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Saturday, January 22, 2011

QPR Report Saturday Update...Miller Joins (WBA Recall Option)...Assessment of Signings...Routledge Flashback...Warnock's Weekly Column

"PIC: HAPPY MEMORIES...Miller lifts the Championship trophy at Loftus Road in May 2008"
Throughout the day, updates, comments and perspectives re QPR and football in general are posted and discussed on the QPR Report Messageboard...Also Follow: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER

- Game Time "Live Chat" on the QPR Report Board: Today-Discuss today's non-QPR games

- Flashback from Early January: Routledge Linked to Liverpool in 8 Million pound move!

- Year Flashback: Routledge Leaves QPR for Newcastle and Talks re Move

- Two Year Flashback: Routledge Joins QPR (for the first time!)

- Video Snippet from last week's Burnley vs QPR

- Year Flashback: Nigel Quashie Returns to QPR(Played four games for QPR)

- Flashback: Pascal Chimbonda Joins Blackburn...Spurs...Sunderland...Spurs from Wigan

- Gerrard Houllier's strange claim and Ken Bates in Court

Ishmael Miller Joins QPR - But WBA have a Recall Option

Queens Park Rangers have clinched the loan signing of West Bromwich Albion striker Ishmael Miller.

The 23 year-old front-man has penned a 93 day deal that runs until April 24th 2011.
Gaffer Neil Warnock is confident the former Manchester City hit-man will have a positive impact in W12 over the next few months.

"Ishmael is a player I have been looking at for a long time. I have always liked him, and when it was put to me about bringing him in, I asked the Board to support me," he said.

"It is not guaranteed yet until the end of the season, but we are optimistic that before the end of January that might be the case."I thought he did very well in his first training session today - he looked good and fitted in well. We have got a good group here anyway, so it is always easy for people to fit in.

"Having won promotion with West Brom last season, he knows what it is all about.

"He gives us something that we haven't got, because we have lost Jamie Mackie for the season and Patrick Agyemang for a spell.

"Ishmael has got an abundance of pace, and we are glad to bring him in."

Miller - whose pace and power are key attributes to his game - is eager to get going in the famous Blue and White Hoops and told www.qpr.co.uk: "When a team like QPR - who are top of the league - come calling, you can't ask for much more.

"I've watched QPR play a few times this season, and the gaffer has assembled a great squad.

"Having met the lads today, you can see there's a great camaraderie within the squad.

"I'm here to get games and kick-start my career again."

Miller has been handed the number 29 shirt.

WBA OFFICIAL SITE - Miller becomes a loan Ranger
ISHMAEL Miller has joined QPR on a three-month loan in search of some much-needed match action.

The Baggies have an option to recall the former Manchester City marksman after the initial 28 days of his loan.Miller will be hoping for a drastic upturn in fortunes at Loftus Road.

After making his return from a serious knee injury 12 months ago, he has struggled to get any momentum going due to a series of niggling injuries.

The fact Albion have mainly operated with a lone striker this term and the form of summer signing Peter Odemwingie have also been key factors in Miller being restricted to only four Barclays Premier League substitute appearances.

In his absence, Roberto Di Matteo can call on the services of Marc-Antoine Fortune, Roman Bednar and Simon Cox.

Ishmael Miller is a product of Manchester City's successful youth policy.

After joining City on schoolboy forms in 2000, his fine form for the Club's Academy and Reserve sides elevated him to the fringes of the First Team squad.

He went on to make his senior debut in March 2006 - just two weeks shy of his 19th birthday.

His involvement in the City squad continued thereafter and prior to his move to West Bromwich Albion on loan in August 2007, Miller made 20 senior appearances for the Manchester outfit.

Miller initially joined the Baggies on loan, before - following a successful spell - the deal was made permanent in August 2007, for a fee believed to be £900,000.

He went on to form a lethal partnership with Kevin Phillips, netting nine times in just 15 outings.

In an injury-interrupted campaign, he notched 16 goals in total, as the Baggies clinched promotion.

The former England Under-21 striker gradually grew into Premier League life during the 2008/09 season and bagged his first-ever top-flight goal against Newcastle United.

His season was cruelly cut short, however, when an accidental collision with David James curtailed his season.

He penned a new five-year deal in October 2009, before returning towards the end of last season to play a crucial role in Albion's promotion push.

To date, he has featured in seven fixtures in all competitions this campaign.

David McIntyre Blog - The perfect fit
- The fact he was at QPR before is almost irrelevant. I’ve never been a huge fan of his, disagreed with the decision to sign him first time around, and thought the club were right to sell him. But by pure coincidence, the one player Rangers could really do with at this point in time happens to be Wayne Routledge.

It’s a loan signing (beyond that, I’d think twice) that works for so many reasons.

As a winger, Routledge is exciting but limited – as his unsuccessful forays into the Premier League have shown.

