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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

QPR Report Tuesday: QPR's Chances Assessed...Warnock Looking Forward...Bolton Fans Urge QPR Boycott...Fernandes Tweet..Shirt "Official" Unveiling Day?

- For Further details: See Bushman's QPR History: QPR in the Southern League, 1911/12
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Tony Fernandes Tweeting Today
Including an hour ago "...Here's hoping that all in london will be resolved soon. I am going to london end of week for a big day for me. hope life goes back to normal" Tony Fernandes

- QPR "Official" Shirt Unveiling Day? (According to Jay Bothroyd Tweeting)

- Riots Lead to West Ham and Charlton Games Cancelled...England vs Netherlands is Cancelled...As of now, Saturday's Games are Still ON.

- Map Showing QPR's Past Grounds

- Forty-Two Years Ago Today: Terry Venables Made His QPR League Debut!

- "On This Day" - Some Past QPR games - Including The Promotion Opener 5-0 Vs Blackpool.

- Don Givens Turns Sixty-Two

- Alejandro Faurlin Turns Twenty-Five

- Might-have-been-QPR, Benni McCarthy Slams Everyone!

- Video: Guardian Journalists Assessing QPR's Chances


Neil Warnock says getting QPR back into the top flight is his finest achievement.

NEIL WARNOCK may not have had a double-decker bus, but that did not stop him enjoying his best – and his longest – summer holiday for years.

Football’s evergreen love-him-or-loathe-him answer to Sir Cliff Richard is preparing for his 31st season as a manager.

Neil Warnock started at Gainsborough Trinity and is now at QPR. But of all the seven promotions he has secured in his career, he says getting Rangers back into the top flight is his finest achievement.

It was shrouded in controversy, with a question mark over Alejandro Faurlin’s registration leaving the threat of a points deduction hanging over their heads even as the season was drawing to a close.

The result was that it never felt appropriate to really celebrate. But having sat at home last weekend while the lower tiers of the league swung into action, Warnock is in no doubt he is worth his place in football’s upper echelons. “The promotion was tainted a bit with the points thing,” he said. “Rangers never really had a celebration. We never had an open-topped bus or a get-together with the team in the council offices.ì
I don’t think that we can change styles – certainly not if we have got Adel Taarabt playing for us!
“It has been a bit strange, but we were just relieved to get over all that with everything flying around that there was. But it is great to be where we are. The most enjoyable day for me was Saturday when I saw the Championship play and I thought, ‘thank goodness I am not in that this year’.”

Warnock’s only other season in the Premier League was with Sheffield United when – amid controversy involving Carlos Tevez’s registration with West Ham – his team were relegated on the final day of the season. Few of the other clubs were sorry to see them go, as a limited side relied on their physical attributes to get to the verge of safety.

Warnock’s QPR are a very different proposition, with that mercurial star Adel Taarabt the make-or-break character right at the centre of things.

“Since Blackpool came up it has changed everybody’s opinion,” said Warnock. “We are going to come up and enjoy it. I don’t think that we can change styles – certainly not if we have got Adel playing for us!

“We have just got to know that on a bad day we are going to get turned over because he will lose the ball in a bad area.

“We don’t want him to have the ball in our half. Defenders get fined if they pass to him or go on an overlap after they have given him the ball.

“It is difficult for a manager to deal with him but also to get the other players on board. Sometimes they want to strangle him!

“You have to have lots of meetings with players and tell them, ‘Please don’t hit him. Please don’t kill him. Just let me deal with it, will you’?

“But, then, you do have to look at the pluses too. They’ve all seen what he can do.”

The Guardian/Amy Lawrence
The Guardian/Amy Lawrence

Premier League preview No13: Queens Park Rangers

QPR won promotion as champions, but could do with a few of their co-owners' millions being invested on the pitch
Guardian writers' prediction 17th (This is not Amy Lawrence's prediction, but the average of our writers' tips)

Last season's position First in the Championship

Odds against winning title 3,000-1

It is an oddity so eyebrow-raising that it should be a well worn football trivia question: Which London team finished highest in the inaugural season of the Premier League? Not Arsenal. Not a Chelsea who broke their transfer record for the marvel that was Robert Fleck. Not even Tottenham. And surely not the other top division teams from the capital back in 1992-93, Crystal Palace and that odds-defying tale of sporting madness from Wimbledon. The answer is Queens Park Rangers, who flourished with a team that included a smattering of England internationals of the past and future – Ray Wilkins, "Sir" Les Ferdinand, Trevor Sinclair – managed by the most prodigal of Loftus Road sons, Gerry Francis. This was the vintage capable of winning 4-1 at Old Trafford. This was a time when it didn't really matter that their neat stadium had a modest capacity. Anything seemed possible.

Their journey since then has had many an eventful pit stop, and the shenanigans show no sign of letting up with the team's first Premier League appearance for 15 years hurtling over the horizon. Preparations for a happy return have been caught up in a web woven from the mix of nonsense, rumours, and peculiar PR that has become a speciality since the club was taken over by the tycoon triumvirate of Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal four years ago. Intrigue has seldom been far away.

The owners had some interesting options when it came to choosing a strategy in the wake of promotion. Considering they have never shown much enthusiasm for throwing some of their collective millions at the team, there was never much chance that they would do an Abramovich. However, they might have at least considered doing an Al Fayed. Fulham really should be a perfect role model for QPR. With a little bit of financial oomph, coupled with astute and inventive management, they could make the most of their corner of west London and attempt to become part of the Premier League establishment.

