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Sunday, August 14, 2011

QPR Report Sunday: Bolton Loss (!5,195 Attend)...QPR Takeover Hope


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OBSERVER/JAMIE JACKSON - Tony Fernandes poised to buy Bernie Ecclestone out of Queens Park Rangers

• Asian businessman could be named as new owner on Monday
• He will take charge alongside Lakshmi Mittal

Tony Fernandes could be announced as the new owner of Queens Park Rangers on Monday in a deal that would mean the Asian businessman taking control of the club from Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, in partnership with Lakshmi Mittal, who already owns 33%.

If the deal goes through it is not yet clear if Ecclestone will sell all his 66% holding in the west London club and whether Briatore will retain his 1% stake. However, given the strained relationship Mittal and his son-in-law, Amit Bhatia, have with the Formula One impresario and the former grand prix team principal Briatore, it is thought Ecclestone is likely to sell all his shares.

Ecclestone has said in the past that QPR would be for sale for £100m but the financial details of the deal being struck by Fernandes and Mittal are unknown.

Bhatia, who resigned as chairman in May in protest at ticket-price hikes and the direction the club was taking is likely to return to the board if Fernandes is successful in his attempt to take control.

A source close to the Air Asia and Team Lotus team owner told Observer Sport: "Until the deal is done [it] is not done. But we are hopeful that by Monday it could be complete. It will involve Tony buying into the club and taking charge alongside Mittal." Observer

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- Photos from QPR-Bolton

Video "Highlights"


SKY - Warnock plays down Dyer fears
Newly-promoted Premier League side will have to learn fast

Neil Warnock looked to eased fears Kieron Dyer had broken a metatarsal as he sought to extract the positives from Queens Park Rangers' 4-0 defeat to Bolton.

The Hoops started the game brightly and even had a goal ruled out for offside when DJ Campbell scored early on.

Dyer went off injured minutes later after a tackle and there were fears the injury-prone player could be set for yet another lengthy lay-off.

But Warnock moved to alleviate those fears after the game, telling Sky Sports News: "The good news is that we thought he had broken his metatarsal, it was nasty studs on the top of his foot challenge, but the X-rays are looking quite good.


"So we are just crossing our fingers really - we will know in the next 48 hours."

Gary Cahill put Bolton ahead just before half-time with a lovely effort but, for around an hour, Rangers competed.

But an own goal from Danny Gabbidon and further strikes from Ivan Klasnic and Fabrice Muamba settled the contest.

However, despite the result, Warnock was just delighted to back in the Premier League.

"I thought we looked on top, we looked like the team that were going to win the game but that is the Premier League," he added.


"But I think Kevin Davies showed us what it was all about, seven fouls he committed in the first half and didn't get booked, and then he leaves his foot in to make sure he gets a free-kick for the second goal.

"He's a clever lad and he's been doing it all his career, so we have to learn a little bit from that and how they were professional away from home but I was quite pleased for an hour.

"There were a lot of pluses and if we can get the two or three players that I think we need now, it looks like there is a takeover happening, I think we should be positive.

"I would rather be here than Portsmouth or Brighton or any other Championship club, even though it's difficult to do any interview when you've been beaten by four.

Posted on: Sat 13 Aug 2011

R's boss Neil Warnock admitted that he couldn't criticise his team's efforts during this afternoon's opening day defeat to Bolton Wanderers in W12.

Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk at the final whistle, Warnock said: "I can't fault the lads for the first hour. I think that we more than held our own.

"We had some great chances in the first half.

"I think it was our naivety that cost us in the end, especially when you're playing the likes of Kevin Davies. He knows what it's all about in the Premier League."
Warnock added: "You've got to come into the Premier League and grow up quickly.

"I've just said to the lads not to get carried away with a result like today.

"I didn't like the way we conceded the second goal, we were very naive in our defending.

"Once you're two down in the Premier League, it's very rare you can come back, which is disappointing.

"We're going to get a few of them this season and I think we've just got to do the best we can."

