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Saturday, February 05, 2011

QPR's Reading Win: Compilation of Reports and Comments...Warnock's Weekly Column

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- 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

- Video of Routledge's Goal

- Unusual Public Dispute Between Hull and Ipswich over Paying of Bullard's Wages

- Foreign/Pub Live Broadcasting of Games Ruling - Updated

- Football-Parliamentary Inquiry - Updated

- QPR's Former Deputy Managing Director Returns To Scotland

QPR Official Site - Warnock's Comments WARNOCK: ‘ONE OF THE BEST’

Neil Warnock saw his ten-man QPR side pick up a late winner and dubbed it as 'one of the best' of his managerial career.

Wayne Routledge's 81st minute strike clinched victory for the R's, on an evening when Warnock's charges had to overcome a Hogan Ephraim red card just before half-time.

Rangers boss Warnock told www.qpr.co.uk: "It was 90 minutes full of emotion.

"We always have to come up against the odds when we play at Reading.

"I was a bit disappointed with the sending off. It was a bad tackle but one that involved two wingers.

"Matt Connolly was fouled 90 seconds previously, and the referee didn't give it.

"I said to the lads at half-time that 'I want to win the game.'

"I thought we deserved to win tonight. We played good football, even with 10 men."

Warnock added: "I would have given Ali Faurlin 12 out of 10 if I could.

"And I don't think that Paddy had a save to make in the second half.

"That is what we're all in the game for. You can't beat how I'm feeling tonight.

"I thought that my players outstanding. They were all heroes tonight.

"The subs, everybody!

"This is one of the best results of my career. It certainly feels like that."

SKY SPORTS - Routledge nets QPR winner
On-loan winger puts Rangers in a commanding position

Wayne Routledge scored the winning goal for 10-men QPR as they beat Reading to go eight points clear at the top of the Championship.

Rangers played the entire second half at a numerical disadvantage after Hogan Ephraim was sent off for a rash lunge on Jimmy Kebe.

However, the visitors continued to play their trade mark attacking football and were rewarded when Routledge ran clear to fire the winner eight minutes from time.

Reading will be hugely disappointed that they were never really able to make their extra man as Rangers claimed their first ever win at the Madjeski stadium.

SKY - McDermott - Opportunity missed
Royals boss reflects on home defeat to Rangers

Brian McDermott was disappointed to see his Reading side come unstuck against 10-man Queens Park Rangers on Friday.

The Royals slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Madejski Stadium despite holding a numerical advantage for much of the tie.

Hogan Ephraim saw red for the visitors three minutes before half-time, but it was Rangers who were able to kick-on from there.

In the end a late effort from Wayne Routledge settled the game, leaving McDermott to reflect on what could, and perhaps should, have been.

"We didn't feel that second half we passed the ball well enough, we didn't get wide well enough and we didn't get enough shots off," he told Sky Sports.

"Really disappointed as they had an opportunity and they have taken it. That's why they will probably win the league this year.

"We had bits and bobs, but we are a better side than that. We are really disappointed that when they went down to 10 men we didn't make them work more."


Defeat to Neil Warnock's league leaders means Reading have still to beat a side sat above them in the Championship table this term.

They are, however, still well-placed to launch a play-off push and McDermott is hoping his side can get back on track against high-flying Norwich next time out.

He added: "We need to beat whatever is in front of us, whatever position they are in, behind us or in front of us.

"We play Norwich now next week so it is important that we do what we have to do against Norwich.

"We have just taken one point from two games against Cardiff and QPR, two of the top sides in this division, and we feel we should have had at least four.

"But credit to QPR, they showed real resolve when they were down to 10 men and I'm sure that is why they will definitely be promoted this season."

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CLICK To listen to WARNOCK on SKY

SKY - Warnock proud as punch - QPR manager enjoying every minute of title campaign

Neil Warnock was beaming with pride after his Queens Park Rangers team managed to beat Reading 1-0 with 10-men at the Madjeski Stadium.

Hogan Ephraim was dismissed three minutes before the interval for a rash challenge on Reading's Jimmy Kebe.

