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Saturday, January 29, 2011

QPR Report Saturday Update

Year Before: Enlarged Photo
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

- Mail Snippet: QPR/Lita
- "Queen's Park Rangers boss Neil Warnock is ready to make a £2m bid for Lita" Mail

- Year Ago: Plummeting towards the "Third Division" - 7 points from 14 games

- Hull Previews & Stats

- Hull Fan Perspective of Hull and QPR

- Former QPR Physiotherapist, Prav Mathema, Off to Wales

- Two Ex-QPR Birthdays: Mark Stein & Steve Yates

- Southampton's Youth Development programme - and three-year old Ben Kosky piece re QPR's lack of youth Development

- West Ham Owners Declare Never Considered Axing Grant!

- Ledesma's Brighton Trial: No Decision Yet

- QPR Discipline
- : Football League "Queens Park Rangers continue to lead the way in the Championship table, and it's refreshing to see that the Hoops are also still a fair way down the bad boys' table. Neil Warnock's men have 273 fouls to their name to earn them 42 yellow cards and four reds." - Discipline Table

MIRROR - QPR new boy Miller looking forward to the magic touch of Warnock

Ishmael Miller is ­confident he will soon be the latest man to have his career turned around by Neil Warnock.

Hoops boss Warnock has carved out a ­reputation for rescuing players other gaffers had written off – with summer signing Adel Taarabt the perfect example.

Striker Miller, 23, endured a frustrating, injury-hit time at West Brom but now hopes his loan spell at Loftus Road will be the start of a new, happier chapter.

He said: “Neil Warnock was ­probably the main factor in me coming here.

“I’ve spoken to him a few times and he said he’d give me an ­opportunity to play regular football, which is what I want.

“I did well a few seasons ago and since then I’ve had some terrible injuries. Hopefully they’re in the past.”

The Hoops are five points clear at the Championship summit and can extend that if they win at Hull as second-placed Cardiff are not in action.

Miller made his Rangers bow as a second-half substitute on Sunday in the 2-1 win over Coventry and was hopeful of being handed a start at the KC Stadium.

Warnock revealed he would be proving a few people wrong if he could help Miller hit the heights again.

He said: “I think Miller needs someone like me. Some people told me never to touch Clint Hill with a bargepole because of his injuries before I took him to Palace.

“You can’t believe everything people tell you.”

Miller is not the only loan Ranger with something to prove as Wayne Routledge is back at Loftus Road.

The Newcastle winger spent 2009 with the Hoops before heading for the North East a year ago. It hasn’t worked out there but the former Aston Villa man bagged the winner against Coventry and left-back Hill was impressed.

He said: “I’d rather have him on my team than play against him. You always knew you were in for a tough game against him.

“He’s lively, quick and a quality finisher, so it’s great to have him on board.

“If the club can continue to bring in players of that calibre, that’s got to be good.

“Promotion’s what we’re trying to aim for and you need that ­competition to help the squad.” Mirror

Neil Warnock/Independent

Neil Warnock: Female officials aren't as good as men – they're better. I think it's a respect thing

What I Learnt This Week

If you had asked me 20 years ago if I ever thought a woman would be running the line in the Premier League, or refereeing in the Football League, I would have said "not in a million years as they have not got a clue about football".

Before you all write in to have me sacked I'd like to say things have changed, including my opinion. Not only have women achieved those positions, I find them better than their male counterparts. Maybe it is because players give them a little bit more respect.

To give you an idea of how accustomed to female officials I have become, when the story broke I remembered we had a female referee's assistant at one of our recent games. But I couldn't remember which game, or who she was. I had to have it looked up. It was Sian Massey, at Burnley a couple of weeks ago. It was the second QPR game she had done this season. I've never had a problem with Sian and I found her forerunner, Wendy Toms, more than acceptable. While I'm sad to see Richard Keys lose his position, because I've always found him very easy to deal with, if there is anything good to come out of this week's furore it is that the cause of women officials has been given a big boost.

I think women are in football to stay and I can honesty envisage the day when we have a female referee in the Premier League.

In a similar vein, if you'd told me I'd have a female physiotherapist working for me I would have said something sarcastic, but at Palace I was introduced to a young lady in Sangi Patel. When she was made redundant in the summer I didn't hesitate in offering her the assistant physio position at QPR.

