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Friday, February 25, 2011

Last Day of Season Change...Middlesbrough Assessed...Hewitt, Shittu, Smith, Rowlands Updates...Run for Neil Roberts (RIP)...QPR Community Trust

Loftus Road 1972: QPR vs Middlesbrough - 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

- Change of Date for Last Match of the Season: QPR's (and all others) will Now played on Saturday May 7 (12:45 kickoff) instead of Sunday, May 8.

- Five Years ago Today Flashback: Gary Waddock's QPR Beats Neil Warnock's Sheffield United - Reports

- On This Day in Football: February 25 (including in the Old First Divisio: Coventry 5QPR 0)

- QPR Report's "Spot The Ball" - Week II

- Waiting for an Official Announcement re Harrow's Hewitt to QPR

- Four Years Ago: Three New QPR Board Members announced by Chairman Paladini

- Lakshmi Mittal and Amit Bhatia Get Royal Wedding Invites?!
Update: Now Published and Reviewed: A second book about Bernie Ecclestone

Fulham Chronicle - New QPR striker tipped for top by former bossBy Jon Batham
- TROY Hewitt’s fairytale move to QPR is a real Roy of the Rovers story - but Harrow boss David Howell believes the best chapters are still to be written.
- The 21-year-old striker moved to the Championship leaders on Tuesday night, completing a comic book hero-type rise from Clapton Rovers to Loftus Road in less than two full seasons.
- Many will view the move as a real gamble by both the player and Rangers boss Neil Warnock.
- But Howell, who coached at Birmingham City under Trevor Francis and has overseen moves by Albert Adomah and Robin Shroot from Borough into league football, insists this is just the beginning for his former hotshot.
- He said: "Troy is a Roy of the Rovers story but there are loads of chapters still to go – this is just the beginning of a massive journey and I’m pleased for him.
- "I have no doubt Troy has the ability to make a name for himself in the professional game. Forget the goalscoring and his ability - Troy’s biggest asset is his temperament. Nothing fazes him.
- "Had he signed in time they could have put him on the pitch against Ipswich and it wouldn’t have bothered him, and it is not because he’s big headed, he just loves football and he’s bright, sparky and alive."
- Hewitt was not under contract at Borough and was not even one of the higher wage earners, having only arrived at Earlsmead in the summer.
- Nevertheless, Rangers paid an undisclosed compensation fee to Harrow in recognition of their part in his development, as well as promising a first-team friendly in the coming pre-season. Fulham Chronicle

- Next: Middlesbrough - Stats/Past Results/Past Match Reports

The Middlesbrough Perspective

QPR Report Q&A Interview with Middlesbrough fan Robert Nichols

Robert Nichols runs www.fansonline.net/middlesbrough fmttm.com/fly me to the moon (FMTTM) and is director of fansonline - independent fans site network

Starting simply: How long have you supported Middlesbrough? And how long have you been involved with the Website? How did you get to be the editor?

I've supported Boro since I was a young un. My dad got my brother and me season tickets with him back in 1975 when we had just been promoted to the top flight under Jack Charlton. Though would you believe my brother later defected to another team for a while. Guess who? QPR.

I took over Fly Me To The Moon fanzine in 1994 and have been doing it for every league match since then. From that people twisted my arm to start a website and we did that in 1999 with a message board a year later that has really taken off, pardon the pun. Fortunately technically minded people did all the hard work. But Boro has been my hobby and job most of my life now I guess. Well worth it.

How do you get on with the other Middlesbrough fan sites: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

There aren't any other paper fanzines anymore but there are one or two other websites. For a time I was working with comeonboro when the Rivals network exploded but mostly I just do my own thing. The more sites the merrier I guess. Hopefully people know I'm at all the games, last missed one in 1999 so I'm speaking from the heart and the head. You might not agree with me but at least I saw the game it with my own eyes.

Do Middlesbrough have one (or two) special rivals? Is it an equal two-way rivalry? (I'm assuming it's Sunderland and Newcastle)? Which ranks higher?

