/Mirror - Why QPR fans should be prepared for months of torment before planning their promotion party
- Last week a mate of mine sent me a message via Facebook inviting me to a party. My friend lives in New York and works for the New York Rangers ice hockey team at Madison Square Garden. My friend though is a Londoner, and in a nice piece of symmetry supports this city’s Rangers, QPR.

The party is set to take place in May and is set to honour Queen’s Park Rangers’ promotion to the Premier League. The invite requested I R.S.V.P., so I did. I emailed back with the words ‘you arrogant b*****d.’

Since being invited to the Super Hoops’ promotion party six and a half months hence, the Hoops haven’t been quite so super. On Saturday the West London club drew nil-nil at home to Norwich City, while on Tuesday they played out the same score away at Swansea City. QPR still sit atop the Championship pile, but only two points separates them from second place Cardiff City.

Assuming that my friend, who likes a drink, might enjoy a chilled glass of Schadenfreude I emailed him just to make sure he’d clocked his club’s relatively slow week. In reply he was uncommonly testy.

Why? Well, perhaps because the pressure that surrounds possible promotion had already begun to kick in.

As it happens, the team that I support also ply their trade – for now at least – in the Championship. In my years supporting Barnsley I have seen my club promoted four times and relegated twice.

I speak from experience when I say that I’ve found the campaigns that culminated with promotion far more stressful than those that ended with an exit from the other end of the table.

Of course when promotion is secured it is the most wonderful of things. But the 46 games it takes to get there, well, they’re something else entirely.

In August of 1996 Barnsley began their season with five consecutive wins - a run that surprised everyone, probably even the team themselves. At that point the Tykes had never played football in England’s top division, but the start was so good and the footballing so graceful – this was the period when the fans began singing “it’s just like watching Brazil” – that even the most snake-bitten of fans, of which we have plenty, couldn’t help but wonder whether this might just be Our Season.

The first defeat came in game number six, coincidentally at home to Queens Park Rangers. On that day I happened to be in Belgium interviewing Metallica and I learned the result from James Hetfield’s guitar technician, himself a Sheffield Wednesday fan. I remember being amazed by how much that defeat felt like the end of the season, if not the world.

Throughout that whole of the 1996-97 campaign Barnsley did not fall lower than fifth place. The club gave me one of the most intense moments of my footballing life when on the 21st of December they scored an 87th minute winner against Sheffield United at Brammal Lane that ensured that ours was the name that sat atop the table on Christmas Day. Walking away from the ground, I remember thinking, We can do this.

And we did. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, on the last home game of the season Barnsley beat Bradford City 2-0 to secure promotion to the top flight for the first time in the club’s then 110 year history. As Clint Marcelle slotted home the second goal just seconds before the end of the game I remember looking around Oakwell and seeing a stadium that had lost its mind.

That image is my one abiding memory from that magical season, and because of that I remember it as being nine months that I enjoyed immensely.

But, really, I know that this wasn’t the case. It was a miserable, fretful time. Why? Because the possibility of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is the worst kind of defeat there is.

Queens Park Rangers still look like a squad and an organisation destined from promotion. But unless the team win the title by 20 clear points – as Bolton did in 1997 – then the fear that they may fail will haunt the thoughts of Super Hoops’ fans much more than the expectation that they will succeed.

The promotion party that my friend in New York is planning will, if it comes to pass, be a hell of a bash. But the months between then and now will be no fun at all.

In football, as in life, happiness is often remembered rather than experienced - Mirror

EADT 24 - Keane Confirms Derry Was Close to Joining Blues

Boss Roy Keane has confirmed that QPR midfielder Shaun Derry was close to joining the Blues in the summer. TWTD was first to reveal that Town were targeting the 32-year-old then-Crystal Palace captain when he was about to become a free agent back in May.

Keane revealed that Derry was at Portman Road and the move was all but done, a scenario he alluded to earlier in the season. The Blues boss says Derry is the sort of player you need in the Championship: “He was here, we wanted to sign him, he wanted to sign, but we never did the deal.

“They are the type of players that I think you need to try and get out of this league, even though our younger players are doing well. The John Eustaces, the Lee Carsleys, you need them.

“I’m not surprised when I see where QPR are with people like Shaun Derry in their team. He knows I’m a fan of his anyway. I had a good chat with him in the summer and I was disappointed we didn’t get the deal done. He’s knows the Championship very well, he knows the game.”

Derry’s not the greatest passer of the ball but Keane says he does a lot of the hard midfield graft and knows the ins and outs of the division: “The Championship isn’t necessarily about passing, it’s about being streetwise with your team-mates, the opposition, with the officials. Shaun’s good like that.

“But you miss out sometimes and there’s no point in crying over spilt milk. He wasn’t the only one we missed out on, he wasn’t the only one who wanted to sign. The club weren’t prepared to do a deal but, as they say, that’s life.”

