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Thursday, May 05, 2011

QPR Report Thursday: Judgement Day?...Warnock Speaks...Departing Players...Fifteen Years Since QPR's Final Premiership Game

- FA Hearing Devlopments/Stories/Comments/Rumours and QPR Report Messageboard Discussion
- Fifteen Years Ago Today: QPR Played their Last Game in the Premiership
- 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


- Fifteen Years Ago Today: QPR Played their Last Game in the Premiership

- Next: Leeds United

- West Ham Reportedly Interested in Neil Warnock or Ian Holloway

- Dave McIntyre Tweet "#QPR looking at Farnborough striker Bradley Bubb. Mick Jones watched v Woking tonight. In case anyone cares!

- WASPS & Wales' Andy Powell Update

- QPR Report "Spot The Ball" # 7

- Some pages from Saturday's Watford-QPR Programme

- Ken Bates as "New" Leeds United Owner: Comments and Reactions

- Cardiff City Players Drinking Before Their Big Game

TALKSPORT/Ian Cruise - May 5, 2011 - Exclusive – Warnock: ‘QPR won the title on the pitch, and we’re going to celebrate’

QPR boss Neil Warnock is promising to celebrate promotion to the Premier League – whatever the football authorities have to say.

Rangers could be deducted points as the result of an FA investigation into the third-party ownership of Alejandro Faurlin. Their fate is expected to be decided on Friday, but Warnock insists he’s only interested in matters on the pitch.

He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “We won the Championship on the field of play and that’s all I’m bothered about. So we’re going to celebrate on Saturday with the home fans and that’s how it’s going to be.

“It’s not been the easiest for me. It’s difficult enough trying to win games in the Championship as it is, and something that happened before I even arrived at the club has made it even more difficult. But we’ve just got on with getting the results on the pitch and that’s all we can do.”

Warnock has steered Rangers back into the top-flight for the first time in 15 years, but speculation continues to link other people with his job, as well as newspaper reports linking him with West Ham. But the fact there have been no talks about a new Loftus Road deal doesn’t bother him one bit.

“I think I do get the acclaim I deserve,” he added. “Contracts aren’t worth much anyway. My reward is winning the Championship and equalling Graham Taylor’s record of seven promotions. That’s what I’ve wanted to do and they’re not going to take that away.
>“I’m well thought of by the supporters. Some of them probably didn’t want me to come in the first place, but they’ve been brilliant and I’m delighted for them. They’ve not had a lot to shout about for the last 15 years.

“Speculation does drive you bonkers, bur our owners [at QPR] are quite unique. They do say things on the spur of the moment sometimes. If you remember a few months ago it was Marcelo Lippi who was going to come in and replace me.

“Well, I can’t imagine Lippi wanting to manage at QPR if I’m honest. But you have to live with that. There’s so much speculation around football management these days

Paul Warburton/Fulham Chronicle - QPR set to axe 15 players in summer clear-out

- NEIL Warnock is set to show the door to an incredible 15 QPR players on Tuesday.
- As Rangers brace themselves for the FA tribunal verdict, the Rs supremo has laid the cornerstone for next season – regardless of which division Hoops find themselves.
- The FA were set to reveal their verdict on seven alleged breaches of transfer rules concerning midfielder Ali Faurlin that carries the threat of a points deduction.
- But even before Saturday’s Championship finale at home to Leeds, Warnock is ready to take an axe to his squad.
- He said: "I'll meet with the players on Tuesday, and I’ll be talking to them then about next season.
- "It’s not for me to say now who’s staying or going now, and it might be I’ll sleep on one or two – and then make a decision pre-season."
- Peter Ramage, Gavin Mahon and Romone Rose are all out of contract and almost certainly asked to clear their lockers, while fans’ favourites Lee Cook, Martin Rowlands, along with Gary Borrowdale, Rowan Vine, injury-plagued Fitz Hall, fringe players Georgios Tofas, and Leon Clarke are to be told they are no longer wanted.
- It has not worked out for either Rob Hulse or Norwegian international Petter Vaagan Moen either, with Danny Shittu’s short-term contract unlikely to be renewed, and striker Ishmael Miller ready to return to WBA after his loan spell.
- Rangers will also negotiate the permanent sale of midfielder Mikele Leigertwood to Reading. Fulham Chronicle

David McIntyre Blog

A long walk, and now a long wait

It’s not every day you walk through woods and across golf courses to a football match, or that a promotion is decided in a room at Wembley rather than on the pitch. It’s a surreal time.

