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Friday, April 22, 2011

QPR Report: Cardiff City Perspective...Warnock Confident re FA Hearing...Stewart on Life at QPR

- THE ANSWER: After Forty+ Years: What happened to the "Missing" QPR Apostrophe: How Queen's Park Rangers became Queens Park Rangers
- 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

- Scot Parker Named Football Writers' Association Player of the Year

- Warnock Confident re FA Hearing (Consulted his own Barrister)

- Flashback a Decade: QPR Relegated to the Third Division

- Two Year Flashback: Dave McIntyre on QPR Transfer Dealings - and Looking at Pattern of Successful Clubs.

- Steve Slade Looks Ahead: Twelve Year Flashback!

- Telegraph's Ten Best Championship Players

- On this Day in QPR Football

- Two Allegedly Mob-controlled Italian Football Clubs Seized

- Plymouth Players Helping Plymouth Staff

- Q&A With Ian Holloway

- Premiership Lack of Aid to Parks and Pitches

- Cardiff and Swansea offered a Good Chance of Getting back into Europe


- Videos: Two QPR Victories Over Cardiff

- Next: Cardiff - Previews and Perspectives

- Remembering Cardiff and Hotel Fire Alarms


Rhod/Bluebirdshroom from Vital Cardiff very kindly agreed to do this Q&A offering a Cardiff Perspective. Very Many thanks to Rhod.

I should preface this Q&A by thanking you very much, Rod for agreeing to do this Q&A and just to acknowledge that at least for QPR fans, there is a certain animosity towards Cardiff. I don't know if this is reciprocated by Cardiff fans. For some this then moves into a "Welsh-English" Encounter and a St Georges Day thing, etc, etc...Anyway

I wasnt aware there was any particular animosity. I suppose the only big incident between us would be the 2003 play-off final. Its a harsh way to go out, as we know, and QPR did have the better of the game but Andy Campbell's only moment of class settled it - great feeling. We have a Welsh/English banter with most clubs, sometimes its pathetic, mostly good-natured.

Starting simply: How long have you supported Cardiff City?

As long as I can remember so I suppose 20-odd years.

How long have you been involved with the Cardiff website? How did you get to be involved?

I've been writing for Vital Cardiff around 4 years. There's one brilliant Cardiff City messageboard, and no other comes close but there was a gap for writing articles and news etc so I took the opportunity.

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

I have a huge amount of respect for CCMB, I've read it for over 10 years - wasting a huge amount of my time! Unfortunately, others will always be jealous of Mike (the owner) and try to make problems, there's room for others but the new ones will have problems! The majority of fans just want news and opinions on their beloved Bluebirds so Vital Cardiff's hit rate is good, without a huge amount of contributing members - maybe Premiership football would help.....

Who is (or are) Cardiff biggest Rival (or Rivals)? I presume it's Swansea? - and that teams such as Wrexham don't really don't factor in (at least for now)?

For me personally, I like Wrexham - though I suppose we haven't competed all that much recently. Swansea is certainly the big one, and there's a lot of animosity there, partly because we're two very different clubs. In fairness, Swansea have done brilliantly with consistency, decent football and a small wage, whereas we're up-and-down with a rollercoaster ride all the way. Bristol City are also our big rivals, partly because we've come up and down together through the leagues. The Newport animosity has been on hold for a couple of decades, but could come back to be bigger than any of the above.

Are you happy with David Jones and how things have been this season? - Can you explain/do you understand how things got to this point?

Dave Jones is one of a kind. There are so many positives and he's undoubtedly done a great job, however, he is also a frustrating characetar and has a difficult relationship with the fans. He plays things down and is sensible, but our fans are all about the passion etc. The underlying fact is that we've improved every year since Jones took charge, and you cant really argue with that. His tactics can be suspect, but we have to be happy if you consider our position rationally.

At least now you know how it feels to lose a playoff final (and away from home!)

Wembley is a bit like our second home anyway what with the play-off final, and FA Cup semi and final recently! It didnt feel good, and there are many fans who won't be going even if we make it to the final. No-one wants to go through that again!

There is a certain perception that the Welsh FA is very lenient via disciplinary towards players with Cardiff and Swansea. Do you think that's a fair critique?

It's a ridiculous situation and we should be under the same governing body as the other teams in our league. I think most CCFC fans want that too. I do think opposition fans have mis-understood this previously and, in all honesty, the FAW were very harsh with us a few years ago and we were at a disadvantage. Since then, it does seem to have reversed somewhat, though many of our decisions have been clearly wrong - even impartially speaking! People had a go recently about the Reading game, we got away with it somewhat whereas Reading were harshly punished but in all honesty, Leigertwood punched a player (on the pitch) whereas Bellamy threw a water bottle (in the tunnel) and Reading were already on a warning from the FA. It's a stupid scenario, but I dont think we've gained a significant advantage.....yet anyway.