The R's gaffer also confirmed that he's hopeful of adding to his squad before the August 31st transfer deadline.

He continued: "We need two or three more players, but we're working on that.

"I'm still optimistic that we have an outside chance if we do.

"It's not a matter of panicking. We've got to be better and take our chances.

"I think we can still give people a good run for their money and that's what I intend to do."

Yann Tear/Gazette - Warnock expects three more, plus Dyer, Hill latest

NEIL Warnock expects to bring in three more players before close of business in the transfer window – but has no immediate concerns over Kieron Dyer.

The QPR boss said he had already spoken with the prospective new owner Tony Fernandes and been given assurances about making signings.

“We do need two or three players, but I'm very confident we can get them in the next fortnight,” Warnock said. “I'm very close to bringing some of these in [that I've been looking at].”

There was better news over the luckless Dyer, who was stretchered off after only seven minutes of his QPR debut and went off for a scan.

“It's happened so many times, I feel sorry for him,” Warnock said of the injury-prone winger turned right-back.

“He just got the studs at the top of his metatarsal. But the good news is he's come back and there's no break on the bones so it might just be a soft tissue injury.

“It will be painful, but obviously not a long-term thing. We've just got to cross our fingers he has a bit of luck for a change. He has been very good in pre-season.”

Meanwhile, Warnock has confirmed he intends to contest the straight red card given to left back Clint Hill (pictured) after his tangle with Martin Petrov.

“It's not a sending off and [ref] Martin Atkinson has made a mistake. He said Clint Hill head-butted him but when you see the pictures, he's below his breast bone when he pushes him and Petrov is very very theatrical. If anything Petrov pushed him more than he's pushed Petrov

Dave McIntyre/West London Sport - QPR’s big day ends in humiliation

Faurlin says Warnock "helped when it was difficult."

by David McIntyre

QPR 0 Bolton 4

QPR’s eagerly awaited return to Premier League action after a 15-year wait ended in humiliation at Loftus Road.

If this was a sign of how Rangers will fare among the elite – and it surely was – then they are in for a brief and painful spell in the top flight.

Two of their summer signings, Kieron Dyer and Danny Gabbidon, made disastrous starts to their R’s careers.

Gabbidon scored an own goal and the injury-plagued Dyer was stretchered off early on after suffering a suspected broken metatarsal.

That summed up a terrible afternoon for Neil Warnock’s side, who ended the match with 10 men after Clint Hill was sent off in stoppage time.

Rangers started well but were rocked just before the interval, when Bolton went ahead through Gary Cahill’s 25-yard bullet.

They tried to hit back after the break but were dealt another blow when Gabbidon inexplicably turned Chris Eagles’ left-wing cross into his own net.

Bolton's third goal deflected in off Bradley Orr

Ivan Klasnic’s shot then deflected in off Bradley Orr for the third, before Fabrice Muamba waltzed through to complete the rout.

The result was a bitter disappointment for the home fans, many of whom barracked owner Flavio Briatore.

Joy among supporters at Rangers’ promotion has long been tempered by ongoing discontent at Briatore’s running of the club.

And after jaw-dropping price increases and limited activity in the transfer market, chickens came home to roost in the form of an opening-day walloping in front of a crowd of just over 15,000 – of which almost 800 were Bolton fans.

Empty seats for QPR’s return to the Premier League would once have seemed inconceivable but are now an inevitable consequence of Briatore’s determination to rebrand Rangers as a haven for wealthy sports fans.

Briatore was accompanied in the directors’ box by Air Asia boss Tony Fernandes, who has discussed joining the QPR board.

As expected, boss Warnock handed debuts to Dyer, Gabbidon, Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell.

And Campbell, who scored just 29 seconds into the recent friendly at Luton on his first appearance for the club, had the ball in the net after only a minute of this match.

Adel Taarabt started like a man possessed and cut in from the left before picking out Bothroyd, who prodded the ball on and an offside Campbell added the final touch.