But Wayne Routledge duly stepped up to fire home the winner late on and extend QPR's lead at the summit of the Championship to eight points.

But it was their desire to win that pleased Warnock so much, as history repeated itself with them having a man sent off here last season, and again this season at Loftus Road.

"I can't be any prouder of my team, substitutes as well," he told Sky Sports.

"I thought that it was a magnificent performance. I thought we were the only team that looked like they wanted to win.

"The sending off just got us going. At half-time I said to them 'don't lets be negative, lets try and win the game, we did it at home with 10 men'.


"I was disappointed with the sending off, it was two wingers going for it. I think I've seen yellow for them before, but [Matt] Mills just flew at the referee and mouthed off at him."

He added: "I'm just enjoying it, even tonight with 10-men. If we would have lost the game 1-0 like we did last year after going down to 10-men here I couldn't have complained because we gave absolutely everything.

"Playing as good as that and trying to win the game - I couldn't be any prouder."

READING OFFICIAL SITE - Brian: We should have done more
Royals boss Brian McDermott was very disappointed his team did not take an opportunity that came their way in our home 1-0 defeat to League leaders QPR.

The visitors had Hogan Ephraim sent off just before half time, but we could not press home our one-man advantage and, although Rangers have the best defensive record in England, we were disappointed not to have worked visiting 'keeper Paddy Kenny sufficiently.

Rangers then took all three points in the 81st minute as Wayne Routledge finished off a nice move, inflicting only our second defeat in 16 games.

McDermott said, "At half time the game was there to be won, it's a real opportunity and we should have taken it. We're better than that, we're really disappointed because when they went down to ten men we didn't make their 'keeper work.

"Second half we didn't play well enough, didn't pass it well, didn't get it wide often enough, didn't get enough shots off. I could live with losing if we'd made a better fist of it.

"They had one opportunity and took it, that shows why they'll probably win the League this year."

The decision to dismiss Ephraim did not prove to be to our advantage in the end, and Brian said, "I think now I'd rather he'd booked him! We played a lot better when it was eleven against eleven. The decision didn't do us any favours, sometimes it's harder to play against ten but we should have moved them around more.

"He [Ephraim] is not that type of player, I know that, but he's definitely caught Jimmy. He's chased after the ball, mistimed his tackle and a lot of referees would have got the red card out."

Rangers showed great resilience to grind out an important win, and they now look odds-on to be playing in the Premier League next season. McDermott said, "Credit to them, they've shown real resolve, done a really good job, I'm sure that's why they'll go up. This is a tough place to come and they'll be delighted.

"They've got good players, good nous, they head it, kick it and do what they have to. Their team cost a lot of money to put together. We're a growing team, we're learning.

"My players have been fabulous over many games, this was a one-off 45 minutes and we'll learn from it.

"If we'd got the first goal it was a different game, but I can see why we've been beaten."

He continued, "We've taken one point from two games against Cardiff and QPR, the two top sides, we thought we should have had at least four. All we can do is look forward to the Norwich game next weekend and doing our stuff."

Shane Long looked to have been tripped inside the box when the scores were 0-0, but Brian refused to refer to that as a turning point. "I don't know about that, it doesn't matter. We have to not just cling on to shouts like that, we have to be better and we will.

"The players are desperately disappointed, they're better than that and they know it themselves. Now we have to go to Norwich and show it."

A full post-match video interview with Brian is online now on Reading FC Player.


David McIntyre/Blog - Thoughts from the 23.12 to Waterloo

Ben Kosky of the local Times newspaper made a comment to me after the final whistle tonight, and he probably summed things up perfectly.

He pointed out that during the relegation seasons, there were matches that left us in no doubt Rangers were going down – the 5-0 thrashings at Preston and Wimbledon in 2001, for example. Those games had relegation team and relegation season written all over them.

At the other end of the scale, tonight Rangers looked every inch a team that are on the way to promotion. It seemed like a defining moment.

To win with 10 men and go eight points clear at the top at this stage of a season would be significant enough. To do it at the start of a weekend when Cardiff and Swansea play each other, so one will drop points, is a huge step and puts huge pressure on the teams below Rangers.