Tiger Feet 2 – a sponsored walk from Loftus Road to Vicarage Road to raise money for the QPR Tiger Cubs - was tougher than last year’s relative stroll to Selhurst Park, but still an enjoyable experience.

We set off around 8am, shortly after a pitchside pep-talk from QPR in the Community Trust CEO Andy Evans, who remarked that when the Watford game was identified last June as a possible date for another walk, we didn’t know it would turn out to be “such an historic day for the club.” Stirring stuff.

What I like most about Tiger Feet apart from the great cause it raises money for, is that I can put journalistic impartiality and downright cynicism about all things QPR aside for a while, and feel part of the Rangers family in the way I used to.

For a few seconds sitting in the Paddock listening to Andy, I thought back to my days as a child leaning over the front of the terrace there, straining to get a better view.

I snapped out of that sentimental nonsense when it dawned on me I’d be spending several hours in the company of Paul Finney of the Independent R’s. The ultimate sobering thought.

But I must be going soft in my old age because, as I looked over at the QPR fans after the game, I do believe I felt a slight lump in the throat and thought of how much Rangers going up would mean to family and friends, some of whom are no longer with us.

Then it occurred to me that the enormity of the occasion, and the fact that it was at an away ground, would make it difficult for the QPR media team to keep tabs on me and prevent press from speaking to players, so I forgot all the sentimental claptrap and moved to a strategic position.

Much to my disgust, I was spotted in the tunnel by a delighted Rangers official. Even more to my disgust, he asked if I wanted him to bring me a player to speak to. The thrill is in the chase, so I told him I wasn’t bothered. What a disappointment.

Joking aside, being serious for a moment, there are rare occasions when impartiality and personal differences can be briefly put aside, and this was one of them.

Only looking back do I now treasure a couple of minutes with Ian Holloway on the side of the Hillsborough pitch. It was something I took for granted before a friend reminded me that every Rangers fan that day would have liked to put an arm around him and tell him he could be immensely proud of what he’d done. Up until then I just felt I’d disgraced myself professionally and wouldn’t dream of doing something like that again.

So it was a pleasure to shake Neil Warnock’s hand and congratulate him on a job very, very well done.

Warnock was then more boisterously congratulated by a Rangers fan who happened to be passing. In handcuffs. Being frogmarched by a policeman through the back of Watford’s main stand.

“You’re the man, Neil!” the guy shouted.

“Thanks mate. Good luck,” the manager replied.

“Legend! ‘kin legend!” the fan added, now shouting back over his shoulder as he was being swiftly led away.

He was followed seconds later by another nicked supporter, who didn’t get as close to Warnock but gleefully shouted in his direction. I didn’t hear what he shouted, but did hear as he turned to the policeman escorting him and said, in a very matter-of-fact way: “They’d better not take points off us.”

It’s that fear of a points deduction that cast a shadow over Saturday and this week. What a terrible shame for the Rangers fans who’ve waited for this moment. It shouldn’t be this way.

The anxiety out there isn’t being eased by coverage of the saga, which has inevitably reached fever pitch as we approach the big day.

Other than on this blog, I’ve written very little on the story and the little I have done has been background information for other journalists. I don’t do speculation, and the relevant facts either can’t be reported without prejudicing the process, or are things that were stated long before this case arose, such as the fact that Instituto de Córdoba received very little – if anything at all - following Alejando Faurlin’s move for a reported £3.5m.

Much of the rest out there is wide of the mark, or isn’t new. There’s an awful lot of rubbish that’s been spouted on this subject; a good deal of it heavily slanted in favour of QPR, and some not.

I can only repeat a couple of points I made on this blog during the week the charges were issued.

The first is that while QPR might be overwhelmingly confident this will all be settled in their favour, they have unfortunately been involved in a number of legal cases and the like in recent years, sent out a similar message of certain, impending victory, and lost.

But, secondly, it’s also the case that, partly because of their owners, QPR are well placed to launch a strong defence and challenge any outcome that denied the club promotion, which could throw the football calendar into chaos. This has since become an accepted fact. Everyone now talks about what a mess this situation could develop in to.

Beyond that, there’s really not that much that can be added to the respective statements by the FA and QPR back in March.

There have been a few interesting developments. One is Warnock’s apparent confidence, which I know a lot of fans have read an awful lot into.

Warnock is rightly trusted by supporters, and his word understandably carries a lot of weight.

