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Sunday, August 21, 2011

QPR Report Sunday: Fernandes on Possible Loftus Road Move...Everton Go Down to QPR - Compilation of Reports and Comments...Saksena at the Takeover

- Additional Photos from Everton-QPR
- Throughout the day, the QPR Report Messageboard has news updates, comments and perspectives - even links to other board comments of interest re QPR matters (on and off the field) along with football (and ONLY football) topics in general....Also Follow: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER

- Four Year Flashback: The Ecclestone-Briatore Takeover of QPR

- Ex-QPR Rachid Harkouk, Jailed

- On This Day Season Starters: 35 Years ago: 0-4 Loss and 46 years ago: 1-6 Loss

Guardian/Owen Gibson - QPR's new owner Tony Fernandes considers move away from Loftus Road• QPR will find it difficult to expand capacity of their ground
• Malaysian owner acknowledges support for Neil Warnock

Tony Fernandes, the new owner of Queens Park Rangers, is to look again at plans to move away from Loftus Road to a larger stadium as part of his long-term vision for the club. The Team Lotus co-owner, who bought a 66% stake in the west London club on Thursday for £35m and pledged a further £10m to invest immediately, said that while the first priority was Premier League survival he would look again at plans to move to a new, bigger ground in due course.

QPR's capacity is 18,300 and successive owners have discovered that its proximity to houses and planning constraints make it almost impossible to expand on the current site. While wary of making specific promises, Fernandes said moving to a larger ground was a long-term ambition.

"That's in the hands of the council and it's too early. [But] I don't think there is room here," he said. "It's early days but of course it would be great to get a bigger stadium, that is certainly in my mind. There are always possibilities. I am a big believer that anything's possible if you put your mind to it. But right now, stadiums are a long way away. Let's survive."

Moves to Hillingdon, Park Royal and Wembley have been mooted in recent years but none has even reached the drawing board. Like near neighbours Chelsea, QPR are constrained by the lack of available sites in west London. The size of the ground was partly what drove the decision of the previous owners to hike prices when they reached the Premier League. Season ticket prices went up by 40% and individual match tickets to between £47 and £72.

Fernandes and the club's vice-chairman, Amit Bhatia, who has returned to that role after resigning following clashes with Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone over strategy, have promised to review ticket prices before QPR's next home match.

The new owner also vowed to continue using social networking site Twitter to communicate with fans, despite it being the cause of his public spat with the West Ham United owners David Gold and David Sullivan during an earlier abortive bid to take over the east London club.

He said that hundreds of QPR fans had already been in touch with him using the medium. "Lots on players, lots on ticket prices, ideas on marketing. There's a deep love for Neil [Warnock] here, it's very apparent. They just want a chairman who will give the manager support."

He also moved to reassure fans that the money he and his two Malaysian partners paid for the shares of Ecclestone and Briatore was not borrowed or loaded on to the club.

"This is not a leveraged deal. This is cash. I don't believe in leverage. I am an old-fashioned businessman. Cash is king and businesses must be run sensibly. We shouldn't burden the club. If that was the case it wouldn't be fair on the club."

Fernandes, a lifelong West Ham fan who made two attempts to buy that club, said that he had also had a long attachment to QPR and its patch of west London, reminiscing about attending his first English match at Loftus Road in the mid-1980s and watching Barry McGuigan's world title fight with Eusebio Pedroza at the ground.

The other thing that had drawn him to QPR, he said, was his immediate rapport with the staff, including Neil Warnock.

"In many ways we're very similar. We're a bit impulsive sometimes, we probably say the wrong thing and upset a few people along the way. But I love his passion," he said.

"I'm a bit more controlled than him but he's ever so infectious. He's just black and white. You don't see any hidden agenda and what you see is what you get. He's coming to the end of his career and this is a chance to really build something. I hope he'll stay here for a long, long time."

Not even mention of Gold and Sullivan, who he said sparked "World War 17" when he revealed on Twitter that he had made an offer for the club, could dull his ebullient mood.

"There was a bit of bitterness but that's over. As far as I'm concerned, if they want to have dinner I'm up for it. I want them to succeed. It's water under the bridge, we move on." Guardian

INDEPENDENT/Steve Tongue - Fernandes convinced Rangers must move

Queens Park Rangers' new chairman, Tony Fernandes,has admitted that the club's long-term future lies away from their cramped Loftus Road stadium, which has the smallest capacity (18,682) of any Premier League ground.

Fernandes, head of the Team Lotus Formula One outfit and the chief executive of the budget airline AirAsia, became the majority shareholder in QPR on Thursday by buying out his F1 rivals Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore.

He told The Independent on Sunday: "It's in the hands of the [local] council but I don't think there's room for development here. It's early days but of course it would be great to get a bigger stadium and that's certainly in my mind. I'm a big believer that anything's possible if you put your mind to it, so let's see."

