QPR Report Twitter Feed

Thursday, April 28, 2011

QPR Report Update: The Watford Perspective...Championship Form...Marking Seven Years Since Gianni Paladini Bought Into QPR


- 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

- Marking Seven Years Since Gianni Paladini Bought Into QPR - "Paladini buys stake in QPR"..."Rangers are lifted as Italian pumps millions into club."

- Marking Thirty-Two Years Since Clive Allen's Debut Hatrick for QPR

- Flashback: Sean Connery and "The Showbiz XI at Loftus Road"

- Long-time QPR Club Secretary, Ron Phillips (having solved the "Missing Apostrophe" Question:"How Queen's Park Rangers became Queens Park Rangers").... offers further memories re his time at QPR

- Tiger Feet Sponsored Walk to Watford

- Playoff Dates Information! (Hopefully Non-QPR!)

- Ostensible Liverpool Interest in Taarabt


This week, Matt from the Watford Blog, BHaPPY (and formerly with the fabulous and sadly no-longer-updated Watford fan site, Blind, Stupid and Desperate (BSaD) has very kindly agreed to answer some questions about Watford on and off the field.


I should just like to preface this Q&A with by saying how much I really liked the old Watford fan site, Blind, Stupid and Desperate (BSaD)(which can still be read, although no longer updated) When in recent years QPR were signing all those Watford players (such as Chris Day, Steve Palmer, Lee Cook and a slew of others, as well as of course, Kenny Jackett) BDaD was the site I went to read insightful and positive assessments of them in their Watford days. And I enourage QPR fans to look at the new Watford blog, BHaPPY .

OK, on to the questions! ....Starting simply: How long have you supported Watford?

I think I started following results in 1979, with lots of encouragement from my Dad. My first game was vs Burnley, May 1980.

How long have you been involved with this Watford website? How did you get to be involved? Want to talk a little about BSaD and BHaPPY. What happend to BSaD. What was the thinking behind the new site?

Ian Grant started BSaD up in 1994. He was working for a fledgling web development company that got its staff to knock together a site about something that interested them, to develop their skills. That’s where Blind, Stupid and Desperate came from.

I’d been reading the site regularly, but was working abroad in 1997 when Ian advertised on our email list for someone to write match previews. It beat going home to a hotel room and watching telly… I kept that up for nine years, and ended up co-editing the site.

But it all got too much really. The site grew and grew and became increasingly unwieldy and difficult to manage, despite plenty of support. Ian was now working for himself, I became a Dad… we drew a line really. It had become unsustainable, and we closed BSaD down in 2006.

BHaPPY kicked off immediately, and is much more conducive to a civilised lifestyle. Critics would say “half-arsed”, and its certainly less comprehensive… but we’re both still sane and neither of us is single, which I’m not sure would have been the case had BSaD continued as was…

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

I think Ian and I are both descending into old fartdom and don’t have much direct contact with other boards. I would imagine that the prevailing attitudes to BSaD and BHaPPY range from indifference to fondness. And ridicule, but that’s mostly to do with fruit and veg, which you’ll have to dig around on the blog for. From the Rookery End is a very fine website/podcast. They’re nice, intelligent people so we’ll give them a plug.

Who is (or are) Watford biggest Rival (or Rivals)? I presume it's Luton? Anyone else?

Undoubtedly Luton, despite their recent descent to a historically unparalleled distance. Games against them are nasty, not comparable to anything else at Vicarage Road. Fans of a certain age (i.e. older than me…) still talk about you lot, and obviously it’s pretty local, no further than Luton as the crow flies. Brentford and Wycombe both seem to get pretty excited about us, but that’s not particularly reciprocated.

Are you happy with Malky Mackay as manager and how things have been this season? - Obvious Answer, I imagine! How has he managed to change things around?

Hell yes. Mackay’s achievement hasn’t been so much turning things around… we’d finished a respectable enough thirteenth under Brendan Rodgers the season before he took over. The achievement has been in building a side in the face of what has felt like an (at least) annual exodus of our experienced players. His first summer – our second “selling” summer - saw us lose seven senior players including, in the last week of August, Tommy Smith, Jobi McAnuff and Mike Williamson.