But he’s a relative newcomer at QPR. His predecessors found there was often a big difference between what they were repeatedly assured, and what actually happened. This case will give an indication of whether the club has changed in that respect.

Warnock has stated several times that he is “very happy” with what a barrister involved in Rangers’ case has told him.

The club’s legal team certainly boasts expertise and experience in the shape Ian Mill and former QPR director Nick De Marco.

Mill represented Sheffield United in the Carlos Tevez case and has plenty of experience in sports law, as does his supporting barrister De Marco, a tireless and fierce defender of Gianni Paladini, who appointed him to the club’s board in 2007.

The legal team went to work over last week’s Sun article, which declared that Rangers could be in line for a hefty points deduction.

One broadcaster had suggested that were it a murder trial, the case would probably be thrown out on the grounds that the accused could not be sure of a fair trial. Amongst all the inaccurate nonsense being spouted elsewhere, that was an entirely fair and reasonable point to make.

But the argument about possibly prejudicing the process works both ways.

Anger at an apparent FA leak is ironic, given that much of the early coverage of all this was massively slanted in Rangers’ favour, largely because of the FA’s refusal to comment (as agreed with QPR) and the relative silence of the Championship clubs potentially affected by this case.

All of the early ‘news’ that a points deduction was unlikely, perhaps not even on the agenda at all, was based on nothing other than what was seeping out of Loftus Road.

The flow of ‘information’ was totally one-sided, and, it could be argued, prejudicial because it formed opinions and gave the strong impression a points deduction, should it be imposed, would be unexpected and draconian.

That arguably gave QPR a big advantage over the FA and the other potentially-affected Championship clubs well before the hearing was due to take place.

It’s also worth noting how incoherent some of the favourable coverage Rangers have received has been.

At first, there was the suggestion that far from being a mystery, the agent representing Faurlin was well known and fully registered. Less than a week later, these reports based on soundings from QPR were suggesting that most of the charges would easily be fended off, but there was some concern over the status of the agent. So the agent went from not a problem to the only problem in a matter of days.

There have also been suggestions all this wouldn’t even reach the stage it has, and that all but one of the seven charges would be dropped before the hearing started.

And as Mills, De Marco and co arrived at Wembley on Tuesday, there were rumours they would immediately have the whole process abandoned on the basis that last week’s Sun article would deny them a fair hearing. Yet on Wednesday, it was round two.

On the other side of the coin, much of the sensationalist stuff pointing to a big points deduction is based on very little fact, and certainly very little knowledge of the intricacies of the Faurlin deal, which was complicated and difficult to understand, as I know from my six days trying to stand the story up enough to write about it after first learning of Rangers’ interest in an Argentine called Alejandro Damian Faurlin in July 2009.

What also seems to have been forgotten is that QPR deny any deliberate wrongdoing. Even the regime’s staunchest allies in the stands and the press box talk of fines and small points deductions, which is itself implies guilt and is an assumption Rangers have actually done something wrong.

What is also noticeable – and I believe misguided – is the instinct of many fans to blame the FA rather than QPR for the whole affair and for the timing of the hearing.

It also seems that reports of no points deduction are widely seen as fair and based on solid information, whereas reports of heavy sanctions are angrily written off as gutter journalism based on lies.

That’s the absolute loyalty of QPR supporters for you, and something the club’s owners should remember, not disregard when, as I still expect, they and their rich chums are lording it at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge next season.

They should utilise and pay due respect to that loyalty, instead of testing or even trashing it at every opportunity. It’s an asset, and any ‘brand’, to use one of the regime’s favoured words, would give anything to have it.

Forget the boutique. Forget the world brand. The owners should wake up to and respect what’s already there, and was there long before they bought 125 years of history for a relative pittance.

Their continuation of the purge of symbols and people associated with the ‘old’ QPR, which started under the previous regime between 2005 and 2007, is, I would strongly argue, a huge reason for the current mess.

Whatever happens, there are lessons that need to be learned from all this. There is much that is seriously wrong with QPR and needs to change – something I have argued for a number of years, and often been in hot water as a result.

The danger is that either a positive or negative outcome for Rangers will lead to those lessons being ignored.

A negative outcome, and anger will doubtless be directed towards the FA rather than QPR.