Rangers have been at Loftus Road for almost 95 years apart from two brief spells just up the road at the now defunct White City stadium. They would like to stay in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, and could make the equally short trip to the nearby BBC Television site if sufficient space was available.

A move has long been discussed. The former chairman Chris Wright spoke of the need for a larger stadium 10 years ago and the club commissioned a feasibility study in 2003, which came to nothing.

Fernandes, whose personal wealth has been estimated at $470 million (£284m), has a number of other priorities, including developing the training ground and academy, although the most urgent one is providing funds for the manager, Neil Warnock, to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes in 10 days' time.

Despite having seen his first football match at Loftus Road in the late 1970s, when he was living above a kebab shop on the nearby Uxbridge Road, Fernandes became a West Ham supporter because he liked their style of football.

He twice tried to buy the club, incurring the wrath of the owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, in June by announcing on Twitter thathe had made a bid.

"I was receiving so many tweets from [West Ham] fans that I just said I had put an offer in," Fernandes explained. "And then World War 17 happened.

"They said they wanted a billionaire and I was accused of having no money. There was a bit of bitterness, but it's over as far as I'm concerned." Independent

- Ian Holloway: QPR Must Back Warnock
"...Successful chairmen and money men all know that patience is required if you are going to build a club capable of success...
Without wanting to blow smoke up anyone's backside, there are some great examples of how to run a club.

One of the best is Steve Gibson at Middlesbrough. He is fantastic at what he does – patient, loyal to his managers and doing things in the best interest of the club and not himself. Darragh MacAnthony has been a godsend to Peterborough. They have done ridiculously well.

Unfortunately, not all are as good as that, which is why I will wait with bated breath to see what happens at QPR.

I know what Neil Warnock is going through at the moment. I was in charge at Loftus Road when Gianni Paladini arrived as chairman and I ended up going because they wanted their own man. That's the problem when someone buys a club. They tend to arrive with an idea of what they want and who they want to do it. For a manager that's not good news.

You either have to do a really good job and make it impossible for them to get rid of you – which I hope Neil does and think he will do – or you have to be so powerful they can't take you on. That's why Sir Alex Ferguson has survived. He is too good. No one would dare try to get the better of him.

I hope Tony Fernandes, the new owner at QPR, is a sensible bloke who does things the right way because it is a club I hold dear. I was in charge for five years up until 2006 and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I am proud I played a part in them not going bust, because they had all sorts of financial problems. At least with this new investment, the club's longevity is guaranteed.

Who knows, Mr Fernandes could be one of the good guys. There are plenty out there – contrary to popular belief, a chairman or owner can understand football and do things correctly. What the sensible owners realise is that all clubs have their ups and downs. It goes in cycles and during the bad times you have to be patient. Changing things every five minutes only breeds instability.

It is not as simple as chucking money at it and buying players left, right and centre. Infrastructure is important and you have to get that right. The first thing you do is build behind the scenes, starting with the youth system. That is what Ferguson did at Manchester United. That requires patience from an owner. Unfortunately a lot of these super-rich people don't have enough patience.

I'm still astounded that last year the two other managers who had got their clubs promoted to the Premier League were sacked during the season. Chris Hughton had led Newcastle to the Championship title by a country mile and Roberto Di Matteo had done a fantastic job at West Bromwich. They won promotion way before I did at Blackpool and they did it in more style. Yet I was the only one who kept his job. I was also the only one that got relegated, which is bloody stupid if you think about it.

I guess it sums up why I have a lot of respect for my chairman, Karl Oyston. I don't always see eye to eye with him but no matter what the result on a Saturday, or if I sign an absolute duffer, he sees the long-term picture and isn't prone to knee-jerk reactions.

I hope Fernandes has half the understanding and patience my chairman does because Neil is going to need his total backing. QPR's manager has enough on his plate trying to make sure he keeps his team in the Premier League. The owner's best chance of helping that is to back Neil because no one will have a better chance of leading the team to safety.

That isn't sticking up for a colleague, it's a fact. There is no one better equipped to keep QPR up and if the new board think otherwise they are making a huge mistake..."

"Overlooked" - Nice Piece re Ishan Saksena at The TakeoverDave

Mcintyre/West London Press -The quiet man

If the aim is for QPR to start making more noise on the pitch than off it, Tony Fernandes started as he means to go on.

His introduction as majority shareholder could hardly have been more different to Flavio Briatore’s self-generated fanfare four years ago.

Whereas Briatore talked of the Champions League and creating a world brand, his successor could barely be heard by most in the room as he was unveiled at Thursday’s press conference.

As Fernandes was taking his seat at the top table, the heavens opened and much of what the new owner then said was bizarrely drowned out by the sound of torrential rain pounding against the building.