Last summer we said goodbye to four more, including captain Jay DeMerit. In that time we’ve only brought in the imperious Martin Taylor who would qualify as “experienced”… otherwise we’ve pursued a fruitful looking policy of buying players, when we do buy players, who will appreciate in value. Staying up would have been an achievement this season… instead we’ve been exciting, utterly likeable and occasionally irresistible as, um, I’m sure you remember. Having so many kids in the side obviously helps win hearts and minds… our youth system has rarely been as prolific and we’ve needed it; often our bench has boasted six of our kids plus the reserve keeper, whilst half of what is probably the current first choice eleven came through the youth system. I’ll take mid-table with both hands in that context. In Malky we trust…

What do you think of the current - and previous- Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances? What about this takeover...I've been reading the Watford Observer perspective. What are your hopes, fears and Expectations?

Well there’s a whole bundle of questions. As regards the new club board… who knows, frankly. In the absence of much evidence thus far I’m trying hard to reserve judgment on the new guys, but there’s been no meaningful communication, no indication of motivation and no explanation of source of finance from a chief backer who was bankrupt only a few years ago. So… it’s difficult not to be anxious.

The previous major shareholders were a mixed bunch who didn’t, um, see eye to eye. Graham Simpson and Jimmy Russo both spent time as chairman; Lord Ashcroft was a major shareholder. The last eighteen months has seen a non-executive board running the club with the very capable CEO Julian Winter working alongside figurehead and chairman, the unimpeachable Graham Taylor. It’s a long time since the running of the club has felt so stable, so professional and so trustable. If the new guys keep that up they’ll have made a decent start.

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

See above. I think football is too expensive, but that’s an industry-wide problem not specific or even particularly evident at Watford. Communication from and with the people who have been running the club has been excellent. We could do with some candour from the new guys, hopefully that will come.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players? Danny Graham is someone we almost signed on loan several years back.

We have a very fine spine… Graham has scored plenty, but more than that he pulls the forward line together. Last season, when his goalscoring came in fits and bursts, he was still well worth his place in the side during fallow periods simply by virtue of the space he created, and the foil he supplied for Tom Cleverley and Henri Lansbury breaking from midfield. A terrific striker, who may make his last home appearance for us on Saturday. You may notice a few vests in the home stands in his honour.

John Eustace is the leader in midfield. Every inch the team captain, he’s added a few goals to an already ample repertoire this season. At the back, Martin Taylor is vital to us in both penalty areas; this has probably been his longest spell as a first choice, having been more of a backup at Blackburn and Birmingham and he looks every inch the part. If there’s a criticism, ironically given the notoriety of the Eduardo incident, it’s that he’s not nasty enough. Other senior players - Don Cowie, Adrian Mariappa, Lloyd Doyley – have more than pulled their weight.

And then there’s the kids. Nineteen youth products have been named in squads this season; many are established members of the squad, several will clearly go on to better things, and there’s a good few being excitedly muttered about without quite being ready yet for good measure.

Overrated? Don’t know really. Harsh to single anyone out in a season where we’ve exceeded expectations so comprehensively

Who would you say was the greatest Watford player that you yourself personally saw? (You can name more than one if it's that close!) (Of course Tony Currie was released by QPR as a youngster. And Paul Furlong at the end of his career became a QPR hero)

Currie was before my time; there’s only really one candidate. I’ve been privileged to watch Watford during, historically, our most successful period… I started in 1980 and we’ve been out of the top two divisions for two years since. We’d been in the top two divisions for three years previously, so I reckon I’ve got lucky. Nobody touches John Barnes. I seem to remember that you tried to pinch him, too. Unlucky…

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction? In your heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season for Watford

I don’t think the relegation places take much prescience at this stage. QPR’s promotion seems assured bar any dramatic events off the pitch. I would guess Norwich for second, and would like Reading, assistant-managed by Watford legend Nigel Gibbs, to go up in the play-offs, they’ve got a decent shout.

My pre-season predictions are still on line here and some have proven grotesquely inaccurate. Middlesbrough to walk it stands out; I also had Norwich doing well though, as well as Burnley, Hull and Reading, with QPR “chasing the play-offs at worst”, which covers at least half the division. That’s experienced predicting, that is. I had Palace, Pompey, Preston and Scunny struggling… as well as ourselves. I’m not normally a misery guts either.