Part of that is because football’s changed. Fifteen years ago, Routledge would probably have played for England. But the days of a winger sprinting down the flank and slinging in crosses are gone. Defenders at almost every level are wise to it.

But Routledge is a perfect fit for Rangers because he is much more effective in the right-of-centre position he can play in at QPR. That role is made for him.

Coming in from the right wing rather than being glued to it, he can be devastating in the Championship and could yet make an impact at the next level in the future.

I’ve long thought that Routledge is a much greater threat when facing a centre-back rather than a full-back. And he’s dangerous when getting into space between the two, as well.

Jim Magilton felt this too, and moved him in from the wing. It didn’t work particularly well, but I reckon it will this time. Rangers are a different team now.

Routledge is also the perfect counter-balance on one side of a front three to what Tommy Smith offers on the other. Smith is a very clever player, while Routledge offers not only trickery but some much-needed pace, which is something Rangers have been lacking. Ishmael Miller offers this too and, if he can get fit, is capable of frightening the life out of defences.

And while Smith and Routledge are very different types of player, where they are similar is that they are equally capable both of pulling out wide and delivering a cross, and of offering a threat through the middle. That’ll be tough for teams to defend against.

Another reason – maybe the biggest – that getting Routledge makes sense is that his pace is now sure to affect the starting position of opposing defenders, who up until now have faced a side that are a bit one-paced. It’s likely to move defences back a few yards, and that will create more space for you-know-who behind the front three.

The signing also gives Rangers an attacking spark should Taarabt miss games, especially while Buzsaky attempts to get fit. And it simply sends out a message to the rest of the division, starting with Coventry, who already faced a tough task on Sunday and will now see the name of Wayne Routledge on the QPR team sheet.

Routledge is the right man at the right time. If I were in Neil Warnock’s shoes, especially since the injury to Jamie Mackie, I’d have been saying to the board: “Get me Wayne Routledge. Never mind what I said about him before.”

Whether it works in the longer term is harder to call, but for the coming months it’s the perfect arrival for Rangers, and the same can be said of Pascal Chimbonda.

He isn’t universally liked for reasons that have been well documented, but people who know Chimbonda well have told me there are few better players to have on board when he has something to aim for.

It’s when he gets comfortable that problems set in – which will be worth bearing in mind in the summer, when I expect Chimbonda to have been brilliant for Rangers and the calls for him to be given a longer contract to be deafening. For the time being though, he’s a magnificent player to have on board and Warnock has played a blinder to get him.

Chimbonda has never played outside the top division in this country, which speaks for itself. Ability-wise he’s an excellent player, and given Rangers’ position at this crucial time he’s an excellent signing as he can play anywhere across the back four. At Championship level, I fully expect him to be not just good, but awesome.

There might be some concern that these signings could change the atmosphere in the dressing room. I don’t think that’ll happen. Players arriving at this stage generally enter a dressing room where the atmosphere is already set in stone, and they have little choice but to go with the flow.

That should especially be the case at QPR, who are top of the league and on course to achieve their objective, and have good senior pros in the likes of Derry, Kenny and Hill.

I’m not used to praising QPR for their signings. It doesn’t happen very often. But 10 out of 10 for these, no question. - David McIntyre Blog

Independent - Neil Warnock: We didn't lose 9-2 to Spurs, it was actually 8-3. Mind you, if Beckham had played...
What I Learnt This Week

Saturday, 22 January 2011

I went to the reserve team's match at Tottenham on Tuesday. When I got there I thought, "I've never seen so many paparazzi at a training ground''. They were quite disappointed when I turned up.

Of course, they were there to take pictures of David Beckham. It just shows how fascinated people are by him. I had thought about taking William out of school for the day, just to meet him and see him play. In the end I decided that was the wrong idea, though I did see a few boys with their fathers waiting for photographs.

We had hoped Becks was going to play against us, but to the disappointment of our lads he didn't, though he was training on the next pitch. As you may have read, we lost, but Jeppo [Ronnie Jepson, our reserve team manager] wants you all to know it was not 9-2 as reported, but 8-3. Having lost two senior pros early in the day we were struggling to get a team out but Spurs were desperate to get the game on as Jonathan Woodgate and Jamie O'Hara needed a run-out. We ended up borrowing two young centre-halves off Tottenham.

I spoke to Jonathan afterwards and he seemed in good spirits. He asked about how Adel Taarabt was going on and we both smiled at the subject. I still don't think anyone at Tottenham can believe how well he is playing for us.

2. How to back a winner: put a fiver on all the horses running

We went to the races on Wednesday. I thought it was time we had a day away from football. I looked at a few possibilities but we couldn't find a lake which could accommodate us all for a day's fishing, and go-karting tends to be a bit dangerous at times. So we went to Kempton Park and were really well looked after. It was under lights, which made for a good atmosphere.