Once I could pick up some of what he was saying, I clearly misheard it.

It sounded very much like talk of improving training facilities and the youth system, and creating a club that would have a good infastructure long after he’s gone.

QPR owners do not say things like that. In fact, in recent years, they’ve tended to boot out anyone who did.

“I came to the club and everything seemed so right, I thought it was all too good to be true,” Fernandes later remarked.

“Yeah, we thought the same about you,” Neil Warnock quipped. And even a cynic like me could see why.

With the new man hogging the limelight, Amit Bhatia attracted relatively little attention when he arrived – and the man who arrived with him attracted none.

That man was Ishan Saksena, whose exit as company chairman and managing director in May led to Bhatia falling out with the previous regime.

Although unlikely to be formally involved under the new set-up, Saksena works for the Mittal family on a number of projects and may well have some input on QPR matters in the future.

As the three men in the spotlight fielded questions, Saksena stood near the back of the room, arms folded, having no doubt enjoyed riding back into town alongside Bhatia for the big day.

This was the same room in which Ray Hocking, having just been appointed as QPR’s administrator, gave a press conference to sum up their chances of survival.

Ten-and-a-half years on, the talk was of re-establishing Rangers as a top-flight club to be reckoned with.

There were obvious questions about transfer budgets, targets for this season and beyond, Scott Parker, Warnock’s job security and plenty more.

But one moment encapsulated the day – indeed, QPR’s entire summer – more than any other. It was a split-second I’m not sure anyone else noticed. A moment that said more than any soundbite or photograph.

It was the moment, as Fernandes began speaking, that Bhatia made eye contact with Saksena and smiled, and his friend responded with a nod.

That said it all really. West London Sport


- Video of QPR's Goal vs Everton

- Tony Fernandes Tweets

- Amit Bhatia Tweets

- Stats from Everton-QPR (Everton only had two corners)
QPR Official Site - WARNOCK: 'ONE OF THE BEST'Posted on: Sat 20 Aug 2011

Neil Warnock dubbed our 1-0 victory against Everton as 'one of the best' of his career.

Tommy Smith's first half strike handed the R's all three points, on an afternoon when the Hoops had to cope with the absence of DJ Campbell, who alongside substitute Jay Bothroyd and starters Adel Taarabt and Matt Connolly, were all laid low with a virus.

Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, the R's gaffer said: "In the circumstances, that is probably one of the best results of my career.

"We've had so many problems over the last 24 hours.

"I didn't think any of the four would feature yesterday, but Cons and Tarbs pulled through. Jay was only fit enough for a place on the bench at best.

"DJ collapsed yesterday and we had to send him home, so it's an incredible result in the circumstances.

"In a way the attitude we came up with epitomised the whole result.

"I asked them to give me everything; to fight for each other; and they did just that. That's all I ever ask for - to give me everything.

"Each and every player gave me their all and I couldn't praise them anymore."

Warnock hailed Smith's 31st minute winner, commenting: "It was a great finish, but Tommy is always capable of that.

"It was a well-worked move really and a cracking finish.

"We showed today that we can compete in the Premier League."

The Rangers boss also confirmed that - following hot on the heels of Tony Fernandes' arrival at the Club on Thursday - he expects to add 'at least four or five' additions to his squad in the coming days.

"We want to bring four or five quality players in over the course of the next week or so," he said.

"That's so exciting.

"Tony and Amit (Bhatia) have backed me so well.

"Amit coming back on board, alongside Tony, has given everyone a massive boost, especially me.

"I'm really looking forward to bringing players in."


Everton manager David Moyes accepted familiar shortcomings cost his side as they dominated the game against QPR but lost 1-0 at Goodison Park.

Despite creating the better chances - Leighton Baines hitting the crossbar with a free-kick and Tim Cahill missing a header from close range - it was the visitors who made the breakthrough.

Tommy Smith converted QPR's only real chance of the game in the 31st minute to secure the Londoners' first points on their return to the top flight.

Moyes had to leave experienced players Mikel Arteta, Marouane Fellaini and Louis Saha on the bench because of a lack of fitness, and with no money to sign anyone in the summer Everton came up short.

"The performance probably didn't deserve to lose over the course of the game but we did," said the Scot.

"We are the home team against a newly-promoted team and expected to make the play and score the goals, and we weren't able to do that.

"It wasn't because QPR dominated the game and outplayed us, we had good chances to make better opportunities and didn't do so.

"Tim missed a good one and we were a bit unlucky with Baines' free-kick.

"But if anyone is surprised and disappointed they shouldn't be because we have been saying for a year or two we could do with an injection of wide players and centre-forwards.

"We are disappointed we didn't win because I thought we should have gone on and got a result."

The only bright spot for the Toffees was the performance of Ross Barkley, a 17-year-old academy graduate who made his first-team debut and was the best player in a blue shirt.