If, as I fully expect, it goes the other way, then the understandable jubilation may mean that cracks are papered over yet again. That would be a huge mistake and an opportunity missed" Dave McIntyre Blog

Guardian/Matt Scott - Same division but different rules for Cardiff City

• Cardiff cannot face same charges as QPR
• Welsh club answerable only to League and FA of Wales

Cardiff City will have no case to answer from the Football Association even if it is proved by the Football League that they have permitted third parties to exercise control over their players. At a time when Queens Park Rangers face a possible points deduction over the Alejandro Faurlín affair, differing regulations apply to the third-placed Welsh club in the same division.

Seven days before FA charges arose against QPR in March, Digger revealed that Cardiff hold arrangements that may point to similar third-party influence over team affairs. Cardiff's director and lawyer, Alan Whiteley, denies that the agreements the club hold with the Cayman Islands-registered Player Finance Fund (PFF) constitute third-party influence. The matter is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Football League.

The arrangements pre-date the League's adoption of third-party rules at the beginning of this season. So its inquiry relates instead to whether Ray Ranson, the former chairman of Coventry, exercised any influence over Cardiff's affairs through Sport Asset Capital, his investment company, or the apparently connected PFF, as indicated in Cardiff's accounts. This would be illegal under dual-influence rules.

It is believed Ranson, who along with his friend and vice-chairman, Gary Hoffman, quit Coventry in March, denies that either he or any company connected with him has made loans to Cardiff. Complicated?

There is one simple fact, however: even if it were proved that Cardiff players were under the control of the chairman of a rival Championship club – which under FA rules might ordinarily lead to a severepoints deduction – there could be no repercussions as there are against QPR. That is because Cardiff are answerable only to the League and to the FA of Wales. An FAW spokesman said on Wednesday: "We have nothing in our statutes to cover third-party ownership of players." Surely it is time for Welsh clubs for them to yield to English rules. Guardian

MIRROR/Alan Nixon - QPR could miss the play-offs as well as automatic promotion
Football League chiefs have told QPR that the play-offs will go ahead on schedule – with or without them.

Champions Rangers may be hit with a points penalty for offences in the signing of Alejandro Faurlin that would rob them of automatic promotion and dump them into the end-of-season shoot-out.

Senior League officials have now officially approached Rangers to ask them to fast-track their appeal if that happens, but the London club have said ‘no.’

QPR want the full 14 days to put their case together which would jam up the whole promotion process, but now they face a nightmare scenario after being told the play-offs must be on time.

So Neil Warnock’s club would have to go into the play-offs under protest and there will be NO delay if football has to hold its breath and wait for their appeal.

The only option for Rangers - in those circumstances - would be to refuse to take part. But the Football League would then give their semi-final opponents a bye to the Wembley final.

It is a legal and logistical shocker for all involved, with the FA standing by to call an emergency meeting if Rangers are docked points when the decision is made this week.

Rangers are defending themselves against the seven charges and hope to win their case, but they are also fighting the possible consequences caused by the timing of the hearing. Mirror

SKYSPORTS - Derry's dream ticket

As part of skysports.com's Championship spotlight, Chris Burton catches up with Queens Park Rangers midfielder Shaun Derry.
Championship Spotlight Posted 4th May 2011 view comments

.There may still be one potentially damaging issue for Queens Park Rangers to address this season, but for those whose focus lies away from Football Association third-party ownership wrangles, the 2010/11 campaign is one which will live long in the memory for all the right reasons.

While rules are rules and must be adhered to by one and all, it is difficult to see how the FA could justify preventing QPR from taking their rightful place in the Premier League next season.

Neil Warnock's men have led the Championship pretty much from start to finish and deserved to taste the ecstasy of a promotion party last weekend.

Derry: Looking forward to mixing it with the Premier League elite
Not once have they dropped out of the top two this season :-*, with a 4-0 mauling of Barnsley on the opening day setting the tone for what was to follow.

What did follow was a 19-game unbeaten start to the campaign, :-* with it clear from the outset that Rangers were going to be THE side to beat in the second tier.

Those lofty standards have been maintained throughout and the club is now looking forward to rejoining England's elite for the first time in 15 years....or so they hope.

A points deduction would be terribly harsh on the capital club, or least one which sends them tumbling into the play-off pack would be.

Admittedly such a punishment would allow them a second bite at the promotion cherry, but having already proved their worth once, should they really have to go through it all again?

It remains to be seen what the outcome of the FA's investigation into QPR's acquisition of Alejandro Faurlin will be, however, for now those outside of the boardroom are determined to enjoy their moment in the sun.