We had a good time, especially one of the lads who'd never been racing before but won race after race. He really made sure the other players knew each time he sauntered off to pick up his winnings. He was that confident that by the final race I decided to ask him which horse he was backing so I could get on it as well. He smiled and said "all seven of them, gaffer". That was his secret. He was backing all the horses.

For the first half-dozen races I tried to study the form, with devastating consequences – for me, not the bookies. In one race there was a horse called Jonny Ebeneezer. The form said he'd not won since 2004, and had a bad run last week. He was the outsider of 10. He romped home. It's a mug's game, isn't it?

So eventually I went back to picking horses because I liked their names. In the last race I chose West Leake because I used to drive through a place with a name like that when I played for Sc**thorpe. I told all the boys but nobody backed it, so you can imagine my delight when I shouted it home at 6-1.

3. Somebody has tightened the elastic on my trousers

Sharon and I went to the Football Writers' Association tribute night to Thierry Henry at the Savoy Hotel on Sunday. Sharon was really looking forward to it, not because of Thierry, but because she saw a TV programme about the revamp of The Savoy and was keen to see the hotel. I have to say we were not disappointed, it really is superb.

I'd not been to a black-tie do for nearly a year and I made the mistake of not trying the DJ on until 20 minutes before we were leaving. You know what's coming. Yes, I couldn't get that button to fasten on the trousers. It was a devastating blow, but I suppose we've all been there. I was convinced the elastic had been tightened, unfortunately it hadn't.

As I went into the dinner someone suddenly thrust a hand at me and said, "Hello Neil". I accepted the hand, shook it, then realised it was Graham Poll. I didn't really know what to do, but I suppose life moves on, and he is a QPR fan after all.

Gérard Houllier said a few nice words about Thierry, a few more than Steve Bruce said about Gérard this week after Darren Bent joined Aston Villa. Knowing the move was about to happen must explain why Gérard was in such a good mood at the dinner. He did well to keep the secret because no one else knew about it, not Sunderland or even Bent apparently.

When I heard Niall Quinn's comments regarding the way Bent had been in the last two or three weeks on the training ground, I thought how often I had experienced similar things with players before they were involved in a move. I honestly don't believe there is one transfer that happens these days where the player and the buying club don't know it will happen before an approach is made. As a manager it happens for you, and happens against you, so we can't really complain.

Someone pointed out that Steve must know how it is, having left three clubs to enhance his own management career; in fairness there's not a lot he can say about that.

4. A great day for the referees – until Mike Dean's blunder

I spent Sunday afternoon in front of the television watching football, the Birmingham and Liverpool derbies, then Spurs v Man United. At half-time in the third game Sharon asked me what the games were like. I said: "You'll never believe this, but the best thing about them all has been the quality of the referees." I thought Mark Clattenburg was excellent at St Andrew's, and Phil Dowd superb at Anfield, despite giving a corner wrongly for an Everton goal. Then Mike Dean was having a great game at White Hart Lane when, on 73 minutes, disaster struck. I found myself saying out loud, "Please don't send him off for that," after Rafael collided with Assou-Ekotto.

I saw Harry compared it to the Mary Decker-Zola Budd incident and thought, "that's exactly what it was". There was no intention of bringing him down, Rafael never broke stride once. Mike really should have given him the benefit of the doubt. So although I like Tottenham, I was glad Man U held on.

5. Freedman's fine signing

Astonishingly, no manager in England has got the sack in the last week, at the time of writing anyway, which is a relief given the way things were going. Hopefully, everything has quietened down now and Avram can get down to the business of keeping West Ham in the Premier League, which seemed impossible at this time last week.

One new manager, Dougie Freedman who has taken over at Palace, has made the best signing he's ever likely to make by bringing in Lennie Lawrence. Dougie will be able to learn an enormous amount from Lennie in the coming months.

6. Well done, Skye, you deserve it. Now can I have a table?

Congratulations to my fellow Independent columnist Skye Gyngell, who writes for the Sunday paper, on winning a Michelin star for her work at one of our local restaurants, Petersham Nurseries. I'm not surprised as the food is fantastic, the only problem is I can never get a table when I ring up and it will be even harder now. So if you're reading this, Skye, please swing a table for me now and then.

It was just as hard trying to get into The Savoy today. We're training this morning as our game against Coventry is on TV tomorrow lunchtime. I'm going to relax with the kids and we thought about going to The Savoy for afternoon tea. I tried to swing it by telling them who I was and what I did. You will be pleased to know it didn't work.

7. Family's sporting success makes for a good night's sleep

It's been another good sporting week for the kids. Amy won her netball 11-1 and Will scored a try in a victory at rugby. He had a swimming gala afterwards, competing in the crawl, breaststroke and relay. Did he sleep well that night! I've never seen him hit the pillow and go out so quickly. If you could bottle that every parent would use it.