There might have been raised eyebrows around the staff room, and indeed the players, when she turned up but myself and Nigel Cox, the head physio, can't praise her enough for the job she does in a really tough man's world. I think it helps having her around at times, though there have been one or two away games when I have felt like apologising to her on the bus after an angry post-match post-mortem.

Why should us men be surprised that women are capable of doing these jobs? Many have been doing a fantastic job at home for years, and I don't mean that as a joke. Every now and again I'm reminded of how difficult it is, like this week when Sharon has been away for the last four days so I have been looking after the kids. Getting William up, washed, dressed, breakfasted, cleaning his teeth, finding his shoes, wondering where his tie has gone, leaves me exhausted by the time I drop him off at school.

2. Muscat's madness brought back a lot of painful memories

A name from the past brought back a lot of unhappy memories this week. Kevin Muscat had been sent off for a horrific challenge playing for Melbourne Victory. It was as bad a challenge as I have seen. I must have been fined at least a couple of times for having a go at him regarding injuries to my players. Some of the incidents with him I have never been able to understand why.

The daft thing is I have always thought he would have been one of the best full-backs in the country if it was not for this red mist. He's got an eight-game ban which takes him to the end of the season and, I hear, the end of his career.

3. I know how Harry felt, I've been robbed across the world

I read last weekend about Harry Redknapp being robbed of everything in his pockets when he went to see Atletico Madrid play. It can happen, and I know. When I was at Sheffield United I went to Istanbul to see a centre-half playing for Turkey against Switzerland in a World Cup play-off about five years ago. His name was Alpay, Aston Villa fans will remember him.

As we were queuing up there was a big surge. I'd kept my hands in my coat pockets, but I took them out for a second to steady myself and my phone was stolen. I suspected this guy in front with a big overcoat. I had a Turkish guy with me and he grabbed the bloke but the thief opened his coat to show he had nothing. I was told he would have passed it to an accomplice. What can you do?

I could understand how Harry must have felt, when you lose your phone you feel sick. My night didn't get much better. Inside it was very tense as Switzerland lost 4-2 but went through on away goals. I was sat amid thousands of Turkish fans and by the end I was waving a red-and-white scarf above my head to blend in.

At full-time, there was a mass brawl on the pitch with the Turkish lads kicking and punching the Swiss. Alpay was right in among it throwing a few good right-hooks for which he got a long ban. I actually met him after the game in the hotel and I was surprised to find he was a nice guy, I suppose he said that about me as well.

I also got done in Vietnam when I went to watch China play, also for Sheffield United. I was walking down the street and a little old lady, she must have been about 80, stopped sharply in front of me. I had to check and bumped into her. I apologised and off she scuttled, only for me to find within a couple of minutes all my money had gone out of my pockets.

4. The ref denied a penalty to keep the game interesting

Of all the games this week the one I enjoyed most was Blackpool v Man United. At 2-0 it was fantastic, what a scoreline, what a shock was on the cards. Then just after half-time the commentator said Peter Walton, who was referee, had had Man United 18 times and they had never been on the losing side. I had to smile at that and, sure enough, within 60 seconds Luke Varney was brought down for the most obvious dead cert penalty you could imagine. If converted I'm sure Blackpool would have gone on to win the game. A couple of papers wondered what the decision would have been had it been at the other end. We'll never know, but Blackpool didn't get it and United went on to stage that incredible comeback to stay unbeaten.

Sir Alex made his presence felt when, in front of the dug-out, there was a tackle made by Charlie Adam. The referee was obviously not going to book him when up jumped Sir Alex saying his player had been booked for a tackle. What does Walton do? He makes a late decision to issue a yellow card.

United's comeback, after surviving that penalty appeal, took me back to when I was playing at Sc**thorpe and reffing in the local leagues. One Sunday I did a game at an RAF camp in horrendous conditions. One team, despite kicking up the slope, got into a 3-0 lead. Just before half-time they had a certain penalty. I thought to myself, "if I give this it'll be 10-0 in the second half and I won't enjoy it all". So I didn't give it. You all know what happened next. In the second half the other team scored four goals to win the game. I went quickly and quietly to my car after the game. I remember telling the home club secretary to keep my expenses for the club coffers. He was grateful, but it was the only way I thought I could compensate for what I had done.

5. What's wrong with Ollie taking a transfer cut? I did

What a hullabaloo over Ian Holloway taking a percentage of transfer fee sales. There's nothing new about that. I had it in my contract at Notts County two decades ago. In my case it was because my basic salary was low compared to everyone else in the division, that's possibly the same with Ian.