It was ironic that the winning goal came from the right, as most of the play had been concentrated on the opposite side.

Aware that Reading were looking for Jimmy Kebe to attack Clint Hill, Rangers had Adel Taarabt playing in a much wider role than usual. The idea being to exploit the acres of space Reading were leaving on that side, putting Taarabt one-versus-one with Andy Griffin.

It was typical of Neil Warnock’s attacking approach and the faith he has in his players. It was a similar story when Rangers had a man sent off against Reading at Loftus Road, and Jamie Mackie was trusted to effectively play right-back and right-wing.

Tonight Warnock showed faith in both Hill and Taarabt, with the message to Reading that he fancied Hill’s chances against Kebe more than Griffin’s against Taraabt.

The introduction of Ishmael Miller to stretch the game and replace the struggling Rob Hulse also came at just the right time. I believe Miller is a great signing by Rangers, and I know every club in the Championship would have taken him given the chance. I also think that if he stays fit, he’ll have a bigger influence later in the season – perhaps around April time. At the moment he’s still not fully fit.

A word too for Ali Faurlin – a player I’ve expressed doubts about previously. He’s been absolutely outstanding in the last couple of games, and tonight was probably the best performance I’ve seen from him.

I’ve never doubted his ability going forward. He has what so many decent-looking players at Championship level don’t: a final ball.

The other side to his game is a potential problem, and in the future I think he must operate further forward if he’s to progress. In his current role he can be a sitting duck at times.

But when he gets license to push on into the opposing half and do what he’s good at, he’s a joy to watch. And tonight he was exceptional.

GUARDIAN/Jamie Jackson - Neil Warnock goes ballistic but 10-man QPR win war with Reading

Neil Warnock QPR Reading Neil Warnock celebrates after QPR's hard-fought win at Reading. Photograph: Steven Paston/Action Images

After witnessing the sound and fury of Neil Warnock throughout this contest the suspicion arose that the Queens Park Rangers manager was born with a set of in-built Beta-blockers. "This was one of the best wins of my career," Warnock said after his 10-man team somehow emerged with all three points. "Performances like this, feelings like this, games like this do not happen often."

Until Wayne Routledge's 82nd‑minute winner eased the pressure on Warnock's heart – "I do worry about it when I see the younger and older popping off," he said – this was a match that morphed from a phoney war into a powder keg that threatened to go off at any moment.

The Championship leaders finished their week by making it a perfect six points from two outings when Alejandro Faurlín released Routledge and the winger slid a cool finish beyond Adam Federici.

Before this Warnock had seethed as Russell Booth, the referee, appeared to join the teams by losing his calm during a hectic period before the break.

Hogan Ephraim was late when tackling Jimmy Kébé on 43 minutes but deserved only a yellow card. Instead Booth reached for the red to send Warnock ballistic in his technical area. Factor in Booth adjudging that Routledge had later fouled Matt Mills when the replay indicated Reading's captain jumped out of the way and there was enough for Warnock to carry on the argument in the tunnel as the teams trooped off.

"I was asking the referee where he was going on holiday – he said 'Cyprus'," Warnock joked but he was more serious regarding the sending-off. "I've seen yellow for those but Mills just flew at the referee and mouthed off at him. It's a disgrace that a fellow professional can do that do another."

QPR had just about edged the first half, although Reading might have scored. Their best chance arrived when Simon Church forced a crucial save from Paddy Kenny which conceded a corner. From Ian Harte's delivery Church had a further effort blocked on the line.

For QPR, as has been the tale of the season, their prospects of victory had been all about how well Adel Taarabt might play. Against Portsmouth at Loftus Road on Tuesday the 21-year-old had floated across midfield in a quest for ball and space. Yet, when successful, his runs were not always seen by a colleague operating on a similar wavelength to the playmaker.

That match turned when, at half-time, Warnock instructed Taarabt to stick to a wide-left berth, from where the Morrocan scored the opener, as well as creating Clint Hill's clinching goal.

