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Saturday, October 22, 2011

QPR Report Saturday: Chelsea...Warnock's Perspective...Ferdinand's Beliefs...Shaun Wright Phillips


- 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

- Three Years Ago Today: An Open Letter from Amit Bhatia

- Birthday for Mark Falco...And On This Day: Brentford Crush QPR!

- Football's Fight Against Racism, Anti-Semitism, Homophobia, etc Week (Fortnight)

- Clubs Vote to Kill "Smaller Club" Feeder System

- QPR & Chelsea: Stats/ Shared Players

Independent - Neil Warnock: Bostock tale shows perils of big clubs hoovering up young talent

What I Learnt This Week

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Remember this lad, pictured right? It's John Bostock.

I gave him his debut at Crystal Palace four years ago. Only 15 and still at school he became Palace's youngest ever player. We had high hopes that he would go on to become a key player for Palace, but he only played four games before he was persuaded to join Tottenham.

Simon Jordan, Palace's owner at the time, was very unhappy, and his mood didn't improve when the tribunal told Spurs they only had to pay us £700,000 for the boy – there were add-ons, but no guarantees they would be triggered. Running a good academy is expensive and Bostock had been in ours since he was eight. Simon was so angry he considered scrapping Palace's academy, reasoning that if all the good players were to be poached on the cheap, what was the point?

I mention this because Simon and I recalled the affair this week after the Football League clubs voted to accept the Elite Player Performance Plan – the Premier League-driven reform of youth development. Part of the deal was the imposition of a fixed tariff for the transfer of players like Bostock. In his case we would have received less than £100,000.

That is peanuts and nowhere near sufficient compensation. An academy costs £500,000 to £1m to run at present (the new academies are going to be even more expensive) and there's no way it is going to produce five or 10 players of Bostock's standard each year to pay for it. I think the proposals are going to have severe consequences for the best academies in the Football League, like the one at Palace. Clubs are going to have to seriously think about whether it is worth continuing with them because it is obvious that the big clubs will just open their wallets and hoover up all the best talent.

Clubs should be allowed to put their younger lads on contracts. Otherwise their only hope is to persuade a boy that he would be better off staying with them, and getting matches, instead of disappearing into the background at a big club. It is not easy, because money talks, but look at what has happened to Bostock since he left Palace. He's been on loan to Brentford and Hull without establishing himself at either and is now back at Spurs without a squad number. He'll be 20 in January, but in four years he has started just 18 league games and he hasn't played a senior match for 11 months.

I feel sorry for the lad, but if he had stayed at Palace he could have played close to 100 Championship matches by now which would have set him up for the rest of his career. As it is, no one seems to have done well. Tottenham probably feel they haven't got value for money, Palace lost a player on the cheap – and it doesn't look as if they are going to get any of the add-ons – and the boy, who's the most important person in all this, isn't playing football.

2. Chuffed it's Chelsea but I wish Torres was playing

Tomorrow Chelsea come to Loftus Road. What a prospect! I bet many QPR fans can't believe we are playing them less than 18 months after surviving relegation to League One. This is the sort of match you relish; it is why we want to be in the Premier League. It may not be the most high-profile derby of the day but unlike the Manchester clubs we share the same borough – indeed, as the mayoress said at our promotion reception, Hammersmith & Fulham is the only borough in the country with three Premier teams.

The Manchester clubs have had all the attention but under the radar Chelsea have already shown they are more than capable of giving them a run for their money. I was going to go and watch them the other night in the Champions League, but I didn't think I'd learn much with them playing half the side they would field against us. It was the right decision because the game ended up like a testimonial. Chelsea were so dominant they could have scored 15.

Someone said how lucky we are Fernando Torres is suspended tomorrow. It depends which way you look at it. If I'm totally honest I'd prefer Torres to be playing than Didier Drogba.

It is the start of three testing games for us with Tottenham away next week followed by Manchester City at home. I really want the lads to enjoy these games, it's what we fought for when winning promotion so it is daft to be fearful. When I was asked on TV last week what I was looking to get out of these three games I said: "I can't see us getting more than seven points!"

3. Me and the players will warm up watching derby

I expect a lot of you wonder what a Premier League manager does in the hours leading up to kick-off. I can tell you where I'll be at 1.30pm tomorrow. I'll be in my office in front of the TV watching the Manchester derby. I'll be able to watch the first half before turning my attention back to our game which is a 4pm kick-off. The same applies to the players; they'll be watching Manchester United v Manchester City in the dressing room. I don't think it is a bad thing to have something like that to take their mind off our game.