As it turns out, they look likelier to do an Oyston. Last season Blackpool and their chairman Karl Oyston made it clear that they would take on the Premiership as best they could without gambling every last bean. What got them up would more or less be given the task of keeping them there. QPR's transfer business, so low key thus far they didn't even manage to nail down the services of one of the keys to promotion, Wayne Routledge, suggests that's the plan.

Of course, the other strategy open to Ecclestone, Briatore and Mittal is to cash in, with the club in as healthy a position as it has been for years. The whispers about potential buyers, and possible moves to expand beyond the 18,000 capacity of Loftus Road, whir constantly. But with nothing concrete, the small matter of team-building has been put on ice. Whacking up ticket prices while all this is going on takes extraordinary front.

Set against this unstable backdrop, Neil Warnock must work magic with a squad that, frankly, still looks every inch the Championship flyers they were. It is hard to say how many of them will fare in more elevated surroundings. Adel Taarabt sparkled as Rangers won the league last term but remains unproven in the top stream – he was scarcely used in his spell at Tottenham. The likes of Alejandro Faurlín (the skilled playmaker whose dubiously handled transfer almost cost Rangers their promotion in the first place), and Akos Buzsaky (a sort of Frank Lampard lite) have zero experience of the Premier League. Other stars of the promotion campaign – Paddy Kenny, Shaun Derry, Tommy Smith – have shown over the years they can be outstanding performers in the Championship, but have not spent enough of their careers flourishing at football's sharpest end.

If Kieron Dyer is the answer then somebody somewhere at QPR really needs to think about the question. He certainly has experience of Premier League treatment tables, but it is asking a lot to expect him to lend the necessary physical and mental attributes to guide along a team which needs top-flight knowhow. Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell have also come in. But again, the new recruits are hardly stalwarts of the big time. And notably, defensive reinforcements have not yet been forthcoming.

It is a pity, as Warnock's arrival, and the joys that followed, coincided with a period of relative calm off the pitch. When the Mittal family took over running the show from Ecclestone and Briatore, appointing the promotion specialist was the first thing they did. That followed a spell during which Rangers changed their management 10 times over a period of just under two and a half years.

Warnock's appointment brought stability and success. But with the restart of turbulence emanating from the directors' box, what price more stability, more success, and the manager keeping his job for the whole campaign? Even a multimillionaire wouldn't gamble too much on that, it seems. Guardian

Bolton News - Whites fans urged to make a stand over QPR ticket prices

Wanderers fans are being urged to boycott the club’s opening game of the season away to Queens Park Rangers — because of the “ridiculous”

price of tickets for the match.

The London club is charging up to £50 for entry to Loftus Road — the same price Whites’ fans forked out to go to Wembley last season and more than twice what QPR supporters will pay at the Reebok Stadium later this season.

London-based Wanderers fan Liam Hanley is boycotting the game and plans to protest outside the ground. He has urged others to join him.

Your Vote: Are supporters being priced out of matches?
Yes No

Mega-rich club QPR put their prices up by 40 per cent after being promoted to the Premier League last season.

Mr Hanley, aged 38, who lives in London and works for BBC Radio Five Live, would normally go to Wanderers’ London games, but said he has decided to take a stand.

He added: “You have to draw the line somewhere.

United and Liverpool charge around £40 but this is taking the mick, particularly for a team coming up from the Championship.

“It is the same price as Wembley.

“You expect to pay a bit more for Wembley but for a run of the mill league game, it’s ridiculous.”

Prices for the QPR game are £50 or £45 for adults; £40 or £35 for over-60s and under-21s; £25 or £22 for under-16s; and £10 for under eights.

When the London team visit Bolton next March, their 3,000 allocation of tickets in the lower tier will cost just £22 for adults.

Should they require more tickets in the upper tier, these will cost £28.

Mr Hanley’s season ticket at the Reebok has cost him £285, which works out at around £15 a game.

He added: “Bolton have done really well in recent seasons, freezing their prices and offering real value.”

Dave Blackburn of Bolton Wanderers Supporters Association said: “The price has put me off completely and a lot of others too, I imagine.

“Some clubs are pricing people out of football.”

QPR refused to comment on their ticket prices" Bolton Times

- For those who missed it this weeekend: QPR's New Shirts "Revealed" and the Rodney Marsh QPR Controversy (Banning Claim)!

- Lotto's Other Clubs/Shirts

- Reported QPR Bid for Egyptian Winger

- QPR Report Poll Question: Will QPR's Promised "Pre-Season Celebration" Be Held?
Flashback: QPR Official Site - May 11, 2011 - CLUB ANNOUNCEMENT (No Parade...But Pre-Season Celebration)
"Regrettably, the Club can confirm that, for a number of reasons, we will not be holding an end of season parade following our promotion to the Premier League. We know this will be a huge disappointment to our fans who have been fantastic this season and everyone at the Club shares this view. ....However, plans are already afoot for a pre-season celebration, once the players return to training in July. We will, of course, keep you - our supporters - updated with any developments in due course. QPR Official Site: May 11 2011

And along the same lines: - VANISHED WITHOUT NOTICE! The Club's Official Messageboard

- Still No QPR Offical Site Update re the Status of the Official Supporters Club (OSC). Despite Committee Resignations.

- Bookies and Pundits Favour QPR for Relegation

- Press Versus Football Clubs Dispute. Lock Out

- An Early Preview of QPR vs Bolton

- A Statistical Guide to Points Needed to Stay Up

- Seventy Years of Supporting QPR: A Longtime QPR Supporter Remembers

- Some Great Old QPR Videos: QPR's 1975/76 "Championship" Season Final Game vs Leeds + Some Videos From Early 1990s

- Flashback: "40 Factoids About QPR"

- "Spot The Ball"

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