If he has an incentive to get the highest possible fee for his players it not only helps the club, it satisfies the chairman and board, too. It doesn't mean you are going to want to sell players because it weakens your team and if your team isn't strong enough eventually you'll be out of a job altogether.

Ian's certainly been in the news. I'd love to speak to the committee that fined Blackpool £25,000 for "fielding a weakened team". I'd ask them why, when Liverpool played 10 reserves at Fulham a few years ago – enabling Fulham to get the result that kept them up – they didn't fine Liverpool.

6. Nothing like a trio of star turns to get you on your feet

Amy was in a performing arts night at school. She recited a poem and sang the Peter Pan song: "The Second Star to the Right." It brought a tear to Sharon's eye. It does when they're your kids.

Will's highlight was on the rugby pitch on Wednesday. He got the ball right in front of me. I said "go on son", and he ducked and dived through tackle after tackle to score a try. I jumped up to celebrate just like I did when Wayne Routledge scored our winner against Coventry last Sunday.

7. Some players have lost sight of values Lofthouse stood for

What a wonderful send-off for Nat Lofthouse this week. It was great to see how well-attended his funeral was. He was always a gentleman whenever you met him. Nat was in the same mould as Bobby Robson, Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Armfield. It's hard to think of many others like them.

And talking of much-admired centre-forwards, I see Emmanuel Adebayor is saying Real Madrid is the best club in the world. I bet that's endeared him to fans of Manchester City and Arsenal

Football League/Chris Charles Blog
In the week one football double act talked themselves out of a job, another was reborn at Loftus Road.

QPR's Adel Taarabt has arguably been the player of the Championship this season and he combined with the returning Wayne Routledge to devastating effect against Coventry.

Taarabt flicked a sublime 40-yard pass with the outside of his foot into the path of Routledge, who controlled and finished with aplomb to seal a 2-1 victory that sent Rangers five points clear.

"If that had been Xavi and Messi they'd be showing it for years," said the bloke next to me, followed by about 20 texts saying much the same thing.

Even Rio Ferdinand was moved to tweet: "I'd pay to watch Adel Taarabt. The kid's got silks in abundance." Silks?

Not everyone was in awe of the Moroccan, however, with visiting manager Aidy Boothroyd admitting: "I was tempted to run on and kick him myself!"

The Sky Blues' Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest are the form team of the Championship with four wins on the bounce, including a victory in the Derby derby.

Former Ram Robert Earnshaw got the winner at Pride Park and celebrated by conducting the Forest fans in a lengthy singalong, earning him a caution for his troubles.

The division's other form horses, Watford, came unstuck at second-placed Cardiff, who ran out 4-2 winners in a thrilling see-saw contest.

The Bluebirds recently strengthened their squad by bringing in Arsenal's Jay Emmanuel Thomas, whose initials give him a ready-made nickname.

Over on the Cardiff City Message Board they were trying to think of songs for the new boy, with little success. I'm no songsmith but can I humbly suggest Wings' 'Jet' might do a job?

Chant of the week came from Ipswich fans in north London for the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final.

After the first encounter, Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas accused the Tractor Boys of being a 'rugby team', prompting the travelling faithful to respond with several choruses of 'Swing Low'.

Ipswich manager Paul Jewell said before the game: "I'd fancy beating Arsenal at rugby - perhaps if we were playing at Twickenham we might stand a chance."

Sadly they found themselves at the Emirates playing football and after holding out for an hour the Gunners eventually triumphed 3-0.

At least Jewell got his first league win under his belt with a 3-2 triumph over Doncaster, while neighbours Norwich kept their dream of successive promotions alive with victory at Sheffield United.

Swansea are just behind the Canaries in fourth after leaving it late to snatch a point at Barnsley - Scott Sinclair levelling from the spot for goal number 17 this season.

The Tykes were without leading scorer Adam Hamill, following his move to Wolves, although new signing Danny Haynes stepped up to the plate three days later with a debut double to give Barnsley the points at Doncaster.

Hamill marked his Oakwell farewell by throwing his shirt into the crowd and when boss Mark Robins was asked if there was any significance in that, he drily replied: "The significance is he will be getting a £100 fine for it."

Leeds kept themselves in the promotion hunt with a 2-2 draw at Portsmouth. At one stage the floodlights went out at Fratton Park, prompting the visiting fans to politely inquire whether the owners had paid the electricity bill.

