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Sunday, October 30, 2011

QPR Report Sunday Update: Taarabt...Spurs....Buzsaky

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INDEPENDENT/Steve Tongue - Taarabt walks line between genius and joker

Moroccan was Rangers' talisman in reaching Premier League but rejection by Spurs showed he's a handful for his own team too

They are used to flamboyant entertainers at Queens Park Rangers, from Rodney Marsh through Stan Bowles to Adel Taarabt. Perhaps that is why supporters are prepared to indulge the last-named to a degree that may well not happen at other clubs. Yet it is a measure of how much more the Moroccan has still to achieve that others would consider it sacrilege to mention him in the same breath.

The "QPR Cult Heroes T-Shirt", on sale in a fetching shade of blue, features the names of Marsh, Bowles and Les Ferdinand, all of whom eventually moved on to bigger clubs but were still revered. Taarabt reportedly announced his desire to leave in January, just as he did in the summer, then claimed he had been misreported, all of which tends to be greeted with a shrug by the Rangers manager Neil Warnock, whose line in public is usually: "That's Adel."

In private, Warnock has said in his column in The Independent, he will have a firmer word, as when Taarabt stomped home after being substituted at half-time during the embarrassing 6-0 defeat by Fulham.

"You're going to get days when he throws his toys out of the pram," Warnock said on that occasion. "But I have told him that these things can get out of hand. I think Adel knows what he did was wrong and we move on." Today, moving on is a matter of moving back to White Hart Lane and Taarabt's first English club, Tottenham, where he arrived from Lens hailed as "the new Zidane" and left 18 months ago as something of a misfit.

It has always been clear that he could do remarkable things with a football, as a clutch of videos on YouTube confirms; sometimes – although never yet in the top division in France or England – the ball ends up in the opposition's net. Martin Jol, when he managed Spurs, called him "a wizard" and claimed "on the ball I don't think there's another talent like him in England". That was hardly apparent when he played against Jol's Fulham this month. Juande Ramos, the Dutchman's successor, declined even to give Taarabt a squad number, but his next two managers, Harry Redknapp and QPR's Jim Magilton, both used the word "genius".

At Loftus Road last season he was top cat, scorer of 19 goals in Rangers' Championship triumph and voted the Football League Player of the Year. In August, however, Tony Fernandes bought a majority shareholding in the club and used some much-needed funds to bring in some arguably bigger beasts. They were certainly on bigger salaries, to the annoyance of Taarabt (pictured), who also lost the captaincy to one of them, Joey Barton, with whom he has subsequently had a prickly relationship.

Since being substituted at Fulham, Taarabt has played only 25 minutes against Blackburn and an hour in the win over Chelsea last weekend, when he again declined to sit with his team-mates after being brought off.

After the Blackburn game, Barton picked up on the G-word when he said: "I came here and was told he was a genius, but I'm yet to see it. I don't know whether that is because he doesn't work hard enough or that he tends to sulk." According to one of Rangers' coaches, Barton's line in training has been even firmer: "If you want to sulk, do it while you're running back. Don't do it walking. And if I ask you to do something, do it."

There were equally strong words for him at Chelsea when David Pleat, the former Spurs manager and director of football, told Radio 5 Live: "He's a bad boy, he's not a team player." Yesterday, Pleat recalled: "From his early days at Tottenham, he thought he was a star. I remember seeing him early on for Tottenham reserves against Birmingham, playing outside left in front of Chris Hughton's son Cian. When he lost the ball, he never came back to help. Every time the ball went astray he made some kind of gesture as if to say 'not my fault'.

"Taarabt has great tricks and some wonderful vision at times, he's a talented boy. But I've seen so many talented boys who look certainties and then fade away for all sorts of reasons. In the end, if a player is very headstrong and really believes either that he's better than the rest or that they should play to his strengths, it's very difficult. Some players think they're more important than the team. And I think that's a remark that can be made about Taarabt."

It is attitude, then, rather than ability, that is being questioned. Warnock is inclined, for now, to defend Taarabt, saying QPR would not have won promotion without him and stressing that it is better to emphasise his good points rather than dwelling on the negatives. But Pleat is adamant about moving in a different direction: "I'd sell him. Don't let it fester too long, maximise his price and say: 'That's it, history now, the king is dead'."

Tottenham Hotspur v Queens Park Rangers is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 4pm Independent


Taarabt pleads with QPR gaffer Warnock to protect him from abuse

Oct 30 2011 by Dean Jones, The People

ADEL TAARABT has pleaded with QPR manager Neil Warnock to stand up for him more – after taking stick from senior team-mates, including Joey Barton.

The gifted but unpredictable star is unhappy with some of the verbal goading he has been subjected to, and sought out his boss to let his feelings be known.

Controversial Taarabt, 22, thinks Warnock should bring the other players into line and tell them not to ‘pick’ on him so much.

Taarabt has been his own worst enemy at times but he was unsettled by the way he took abuse for recent displays – and was removed from penalty duties in last week’s home win over Chelsea.

Barton and veteran Shaun Derry forcibly stopped Taarabt claiming the ball, just one of many examples of when he has been put in his place.