Here Taarabt stayed in this position and his quick brain and feet were again in evidence. As the pivot in a one-two with Faurlín he released his team-mate before the midfielder unloaded a left-foot effort that had Federici watching the ball carefully as it flew over.

When the sides emerged for the second half Warnock continued his running battle with the fourth official. When Jay Tabb pulled down Taarabt around the centre circle, Warnock was apoplectic when Booth refused to book the Reading midfielder. Yet he did manage some self-restraint: appearing keen to punch Kevin Wright, the fourth official, Warnock off-loaded a furious one-two that was aimed in his general direction but did not come close to touching him.

Warnock could count some blessings when Shane Long – who had hit the side-netting in the first half – was felled by Bradley Orr in QPR's area but Booth refused the penalty appeal.

At the close Warnock celebrated as if his team had secured promotion to the Premier League. Continue winning like this and they will. Guardian

INDEPENDENT/Arindam Rej QPR’s ‘heroic’ 10 men defy the odds to triumph Saturday, 5 February 2011

Neil Warnock's histrionics on the touchline showed what a tough night this was for his QPR side. But this resolute performance, leading to them pinching a late away win with 10 men against a form team, showed that their march to the Premier League is unlikely to be stopped.

The QPR manager described this as "one of the best wins of my career". It was an understandable response. This night felt like a seminal moment in QPR's promotion challenge.

Having had Hogan Ephraim sent off shortly before half-time, Warnock was at his most animated from then onwards. His arms were flaying, his shouts were bellowing. But he need not have worried. His players defended stoutly, keeping quiet one of the best attacking units in the division.
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Then, with eight minutes to play, they strung together the fine passing move that culminated in Wayne Routledge striking the winner from 18 yards. Their lead at the top is now eight points. "The whole 90 minutes was emotional," said Warnock. "They were all heroes. We're in the game for nights like this. You can't buy this feeling. I have to worry about my heart."

Both teams made a positive start, passing fluently. QPR created better early chances with Rob Hulse and Clint Hill both coming close with headers. Adel Taarabt also narrowly missed with a free-kick.

Reading's final ball kept letting them down. Matt Mills then had a nervous wait to find out if the referee thought he was the last man as the centre-back brought down Ephraim. He survived.

Reading finished the first half strongly with Simon Church twice coming close. First he forced Paddy Kenny into a fine save from a close-range strike. Then Church forced Hill to clear off the line during a scramble.

Things soon took a further turn for the worse for unsettled QPR as Ephraim made a careless lunge on Jimmy Kébé. Warnock was furious that Ephraim did not receive just a booking. "It was a disgrace for Matt Mills to scream at the ref before the sending off," added Warnock.

QPR did not adopt a defensive mentality after the break despite having 10 men. Taarabt was played in a more advanced role in a bold 4-3-2. They were lucky when Bradley Orr seemed to foul Shane Long in the penalty box and no spot-kick was given.

Then they struck. Taarabt flicked the ball to Alejandro Faurlin who threaded a pass for Routledge. The winger held his nerve to slot the ball beyond goalkeeper Adam Federici.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin, Mills, Ingimarsson, Harte; Kébé, Tabb (Robson-Kanu, 76), Karacan, McAnuff; Church (Manset, 68), Long. Substitutes not used Gunnarsson, Hunt, Khizanishvili, Cummings, McCarthy (gk). Booked Griffin, Mills.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-2-3-1): Kenny; Orr, Connolly, Gorkss, Hill; Derry, Faurlin; Routledge (Hall, 90), Taarabt (Moen, 86), Ephraim; Hulse (Miller, 66). Substitutes not used Rowlands, Cerny (gk), Chimbonda, Shittu. Booked Hill, Connolly.

Sent off Ephraim (42).

Referee R Booth (Nottinghamshire). Indpendent

QPR Official Site
Wayne Routledge's late winner was enough for ten-man QPR to extend their lead to eight points at the summit of the Championship.

A man down for fully 45 second-half minutes, the R's showed immeasurable character, grit and determination in front of the live Sky Sports TV cameras to claim victory.

Hogan Ephraim was sent off just before half-time, following a late challenge on Jimmy Kebe.