Shaun Derry, a seasoned campaigner who has been around the block a few times, is among those keen to cast a positive light on the campaign and told skysports.com's Chris Burton this week that he is still coming to terms with what he and the club have achieved.

He said: "It has been phenomenal really, given the sort of transitional period the club has been through. The manager arrived six or seven games from the end of last season, but player-wise people have come in and have adapted really well and have bonded straight away. It's been a ridiculous season.

"It has been an incredible season in more ways than one for QPR. It started off like a house on fire and the boys have absolutely grasped every opportunity this season and given it their all. We are where we are on merit."

It appeared at one stage as though QPR would run away with the league crown, but they were forced to wait until their second from last game of the season before finally rubber-stamping promotion.

Derry said: "It is a relief in one way, but you have to take into consideration how hard the run-in was. We knew how hard it was going to be. All of the top teams, probably the top four or five, have been on ridiculous runs of late. We knew that we had a real hard run-in. Obviously we would have liked to have got a better result away at Sc**thorpe, but the results have been satisfying on the whole because they have been tough games."

The Loftus Road playing staff are keen to start looking ahead to a shot at the Premier League big boys next season, with there considerable top-flight experience already within their ranks.

That should stand them in good stead for what is to come in 2011/12, but Derry appreciates that the odd tweak here and there will be required.

He said: "We are all playing at this level for a reason, on a negative side of things. But on the flip side, on the positive side, we have got players that have earned promotions or played in the top flight. You look throughout our squad and there are a number of guys who are more than capable of holding their own in the Premier League. That's good for us and hopefully the transition from Championship to the Premiership won't be as hard as it has been for other teams."

While confident that QPR are capable of holding their own within the top-flight ranks, Derry appreciates that new recruits will be required over the summer in order to bolster what Warnock already has at his disposal.

He said: "Don't get me wrong, he is a manager who wants to succeed in the Premier League and I'm sure he will use all the backing the chairman and the owners can give him. If he gets a pot of money, I'm sure he would like to spend it. But I'm sure he will want to keep the right spirit and find the right formula again and that will include the boys that are already at the club. We have got that belief and togetherness, so I don't think he will want to mess too much with that side of things."

Warnock is renowned for his somewhat unique approach to football management, which has taken him to the Promised Land once before with Sheffield United.

The outspoken Yorkshireman can often rub opponents up the wrong way, but to those who work alongside and under him, the bubbly 62-year-old is among the best in the business.

On his manager, Derry said: "If you look at his success, with the greatest respect, whenever he has taken teams up to the next level he has not been one of the higher payers in terms of transfer fees. He has done that again here. He brings in the right type of player and the boys have given him everything. :-*

"I can't speak highly enough of him because for me he has been brilliant, for me as an individual. The older you get, you make a judgement on what type of manager he is. From the outside looking in it looks like he gets the best out of his players, and from the inside that is exactly what he is doing. He comes to life on matchday and he gives you the belief that you can go and do what he expects you to do.

"The image he gets is unfair at times. I haven't really seen too many occasions, well not this year because we have done well, but even during the tough days at Crystal Palace where he has lost his rag with the boys. He is obviously passionate and he knows what he wants to see on the pitch. He might not be everyone's cup of tea but he has a lot of friends in football."

Derry certainly considers himself to be a close acquaintance of Warnock, with the experienced coach having offered him a new lease of life.

The 33-year-old was released by basement dwellers Crystal Palace at the end of the 2009/10 campaign, following Warnock's earlier departure, but was not left hanging around in the free-agent pool for long as his former coach came calling once more.

"It's turned on its head in the last 12 months really," said Derry on his remarkable upturn in fortune.

"To get promoted out of it is fantastic for me. We obviously haven't finished this season yet, we have to go to one of my old clubs, Leeds, but I'm really looking forward to what is going to happen over the summer and beyond.

"Your appreciation level rises as you get older, your appreciation for the game. My appreciation is stronger now than it was six or seven years ago. I love football and I pride myself on keeping fit. I love every minute of training and playing the games. It's what you get in the game for."

Derry's passion for the game is reflected in the fact that he has missed just one league game for QPR this season and he feels he has what it takes to grind his way through another testing campaign next term.

He said: "I think the manager would be the first to admit that I've surprised him this year, but I haven't surprised myself because I know that I look after my body. You see a lot of older players going on and on so it hasn't surprised me that I've played this amount of games. Long may it continue." SkySports

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