Every viewer will be hoping City go there and give United a game because you know for a fact United will have a go at City. Roberto Mancini's bound to play Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry, but I hope he includes the likes of Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and David Silva. Hopefully, it'll be like the United-Chelsea match, where both teams slugged it out.

4. From unsung heroes to Euro stars

Two unsung heroes enjoyed great victories in the Europa League last week. We're becoming a bit blasé about Stoke winning big games, but it really says something about their depth when Tony Pulis is able to make seven changes and watch his team win so comfortably.

The result of the week was Birmingham City's at Bruges. To win after going behind so early was fabulous. All credit to Chris Hughton. I'm sure he thought he could do without the competition when the season started, but now the whole club must be looking forward to a run in Europe.

5. Kids are animal magic as we pull the otter one

For his half-term homework, William had to take some animal photographs. We figured most of the class would head for Richmond Park to take pictures of the deer, so to be different we went to an otter farm. They are really interesting animals – as long as you don't get them in your own pond.

Amy's just started having riding lessons and Sharon went along. She couldn't believe how confident Amy was, but kids seem to be like that these days. However, the next morning we were watching TV and there was a programme about paramedics. A young girl had fallen off her horse and needed an air ambulance. It wasn't the best programme to watch, having seen her ride the day before, but every day of their lives kids have challenges. You can't wrap them in cotton wool.

6. Harry's lack of agility touches a nerve

We have a yoga teacher come to the training ground on a regular basis. It helps keep the players supple, though when I've watched sessions I've often thought, "There's no way I could get into that position."

Confirmation I've been right not to join in came this week when Harry Redknapp joined the class at Spurs. He couldn't get himself into a pose so the instructor tried to give him a hand and he felt his back go. Harry said he couldn't walk for two days and had sciatica for the next three nights.

You'd think he'd know better, wouldn't you? What will he do next – play loud headbanging music in his office before a game to get himself motivated? We're a bit too old in the tooth for that, Harry.

7 'Indy' columnists can talk a good game

I shared the sofa on Match of the Day 2 last week with Lee Dixon. Lee is one of the up-and-coming pundits and he's obviously picked up some tips from the other columnists on the fine newspaper he writes for. He talks a lot of sense in his tactical analysis and comes up with constructive criticism.

I'd been promising to go on the show for a few weeks and thought I'd better get on and do it as they are moving to Salford in three weeks and I didn't fancy that – no disrespect but it's a long way from home. Still, it's close to Old Trafford, though it does seem like a lot of expense moving half the BBC to Manchester just to get Sir Alex Ferguson in the studio! Independent

SKY - Warnock plays down fall-out talk
Hoops boss brushes of reports of Barton-Taarabt spat

Barton questioned Taarabt's work ethic in a recent interview, and Warnock responded by saying his skipper was "a little bit out of order".

Taarabt was dropped to the bench for last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Blackburn following his behaviour during the previous game at Fulham.

The mercurial Moroccan was brought off at half-time with QPR trailing 3-0 and left before the final whistle as Fulham completed a 6-0 rout.

Barton, who joined the club this summer after a dispute with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, said that on arriving at Loftus Road he was told Taarabt was a genius but was yet to see it.

Warnock claims he is in the dark about rumours the pair have clashed but insists that even if they have, disagreements between club colleagues are commonplace in football.

"I don't know whether they fell out, to be honest," he said.

"I have only read what's been in the papers, I've not heard anything about it around the training ground.

"This sort of thing happens at every club. I could tell you every club where there's a few who can light the touch paper and we are no different to them." Sky

The Guardian/Dominic Fifield - Big interview

QPR's Shaun Wright-Phillips using yoga to bounce back against Chelsea

England winger who kicked his heels at Chelsea views match against old club as chance to prove he belongs in the big time

Shaun Wright-Phillips celebrates his birthday next week and, as he edges into his 30s, the ambitions he still hopes to fulfil become ever quirkier. An aspiration to assist Queens Park Rangers to a first top-flight home win since Mark Hateley led their line and Ray Wilkins patrolled midfield is understandable enough. As is the desire for that victory to come at the expense of his former club Chelsea in Sunday's derby. Unsurprising, too, is a craving to return to Fabio Capello's England squad in time for next summer's European Championship.