"I said to the players after the game I was disappointed with how they played but not to Ross," Moyes added.

"He got a big pat on the back. He nearly carried the team; he made chances, tried to take chances and looked really good.

"He's not long turned 17, we gave him a chance and he certainly didn't let us down."


QPR boss Neil Warnock was delighted to get their first points on the board after last weekend's 4-0 home defeat to Bolton, especially after a virus within the squad had restricted his options.

"In a way the attitude we came up with epitomised the whole result," he said.

"I said to them 'Give me everything' and they fought for each other.

"I said 'Let's go and enjoy it' because I'd rather be pulling up at Goodison Park than some of the Championship clubs we were last year.

"It was a well-worked move for the goal and they showed we can compete in the Premier League.

"In the circumstances we've had in the last 24 hours to do what they did was quite amazing and I couldn't be prouder.

"People like Patrick Agyemang (who started up front) were not in my thoughts for the last six weeks and at one o'clock I had to tell him he was playing - it is like something out of a comic book." Sporting Life

EVERTON OFFICIAL SITE Rob JonesTwitter@efc_robjones
Moyes reacts to opening day loss.
'Blues Lacked Cutting Edge'

David Moyes bemoaned Everton's lack of a cutting edge following their 1-0 defeat to QPR.

Tommy Smith's first half strike condemned the hosts to a seventh opening day defeat in the last nine years on an exasperating afternoon on Merseyside.

Moyes admitted his side didn't do enough to win - but still felt they were unfortunate to not claim a draw.

Before Smith's winner Leighton Baines had smashed a free kick against the bar, with Tim Cahill, Ross Barkley and Marouane Fellaini all going close.

And Moyes told evertonfc.com: "We didn't play well enough probably to win, but I don't know if we were that bad that we deserved to lose either.

"I don't think we gave QPR too many opportunities but they got one chance that went past the post and then the goal that was poor play from us defensively.

"We lacked the ability at the top end of the pitch to make a difference today. "

Moyes did reserve praise for teenage midfielder Ross Barkley, who starred on his Everton debut. The 17-year-old looked the most likely source of an equaliser, and Moyes says the youngster has a bright future at the club.

"I said to the players in the dressing room that I was disappointed with most of them but not Ross - he played really well," he said.

"I thought what we missed today was people who could make opportunities and maybe take one themselves and I think Ross looked the most likely player to do that.

"He needs a big pat on the back, he's not long 17 and he did well.

"We hope he's going to follow in the footsteps of one or two others that I've brought through here

Dave McIntyre - West London Sport - Smith gives QPR momentous victory

Tommy Smith netted a first-half winner as QPR celebrated Tony Fernandes’ takeover with the Premier League victory their fans have waited 15 years for.

New majority shareholder Fernandes was unable to be at Goodison Park, where Smith’s cool finish after being set up by Akos Buzsaky capped a momentous week for Rangers. The opening-day debacle at home to Bolton seems a lifetime away now.

What made this result – Everton’s first home league defeat since November – all the more remarkable was that Rangers’ preparations were wrecked by a virus in the camp.

Patrick Agyemang, who was stretchered off with a leg injury in the second half, was not a name many expected to be on a QPR team sheet this season.

But he started along with Buzsaky because summer signings Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell were both ill. Bothroyd was on the bench and replaced Agyemang when he went off, while Campbell missed out altogether.

Rangers were also forced to make changes in defence, with Bradley Orr starting in place of the injured Kieron Dyer and Matt Connolly filling in at left-back for the suspended Clint Hill.

Connolly has rarely looked comfortable in that position but it was Liverpudlian Orr who was under more pressure in the first half.

Orr, a lifelong Liverpool fan despite being on Everton’s books as a youngster, had his hands full dealing with the marauding runs of England left-back Leighton Baines, who was the home side’s main attacking outlet.

And Baines went close to putting Everton ahead with a 23rd-minute free-kick that crashed down off the underside of the bar with keeper Paddy Kenny well beaten.

Eight minutes later, Neil Warnock’s men went ahead when Smith, who had fired wide in the early stages, etched his name into QPR folklore by scoring the club’s first goal back in the top flight.

After Phil Jagielka sloppily gave the ball away, Buzsaky capitalised by threading the perfect pass through for Smith, and the forward took a touch before curling into the bottom corner of the net.

The goal shocked Everton into life and Tim Cahill sent a diving header just wide before Kenny kept out Jermaine Beckford’s header from Phil Neville’s cross.

Everton, who had impressive 17-year-old midfielder Ross Barkley making his debut, did not improve after the break and boss David Moyes sent on Mikel Arteta and then Marouane Fellaini in an attempt to galvanise his team.