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? Especially Sam Hamman and Ridsdale.

We have Malaysian owners now, who have been welcomed as saviours. They rarely comment in the media, and we dont know their long term intentions but they have been honest and respectful throughout - which is a huge change for us. I'm happy to have them in charge for now, they have stabilised, whilst keeping us competitive - a huge acheivement. They could pump more money in, especially with permanent signings but why should they? They have been swamped with historical debts and have done CCFC a great service thus far.

There is certainly a Malaysian prsence within the stadium, with guests advertising and sponsorship - thats all good, and we seem to be gaining notoriety in the far east. There is some concern we are ebing used by (invvestor) Vincent Tan, who needs a Premiership interest to gain a betting/gambling license in Malaysia. We'll see I suppose, but stability and concentration on the playing side is certainly a welcome change for us. Sam Hammam screwed us into the ground, he may or may not have had the right intention but he is ruthless to the core and although passionate, he made some abominable deceisions which risked the future of our club and that is not to be forgiven lightly. Peter Ridsdale conspired to oust Sam, but initially did stirling work - the stadium is, unfortunately, a lasting legacy and success of Ridsdale's tenure. After that, he became akin to a con artist, and his conduct is questionable. There are numerous examples of his misleading fans and it took a long time for many of us to cotton on, he's very persuasive. However, those who did, will remember and unless I'm proved wrong - he will never be welcome at CCS again.

It certainly appears that Cardiff on walking along the edge of the precipice...NEEDING Promotion or else you're screwed financially. But that's exactly what I thought last year.

I dont think thats true, though much depends on the unknown intentions of our owners. They dont seem the sort to leave us in a great mess but we will never know for certain. We are in a great deal of debt, but much of that is owed to a mysterious Langston corporation - there is much evidence that our new owners have made huge strides in reducing that debt and we are certainly solvent now - a year after the HMRC nearly convinced a judge we ought to be wound up.

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

Many of our fans are deluded. There is such a sense of grandeur that sometimes you wonder if certain individuals/groups have some kind of agenda. Generally the club is doing OK, we're much bigger than we were and have struggled financially - there are sides to CCFC that need to improve, but there have certainly been big strides and the club are certainly trying. While thats the case (and under the new regime), I have no complaints.

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

Jay Bothroyd is pivotal to us, we really struggle without him whether that be through injury/suspension/or lack of form. However, the first name on the teamsheet is undoubtedly Kevin McNaughton. He's Scottish, a free transfer and not that well known but he is absolutely magnificent. No tantrums, no messing - he gets on with his job, and does it brilliantly week-in, week-out..... on the left, the right or the centre of defence. Legend.

Who would you say was the greatest Cardiff's player that you yourself personally saw? (You can name more than one if it's that close!) (I remember seeing John Toshack play for Cardiff in 1970/71 just before he joined Liverpool)

I was never priviledged enough to see the likes of Dwyer, Toshack and co and when I started supporting City, we were in the lower leagues. Bellamy this season, Earnshaw and Gabbidon a few years back etc and the promising academy products like Ramsey, Ledley and Jerome are all very good players. Kevin Ratcliffe and Robbie James were sheer class, though late in their careers but for sheer passion, determination and inspiration - former centre-back Jason Perry will get my vote.

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 Cardiff

Pre-season we were transfer embargoed, having lost key players like Joe Ledley and in severe financial trouble. Things improved dramatically, and we were suddenly in the promotion mix - we havent hit top gear all season, but we're in a good position and should be proud. Obviously, QPR deserve promotion, and Norwich City/Swansea City would have been long shots pre-season so should be applauded. The likes of Preston, Palace, Scun.thorpe all looked likely to struggle so the relegation struggle is little surprise. If only Reading looked remotely human or beatable.....

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

Honestly, QPR were like us - a mid/high table team who needed something to change if theey were to go either way. Rangers got the money, and had the right manager to make use of it without disrupting the team. I can't say I think about QPR all that often, but good luck to you after a great season. You left the media hype and hyperbole to others and got on with winning games. Neil Warnock is an absolute arse. He's made a character of himself which riles others, gets in their faces and has seen all his sides hard to beat. We, like many others, love to hate him - but I daresay many Cardiff City fans would see his passion and spirit as an ideal match for the Bluebirds....