Yet there is another pressing target to be achieved by the end of the calendar year, one that has the winger pressed for time with an appointment booked across town. "I've never been able to touch my toes," he says. "Seriously, never. In a game I'm, like, 'Rubber Man' or something but, off the pitch, I'm the least flexible person you could imagine. It's down to short hamstrings apparently. Anyway, I've started yoga and have told the lady taking the classes she has to get me touching my toes by Christmas. That's my task." A second session of downward-facing dog and pyramid poses awaits with a more supple life ahead, all of which feels apt given Wright-Phillips is currently bouncing back.

A deadline-day return to London with QPR has served to rejuvenate after too long kicking his heels on the fringes at Manchester City. The England winger had previously gone a year without starting a Premier League game, a victim of aggressive squad building at Eastlands and the departure of Mark Hughes, the manager who had taken him back to City after three years in and out of the team at Chelsea.

Sunday's eagerly anticipated meeting with former employers will provide his sixth league start in succession, an involvement he has not enjoyed since the last few weeks of Hughes's tenure. Indeed, under Roberto Mancini, the winger made only two top-flight starts last term. To see him busily scuttling at full-backs these days, spitting shots at goal with glee, is to witness a player making up for lost time.

His team's aspirations may have changed, from targeting league titles to focusing on survival, but not since he was breaking on to the scene in his first spell at City has Wright-Phillips felt so integral. Neil Warnock, a manager relishing one last fling at the big time, recruited a quintet of top-flight performers in transfer deadline week, and each had his own reason to wish to make an impression. "He brought in hungry, experienced players, and we all had something to prove," said the England midfielder. "But my own hunger was purely about the enjoyment of playing. Being out of a team changes you as a person. You don't realise it but, away from the game, you can be snappy with your family or friends if you're not playing. It hurts not to be involved, but I guess you have to accept it. It's part and parcel of being at a big club."

Wright-Phillips could be deemed a high-profile victim of the modern day squad building phenomenon. The Premier League has attracted a handful of billionaire owners and the midfielder has worked under two of them, Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour. Yet, while he has admittedly earned handsomely each time, he only ever thrived in fits and starts when surrounded by the best talent money could buy. Stockpiling players of such calibre forces seasoned internationals to the margins. The Russian oligarch would visit the dressing room post-match, congratulating or commiserating his £21m signing – "He was always relaxed and would try to get to know you one-to-one so that you felt comfortable going to him if ever you needed something" – during a three-year spell that yielded all three major domestic honours, yet Wright-Phillips' impact still always felt rather peripheral. The one thing Abramovich could not provide him with was a guaranteed first-team place.

At City, where the midfielder made his name long before Arab money transformed expectations, his second coming was effectively eclipsed by the Abu Dhabi takeover. Suddenly, £8.5m purchases felt like small change, the type of fee forked out on a squad player to flesh out the numbers. There was to be no place in the match-day squad for the FA Cup final last May, just as there had not been with Avram Grant's Chelsea at the European Cup final in Moscow in 2008. Even so, the winger reflects on both spells among the nouveaux riches with pride. "I remind myself that I got there in the first place, to Chelsea and City," he says. "For someone who was playing Sunday League football on a concrete surface in south London not that long ago, to find myself in a position where I was fighting for a first-team place at clubs that big represented a huge leap. I'll never forget that, even if it was frustrating at times.

"With City, it's different. That's the club where it began for me, one that I've been close to since I was 17, so to see the transformation the place has gone through to have them sitting on top of the table just makes me happy: for the fans, for the players who were there just before the takeover, and for those who are now enjoying it. To see them achieving everything City's supporters had ever wanted is wonderful. I don't have any remorse or regret over the situation I found myself in there. It's not about me. It's about the club moving in the right direction. Over the 10 years I spent there, that's all they ever wanted: to be challenging. Now they are. To have been partly involved in making that possible makes me proud.

"And looking back at Chelsea, I feel the same. It was always going to be hard breaking into that team, and I knew it would be like that. But I played a part, I helped win trophies, and the whole thing was a brilliant experience. Why would there be any regrets? I worked under José Mourinho, a manager who taught me new things and stressed I should believe in myself. It could be difficult out of the side, but when someone like him tells you: 'I signed you, so I've got confidence in you,' the feeling you get is unbelievable. He made everyone feel involved and part of things, even if you were out of the first team. That is a huge talent. When I look back, I played 27 games in each of my three seasons at the club, a good amount in a team that was winning and pretty much dominating at the time. And, all the time, I was learning."