Barkley shot wide and Cahill had another header saved by Kenny, but with Shaun Derry superbly shielding their back four, Rangers never looked like letting this historic win slip from their grasp." West London Sport

QPR Official Site - Everton 0 QPR 1

Tommy Smith's 31st minute strike was enough for the R's to clinch a memorable win over Everton at Goodison Park.

Despite being understrength thanks to a virus that had swept through Neil Warnock's squad prior to Rangers' second Premier League clash of the season, QPR bounced back in style from last weekend's defeat at the hands of Bolton to claim victory in the first match of Tony Fernandes' reign in W12.

R's attacker Smith grabbed his side's first top-flight strike since Kevin Gallen's effort against West Ham 15 years ago in April 1996 midway through the first period.

Ali Faurlin and Akos Buzsaky combined and, when the latter fed Smith, he curled home a typically stylish finish inside the box.

Warnock was dealt a bitter blow prior to kick-off, with the news that DJ Campbell missed out owing to a virus, while Jay Bothroyd (also illness) was on the bench.

And, with Clint Hill unavailable after his red card in last week's defeat at home to Bolton, the R's gaffer was left with little choice but to make changes his team.

Buzsaky, Matt Connolly and Patrick Agyemang deputised for Rangers, who made three changes from last Saturday's fixture.

Paddy Kenny was in goal for the R's, behind a back four of Bradley Orr, Fitz Hall, Danny Gabbidon and Connolly.

Shaun Derry and Faurlin were in defensive midfield, with the attacking trio of Smith, skipper Adel Taarabt and Buzsaky operating behind the loan striker, Agyemang.

This was Everton's first fixture of the new campaign, after their opening day clash at Tottenham was postponed due to last week's London Riots.

There was a real sense of excitement around an ear-piercing Goodison as the teams emerged in the midst of some swirling rain.

The R's went close inside five minutes. Taarabt and Connolly combined down the left and, when the latter crossed for Smith, his drilled low effort from 16 yards went just wide of the left-hand post.

There could be no doubt that the R's were not at full strength but, for the first 15 minutes at least, Warnock's charges more than held their own.

If anything, it was Rangers - who were buoyed by almost 2,000 traveling R's fans chanting the name of new majority shareholder, Tony Fernandes - who were enjoying the better of the opening exchanges.

QPR were fashioning some lovely free-flowing football early on - and it was that kind of build-up play that eventually saw Taarabt felled on 20 yards.

The Moroccan magician dusted himself down before curling in a right-footed effort that went well wide of the target.

However, play soon switched to the other end, where Connolly was adjudged to have felled his marker on the edge of the Everton box.

Leighton Baines stepped up to take the subsequent free-kick and, when his beautifully-struck effort crashed against the underside of the bar, the ball was cleared safely up field.

Bar that effort, Rangers were finding it much easier to string consecutive passes together - and Warnock's men were rewarded with a first-half lead on 31 minutes.

It was a superb team goal. Faurlin found Buzsaky just inside the Toffees box, before the Hungarian midfielder slipped a sideways pass to Smith.

In space, the former Watford man looked up before planting a curling low effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from 16 yards.

It was a typically classy finish from Smith and the visiting R's faithful certainly enjoyed it too, with chants of 'Rangers are back, Rangers are back' ringing out loud and proud around Goodison.

The goal was no more than QPR deserved but the West Londoners had to make sure that they stood firm to protect their lead going into the half-time interval.

The hosts had three separate chances to level in the closing five minutes of the first half.

On 40 minutes and after a free-kick, Beckford picked up possession on the right and played a pinpoint cross on to the head of Tim Cahill, who somehow missed an open goal from six yards.

Moments later, John Heitinga nodded a centre back across the face of the target that saw Jermaine Beckford force a comfortable save from Kenny.

And that's before Baines found Beckford with a cross from the left, whose headed effort went inches over Kenny's bar.

Everton went close inside the opening minute of the second period.

The Toffees pushed forward and, when the ball broke to Jack Rodwell just inside the R's box, the talented midfield man could only muster a tame effort that Kenny gathered with ease.

David Moyes had seen enough from his Everton side to make a switch just 10 minutes after the break, with Mikel Arteta brought on to replace Rodwell.

That particular switch came after play ground to a halt for an injury to Agyemang.

The QPR front-man was also substituted - coming off on a stretcher with the severity of his injury not yet known - and replaced by Bothroyd.

Midway into the second half, Rangers were still standing firm but had Kenny to thank for a fantastic save from Cahill, who tipped the industrious attacker's shot from 10-yards out around the post.

Moyes' last throw of the dice was to bring on Louis Saha at the expense of Heitinga on 74 minutes.

Ross Barkley's bullet effort was probably the biggest test that Rangers keeper Kenny faced, who did well to dive low and gather the ball, despite being unsighted by substitute Marouane Fellaini.

And the R's held their ground, seeing off no less than five minutes of added time to seal a memorable victory in Merseyside.