While Taarabt was eager to prove he can deliver in the top division, Dyer, who started at right-back, was just as eager to prove his injury problems were behind him.

But after only three minutes, the former England international went down under no obvious challenge and was stretchered off in clear distress.

Undeterred, Rangers continued to press and Taarabt caused more panic in the Bolton defence when his ball into the box was misjudged by Gretar Steinsson, who atoned by blocking Bothroyd’s follow-up.

But Bolton managed to stem the flow – and then went ahead through Cahill’s stunner.

That galvanised the visitors, who would have doubled their lead in the opening minute of the second half had Paddy Kenny not produced a fine save to keep out Klasnic’s drive.

Rangers had another escape when Kevin Davies missed the target with a far-post header, before Gabbidon’s 67th-minute howler and Klasnic’s fortuitous goal sealed their fate.

It knocked the stuffing completely out of Rangers, as proved by the ease with which Muamba collected Klasnic’s pass and drifted into the box to help himself to a goal.

That riled the Rangers faithful even more, and Hill also lost his cool. The full-back was red-carded after headbutting Martin Petrov in the chest.

INDEPENDENT - Cahill starts rout as Rangers' big day ends in tears

Queens Park Rangers 0 Bolton Wanderers 4

By Glenn Moore at Loftus Road

The roof fell in at The Loft yesterday as Queens Park Rangers' long-awaited return to the Premier League ended in a shattering and comprehensive home defeat. Just about everything that could go wrong, did. Kieron Dyer pulled up lame within four minutes, another new recruit, Danny Gabbidon, scored an own goal, Bolton's third was the result of an outrageous deflection, and Clint Hill was needlessly sent off.

Not that his departure affected the result which was never in doubt from the moment Gary Cahill stylishly scored in first-half injury-time. Rangers had had the better of the first 45 minutes but their confidence drained away and that of Bolton, who won only twice away in the League last season, grew. After Gabbidon's 67th-minute howler Ivan Klasnic and the impressive Fabrice Muamba doubled the lead within a dozen minutes.

"We are top of the league", sang the visiting fans. The home fans, those that stayed, made it clear where they felt the blame lay, abusing the co-owner Flavio Briatore and chanting support for Neil Warnock. Quite what Tony Fernandes, the West Ham-supporting airline magnate who is attempting to take control from the majority shareholder, Bernie Ecclestone, made of it is anyone's guess. At least he stayed to the end, unlike Briatore.

"I was disappointed at the way we capitulated but there were a lot of pluses," said Warnock with a forced smile. "We need two or three more players, if we can get them in I think we have a fighting chance."

A little perspective may be helpful for QPR fans. Ten years ago this weekend Rangers, managed by Ian Holloway, won their opening match against Stoke. That does not sound too bad, except it was a Division Two (now League One) match. It has been a long haul back dogged by financial difficulties and boardroom shenanigans. Even as they celebrate their return Rangers fans are simmering at vertiginous ticket price rises.

While the club has been hawked around Warnock has been forced to strengthen his team on a shoestring. Only one fee has been paid, £1.25m for Blackpool striker DJ Campbell. The best thing that can be said about most of the other recruits is that they "all have something to prove". None proved much yesterday with the luckless Dyer, operating at right-back just as he did for England many moons ago, suffering a foot injury. A broken metatarsal was feared, but it may be bruising. Adel Taarabt has stayed, but yesterday confirmed he will find it harder to tease opponents in this division.

Rangers started well enough and only Gretar Steinsson's headed clearance prevented Jay Bothroyd marking his debut with a 13th-minute goal. Bolton were content to bide their time, drawing Rangers' sting then striking when Cahill collected Chris Eagles' pass 25 yards out and whipped it past Paddy Kenny. Tommy Smith and Taarabt had chances before Gabbidon turned an Eagles tapped free-kick into his own goal. It was soon a rout, Klasnic sending a deflected volley past Kenny before Muamba ran on to the Croatians's pass for the fourth. There was just time for Hill, already booked, to engage in some handbags with Martin Petrov who made the most of it. To Warnock's ire Hill saw red, Petrov escaped.