Yes Sunderland and Newcastle are our main rivals though not according
to them. I always feel they protest too loudly about this. It depends who is in our league as to who the biggest rivals are. When I was a kid Leeds were the big rivals, we were in Yorkshire in those days and Leeds were this massive club still. Now we are down in the Championship that Boro v Leeds rivalrly has returned again.

What do you think of your current manager? What did you think of his predecessors such as Southgate. For a while you were very loyal after a fair amount of turmoil!

We couldn't have a better manager than Tony Mowbray - he was our captain colossus when we nearly went into liquidation and led us from the brink to the top flight. But he also a manager with a football philosophy, a deep thinker about the game, a local lad that cares, someone to truly believe in and Fmttm - Fly Me To The Moon is named after a statement made by late 80s Boro boss Bruce Rioch saying if he had to go the moon he wanted Mowbray by his side. Thats the way we all se it now. Mowbray has come back to guide the club through challenging times and hopefully a rebirth again someday soon.

Looking back I don't have much time for Gordon Strachan - I feel I was taken in and hoodwinked by his experience and battle plan. It seemed convincing but was so badly misguided, filling the team with expensively waged players from the SPL it has left us in a real mess. I think he has got off lightly with the fans. By contrast I think Gareth Southgate has had a far rougher ride than he ought to have had.

A rookie manager given no guidance and ordered to cut the wage bill year in year out. He was on a hiding to nothing. As a club captain that lifted our first ever silverware, as a gentleman and someone that thinks and cares deeply I greatly admire Gareth Southgate and wish him well in his career.

What do you think of the current Middlesbrough Owners? WHY are they involved? (Your Chairman Gibson, seems great - especially in comparison to some other clubs)What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

Steve Gibson is getting a rough ride by many fans at the moment but that is the reality of relegation and suddenly having to drastically down size as a club, you are not going to be thanked or praised. At the moment many are screaming at him to back the manager more or come out and make some public statement but I think he realises now is the time to let the manager and the team do the talking and then in the summer we recharge.

I think we are very lucky to still have a local chairman and manager and many local players all still in touch with the community and knowing what it is all about. There are very few football clubs like that these days. We could be unique in fact. I'm very thankful indeed.

How do you think Middlesbrough treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

Personally I think the treatment of the fans by the club has undergone something of a revolution in recent times. I think it is very difficult times because we are struggling on the pitch and off it and that often masks what is actually a pretty close relationship now. We have fan forums that come up with ideas and help make decisions from the food we eat to the music we listen to. Today I've just got back from VIP guided tours for the half term hols. Kids and parents can go round the ground behind the scenes and meet players and ask them questions etc. It was sold out.

But generally there is a lot of dialogue between fans and the club which has to be good. Nothing is perfect and it becomes twice as hard when the club is struggling but they generally try very hard with supporters. The chairman always describes himself as merely a custodian of the club and looking after it for the fans.

You are presumably a little - more than a little - disappointed with how Middlesbrough are doing this season. But in you heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season?

We were favourites for promotion if you recall. We gambled all the parachute payments on one big push and it failed spectacularly. I think with hindsight we could see the manager's plans had unravelled very early in the season and maybe the game at Loftus Road was a last chance to show if we still had it in us. But the decision to release two left backs and instead play a midfielder in Barry Robson in the role was our undoing in the game and pointed to one of Gordon Strachan's big weaknesses in his year at the club. His decision making was poor and appeared flawed by his personal hunches and grudges. He wasn't a popular man by the time he left, he almost totally failed to connect with fans or media and at a heart of the community club that was fatal.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Well we have lost most of our names now but sadly not the big salaries. Nicky Bailey puts in a mega shift anchoring the midfield and has risen from scapegoat to fans favourite in half a season. Marvin Emnes promises to bring goals to his speed and skillful forward play. New signing Merouane Zemmama looks capable of having the vision to unlock the potential of the forwards. But the two outstanding prospects at the moment are England Under 21 graduates Jason Steele (keeper) and Joe Bennett left back - they could go all the way to the top. Strachan wanted to sell Bennett for £200 000!!!