The Town manager says he’s not too upset by the failure to add experienced players in the close season: “I’m not frustrated. There was a decision made over the summer that we wouldn’t be bringing in these experienced boys and again we’re a little bit dependent on the loan market with Jack coming in, Jake, Andros and Darren O’Dea. They’re all good players and we should be grateful we’ve got them into the club.

“There’s always that little bit of doubt when you lack players who are streetwise and know the Championship inside out.

“Frustration would be too strong. I was disappointed at the time when we missed out on Shaun, but I think any manager is when you’ve missed out on a player you think you’re getting who will help the club, whether it’s a Derry or a Carsley or a Kilbane, whoever it might be.”

Keane says the squad also lacks a bit of know-how due to the number of summer departures: “For Steady we got a decent offer and the club accepted it. I was fine with that, but we lost a bit of experience.

“Having said that, we brought in Márton Fülöp and Mark Kennedy, although obviously Sparky’s injured so we’ve not had that run of games with him.

“It’s not just about their footballing talent but their experience. Even the likes of Garvs and Alex Bruce, as much as you can say it was good business for the club, we’re missing players who have played 200 or 300 games.

“Jon Walters, David and Richard Wright too, even though ultimately we didn’t want to hold onto them. We got good offers and some of their contracts were up and we wanted to change the dynamics of the squad, but I wouldn’t have predicted that we’d have lost that many players.

“However, I’d still make the same changes tomorrow, but we didn’t get the one or two experienced players we were after in the summer for one reason or another.”

The Town manager is pleased with his youngsters but says that the volume of games can take its toll: “The likes of young Luke Hyam have done well over the last few weeks but I keep saying that these young boys will have to be taken out.

“Not due to the physical side, they can run all day, but the mental side of playing Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday. It’s difficult for top players, let alone young boys learning their trade.”

Keane was pleased with another of his youngsters at Watford in midweek: “Ronan Murray did well the other night but that was as a substitute. We can’t start young Ronan up against two big, strong centre-halves for Forest who have played a lot of games.

“You saw Murray when we played Tottenham down here and he’s got the heart the size of a lion, but at this moment in time he’s more of a substitute, physically he still has to do a bit more.

“That said, the other night he looked more likely to score than anybody and credit to the boy for that. Same when he came on at Exeter. We can talk about what he lacks, but he gets in the right areas and he’s tenacious.”

Keane, who says he hopes owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg understand why he wanted players such as Derry, believes all bosses appreciate what these seasoned campaigners can bring to the table: “Every manager would like one or two experienced players, not necessarily for what they do on the pitch but in a dressing room situation before a game or at half-time.

“We’re depending on one or two of the younger players but that’s the way it’s panned out and maybe our role here is to help these younger boys become better players. Whether that can get us out of this league is a big ask.

“Saying that, the kids might surprise us. The kids are capable of bouncing back after the disappointment of the last few games. People like Luke, who has been given a rest in the last week, Tom Eastman’s played four games for us and done reasonably well, young Troy, Murray, Wickham, Reggie.

“We might look back and say this has been the making of them, even with the disappointments. As I keep saying, as much as we had a decent start, there will be blips along the way and it’s how you deal with the blips.” Twtd

Goal.com/Ramy Ayari - QPR midfielder Adel Taarabt threatening to quit Moroccan national team
Playmaker says he was disrespected by his technical staff in Tanzania

Morocco midfielder Adel Taarabt is no longer interested in responding favorably to call-ups from the Atlas Lions, after feeling disrespected by caretaker boss Dominique Cuperly.

Cuperly opted not to utilize the Queens Park Rangers man during the last match of 2012 AFCON qualifying against Tanzania, as his side went on to register a 1-0 victory.

"This season I think I’m going to stop playing for the national team," Taarabt told Le Matin.

"I want to concentrate on my club because the national team hasn’t respected me and since I don’t want to hut it then I’m just going to pull back and let other youngster take my place."

He added: “The fact that I was called up and didn’t play doesn’t sit well with me at all and since I have a personality that makes me want to always play and now I’m not playing, I’m going to step back.

"Last time, I traveled for 22 hours by plane and in the end I didn’t play and nobody explained why. I took this decision with my family. I don’t want to respond favorably to the FRMF call-up to face Northern Ireland on the 17th of November."

The news has come as a shock in the north African country where Taarabt is highly regarded, not only for his skills but also for his loyalty - especially during the failed 2010 AFCON/World Cup qualifying campaign when many stars, including Marouane Chamakh, refused to play for the Atlas Lions at one point or another for unconvincing reasons. Goal.com

RIP - QPR Official Site - ACTING CORPORAL DAVID BARNSDALE The Club was saddened to hear of the passing of Acting Corporal David Barnsdale, from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), earlier this week.
Barnsdale, who was an avid QPR fan, was killed clearing explosive devices in Afghanistan.
The Club expresses its deepest condolences to Mr Barnsdale's family and friends at this time.
We are currently in dialogue with his family and friends and will pay our own tributes in due course.

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