What is your view and the general Watford view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness, which I imagine we do, at least over the past few years) or of Neil Warnock?

As I’ve mentioned, there’s an element of the support that certainly regards QPR as second only to Luton, although I don’t think that’s the general feeling. We’ve had quite a harvest off you in recent years, particularly at home (although you’re not as fondly thought of in that regard as our good friends at Ipswich… ten wins and three draws in the last thirteen meetings…). Those of us old enough still chortle at the memory of Terry Venables complaining about the Vicarage Road “slope” in 1981…

Colin… we had some feisty encounters with him years ago, but then so did everyone. I remember games against his Oldham and Bury sides being quite, um, excited. Five years ago we chased down his Sheffield United side, murdering them 4-1 at Bramall Lane in the process before following them up through the play-offs. Since then… my perception is that he’s mellowing with age, and certainly the antagonism doesn’t seem to be there. He’s quite good fun now, although I’m sure he’d be a pain in the backside to oppose every week. And, given your recent managerial appointments, he was a particularly inspired and surprising pick. You’ve made more vaunted signings, but he’s always been one to drag a menagerie around with him and bringing Derry, a cartoon character, and Clint Hill, who once featured in a legendary scrap at Vicarage Road with Tranmere, with him from Palace gave you the bit of nasty you might have been lacking.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past Watford-QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? I guess our greatest rivalry period was in the early-1980s. when we were managed by Terry Venables and you were managed by Graham Taylor.

The best memory first, ‘cos that’s easy. QPR fans won’t remember Jim Magilton’s last game in charge fondly, but for Watford Lloyd Doyley’s first ever goal was something else. These sort of things are numbingly tedious unless they’re your team… but what the hell, you asked the question. 269 games without a goal, the rumour was he hadn’t scored at any level, not even in training. When the goal came… it was one of those celebrations where you finally stand up six rows and any number of seats away from where you started. I had a frozen shoulder, so some of my screams in that unrestrained bundle weren’t screams of excitement. Only some of them though.

I also enjoyed Ashley Young’s goal at the end of the season in 2006. A draw at Loftus Road in 2001 banging a nail into our promotion hopes not so good, I seem to remember blaming Andy D’Urso but can’t remember why. Neil Cox bashing two headers in at the start of that season was better. Gary Bannister netting a hat-trick at Vicarage Road in one of Steve Sherwood’s last games. But perhaps the least favourite memory actually came in a pre-season friendly, also in 2001. The Vialli-inspired clearout had started. Chris Day and Alex Bonnot were in hoops; nice blokes, decent enough players. But seeing Kenny Jackett, out of the club after more than twenty years, and the magnificent Steve Palmer on the wrong side of the fence was just wrong. That sick feeling lasted pretty much the rest of that season.

So many players played for both teams, especially in the past few years: Paul Furlong, Chris Day, Lee Cook, Danny Shittu, Paul Furlong Steve Palmer - Great, great signing...Kenny Jackett as coach...
There’s been loads hasn’t there. Steve Palmer, Heidar, Tommy Smith, Gavin Mahon would all feature strongly in discussions of Watford heroes of the last fifteen years or so. So too Furlong, going back a bit further – he was completely brilliant for his two years with us, and was our record sale for a long time – maybe even until Ashley Young? And Richard Johnson. You never saw the best of him, but what a player until he did his ligaments in 2000. An extraordinary midfielder. And boy could he shoot. Just look at this goal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nk9N7IOizCA). Just to be clear, that’s off the keeper’s head, off the bar and in. Ridiculous. Jackett more than qualifies as a Watford legend too, although his playing days were a bit further away. He could hit a ball too, if not quite as hard as Johnno.

Shittu did well enough, but for me – nice bloke, physically peerless of course, but just bad at defending, which was exposed in the Prem where being big and quick enough wasn’t enough to get him out of trouble.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?
Not sure I am, really. Never good to see another mob celebrating on your pitch, least of all when at least two of your number will be wearing the wrong coloured shirt (see above). Of course, putting the kybosh on it would be lots of fun – nothing personal, it would be fun to kybosh anybody given that we’re safely mid table. Not sure that will happen though… we’re looking a bit leggy…

Don’t do them. Won’t be dull, though.