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction?

I was miles off I thought Pompey would go down and Hull because I thought they would both be crippled financially. Not sure whether it is luck or prudence that has stopped this. I did think Scun.thorpe would struggle and they Preston and Sheff U look likely to go down.

Going up I would have thought QPR and Cardiff are too strong not to I take Swansea to win the play offs because they play superb football and I think they now have more cutting edge. Forest and Leicester could have other ideas though. Both could end up going up.

What is your view and the general Middlesbrough view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)? 25 Years ago, we had the famous come from 0-4 down to draw 5-5 at QPR under Jackie Charlton's Middlesbrough. [Sic! Uupdate: As has subsequently been pointed out, it was Charlton's Newcastle NOT Middlesbrough that was the 5-5 result!] I remember QPR getting smashed 6-2 at Middlesbrough after being 2-0 in first five minutes. I think a John Hickton hatrick.

My view on QPR is based on years gone by when you had great entertainers - Bowles, Marsh, Thomas, then Currie etc and even Ferdinand. You were great to watch and phenomenal that year you finished 2nd in the league.

Yep that is right we have had some great clashes over the years. I remember you beating us 6-0 on the plastic pitch on Match of the Day - Malcolm Allison was our manager and his total football philosophy saw him play centre forward Dave Shearer at right back and he was taken to the cleaners. Half way through the game he chased the ball into the stand and took a breather sitting on the seats.

With my brother having followed QPR at one time there was a bit ofrivalrly in our house. But we both actually went to Wembley, our first time, to stand behind the goal in the drawn FA Cup final with Spurs. Tony Currie was sublime that day anchoring the midfield.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?

Sorry I answered some of this above didn't I? But favourite players would be Stan Bowles probably a superb player. I also loved watching Dave Thomas dance down the wing, he later joined Boro and it was a privilege to watch his skills.

Neil Warnock - love to hate him - but actually he is a very good manager indeed. We first came across him when he took Notts County and not us up through the play offs to the top flight many years ago. Not sure I would want to be a 4th official when he comes to town but he knows all about getting out of this league.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

Yep certainly am - it will be great to go up against the top in the league. It seems to bring the best out of us, we beat Cardiff not long ago and were very unlucky v Leeds and Norwich. Looking forward to a good contest.

SCORE PREDICTION for Middlesbrough-QPR?

I think it will be a good game but I take us to win 2-1 - we can draw on the belief from fighting back from behind v Millwall last week.

Where, realistically, do you think Middlesbrough will be in five years time?

I hope we are back in the Premier league and challenging for Europe again. I feel it is possible. Even in these dark times.

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

You should definitely keep the manager and the players - guard against alienating the promotion players by making them feel 2nd class to a new group coming in. Blackpool are doing it the correct way - sticking to their principles and slowly adding ability and strength to the squad. Patience is what it is all about first season up and slowly building. Big change can see you going down as rapidly as you come up - even if you have got masses of financial backing. Oh and the fans need to get used to expensive away trips and to matches being rearranged on a whim for tv. You probably have that already.

What one or two questions do you wish I had asked you (and how would you have responded?!)

You've done well enough I think. We are in a kind of limbo at the moment hoping we can stay up this season before massively pruning the wage bill in summer - then we can try and kick on again. Looking forward to the game and hope we can turn you over.

Many many thanks to Middlesbrough's Robert Nichols of www.fansonline.net/middlesbrough Fly me To the Moon (FMTTM) and director of fansonline - independent fans site network

Fulham Chronicle/Yann Tear - QPR move was a gamble - Shittu

DANNY Shittu says he has gambled his career on making it to the Premier League with QPR.

The 30-year-old centre back, who joined QPR during the January transfer window after being released by Milwall, finally earned a start in Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Ipswich Town after warming the bench for five games since his move.