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

Obviously the play-off final ranks highly among my all-time memories. I want all that old, but I remember a 4-1 thrashing at our place in the league cup, that wasnt great but coupled with the 7-1 aggregate defeat - it was pretty embarassing.

As you may recall, our two clubs played each other a few years back, at the Millenium Stadium in the Playoff Final. Obviously QPR fans were unhappy at losing. But what REALLY grated was the fire alarm going off in the middle of the night at the Hotel where the QPR Players were staying. And the fact that it was then Chairman Hamman's former "Minder" Neil MacNamara who was found to have set off the alarm. Many have assumed that MacNamara did not act completely alone/on his own initiative. Any Cardiff scuttlebutt about this?

I dont know any details. I wish it hadnt happened, but I dont think it should have made much of a difference. It's a bit typical of the Hammam era, but was surely only psychological.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

I'd rather be playing Derby County or someone else to be honest!


2-1 to Cardiff, though thats as much wishful thinking as anything. The game, more than most others, could go any way.

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

Impossible to say. I think if we're financially stable, that will be an acheivement and acceptable. If we're in the Premiership, or fighting for promotion to - then all the better.

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)

Buy proven, established players you know can do a job - thats obviously tough but I had no doubt Roger Johnson (Birmingham) would be a huge success in the Prem, spending £8m on unknown South American strikers seems not to be the way to go.

Bonus question! Do you have any advice/cautions for QPR fans travelling to Cardiff for this game?

I've (honestly) never seen trouble at a Cardiff City game. Once I saw stones thrown by Swansea fans at buses on Sloper Road, but that was 20 years ago. If you dont go looking for trouble, I very much doubt you'd find any.

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

Only one, about the game at Loftus this season. If we'd beaten you, it could have spurred us on to challenge for the title - and despite the taltent and your position at the time, you didnt outplay us. Two stand-out players Bellamy and Taraabt score, but the winner (Taraabt's) was down to a mistake from our left-back Lee Naylor, a badly mistimed lunge that left him on the deck and Adel free on goal - unfortunately, that became a theme for us and Naylor dropped into dismal form and has barely featured in the last 3 months. That was a huge moment, and might have defined our season. Beating you on Saturday, would be a similarly huge moment - but just as difficult.

Many many thanks again to Rhod/Bluebirdshroom from Vital Cardiff for offering this fascinating perspective.

BRISTOL EVENING POST - Stewart just happy to be a part of a steady ship at City

- DAMION Stewart could be excused for believing he was jinxed when he moved from Queens Park Rangers to Bristol City last summer.
- Accustomed to behind-the-scenes turmoil at Loftus Road, the central defender thought those difficult times were behind him after signing a three-year contract.
- So imagine his shock when Steve Coppell, the man who signed him in July, walked out on City just two games into the season.
- Having worked under nine different managers in three seasons at Rangers, Stewart must have feared history was repeating itself.
- "It felt as though I was cursed," jokes the big Jamaican. "There was a time when we seemed to have a different manager every few weeks at QPR and it was a relief to join a club like Bristol City.

- "Steve Coppell had just taken over, things seemed very settled and I was looking forward to the future with a lot of optimism.
- "Then the gaffer left out of the blue and I thought to myself 'here we go again!' I thought I'd left all that behind me in London."
- At least Stewart can afford a wry smile when he now recollects his early days at City.
- After a difficult start – City conceded goals for fun and won only one of their opening 10 matches to sink to the foot of the Championship table – life has improved considerably for the no-nonsense defender, who has emerged as a key member of the back four under Keith Millen's management.
- He recalls: "There was a short period when I wondered if I had done the right thing, but that is all in the past now.
- "I think the gaffer has done a brilliant job, the team has improved a lot and moved up the table and I believe we are close to having a squad that can really do something next season.
- "Stability is an absolute must for any club that wants to do well and challenge for promotion and we have that here.
- "QPR have that stability now and look at what they have done this season. Neil Warnock has been given time to build a squad and work with the players and they look as though they are going to run away with the title.
- "They always had the potential to do well when I was there, but the constant chopping and changing of manager did us no favours.
- "No manager was given enough time and it was difficult to get any continuity. They say that what goes on behind the scenes doesn't affect the players and that is right up to a point. We are paid to play football and have a duty to focus on being the best we can be.
- "But it does become a problem when you have change on the scale we had at QPR. It definitely held them back."

- City's focus will switch to the other end of the table when they take on struggling Sheffield United at Bramall Lane tomorrow...." Bristol Evening Post

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