Everton: Howard, Baines, Heitinga (Saha 74), Jagielka, Distin, Beckford (Fellaini 64), Cahill, Neville, Barkley, Osman, Rodwell (Arteta 55).

Subs: Mucha, Hibbert, Vellios, Anichebe.

Booked: Osman (81)

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Derry, Hall, Gabbidon, Taarabt, Faurlin, Buzsaky, Connolly, Agyemang (Bothroyd 57), Smith (Ephraim 66).

Subs: Murphy, Gorkss, Perone, Vaagan Moen, Andrade.

Goals: Smith (31)
Bookings: Hall (39)
Referee: Mr K Friend
Attendance: 35,008

Everton Official Site - Everton v QPR
Tommy Smith’s first-half goal sentenced Everton to a lacklustre defeat in their opening Premier League match of the season.

Smith emphatically exploited a rare moment of sloppy work from Phil Jagielka as the visitors prevailed at Goodison Park.

It was one of few raids into Everton territory but the Hoops gleefully accepted the gift and battened down the hatches to escape back to the capital with all three points.

The Blues, meanwhile, were left to wonder yet again how they were unable to break down a determined visiting side.

Far too many times last season teams showed that gumption backed up by a gameplan could earn you points at Goodison and this reeked of déjà vu.

Plenty of perspiration, but not much inspiration.

The few sparks of creativity they did show invariably came from the boots of the preciously talented Ross Barkley.

The 17-year-old showed a fantastic touch, vision and passing as he announced himself a star of the future. Barkley displayed ability beyond his years as he flayed passes about the park, took possession in difficult areas, linked-up with his teammates, beat players and consistently threatened the visitors’ goal.

Ross Barkley in action against QPR

Whether passing, shooting or crossing he showcased how to strike a football and his display was the one real positive to come out of this game.

With Marouane Fellaini and Mikel Arteta deemed only fit enough for the bench, Barkley got his chance.

And with Louis Saha not quite firing on all cylinders yet, the lone striking role was handed to Jermaine Beckford, with Tim Cahill providing able support.

Neil Warnock sharpened his axe after last week’s chastening Premier League bow against Bolton, with four members of that team feeling the sharp end.

DJ Campbell and Jay Bothroyd were two of those bumped to the bench with the deployment of lumpy targetman Patrick Agyemang ahead of a jam-packed midfield hinting at the visitors’ approach.

The Blues were aiming to avoid a fourth consecutive opening day defeat for the first time in their history, but the first chance went against them – Smith’s crisp half-volley only a yard wide as QPR foraged a chance from the early scraps.

Yet almost straight away some neat work down the right involving Cahill, Phil Neville and Leon Osman saw a succession of crosses wreak havoc in the visitors’ box.

And with their rattled defenders under increasing pressure, Matthew Connolly sent Jack Rodwell sprawling to the deck. It was a legitimate shout but referee Kevin Friend was unmoved.

QPR settled and quelled the home roar until Barkley jinked in off his left midfield perch and waltzed past a few challenges before being hacked down on the edge of the box.

The Gwladys bayed and Baines obliged, the full-back whipping the resultant free-kick against the underside of the bar. Paddy Kenny gawped on helplessly as it thudded down into the turf and to safety.

Barkley was growing in stature, but just as the youngster’s effervescence had the Blues on the up, the visitors struck an unlikely opener.

Jagielka uncharacteristically squandered possession on the edge of the box and, as Alejandro Faurlin and Akos Buzsaky capitalised, the England man was caught out of position as Smith arrived to sweep the ball past Tim Howard.

Tommy Smith scores for QPR

Back came the Blues and Cahill’s burst down the right earned them a free-kick high up the pitch – the award sending Warnock near to apoplexy on the touchline.

Yet when Baines swung it in, the referee’s refusal to acknowledge Fitz Hall’s shove on Cahill must have been soothing for the QPR boss.

And when the spiky Aussie failed to direct two further headed chances on target, Warnock retreated for the sanctuary of the dressing room by far the happier of the two bosses.

Everton’s early appearance for the second half seemingly confirmed that fact and they were soon in the hunt for a leveller as Rodwell tested Kenny within a minute of the restart.

Unfortunately for the midfielder that would be his final contribution as Moyes looked to inject some craft into his midfield with the introduction of Mikel Arteta.

And the Blues boss followed that by replacing Beckford with Fellaini and pushing the Belgian up alongside Cahill.

He responded instantly by playing in his strike partner, but Kenny saved comfortably with the angle always against the 31-year-old.

Louis Saha joined the party with 15 minutes left – just in time to watch Barkley fizz narrowly wide from 20 yards.

But even the Frenchman could provide the cutting edge that had been missing all afternoon – a Fellaini header from a Baines’ free-kick their final vain attempt at snatching a point.