He will confront friends turned foes at Loftus Road. His immediate task is to unsettle Ashley Cole – "Different class, a full-back who plays like a wing-back and is a nightmare to be up against" – but he must also summon something unpredictable to surprise his rivals' manager. André Villas-Boas was on the scouting staff under Mourinho and made a lasting impression on Wright-Phillips. "You recognise when an opposition scout's good at what he does. With him, the information he gave you was always accurate. He'd provide in-depth analysis of every player on the opposing side: how they play; where they were strong; how you could get at them; inside leg measurement … you name it, he knew it. He studied the game in minute detail, so it's no surprise to see what he's achieved since. I guess he's got people doing all that for him now, and they'll have their reports on me. I'll just have to try and do the opposite to what they might expect."

In a sense, Wright-Phillips has done that even by venturing to Rangers. There had been a flurry of interest from more established Premier League clubs on the eve of the transfer deadline. Bolton were long-standing admirers. David Moyes telephoned as the cut-off ticked closer to persuade him to move to Everton. Yet, even when he arrived at breakfast at the team hotel before the match at Wolves to find his team-mates had replaced his seat with a highchair, there has been no regretting the choice he made. "QPR just felt like the right fit," he adds. "Sure, it was nice to feel wanted. Attackers thrive on confidence, and all the interest was a reminder that people hadn't forgotten me, but this was a chance to make a mark again. For now it's all about staying in this division before looking to push on. We've only offered flashes of what we can achieve so far, and maybe our form hasn't been there consistently. But it's coming. We're improving.

"The set-up is solid. We've got an owner [Tony Fernandes] who is ambitious, someone who likes to interact with everyone who's supportive of what he's trying to do, meeting the fans in the pub, chatting on Twitter, talking to the players. We're all on the same wavelength. We've got a manager [Warnock] who is loving being in this division. He's a different generation to a Mourinho or a Mancini, but his methods aren't any less effective. He does things his way and he knows how to win games. He had faith in me, and I want to repay that. I've still got lots I want to achieve, and lots to give QPR. The Chelsea game is the biggest derby we'll have this season. I guess that means it'll be the perfect place to start.

TELEGRAPH - Jason Burt
Anton Ferdinand keeps faith in his career at Queens Park Rangers and hopes to start prayer group
It took four hours this week for Anton Ferdinand to acquire his latest tattoo — his fourth — and he turns his left forearm to reveal the intricate artwork. “It’s an angel fighting away evil,” he says proudly. “I’m a Christian, I have faith in the Lord and that’s what it represents

“My mum goes to church every weekend and I had to go when I was younger but I didn’t appreciate it. I appreciate it now.

"It’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me although the hardest thing is having faith in something you can’t see, but I have overcome that.

"I can talk about my journey and things that have happened to me. That’s why my mind is the way it is at the moment.”

That journey, in football terms, took Ferdinand from Sunderland to Queens Park Rangers , who face Chelsea on Sunday, on transfer deadline day and he reveals that he hopes to start a prayer group before Loftus Road home matches.

“At Sunderland we had a group who prayed. There was me, Kieran Richardson, Stephane Sessegnon, Asamoah Gyan, John Mensah, Nedum Onuoha. Hopefully I will start building that here.”

Ferdinand’s faith is, indeed, central to him. He has a ‘mentor’, Michael Springer, who first approached him when he was at West Ham United, and who is close to another Christian, Chris Powell, now the Charlton Athletic manager, and who has been a powerful influence. When Ferdinand was out of the Sunderland team he was told that it was “no coincidence” that the results were not good.

“The year that I was having problems [injury and form], the club won maybe two, three games without me on the pitch,” the central defender states. “It got said to me that ‘the team won’t win until you return’.”

That was probably uttered as much as motivation for Ferdinand, who felt Sunderland manager Steve Bruce did not want him, as any belief in divine intervention but faith means much to him. “You interviewed me six years ago,” he recalls. “My outlook on life is very different. I’m more of a man now.”

When I did interview Ferdinand last time — talking about everything from his interest in music to show jumping as well as football — he was polite and deferential and only 20.