But QPR bounced back in style to pick up three more vital points.

Alejandro Faurlin's neat pass sent Newcastle United loanee Routledge through one-on-one with Adam Federici, before he made no mistake from 18 yards to clinch victory for Rangers.

QPR made one change for the short trip to Berkshire, with Rob Hulse replacing Ishmael Miller up front.

Paddy Kenny - with 16 league clean sheets already to his name this term prior to kick-off - was in goal for the Hoops.

Bradley Orr, Matt Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss and Clint Hill made up the R's back four.

Shaun Derry and Faurlin were in defensive midfield, behind the attacking trio of Routledge, Adel Taarabt and Ephraim.

Hulse led the Rangers attack.

Roared on by close to 3,000 travelling R's fans in the visitors' end, QPR almost edged in front on five minutes.

Following a free-flowing move, the ball eventually found its way out on the right to Orr, whose sweeping cross was glanced wide of the left-hand post by Hulse.

The R's were playing some lovely football early on.

Passes were exchanged between Taarabt and Faurlin on 25 yards, before the latter's curling shot went just over the target.

Chances were few and far between midway into the opening period but, if anything, QPR looked most dangerous going forward.

Indeed, the natives were growing restless, as Rangers limited the hosts to long-range attempts at goal.

The R's found their next opportunity by the most direct form of play.

Kenny's long-range clearance up field was superbly taken down by Hulse with his back to goal and, when he touched the ball back to Faurlin, the Argentine midfield ace found Taarabt 20-yards out, whose effort sailed handsomely over the target.

It took the Reading some 40 minutes to fashion their first effort on goal.

Ian Harte's long ball was brilliantly cushioned down by Shane Long for Simon Church, whose subsequent effort forced Kenny into a fine save, as the shot-stopper tipped the ball away for a corner kick.

The R's task was made all the tougher when they were reduced to 10 men three minutes short of the half-time whistle.

Ephraim was the man who was shown his marching orders, after he made a late challenge on Kebe when the ball broke loose in midfield.

Moments later, Reading almost made their numerical advantage count.

Kenny looked certain to deal with a clearance from deep that reached the left-hand side of his box, before the ball slipped out of the keeper's hands and Long nipped in to shoot.

But, thankfully for Kenny, the Royals front-man could only find the side netting - albeit at an acute angle.

Despite being a man short, Rangers didn't appear to be overawed by their disadvantage for the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Reading went close on 61 minutes.

Good work from Andy Griffin down the right saw him advance in line with the penalty area, before he cut in to brush aside Orr and drag an effort just wide of the near post.

The second period was one of exceptionally few chances, with neither side - understandably so in the R's case - giving an inch.

However, Rangers continued to threaten and they went extremely close through 67th minute substitute Miller.

Hill's long-throw from the left-hand touchline found the big striker with his back to goal from 10 yards, before Miller's spin and shot whistled just over the bar.

Rangers had shown great heart in the closing period and they found a much-deserved winner on 81 minutes.

It was little more than the R's warranted and sparked mass delirium amongst the R's masses, as Routledge got on the end of Faurlin's through pass, before smashing an unstoppable shot from 18 yards past the keeper and into the bottom left-hand corner.

Reading: Federici, Griffin, Karacan, Mills, Tabb (Robson-Kanu 77), Long, McAnuff, Kebe, Ingimarsson, Church (Manset 68), Harte.

Subs: McCarthy, Gunnarsson, Hunt, Khizanishvili, Cummings.

Bookings: Mills (39)

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Vaagan Moen 86), Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge (Hall 90), Connolly, Hulse (Miller 67), Ephraim.

Subs: Cerny, Rowlands, Chimbonda, Shittu.

Scorers: Routledge (81)

Bookings: Hill (4), Connolly (65)

Red Cards: Ephraim (42)

Referee: Mr R J Booth

Attendance: 18, 982 (2, 437)

League leaders QPR inflicted a rare defeat on the Royals after a late Wayne Routledge goal proved enough in a very tight game.