BBC/Chris Whyatt - Everton 0 - 1 QPR
BBC Sport Tommy Smith Veteran striker Tommy Smith opened the scoring at a gloomy Goodison Park

Joyous Queens Park Rangers took their first Premier League win since 1996 after veteran Tommy Smith's assured first-half finish punished Everton.

In their first match under new owner Tony Fernandes, the visitors led on 31 minutes when Smith curled in low after Phil Jagielka had lost possession.

Tim Cahill headed wide from three yards out soon after, before Leighton Baines whipped a free-kick against the bar.

Wasteful Everton fell to their first home league defeat of 2011.

Despite the financial pressures on them, long-serving Toffees boss David Moyes has insisted he can keep hold of his most established players.

But 17-year-old Ross Barkley started, and shone, in midfield while playmaker Mikel Arteta and Maroune Felliani sat on the bench.

Playing their first match of the season after the scheduled opener at Tottenham was postponed because of the recent riots, Everton began with enterprising purpose.

Jermaine Beckford, spearheading the attack on his own, could not connect with a scissors kick while Cahill - bravely diving low - was inches away from putting his head on a wicked Baines delivery.

Following inventive jinking work from Barkley, Baines then curled an almost perfect free-kick over the wall, but his effort crashed down off the bar.

As Shaun Derry battled hard for the visitors, QPR - who had been hit by a virus in the camp - snatched the lead.

Jagielka gave the ball away uncharacteristically, allowing Akos Buzsaky to feeding a pass to Smith in the box, and the 31-year-old took a touch and spun to curl the ball instinctively beyond Tim Howard into the bottom corner.

Sliding Jagielka was a second too late to atone for his error.

Unmarked, Cahill missed Everton's best chance - a virtual open net - after Beckford had swung over a threatening cross to the back post.

Rangers were caught dozing seconds after the break but Jack Rodwell lifted a weak shot into Kenny's hands when the clear chance demanding a powerful, low strike.

Arteta replaced him soon after, just before striker Patrick Agyemang was stretchered off with a leg injury, and Everton predictably pressed with increasing desperation.

But, typifying the work ethic, Derry made a superb sliding block on Osman after he shaped to shoot following a surging run.

Fellaini came on and immediately set up Cahill but he dithered too long and his shot, from too wide an angle, was easily batted away.

Neil Warnock delighted with win at Everton after 'chaotic' 48 hours for QPR

The former Sheffield United boss admits that club will now try to sign "four or five quality players" following takeover by Tony Fernandes

By Sam Bisby at Goodison Park

Tommy Smith scored the game’s solitary goal and Warnock praised his players for their efforts, particularly as the squad had been hit by a virus prior to the trip to Goodison Park.

“Well we’ve had a dramatic 48 hours with the takeover, but I couldn’t have asked for anything more today against a good squad of players," he said.

“We had this virus around the camp yesterday, [Adel] Taarabt, [Matthew] Connolly, DJ Campbell, he collapsed DJ, so we had to send him home and these other two said they felt a bit better this morning, but then [Jay] Bothroyd goes down with it this morning, so it’s been chaotic really.

“But sometimes it happens like that doesn’t it? Things like that happen and you get a result. That’s what, makes football such a fantastic sport.”

The win is a boost to Rangers after their opening day thrashing at Bolton Wanderers and Warnock insisted he side could have scored more.

“I thought we took the opportunity well, I know in the second-half, if we picked better passes out, we might of got another one or two, we had some great opportunities to break," he added.

“Abel Taarabt did his tricks to the invisible man. It’s difficult for managers because last week we never thought we’d get a point till Christmas and this week some of them are talking about Europe.”

Patrick Agyemang came off in the second-half with an injury, much to the manager’s confusion after going down awkwardly.

“He seized up, he said it started in his leg but it looked like a general seizure, I think everything seized up," he explained.

“He didn’t know he was playing until leaving the hotel, I told him and he was gobsmacked because he wasn’t in the team talk or anything yesterday and I just said to him to enjoy yourself and just put those two internationals under pressure and I thought he did that.

“There were a lot of pluses, I thought the two centre-halves held us together today and they’ve been a bit flimsy, taken a few chances and I thought today they defended like defenders should and when you’ve got a goalie like that at the back [Kenny] you’ve always got a chance, for some of the crosses I thought his handling was superb.”

Warnock also agreed that heavy another defeat might have hurt his players, but that he was now thinking positively about the future, particularly with the prospect of the new owner bringing in some players before the end of the transfer window.

“I agree, if we lost four, five or six, 10 in two games. But that’s football isn’t it?" he said.

"I think the thing about QPR is that it’s a lovely club and its situation is fantastic being in London, so I never really realised how much that helped you get players, but it’s a lovely city and it helps you get players but you can’t do that without investment.