But he admits that he has not achieved what he could have done. He has, harshly he says, been labelled for off-field incidents and pre-conceptions with Alan Curbishley’s ‘Baby Bentley’ tag — about a group of West Ham players accused of being more interested in cars than winning matches — hurting as well as being inaccurate.

“A lot of people put it out there that I was ‘flash’ but that has never been me, I remember my background,” Ferdinand says, recalling his upbringing on a tough Peckham estate. “My mum and dad installed the right principles in me.”

Still Ferdinand, 26, concedes that his career — halfway through now — is yet to peak. “Everyone spoke about my potential and I know that I have not fulfilled it,” he admits. “This is another opportunity to show people that it wasn’t just potential.”

QPR is family. It was hard to leave Sunderland, and there is emotion in Ferdinand’s voice as he talks about the “big decision in my heart” to leave, when he realised he was not going to be offered a new contract and bids were being accepted, after three years in the North East.

But he knew it was the right decision — not least because “the name Ferdinand resonates around QPR because of ‘Sir Les’ — “everyone calls him that, I do even though he’s my cousin.”

The former England and QPR striker Les Ferdinand played in a team who, in 1993, were the highest placed in London. Anton dimly remembers being five, maybe six and clambering up to “The Loft” to watch Les play (1987-95 with 80 goals in just 163 games) having acquired ‘free’ tickets from his brother Rio who was then training with QPR before joining West Ham.

“This is the best team QPR have had since then and there’s no reason why we cannot emulate them,” he declares.

“Ray Wilkins, Trevor Sinclair, Ian Holloway, Danny Maddix. We have players in our team now that means we can maybe even do better. When I went to Loftus Road before I signed I was walking down the tunnel and turned to my right and saw an ‘old school’ photograph of Les. I’ve a lot of ties to this club.” It does feel like family.

Ferdinand turns to the tattoos again. There are three more — and two of them relate to his family. “The one up here,” he says touching the top of his bicep, “is for my granddad Jack who passed away. He liked to play cards. I’ve got a Jack of Hearts to represent him. It’s protected by an angel. On the inside of my arm, I have one for my mum and dad, thanking them for their guidance and love.”

There’s another tattoo — the oldest. It reads, ‘I believe to achieve’. “It’s a saying that I have had since I was a kid,” Ferdinand recalls. “It’s my saying in life.”

That childhood is vividly recalled and returning to London has put him closer to his roots. He knows the importance of being a role model. “But to be a role model you have to make sure you have done your job first,” Ferdinand says.

“My dad couldn’t come and tell me ‘you shouldn’t smoke weed’ if he was smoking weed.” For Ferdinand it is a case of practising what is preached.



Picture by Haqpr1963

Many thanks to Maudesfishnchips for conducting another great interview. And many thanks to Chelsea fan, Martin Rowe of CFCNet for providing us with this interview and offering us with his perspective.

Many thanks to Martin Rowe, associate editor of CFCnet.co.uk. enjoy

How long have you supported Chelsea?

Well, I’m in my mid 40’s now so I guess that’s nearly half a century of supporting Chelsea! Put it this way, I’ve stood in the Shed and seen us get relegated. That was a long time ago but it’s seared into my memory as if it was yesterday.

There is only one team in west London and they play in hoops, why Chelsea!?

Not sure what you mean by that question.

Who's Chelsea’s biggest Rival (or Rivals)?

Traditionally it’s been Fulham and Spurs, but more recently it’s been teams like Barcelona and Man Utd. To be honest, the team we love to beat these days is Liverpool. 20 years and counting to win the league is a long time and we’re happy to play our part in extending this. Listening to Scousers talk you’d have thought they’d invented football but what people don’t realise is that Chelsea won their first European trophy before Liverpool and we were the first UK team to be invited to play in the newly formed European Cup in the 50’s.

Are you happy with your team and how things are to date? – What are your opinions on your manager AVB? His spending/selling this summer?

We’re happy with the style of football AVB is trying to instil at the Bridge and the dynamic pass-and-move nature of the team is winning people over. The board of Chelsea are also fully committed to him so at the moment everything seems to be going well. The big test will be when the difficult periods arrive – as they will – and whether the board will continue to back him. We’re all a bit tired with the constant chopping and changing of managers and would prefer some stability.

What do you think of your current Owner? WHY is he involved? What do you expect from him?