Bolton's win recalled a 5-0 opening day victory at Leicester 10 years ago. Then they were a yo-yo club but have rarely looked back since. "We're thrilled," said their manager Owen Coyle. "It's nice for the fans to enjoy [being top of the league] but we all know it won't stay like that." Warnock will hope the same applies at the bottom.

Queens Park Rangers (4-2-3-1): Kenny; Dyer (Orr, 6), Hall, Gabbidon, Hill; Derry, Faurlin; Campbell, Taarabt (Buzsaky, 71), Smith (Helguson, 71); Bothroyd.

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson; Eagles (M Davies, 81), Muamba, Reo-Coker (Pratley, 82), Petrov; K Davies, Klasnic (Blake, 85).

Referee Martin Atkinson

Man of the match Muamba (Bolton)

Match rating 6/10 Independent

MIRROR - Warnock: No reason to 'commit suicide' after Bolton thrashing.
Neil Warnock insists there is no reason to "commit suicide" after QPR's first Barclays Premier League game since 1996 ended with a comprehensive 4-0 defeat to Bolton at Loftus Road.

Gary Cahill curled in a fine 20-yard effort on the stroke of half-time, and once defender Danny Gabbidon, making his debut, had put through his own net, there was no way back for Rangers.

QPR 0-4 Bolton: Trotters go top as Rangers suffer unwelcome return

QPR lost summer signing Kieron Dyer to a metatarsal injury after just five minutes and finished the afternoon with 10 men after defender Clint Hill was shown a red card in stoppage time, for putting his head into the chest of Martin Petrov.

Warnock, however, insists all is not lost for his side.

"It was disappointing how we capitulated at 2-0 and we are going to have to learn lessons quickly," he said.

"We defended poorly and got punished, which is what happens in the Premier League.

"Up until the second goal, we created some chances and could have scored, the crowd got behind us.

"You have to look at all that really and rather than commit suicide, you have to say 'how can I eliminate the errors?' and that is what I am going to try to do.

"I am not happy we lost 4-0, but sometimes you have to smile through adversity.

"We do need one or two players, and I am confident we can get them in the next fortnight before the end of the window.

"There is something to work on and with the players I want, I still think we have an outside chance (of staying up)."

Warnock revealed there was positive news on Dyer.

"The good news is there is no break on the bones and might just be a soft tissue injury, which is not a long-term thing," said Warnock, who intends to appeal Hill's dismissal.

"We just have to cross our fingers that he has a bit of luck for a change."

Bolton went on to secure a comfortable victory through Ivan Klasnic's deflected strike ahead of a fourth for Fabrice Muamba following a swift counter-attack with 11 minutes left.

Some of the 15,000 home support had seen enough by then and headed for the exit - venting their frustrations at shareholder Flavio Briatore, who could soon sell up to Lotus Formula One boss Tony Fernandes, watching from the directors' box.

Warnock revealed he had "private but very positive" discussions over the club's future.

"Right from day one he has been extremely supportive," he said.

"I have just got to hope things get sorted and we move on."

Bolton manager Owen Coyle maintains Cahill once again showed he has the quality to "play for anyone" with his performance - but insists there have been no formal bids for the England centre-back, who had been linked with a summer move to Arsenal.

"Gary Cahill has put himself in the shop window year after year," Coyle said.

"I love having him in my team, but he could play for anybody - and I mean anybody.

"He has got feet which belong to a centre-forward, he has got pace, tremendous timing in the air."

Coyle added: "If anything concrete happens, Gary will be the first to know.

"Some of the stuff I read daily is embarrassing and has no foundation.

"I am so transparent and up front - five or six weeks ago there were a couple of notes of interest with Gary, but there has not been one firm offer.