Chances were at a real premium, and defences were very much on top until a well-worked move gave on-loan Newcastle man Routledge a chance that he finished with aplomb.

Late in the first half Hogan Ephraim was sent off for the visitors for a challenge on Jimmy Kebe; the fourth consecutive game in which Rangers have had a player sent off against us.

We tried desperately to get the goal that would have given us a result, but in fairness to QPR then defended well and showed why they have the best defensive record in English football, inflicting our second defeat in 16 games.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin, Harte, Ingimarsson, Mills (c); Karacan, Tabb, McAnuff, Kebe; Church (Manset 68), Long
Subs: McCarthy, Khizanishvili, Cummings, Gunnarsson, Robson-Kanu, Hunt
Booked: Griffin (foul 29), Mills (foul 38)

QPR (4-4-1-1): Kenny; Orr, Hill, Connolly, Gorkss; Derry, Faurlin, Routledge (Hall 90), Ephraim; Taarabt (Vaagan Moen 84); Hulse (Miller 67)
Subs: Cerny, Chimbonda, Shittu, Rowlands
Booked: Hill (foul 3), Connolly (foul 65)
Sent off: Ephraim (foul 41)

Attendance: 18,982 (2,437 away)

Ref: R Booth

Starting XI team news
Shane Long passed a late fitness test to start up front, and we made an enforced change in midfield, Jay Tabb replacing the unavailable Mikele Leigertwood. Brynjar Gunnarsson was on the bench, his first involvement since September.

First half
The first action saw Clint Hill booked for a very meaty third minute challenge on Jem Karacan as Reading looked to start brightly.

QPR's first move resulted in a decent chance for striker Rob Hulse, but the former Derby man headed wide from seven or eight yards out.

It was a cagey affair, and midway through the half Kaspars Gorkss lost his marker at a corner but completely missed his header.

There were more stoppages than either team would have liked, and Andy Griffin then Matt Mills were booked in quick succession. Mills' challenge came when Hogan Ephraim had a decent run at goal, but it was only deemed worthy of a caution.

Reading then came closest to breaking the deadlock as Simon Church unleashed an excellent volley but it was too close to Paddy Kenny. From the resulting corner Mills got in a good header that was saved, and Church's goalbound effort was cleared off the line.

Referee Russell Booth was then involved once more as he sent off Ephraim for a challenge on Jimmy Kebe. The QPR man's foot was off the ground, and in fairness it looked a tight call that could have been yellow but similarly a red was not a surprise either.

We had our tails up, and Kenny misjudged a long kick from the resulting free kick, and Long almost nipped in but just put it slightly wide.

Second half
The second period began in the same cagey manner as the first half, and the only real shot of note in the first 15 minutes was a Karacan 25-yarder that went wide. Next to try his luck was Andy Griffin, but his left-footer was always wide of the near post.

Tabb then won the ball but took a piece of Adel Taarabt at the same time, and QPR boss Neil Warnock was apoplectic when Tabb was not shown a card.

On 65 Reading had cause to protes to the referee when Long was slipped in the box by Matthew Connolly, and it was only a light touch but still looked a foul. To add to our disappointment, Karacan was punished for an almost identical challenge a second later. Both sides then made attacking changes, Mathieu Manset on for Reading and Ishmael on for the visitors.

As the game entered the last 20 minutes Mills had half a chance, and headed not too far wide amid a crowd of bodies. Then Miller used his strength to turn a shot goalwards but it was well over.

Then, with the game's first meaningful effort, QPR took the lead on 82 minutes. A neat move in midfield saw Wayne Routledge put through on goal, and he finished well, getting enough power on it to beat Adam Federici's hand.

Manset then had a decent chance following a run by Jobi McAnuff, but shot wide on his left foot when he may have been better served on his right.

We were throwing bodies forward, and Ivar Ingimarsson popped up in a very advanced position when trying to capitalise on a ball into the box. Manset did his best to fashion a chance, but to no avail

We tried desperately to get the goal that would have given us a result, but in fairness to QPR then defended well and showed why they have the best defensive record in English football, inflicting our second defeat in 16 games.