8. Clarke Carlisle, proof that not all footballers are thick

At Burnley last week we came across one of the most intelligent centre-halves in the country, if not the most intelligent, Clarke Carlisle. As anyone watching Question Time on Thursday night will have seen, he's a very articulate young man and I'm so pleased at how well he has done these last few years.

I tried to sign him at Sheffield United in 2004. He was confronting the problems he had with alcohol and had attended Tony Adams' Sporting Chance clinic. I was disappointed when he chose Leeds instead of ourselves, though in fairness to him his wife did come from that area – I told him Sheffield wasn't far away but he didn't have any sway. I kept an eye on his progress and was delighted when he played in the Premier League with Burnley and that he's still holding his own at Championship level. He's the answer to all those people who say that footballers haven't got much between their ears. Independent

R's boss Neil Warnock has swooped to bring former Rangers winger Wayne Routledge back to the Club on loan.

The 26 year-old - who only left the R's to join Newcastle United last January - has penned a deal until the end of the season.

Routledge's arrival represents a major coup for Warnock, who has always admired the former England Under-21 attacker.

Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, the R's gaffer expressed his delight at sealing the loan swoop, commenting: "I think Wayne just needs an arm around him. He is a super lad and a super player.

"He has always had a soft spot for QPR and I am delighted to bring him back to the Club.

"He hasn't done much training this week so we will have a look at him on Saturday and make a decision with regards to Sunday's game against Coventry."

Routledge - who made 49 appearances in all competitions in his previous spell in W12 - has been handed the number 15 jersey.

He told www.qpr.co.uk: "I'm really pleased to be back here.

"QPR have made a great start to the season and I'm really looking forward to playing some games and helping the Club push on during the remainder of the season."

Newcastle Official Site - Wayne Heads Rout On LoanWayne Routledge By Anthony Marshall

Wayne Routledge has joined Queen's Park Rangers on loan until the end of the season.

The winger, 26, heads back to Loftus Road, where he spent 12 months between January 2009 and 2010, and is expected to play a big role in the Rs' push for promotion out of the Championship.

Routledge has been at Newcastle a year, having signed from QPR towards the end of last year's January transfer window, and has made 36 appearances at St. James' Park to date. http://www.nufc.co.uk/articles/20110121/wayne-heads-rout-on-loan_2281670_2273034


R's gaffer Neil Warnock has strengthened his defensive options with the signing of French international Pascal Chimbonda.

The 31 year-old defender - who was named in the France World Cup squad in 2006 - has signed a short-term contract until the end of the season and will link up with his new team-mates on Saturday morning.

Chimbonda - whose contract at Blackburn was terminated earlier this week - has a wealth of Premier League experience, with spells at Wigan Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and recently Rovers to his name.

The R's beat off stiff competition from a number of Clubs to sign the former Le Havre and Bastia player, to the delight of Warnock: "It was important we added to our full back options when Kyle Walker returned to Spurs," he told www.qpr.co.uk.

"I had to bring someone in to give Bradley Orr and Clint Hill competition.

"To get someone of Pascal's experience and quality at this stage of the season is a massive boost."

Chimbonda - who will wear the number 39 shirt - told www.qpr.co.uk: "This is a good opportunity for me to be re-born as a footballer. Neil Warnock has given me a chance here and hopefully I can help QPR win promotion to the Premier League.

"I want to play good football here and enjoy myself on the pitch.

"The style of football that QPR play suits me, and this will provide a good challenge for me.

"I had a good talk with the Manager, and he told me he wants me to come here and give my best. He is a Manager who likes to win, and I am the same.

"I always give my best and that is what I will do here at QPR. I will do my best to win and I hope the fans will like me.

- Year Flashback: Tony Cotton Joins QPR as Assistant Manager to Mick Harford

NON LEAGUE DAILY - Halesowen Town star gets QPR chance
- QUEENS Park Rangers have offered Halesowen Town winger Ruben Izquierdo a trial.
- The Spanish youngster has been invited for a trial stint at the Championship leaders, though it will mean he misses the next few games of Halesowen’s battle to remain in the Zamaretto Premier.
- “Ruben played against them in a trial game and they want to have a longer look at him,” general manager Shaun Cunnington told the Birmingham Mail.
- “The lad has certainly got ability and we wish him all the best.” Non League Daily

- Five Years Ago: QPR Loss to Luton: Teams & Match Reports

- Platini Wants to Change the Football Season Calendar!

- Leon Jeanne Joins a New Club

- "The Biggest Mouths in Football" (including Warnock and Holloway)

- Next: QPR vs Coventry

- Past QPR Video Snippets: Crushing Spurs, Partisan Belgrade, AEK Athens and Chelsea

- Bucket Collection at Loftus Road, Sunday for 7 year old, Grace Murphy

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