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

As long as we’re still playing football, I’ll be happy. Looking at our youth set up, the next few years could be rather fun.

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) ? I remember when you went up (and down) a few years ago, Taylor was speaking about low spending so could set roots/foundations for years to come. But that didn't quite work out, I guess.

QPR are likely to have more capital than we had. Both of our promotions, in 1999 and 2006, were unexpected and via the play-offs with sides that had been expected to struggle in the tier below. You’re in a very difficult position then… do you stick, and run the risk of being labelled unambitious, particularly by your own fans, or do you twist and run the risk of ending up where Bradford are? Taylor in particular did well enough, much as we were well relegated. In both seasons we suffered badly with injuries – Marlon King’s injury scuppered us in 2006/07, but every bugger got injured in 1999/2000. Taylor DID leave us healthy… we just blew it all on Vialli.

I dunno. If it was us, I’d want us to use the money to sort out the infrastructure rather than gambling on Damien Francis. There’s stuff at Vicarage Road that badly needs doing, in case you’ve not noticed, and should have been done in 2006.

In the summer of 1999 I met a Charlton fan; they’d just gone down as we went up, and were to bounce back for a sustained spell in the top flight under Curbishley, passing us as we went back down. He described the season they’d had as the most joyless he’d endured… expensive tickets to watch his team effortlessly bashed about, often by reserve teams in front of patronising crowds who often turn up in expectation and certainly weren’t particularly excited by the prospect of little Charlton (or Watford). I couldn’t relate to that at the time, I could a year later. Aspects of it can be really crap, and one has to be careful what one wishes for from our position now. Gallows humour comes in handy in those situations.

I would be inclined to stick with Warnock, but your guys seem to fancy a trophy club and a trophy manager. I hope for you’re sake I’m wrong. Having money to spend (I assume?) won’t do you any harm at all, obviously.

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

I think I’ve probably gone on long enough…. J. I know… Watford in red shorts or black shorts? Red. Obviously. Tips for new visitors to the Vic? Go to the loo in the pub. Your end’s facilities are… a bit pokey.

Many many thanks to Matt from the Watford Blog, BHaPPY (and formerly with the fabulous and sadly no-longer-updated Watford fan site, Blind, Stupid and Desperate (BSaD). Best of luck (after Saturday!)

Pos Name P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Cardiff City 6 5 1 0 15 4 11 16
2 Norwich City 6 4 1 1 18 9 9 13
3 Millwall 6 4 1 1 11 5 6 13
4 Reading 6 4 1 1 13 8 5 13
5 Coventry City 6 3 2 1 11 6 5 11
6 Middlesbrough 6 3 2 1 13 11 2 11
7 Burnley 6 3 1 2 10 11 -1 10
8 Ipswich Town 6 3 1 2 10 14 -4 10
9 QPR 6 2 3 1 8 7 1 9
10 Nottm Forest 6 3 0 3 13 14 -1 9
11 Swansea City 6 2 2 2 10 6 4 8
12 Leicester City 6 2 2 2 15 12 3 8
13 Hull City 6 2 2 2 9 9 0 8
14 Crystal Palace 6 2 2 2 6 6 0 8
15 Sc**thorpe 6 2 1 3 8 13 -5 7
16 Sheffield Utd 6 2 0 4 8 14 -6 6
17 Leeds United 6 1 2 3 9 9 0 5
18 Barnsley 6 1 2 3 8 9 -1 5
19 Watford 6 1 2 3 8 12 -4 5
20 Preston 6 1 2 3 6 10 -4 5
21 Derby County 6 1 2 3 9 14 -5 5
22 Bristol City 6 1 1 4 7 11 -4 4
23 Doncaster 6 0 3 3 5 10 -5 3
24 Portsmouth 6 0 3 3 2 10 -8 3

Football League

- League Groundsmen Awards

- Oxford United Join Port Vale in Coming to North America this Summer

Blog Archive