Independent Neil Warnock: Why, oh why do we bother? Zubar's mistake makes all managers question their career
What I Learnt This Week

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Why, oh why did he do it? That's what I thought watching the highlights, so I can only imagine what went through Mick McCarthy's mind when Ronald Zubar played that back pass from the touchline, into the path of Daniel Sturridge, in the last minute of Wolves' match at Bolton on Wednesday. I could have cried for Mick. His team had given every drop of energy for 90 minutes, they had a valuable point in the bag, then an experienced defender chucks it all away. At times like that you wonder why you do the job as it hurts so much.

When I went into training the following morning I asked the boys, "Did you see Bolton's winning goal?" To a man, my back four said: "Yes gaffer, and we thought about you." I scream at my defenders to defend first and don't worry about sending it down the other end of the pitch when they have to. Their prime responsibility is to keep goals out.

Sturridge maintained a run of strikers scoring on debut after moving in the transfer window. Robbie Keane scored for West Ham, Luis Suarez came on to score for Liverpool, albeit Andy Wilkinson should have cleared it, and don't forget Darren Bent got a winner on his debut against Man City.
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Which brings us to the biggest deal of all. I wonder if Fernando Torres will score against Liverpool for Chelsea tomorrow. When the press asked for my opinion I said I would value Andy Carroll at £10m, and Torres at £25m. On that basis Liverpool have broken even. Carroll was expensive, but Kenny Dalglish talked his lot into giving him the money and as a manager you have to spend it while you can. At Chelsea I think Roman talked Carlo Ancelotti into taking Torres, but if he did it's worked so far because their performance at Sunderland was Chelsea's best for ages, especially Anelka and Drogba.

One other transfer I noticed involved Blackburn shipping a certain player off to Scotland. I had a feeling when we left Ewood Park after our FA Cup tie that El Hadji Diouf would not be at Rovers much longer. He's one player I'm not sorry to see the back of.

My deadline day was quiet. For the first time in many years I did my business the week before. I was so pleased. As we saw this week, people do silly things at the death and sometimes you regret it. I know I have in the past.

2. The writing was on the wall for Alan – but he'll be back

With Andy Scott shown the door at Brentford, and Alan Irvine fired at Sheffield Wednesday, 29 managers have lost their position this season, almost a third of us. I can't see that rate of attrition easing over the next few years as everyone strives for success – and there's not that many who can attain it.

I think Andy did a good job over the years, but the first bad run of results he loses his job. Alan had only been at Hillsborough a little over a year, but given their recent results, and knowing the club had a new chairman, I don't imagine he was too surprised. I thought the writing was on the wall when Howard Wilkinson resigned from Wednesday's board a few days before.

Alan will be disappointed but this could be a blessing in disguise – look at Brendan Rodgers, who is doing such a wonderful job at Swansea. It's fair to say he made some dubious decisions early in his career but he's now found a home at Swansea where he can enjoy himself. He's almost made to measure for the position. I think Alan will find a home too as he is too good a manager to be out of a job for long.

3. The debt I owe to the wonderful Neville family

The night Gary Neville announced his retirement I heard a phone-in on talkSport which asked: "Was he one of the best right-backs in his time, or a lucky man to get by on limited ability?" I can assure everyone it was the former.

When we gained promotion to the Premier League with Sheffield United I was asked which player I would buy if I could. I shocked everyone with the answer: Gary Neville. Why? Because every team and every club needs a leader. Gary Neville has led from the front for so many years it seems like he is older than me. When I first used to watch him I also felt, "what a lucky man to play for Man United", but as I watched him close up I realised what a great player he was. His positioning, his professionalism, and above all else, his desire to win, shone through.

I know where these qualities come from. One of the few bright spots in my short period managing Bury was having Jill Neville, Gary and Phil's mum, as my secretary. She was so meticulous. Their father, Neville Neville, worked in the commercial department at the time. It was clear to see that the family were winners and wouldn't tolerate anything else but the best. I still think that Bury's survival over the years owes a lot to the pair of them with Neville generating the money and Jill providing the brains – I'm sure they won't mind me saying that.