“Tony Fernandes and Ali have just been a breath of fresh air for me, it’s been a hard summer for me to be honest.

“We’re going to try and sign four or five quality players and it’ll be good to have points in the bank now before Wigan and before the deadline we’ll sign at least four players I’m hoping.

“Tony knows some of the players I want and he’s excited as I am, you don’t often get that as a manager and a chairman.” Goal.com


Guardian/Andy Hunter

David Moyes was not being alarmist with the prediction that a summer of sending millions to Barclays bank and spending nothing on his squad will result in a season of hard labour for Everton. Queens Park Rangers launched the Tony Fernandes era with a merited victory. Everton, on this evidence, are not only broke off the pitch.

Fernandes is the fourth wealthy investor attracted to the west London club in the past four years, while Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has unearthed only hoaxers and, as a leaked transcript revealed in embarrassing detail this week, must reduce an overdraft capped at £25m.

The result is rising anger among the Goodison Park faithful, stagnation at the club and, as illustrated against Neil Warnock's depleted, but disciplined side, a team that is as bereft of ideas and penetration in the final third as its manager is of funds. Not that Fernandes, Warnock or the delirious travelling hordes could have cared less as they tasted a first Premier League victory since April 1996, courtesy of Tommy Smith's measured first-half finish.

"We've had a traumatic 48 hours, not only with the takeover, but with a stomach virus that went through the squad on Friday," said an ecstatic Warnock. "Adel Taarabt had it, Matthew Connolly, DJ Campbell collapsed with it in training and then Jay Bothroyd got it this morning. I am delighted for Tony. He deserves this, though I'd primed him about all of our problems beforehand in case we got battered."

The takeover and the victory represented a new beginning for Rangers side trounced 4-0 by Bolton on their return to the Premier League following a 15-year absence last weekend. Moyes had hoped for the same, even revisiting his pre-season training notes from 2004-05, when Everton finished fourth, in an attempt to remedy the false starts that have hindered the club in recent years. Yet they emerged tortoise-like again.

It would be remiss to pin the blame for Everton's poor start on financial constraints. The hosts offered nothing in attack and operated for 10 minutes without a recognised striker on the pitch when Moyes replaced the woeful Jermaine Beckford with Marouane Fellaini, a tactical move that improved the side, but drew derision from the Gwladys Street Stand. It should be noted, however, that Kenwright's visage appeared on the giant television screens as the substitution took place.

The paucity of Everton's display was highlighted by the fact that 17-year-old Ross Barkley was unrivalled as the team's stand-out performer on his Premier League debut. The teenager, a right-footed central midfielder of stature, vision, strength and skill, began on the left, moved to the centre and finished on the right as Moyes sought to utilise his energy and willingness to shoot on sight. He was left to carry the fight alone.

"I've told the players I am disappointed with all of them, but not Ross," the Everton manager said. "We hope he's got a fantastic future ahead of him, like one or two other players to emerge through the ranks here."

Everton had their moments. Leighton Baines hit the bar with a trademark free-kick and Tim Cahill headed wide from two yards out, but Rangers had the precision when it counted and the authority in central defence to absorb their opponents' limited response. Alejandro Faurlín seized on a loose pass from Phil Jagielka, he found Akos Buzsaky, who slipped the ball inside for the unmarked Smith to finish low into the far corner. Guardian

- West Ham Fans Discussing Fernandes Takeover">Nice Local Everton Report

Talksport/Michael Wade - Exclusive - Bothroyd: QPR need quality players to cement Premier League place
- Jay Bothroyd has told SPORT that Queens Park Rangers need to bring in some more Premier League quality players now they have resolved their ownership situation.

Rangers have suffered a stop-start summer in the transfer market and questions over the tenure of manager Neil Warnock as they prepared for life in the Premier League.

But now new owner Tony Fernandes has backed Warnock to lead the Loftus Road side, Bothroyd has claimed they must strengthen their side in order to give them a fighting chance of establishing themselves in the top-flight.

“The gaffer has done terrific, he has brought in some quality players and hopefully he’ll bring in some more and we can really cement ourselves in the Premier League.”Jay Bothroyd

He told Call Collymore: “Stability for a club is always very important. We’ve got new ownership now and [Tony Fernandes] has backed the manager 100 per cent.

“That’s great. The gaffer has done terrific, he has brought in some quality players and hopefully he’ll bring in some more and we can really cement ourselves in the Premier League.” - Click to Listen

- Neil Warnock has revealed that Kieron Dyer is likely to be sidelined for 'a couple more weeks' at least.
- Dyer was withdrawn early on against Bolton Wanderers last weekend and speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk following our 1-0 win at Everton today (Saturday), Warnock said: "They've found a little chip.
- "It's such a shame for him.
- "It will be a couple more weeks at least, but I'm hoping by then we'll have a few more players in to compliment his talents."

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