Boss Neil Warnock decided to rest Matt Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss, so Shittu belatedly started his second spell at QPR after establishing himself as a fans’ favourite during his first stint.

"It did cross my mind that I might not get in the side, but you’ve got to keep taking gambles," said the Nigerian.

"You’ve got to believe in yourself. I never put pressure on the gaffer. When a team’s doing well, you can’t change it. I just had to work hard in training.

"I spoke to the gaffer before coming here and knew the team had been going well, and I didn’t expect to go straight into the team. I knew I’d have to bide my time. But I told the gaffer I’m always ready."

Shittu added: "I’m going to keep working hard now. It’s not going to be easy because there are so many good players here, but I believe I’m good enough to play.

"My dream now is to get QPR promoted and after that, we’ll look again in the summer."

Shittu only signed a six-month initial contract and he is determined to repay the Loftus Road faithful’s support after their backing for him on Tuesday night.

"It would be a dream to play for QPR next season and keep it going.

"I was having a laugh with the fans and I just felt so at home. You play so much more comfortably when you feel the fans are there for you.

"It was amazing when I came off and saw everybody standing up. I’ve had it at other clubs but to get it at Loftus Road, it means so much more.

"It can’t be any better for me at the moment. I’m so glad that I chose to come here to help this team get promoted." Fulham Chronicle

Fulham Chronicle/Paul Warburton - QPR boss cautious over Smith comeback

- QPR intend to wrap Tommy Smith in cotton wool because he’s the one player who has the ‘nous’ when it comes to getting goals - according to his boss.
- Previous reports suggested the midfielder signed from Portsmouth at the beginning of the season would be back in time to face Leicester City at home next Saturday.
- But Neil Warnock is not so sure.
- The manager is desperate to avoid a third hamstring injury to the 30-year-old, aggravated after Smith scored his side’s only goal in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest two weeks ago.
- He said: "Tommy’s the one player with that little bit of extra nous who can unlock doors for us right now.
- "After Leicester and Millwall on the following Tuesday, we’ve got 10 games left, and I think we’re going to need him for all of those.
- "We’ve got to be extra cautious with his hamstring. The last thing we need is for that to go again if he comes back too early." Fulham Chronicle

South London Press - Rowlands to sign for Lions at last
Thursday, 24 February 2011 By Alex Aldridge and Toby Porter
- QPR midfielder Martin Rowlands looks set to sign for Millwall tomorrow in time for the home game with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
- The Irishman has struggled to hold down a place with Neil Warnock at the helm at Loftus Road this season, playing just four times.
- And after it was revealed Nadjim Abdou had an injury which will keep him out for at least a month, Jackett swooped to sign the experienced 32-year-old on loan.
- Rowlands has scored 67 goals in a career of almost 400 games at just three clubs - Farnborough, Brentford and QPR. South London Today

re Neil Roberts (RIP) This is Kent/Jan Thom -Dad's dying wish for more runners
- Inspirational: Neil Roberts with his wife Becky and son Charlie