At the bottom, Preston earned another valuable point at Middlesbrough and there's talk boss Phil Brown may repeat his infamous Hull centre-circle sing-a-long if North End stay up.

Assistant manager Brian Horton said: "I'll put up with another Sloop John B if it means staying up. In fact I'd join Phil out there - although my voice is even worse than his." Surely not?

Crystal Palace remain in the bottom three and there was a nice piece about co-chairman Martin Long in London's Evening Standard, where he confirmed his passion for the Eagles by revealing he'd named his daughter Crystal Alice.

It took me back to the time I suggested calling my first born Stanley Bowles, until my other half persuaded me it was not the ideal name for a girl.

Over on Palace messageboard Holmesdale, 'Sandy Eagle' was looking for amusing names for his five-a-side team. He toyed with 'Real So-so-bad', while other glorious suggestions included Deportivo Lackatalent, Borussia Teeth and So Solid Crewe.

The straight-talking award of the week goes to Reading's Ian Harte, who told journalists "I think the phrase you are looking for is cock-up" after he gifted a goal to Hull's Martin Corry before making amends from the spot.

From Corry to EastEnders and news that Stevenage have nicknamed bleach-blond captain Mark Roberts 'Shirley' because of his similarity to the fearsomeAlbert Square character.

Staying with hair and you may remember last week that Bristol Rovers fans were planning to wear blond wigs for their League 1 game with Swindon, in tribute to leading scorer Will Hoskins.

It certainly did the trick as Hoskins obliged by scoring one and making another in the 3-1 win.

Afterwards he admitted: "I'm eccentric. I change hair colour whenever I'm bored. The missus and our eldest just groan and shrug it off but our five-month old is confused!"

Staying at the bottom and Tranmere sprung a major surprise with a 2-0 defeat of Southampton, which included a stunning goal from highly-rated teenager Dale Jennings.

Leaders Brighton slipped up at Bournemouth - where Liam Feeney's cracking volley sealed victory for the Cherries - but got back to winning ways three days later against Colchester.

Seagulls fans on the North Stand Chat forum have been particularly impressed with Kiwi striker Chris Wood and decided it was time to honour him with his own chant.

'Twowheelsbest' came up with "Isn't he good, New Zealand Wood" to the tune of the Beatles classic, while 'Gazwag' suggested a reworking of Ebeneezer Goode - "Eza good, Eza good, Ahhh, Eza Chrissy Wood'. (Might need a little work on that one, Gaz.)

Peterborough moved into the top six with a 4-0 thrashing of Hartlepool - and it's nothing if not entertaining being a Posh fan this season, with their 24 league games producing 96 goals.

Chris Powell celebrated his return to Charlton with a win over Plymouth and even had his own walk-out song as the PA announcer played Peters and Lee's Welcome Home. Nice touch.

In League 2, Chesterfield consolidated their lead by winning in the rain at Gillingham - a victory celebrated by four topless gentlemen doing the conga.

Wycombe are second after 37-year-old Gareth Ainsworth (it's compulsory to mention his age) gave them the points against Rotherham, while Crewe moved into third.

But the game of the week was at the bottom, where an Ashley Grimes hat-trick inspired Lincoln to a 4-3 win at Stockport, leaving the Hatters rock-bottom.

One Hatters forum user groaned: "We're the strongest team in the league - we're holding everyone else up." The old ones are the best.

Northampton beat Oxford and while new boys Shaun Harrad and Francis Laurent did not get on the scoresheet, they were attracting musical tributes on Cobblers messageboard The Hotel End.

Sean O'Donovan adopted the Sham 69 punk classic to "Hurry up Harrad, come on!" while 'marvo's suggestion for Laurent was: "Ooh, aah, he's not Cantona."

Oxford bounced back from the defeat with a 3-1 win over Shrewsbury - James Constable scoring twice against his old club - but the real story involved the defacing of the club's ox statue outside their stadium, which was sprayed bright pink by vandals.

When I heard about the incident, my thoughts instantly turned towards my pink-obsessed daughter, but if any other constables are looking in, I can assure you she was safely tucked up in bed on Saturday night. Honest.

To contact Chris with an interesting story/quote/chant to share, then email him on chris.charles@football-league.co.uk or contact him via Twitter at http://twitter.com/chris__charles. Charles/Football League

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