"I am very relaxed about it, Gary knows that and that is why you go out and see the performance you did today." Mirror

YANN TEAR - GAzette - Horror start for QPR as Bolton hit them for four

RANGERS fans were desperate to put all their reservations about ticket prices and ownership issues to one side to savour their club's first game in the top flight for 15 years.

Fat chance. It hardly needed the injury time sending off of Clint Hill for an off the ball incident with Martin Petrov to underline how bad a day it was for their heroes.

In the end, there was only resentment boiling over from the Loft End as three second-half goals helped ease the Trotters to a comfortable win.

The Hoops looked competent and competitive for an hour, even when trailing to a Gary Cahill goal just before half time. But the roof fell in after that on a horrible opening day that will have already punctured a lot of optimism.

First Danny Gabbidon turned a low Chris Eagles free-kick into his own net and then Ivan Klasnic profited from a Kevin Davies nod-down to rifle home two minutes later in the 70th minute.

On 79 minutes, Fabrice Muamba finished smartly after being put through by Klasnic.

That was the cue for Flavio Briatore to slip away from his seat, to furious boos.

By then, anti-Briatore chants had already been given an airing - mixed with pro-Mittal calls and chants of 'Where's all our money gone?'

It had looked so much more promising early on. Fans thought their team had announced their return after a couple of minutes when the predatory DJ Campbell had the ball in the net – albeit from an offside position.

Then another of the summer signings, Jay Bothroyd (pictured) nearly opened his QPR account with a left foot curler from inside the area that Gretar Steinsson headed over his own bar.

Bothroyd also missed by a whisker just before the interval with a near-post header from Adel Taarabt's corner.

But moments before, the Hoops were punished for allowing Cahill too much room on the edge of the area and found themselves a goal down to a superb strike.

Chris Eagles bamboozled Ali Faurlin to square the ball and Hill was slow closing down Cahill, whose perfect drive gave Paddy Kenny not an earthly.

Neil Warnock started with four of his close season captures, but very soon was without one of them. Sadly, there were no prizes for guessing the first of those players to depart on a stretcher after only three and a half minutes – the luckless Kieron Dyer maintaining his unfortunate reputation for injuries when a seemingly innocuous challenge with Petrov cut short his debut.

In the end, he may find a shred of comfort in having absented himself from such a mauling.

QPR: Kenny; Dyer (Orr 7), Hall, Gabbidon, Hill; Bothroyd, Derry, Faurlin, Smith (Helguson 72); Taarabt (Buzsaky 72); Campbell. Subs not used: Murphy, Connolly, Agyemang, Ephraim.

Attendance: 15,195 Ealing Gazette

QPR's return to the Barclays Premier League after a 15-year absence ended in defeat, as Bolton Wanderers enjoyed a fine opening day victory at Loftus Road.

On an afternoon when Kieron Dyer was stretchered off after just seven minutes, the R's enjoyed a positive start with plenty of chances and possession.

However, after Gary Cahill's outstanding effort put the Trotters into the lead in first-half stoppage time, that ultimately set the tone for how proceedings would pan out.

Indeed, three goals inside 12 second half minutes taught Rangers all they'll need to know about the clinical nature of the top-flight, as a Danny Gabbidon own goal, as well as further strikes from Ivan Klasnic and Fabrice Muamba, clinched all three points for Bolton.
Article continues

Clint Hill was also shown a straight red card in second-half injury time, after an off-the-ball incident with Martin Petrov.

Neil Warnock handed league debuts to no less than four summer signings for the visit of Bolton.

Gabbidon, Dyer, DJ Campbell and Jay Bothroyd were all handed starts, as the R's gaffer stuck with his trusted 4-2-3-1 formation after lifting the npower Championship last season.

Paddy Kenny was in goal for the R's, with Dyer, Fitz Hall, Gabbidon and Hill making up the back four.

Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin were in defensive midfield, behind the more advanced trio of Campbell, skipper Adel Taarabt and Tommy Smith.

Bothroyd led the R's line in attack.

Buoyed by an electric atmosphere in W12, Rangers thought they'd grabbed an early lead courtesy of debutant Campbell after just two minutes.