Roman’s been magnificent, absolutely first class. Yes, he’s been a bit trigger happy at times and interfered with managers like Mourinho etc, but overall 3 Premierships, 3 FA Cups and 2 Carling Cups tell their own story. We’ve had a wild time.

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

How long have you got? When Peter Kenyon ran the Fans Forum a lot of changes were made at the instigation of the fans and the relationship between the Club and many fans groups was pretty good. However, over time, the Club has become increasingly reluctant to engage with us and is starting to flex its muscles in a dictatorial fashion. Trust is beginning to break down if I’m perfectly honest.

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

This is a hotly debated topic that could leave me open to widespread abuse when I next visit the Bridge! Everybody’s opinion is different so if you’d ask 1,000 fans you’d get 1,000 answers. However, I think you’d be stretched to find a fan who thinks Salomon Kalou should be a first team regular. Malouda’s form is also too erratic. Overall, though, we have a fantastic squad. Underrated? The media focus on Torres is obscene yet he is looking deadly at the moment – when lady luck turns his way he could have a blistering season.

Are you happy with your youth set up? Is your club doing enough to bring young/local talent through the ranks?

We have a great youth set-up and are doing everything we can to bring young players through. The facilities at Cobham are exceptional and the whole set-up is geared towards sustained long term success. The only criticism is Michael Emanelo’s appointment as technical director. I’m not sure what he brings to the table although Frank Arnesen hardly set the world on fire and he had a stellar reputation before he arrived.

Who would you say was the greatest Chelsea player that you yourself personally saw? And past player? (You can name more than one if it's that close!)

Ruud Gullit was the best player I have ever seen in a Chelsea shirt. He was a one man team and his presence at Chelsea was one of the building blocks of our rise since the early 90’s. He had awesome skill, power, athleticism, intelligence and leadership. Whilst many people would vote for Franco Zola (good as he was), as a complete football player Gullit gets my vote.

What is your prediction for Chelsea this season?

Top 2. Hopefully first. It depends on whether we can get the team to click on a consistent basis. Man Utd have already beaten us but they were slightly lucky in that match and the return fixture should be interesting. Man City are also rivals but they have a self-destruct button lurking in the background.

Are you aware of any player or manager links between our two clubs past and present?

Gavin Peacock played for you after captaining us in the mid 90’s. He was a great player and if his shot had gone in rather than clip the bar in the ’94 FA Cup Final, he could have been an all-time legend. He’s a very genuine fellow, I have a lot of respect for him and I believe he is now in the US studying to be a preacher.

What is your view and the general Chelsea view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness) or of Neil Warnock and our owners?

I once read in a Chelsea fanzine that QPR was like an annoying little brother, half your age, who just irritates the hell out of you. That’s fairly accurate. As for Warnock, Ken Bates invited him to become manager of Chelsea in 1991 and he turned us down because he didn’t want to leave the North. That excuse looks a bit thin now!

Who (if any) is your most memorable/favourite QPR Player over the years?

I am old enough to remember your great 1970’s side and Gerry Francis was a truly inspirational player.

Did you attend home or away, any matches between our two clubs when we were last in the premiership? Any memorable matches between our two clubs that stand out for you? And the reasons why?

One of my favourite games in my whole life was in 1990 (I think) when you were 2-0 up and we equalised before Joe Allon scored an overhead kick in the dying minutes. The whole away end went ballistic. I’ve never forgotten that game, it’s one of my top ten games of all time, and believe me, I’ve seen many, many hundreds (if not thousands).

Your score prediction for QPR v Chelsea?

3-1 to Chelsea. We’re a good team, believe me.

What, realistically, do you think Chelsea are capable of achieving in the next five years?

The sky’s the limit. We’d obviously like to go one step further in Europe.

What are your and the general view of Chelsea supporters regarding the proposed new stadium? And the suggested site in white city if this was of interest to Abramovich ? The QPR support would not welcome such a move, would you ?

We’re very angry about the situation. Whilst most fans agree that we probably need to move, the Club aren’t giving us any guarantees where they want to move to. Now, given that 12,000 of us own the Stamford Bridge pitch, turnstiles and brand name Chelsea FC, we’re pissed off that the Club want us to hand these rights over for no guarantee. They must think we came down in the last shower. The vote on 27th October is monumental in the history of our Club.
White City? We’d prefer to move nearer Stamford Bridge, Earl’s Court being a particular favourite.

Martin Rowe


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