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Sunday, October 10, 2010

QPR Report Sunday Snippets...Rodney Marsh's New Book


-"(back row, l-r) Frank Sibley, Bobby Keetch, Ron Hunt, Mark Lazarus; (middle row, l-r) Tony Hazell, Jim Langley, Peter Springett, Mick Kelly, Mick Leach, Alan Wilks; (front row, l-r) Ian Morgan, Les Allen, Mike Keen, Rodney Marsh, Roger Morgan" - From Club Shop
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- QPR and other Clubs and Downs Mini Tournament

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- Eleven Year Flasback: No Ndah to QPR

- Millwall "Fans" Appear in Court (NOT re the QPR Game)

Appropriately on: 10-10-10

- On this Day, Five Goals by the QPR #10 Understudy, Alan Wilks

- Rodney Marsh Book Promotion

By Jim Holden, Chief Sports Correspondent

THERE’S a twinkle in his eyes as Rodney Marsh savours the fact that his two great loves in football, Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City, are now owned by the two richest men in the foot world.

Billionaire money is bringing success to both clubs this season, with QPR top of the Championship and Man City second in the Premier League.

Marsh, the striker who became a legend at both clubs as a showman and entertainer in the 1960s and 70s, has watched both sides recently on a visit over from his home in America – and his verdict is typically strident.

“I enjoy watching QPR, but I can’t say the same about City,” said Marsh.

“Rangers play a lovely open, attacking style of football; it’s a treat to see them at the moment.

“And I can’t duck the issue. I don’t like how City are playing. They are playing in a negative way. They set up their team not to concede goals and not to get beaten.

“It’s not what I want. It’s not how I’d like to see them play. But it is winning football. It is going to be successful, and I admire Roberto Mancini for that because I want Manchester City to win the Premier League.

“I’ve been to the last two home matches against Chelsea and Newcastle. I didn’t enjoy the football, but I thought Man City’s organisational performance against Chelsea, from a structural and tactical point of view, was perfect.

“They played the perfect game. I didn’t enjoy it because I prefer free-flowing football like Arsenal and Barcelona.

“Arsenal take my breath away sometimes. City were staccato, the play stopping all the time. But they did the ugly things so well. And if you’re going to win the league you have to do the ugly things as well.

You have to applaud the results that Mancini is getting. I don’t like it. I don’t enjoy it, and I can understand why someone like Carlos Tevez is frustrated by the style of play and moans to the manager.

“If it was me, I would be completely frustrated and upset. Strikers don’t want to live on scraps.

“Mancini won’t change, though. I don’t think City can win the league playing any other way. They don’t have the midfield players for it, someone like Cesc Fabregas or Frank Lampard, and they’ll definitely need that if they have ambitions to be a top Champions League side.

“Nevertheless, the way they are now, City will still be the strongest challengers to Chelsea this season.

“I would be thrilled if that’s the case, just as I will be delighted if QPR win promotion to the Premier League.

“I had to smile when I saw that Rich List the other day. QPR were number two with an owner worth £17billion and City were top with £20billion. Boy, I wish I was still playing today.”

Which of his teams would he choose if that were the case?

“I had a love affair for four years with Manchester City fans when I was at the club, and I still have now when I come to watch them,” said Marsh. “But QPR are the team closest to my heart. They took me from the wilderness, and we won the League Cup and I won an England cap as a Third Division player, which is unheard of. It made my life; it was a fairytale really.”

Marsh is fondly remembered at both clubs, and by older supporters at many other teams, as a footballer who played with panache and irreverence.

He, along with his old pal George Best, was one of the entertainers who wanted to make people smile when they came to a ground on a Saturday afternoon.

It was an approach that took him into countless scrapes, many of which are recalled in his new book published this week.

He can talk forever about the fun of the game, but his eyes stop dancing when the question turns to the ferocious tackle by City midfielder Nigel De Jong last weekend that left Newcastle opponent Hatem Ben Arfa with a double leg break.

Now there is steel in the glare of Marsh. “It was a bad tackle, no question,” he said.

“A bad tackle. But I hate what happens afterwards and Newcastle start demanding extra punishment. I don’t like that.

“The game now doesn’t have any more tackles like that one than it did in the past. It’s just that they get highlighted more.

“What you have to remember is that football is a man’s game. You’ve got to take care of yourself; you’ve got to protect yourself. You have to to protect your team-mates. It will always be that way; it will never change.

“The minute players start pulling out of tackles, that’s when the game is going to die. You have to go in. We’ve all committed fouls; I’ve elbowed people in the face and I’ve had my fair share back.

“I don’t like the sterile approach and people who say, ‘Let’s cut out all the contact’. I hate that.”

Whether you agree with him or not, it’s clear that Rodney Marsh remains as outspoken as ever. But while he appreciates, if not enjoys, what an Italian manager is doing for Manchester City, it’s not the same with Fabio Capello’s leadership of England.

“Our national team should be managed by an Englishman,” said Marsh. “It has to be someone who understands our football.

“I wasn’t surprised when England were so dismal at the World Cup. In fact, I hoped they wouldn’t win the tournament.

“It doesn’t seem any better now. Look at the latest squad. He has picked Kevin Davies, who will be 34 next year. Are you mad? It’s just amazing.

“What it shows that we don’t have enough players, and I think it will only get worse. Have we got a great young English central defender coming through? Have we?

“It is crisis time for English football. In five years our national team is going to implode because there will be no English players coming through. It will implode.

“People also ask me who should be the English manager instead of Capello, and the truth is I don’t have a clue. I honestly think there isn’t anyone good enough.

“I look around. Sam Allardyce? Not for me. Even Harry Redknapp? Not for me. And I love Harry. It is an indictment of the game in this country.

“We will have nowhere to go. We are going to be leaderless, rudderless, and without players. I know it’s doom and gloom, but that’s how I see it.”

* Rodney Marsh, I Was Born A Loose Cannon (Optimum £19.99).Says football legend


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