Taarabt's dangerous in-swinging cross was flicked on by Bothroyd for Campbell and, when the former Blackpool front-man prodded home from six yards, the assistant referee on the right-hand touchline had raised his flag for offside.

QPR started brightly but were dealt a bitter blow on seven minutes after a stretcher was called for Dyer, who fell to the ground unchallenged.

The extent of his injury is not yet known, but the former West Ham and England ace was stretchered off and replaced by Bradley Orr.

Six minutes later, Rangers went mightily close to grabbing the opening goal.

Campbell's cross from the right was cleared only as far as Bothroyd on 10 yards, before the attacker's subsequent effort was cleared off the line for a corner by Paul Robinson.

The R's were beginning to edge ever-closer. Moments later, Smith saw his shot go just wide of left-hand post from 25 yards, after neat interplay with Bothroyd.

Bolton didn't muster too many clear-cut chances, with Petrov's wayward effort their only opportunity of note midway into the first period.

QPR were undoubtedly making the greater inroads in front of goal.

On 21 minutes, Taarabt slid Campbell in down the left and, when the livewire striker laid the ball back to Smith, he fired his low shot straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen - albeit from an acute angle.

Rangers were displaying some fine free-flowing football, and it was similar play that gave Taarabt the chance to shoot from the edge of the box, but the Moroccan Magician could only direct an attempted lob wide of the target.

Taarabt forced a comfortable save from Jaaskelainen on 35 minutes, before the Trotters took the lead thanks to a stunning strike in first-half stoppage time.

Five minutes of added time were displayed on the board after Dyer's injury and, when Chris Eagles squared to Cahill on 20 yards, his beautifully-struck shot left Kenny with no chance, as the ball flew into the top left-hand corner of the net.

The Trotters had the better of the chances just after the re-start.

Klasnic's bullet effort forced a smart stop from Kenny no less than a minute after half-time, with the R's keeper diving low to collect the ball at the second time of asking.

Soon after, Hall felled Klasnic out wide on the right and, when Petrov's centre fell on to the head of Kevin Davies from close range, he nodded an effort wide of the left-hand post.

Taarabt's curling shot from 25 yards went just inches wide of the right-hand post, before Bolton killed the game off with three goals inside 12 second half minutes.

A Gabbidon own goal got the ball rolling for the Trotters on 67 minutes.

The R's were penalised for a foul on the edge of their own penalty area and, after Eagles stepped up to send over a dangerous free-kick, the ball bounced up off the outstretched leg of the Welsh international defender and into the back of the net.

Three minutes later, Bolton's lead was extended from two goals to three.

A ball from the right found Klasnic in the box, before the Croatian midfielder let the ball run across his body and fired a deflected effort home past a stranded Kenny.

It got worse for Rangers on 79 minutes. Klasnic's through ball fell into the path of Muamba and, when he skipped past the last defender, the former Arsenal and Birmingham man made no mistake to slide the ball past Kenny for number four.

And QPR's luck was summed up in second-half injury, when Hill - already booked for a challenge in the second half - was shown a straight red card, after clashing with Petrov.

QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry, Hall, Gabbidon, Taarabt (Buzsaky 72), Dyer (Orr 7), Campbell, Bothroyd, Faurlin, Smith (Helguson 72).

Subs: Murphy, Connolly, Agyemang, Ephraim.

Booked: Hill (52)

Red Cards: Hill (90)

Bolton Wanderers: Jasskelainen, Steinsson, Robinson, Cahill, Muamba, Eagles (M Davies), Petrov, Knight, K Davies, Klasnic (Blake 86), Reo-Coker (Pratley 83).

Subs: Bogdan, Alonso, Gardner, Wheater.

Booked: Cahill (76)

Goals: Cahill (45), Gabbidon (OG, 67), Klasnic (70), Muamba (79)

Referee: Mr M Atkinson

Attendance: 15, 195 (771 away)

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