- THE grieving widow of brave dad Neil Roberts, who ran to raise money for Cancer Research despite his own terminal diagnosis, has called for massive local support for this year's event.
- Neil, 53, died peacefully at his home in Peartree Road, Broomfield, Herne Bay, on Saturday following his gruelling illness.
- His wife Becky and daughters Hayley, 23, and Claire, 20, from his first marriage, were at his bedside.
- Now Becky, 29, is hoping Neil's death will act as a spur to local men to back this year's Man On The Run Race For Life at Hampton, Herne Bay, on June 26.
-Neil was bitterly disappointed that so few men took part last year.
- He said at the time: "I crossed the finish line in tears. I've done the race four times before and when I found out I was ill it made me more determined to take part. But what struck me was how few people made the effort and gave up an hour of their time. There were only about 300 runners which is less than one per cent of the population of Herne Bay."
- Becky said: "Neil was so determined to make people more aware of the race and wanted the number of people taking part to at least double this year.
- "He had wanted to take part again but when he realised he couldn't he just wanted to do everything he could promote it.
- "It will be the biggest tribute to him if it is better supported this June."
- Neil was a lifelong Queens Park Rangers fan and founder of the club's supporters group.
- Becky and Neil were VIP guests at Loftus Road in January when Neil met his idol Stan Bowles.
- Neil, who married Becky three years ago, was diagnosed with Cancer of the oesophagus in May. Becky said medics had initially dismissed his symptoms as stress.
- He endured a round of chemotherapy but a second course made him too ill to continue.
- Becky said: "It just knocked him out, it wasn't worth it."
- Neil and Becky's son Charlie is now 15 months old.
- The funeral service will be at Barham Crematorium at 12.40pm on Monday, March 7. Family flowers only but donations to Demelza through A Welch and Sons, 94 Station Road, Herne Bay, or call 01227 374995.
- Applications for the Man on the Run event – which promotes awareness of male Cancers – on Sunday June 26 can be made through the Cancer Research UK website at www.manontherun.org
This is Kenthttp://i.thisis.co.uk/275568/article/images/3253254/1975836.jpg

- RIP Neil Roberts: QPR Supporter - and of course, much much more...Messageboard Memories of Neil Roberts

PFA's Give Me Football - Coaching for Hope: QPR help great initiative

The PFA and FIFPro launch international partnership work with Coaching for Hope
By Dave Smith February 24, 2011

John HudsonThe PFA are delighted to continue the fantastic work and partnership with Coaching for Hope

Queens Park Rangers Community Trust this week helped launch the international partnership work between the PFA, FIFPro and Coaching for Hope at the Arc Academy near to Wembley Stadium.

First team players along with teenagers from the college were put through their paces by experienced QPR and Coaching for Hope coach, Dave Robinson, to raise awareness of the partnership work being undertaken both in the UK and in West and Southern Africa.

Coaching For Hope is an innovative programme which uses football to create better futures for the young people in Africa. They tap into the universal passion for football and organise coaching courses where professional coaches from the UK train local youth workers to recognised FA standards.

At the same time, the local coaches learn how to deliver HIV/Aids awareness sessions to young people in their communities. Once the UK coaches leave, the programme staff provides ongoing support to the graduates. This means they can deliver Coaching for Hope sessions and develop training initiatives of their own.

The international partnership work with Coaching for Hope, which the PFA have been involved with since 2009 has now been embraced by the World Players Union, FIFPro, who are looking to expand and develop their own Corporate Social Responsibilities programme.

John Hudson, the PFA’s Director of Community, said: “The PFA are delighted to continue the fantastic work and partnership with Coaching for Hope. Our work in South Africa has been fully embraced by the union as we continue to expand our International good causes’ programmes.

FIFPro will only enhance this work on the International stage by using players and unions from South Africa and beyond to help change the lives of those less fortunate.”

FIFPro Representative Tony Higgins said: “FIFPro see the partnership with Coaching for Hope as an ideal platform to develop and expand our work in C.S.R. Having witnessed the work done by the charity in Southern Africa we are confident we can develop the relationship between our member unions in Africa and Coaching for Hope using Football to effect change.”

Jane Carter, director of Coaching for Hope, added: “Coaching for Hope is delighted to be making our partnership with The PFA and FIFPro official.

"Since its inception Coaching for Hope have been striving to find the best partners possible to make our work as effective and as beneficial as possible for the people we work with. I’m certain that this superb balance of sports organisations working for one goal will be one of real quality, Let the work begin!.” Give Me Football

- On This Day in Football: February 24...Decade Ago today, Gerry Francis' Last Game in Charge as QPR Crash 5-0 at Wimbledon
- Marc Bircham Suing over His Career-Ending Injury

- QPR's Championship Points Totals Since Premiership Relegation
- "How the NBA Became English Soccer"

- A few more days (unless already paid)? February 28 Deadline to Pay Antonio Caliendo 2 Million Pounds?

Enlarged Photo - Name the Players: The answers!

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