I appreciated the help she gave me in what was a difficult stage of my career. Phil has the same attributes, he's one of the most underrated players in the country. I would have either of them in my team at any stage, whichever team I managed. And let's not forget sister Tracey, who herself is a netball international.

So, although I'm sad Gary has retired after an injury-hit few years, he can look back at his career with pride. I don't think we have replaced him in the England team, there's no one can lace his boots at present. I used to laugh when he played against the top players, because he talked them into submission most of the time. His influence on referees was considerable and it shone through to the end. Let's be honest, anybody but Gary Neville would have been sent off twice this season. I wish him all the best.

4. Fabregas seemed hell-bent on a mid-season break

How many players, after being booked, could go to a referee and point a finger in his face, then minutes later kick a ball away at a free-kick, and not get a second yellow card? I began to wonder if Cesc Fabregas had promised to get himself suspended so he could pop back to see his family in Spain the way he was behaving against Everton on Tuesday. It was as if he was trying to copy the two Real Madrid players who, it was claimed, deliberately got themselves sent off. Anyway, it didn't work as the referee did not give him a second yellow card. He would not even take action after, according to David Moyes, a confrontation in the tunnel. This time, fortunately, Arsène Wenger's eyesight was fine and he informed us all that Fabregas didn't say anything to the ref. Some might wonder if Arsène's hearing was the problem this time, but I think we can rest assured that justice was served.

5. Is it a cheesecake? Is it a plane? I'll ask William

It was a big sporting week for the family. Amy captained the school netball team to a 13-0 win. She told me very proudly she won the toss, though I'm not sure that is as crucial in netball as when playing on a greentop in cricket. Talking cricket, William hit 60 – indoors.

Off the field was less successful. I was driving William to school one morning when he started singing along to one of those rap record on Capital Radio. I joined in, and I could swear the lyrics were "fly like a cheesecake" so I belted that out. William was quick to inform me it was "fly like a G6". That turns out to be a plane.

6. Taarabt's well-timed carry on keeps predators away

Last Saturday, you may have heard, Adel Taarabt got a mixed reception for his performance at Hull. You could say he wasn't happy with a few things. Little did anyone know, but I was very pleased at the carry-on. There were only 48 hours to go before the transfer deadline so, with the possibility a Premier League team were watching, this was the ideal time for him to act up. Needless to say, I did not have any phone calls and I am delighted still to have him on board, even though I am sure there will be more ups and downs before the end of the season

There's no match for me today as we played last night at Reading. Print deadlines mean I am unable to pass comment but I hope we got a result at what is always a difficult place to play.

We went into the match buoyed by a good win over Portsmouth. Don't be fooled by their recent results, they are a handful and caused us plenty of problems early on. Not that I expected anything less when I looked at their team sheet: Nugent, Kitson and Lawrence, that's £14m of attacking talent. It is the depth in this league that makes it so fascinating, and why we have to be at our best every match. Independent

QPR 30 31 59
Norwich 29 10 51
Swansea 29 11 50
Nott'm Forest 27 15 49
Cardiff 28 12 48
Leeds 29 7 46
Watford 27 13 43
Reading 29 12 42
Millwall 29 8 42
Leicester 29 -4 42
Burnley 28 6 40 - BBC

- Another Financial "Deadline" Coming up: "A £2,000,000 interest free loan owing to Mr. A Caliendo is repayabale on 28 February 2011 and redeemable at any time prior to that date at the sole discretion of QPR" QPR Accounts

- Debts and Ownership of Loftus Road Stadium: Amulya Update
- Earlier Statement re Amulya Loan/Stadium

- January Manager of the Month and Player of the Month Shortlist

- Five year Flashback: Ian Holloway's Final Game as QPR Manager - Match Reports of QPR's Loss:
- Holloway's Final QPR Team Selection: Barnes, Bignot, Shittu, Lowe, Ainsworth (Youssouf 66),Cook (Nygaard 66), Kus (Langley 87), Lomas, Moore, Taylor,Clarke. Subs Not Used: Milanese, Donnelly.

- Cardiff Fans Jailed...Cardiff Official Statement

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