The moody Moroccan returns to White Hart Lane with QPR today, determined to prove he could have made the grade in north London.


And Harry Redknapp admits he has been worried about Taarabt haunting him ever since he left Tottenham.

The Spurs boss, who let him join Rangers in August 2010, said: “In the end it was difficult and I didn’t really want to get rid of him, to be honest.

“I was scared to let him go because I always thought he would come back to haunt me or bite me.

“I don’t know the deal but if it was £1million, I know the chairman got a big sell-on because we were always afraid that he could progress.

“His skill is frightening and he could be a great player – maybe one day he will be.

“He’s a bit of a fruitcake but what’s he worth now?

“When he came here they called him the next Zidane. He isn’t in the same league as Zidane because he was a genius.

“But one day he could be up there because he’s got that ability.” People

QPR boss Warnock reveals confrontation with angry Chelsea thug

Submitted by tribalfootball.com on Sat, 10/29/2011 - 06:15

QPR boss Neil Warnock has revealed he was confronted by a Chelsea thug after Sunday' derby win.

Driving home after the game with his wife and daughter, boss Warnock was stunned when a fuming Chelsea supporter laid into him as he stopped for snacks at a service station.

And after narrowly avoiding a mini-mart mauling, Warnock claims the ill feeling aimed at rival managers has now reached crisis point.

He said: "The hatred that comes to managers now around dugouts and getting off the bus at times is worrying. If you look in the eyes of supporters there is so much hatred.

"It's a frightening thing to bring a kid to a game now when you look at the hatred in the eyes of some of the people in the crowd.

"I was quite worried when I went to get some crisps, some bread and skimmed milk after the game on Sunday night in one garage.

"I thought one guy — a Chelsea fan — was having a joke and he wasn't. I had to move quickly." Tribal Football

Telegraph/Duncan White - Jay Bothroyd puts good times with playboy Saadi Gaddafi, son of dead Libya tyrant Colonel Gaddafi, behind him

The bright autumn sun is shining across Queens Park Rangers' Harlington training ground, the relentless procession of planes in and out of neighbouring Heathrow buzzing in the background - and Jay Bothroyd is talking about his friendship with the third son of Colonel Gaddafi.

Jay Bothroyd puts good times with playboy Saadi Gaddafi, son of dead Libya tyrant Colonel Gaddafi, behind him
Grown up: Jay Bothroyd says time in Italy matured him Photo: REUTERS

"Saadi is a friend of mine," Bothroyd said, taking time out in his preparations for Sunday's Premier League match against Tottenham.

"I saw him about 10 months ago when he was in London. All this drama. His dad is obviously a tyrant and he dictated over his countrymen through fear but Saadi was never like that. He was always friendly and polite. When he bought his house in Hampstead he asked me what I thought of it. He even came to my wedding.

"Obviously he used to have parties and stuff and he would invite me to Cannes to watch the Grand Prix. For his birthday he would fly me over on his plane. People who don’t know him might say he’s like this or like that or like his dad, but I’ve never seen that. I looked at him like a friend."

The pair met when Bothroyd moved to Italian club Perugia in 2003. Saadi was obsessed with football and had decided to try and make it as a player. He employed Diego Maradona as a technical consultant and the disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson as his personal trainer but only ever managed one substitute appearance for the club.

"He wasn’t the best," Bothroyd said. "But he did it as a hobby. He’s a billionaire but it was something he wanted to do. He wanted to play football, to come in every day and train. And he did it, to be fair. He never expected any special treatment. But obviously there were his bodyguards around."

By all accounts Saadi lived a decadent lifestyle in Italy, earning his reputation as the black sheep of the family. There are allegations of drugs, P*******s and ambiguous sexuality. He invested in Hollywood movies, owned lions and, according to Simon Jordan, tried to buy Crystal Palace in 2004.

He returned to Libya when war broke out to become a commander of his father’s special forces but escaped before the rebels could capture him. Now he is languishing in a state guesthouse in Niamey, the capital of Niger, under house arrest and the subject of an Interpol 'red notice' warrant.

"It is very strange for me," Bothroyd said. "People will say to me, 'how can you be friends with this guy?' But you can only judge people on how you see them. He was always nice to me. I never met his brothers or his dad, they must be completely different.

"It has been weird. He paid for my honeymoon. He asked me what we were doing for it and I told him we hadn’t decided yet. So he said he’d sort something out for me. He paid for us to go to LA for a week and then on to Hawaii. All first-class travel and top hotels. It was very generous. That’s the side I see of him. I don’t see the other side. I don’t know it. There’s always corruption where there’s power, so you never know.

"His country want him back to prosecute him but they want to kill him apparently. It’s all politics and I don’t really know about it. I just know that innocent people should never get hurt."

For Gaddafi, his time in Perugia was a rich man’s indulgence; for Bothroyd it was the turning point in a career gone sour. He described himself as an "arrogant and immature" young player whose talent had carried him to the top with fairly leisurely effort. He was sold by Arsenal for throwing his shirt at the respected coach Don Howe, a petulant reaction to a substitution. Coventry spent £1 million on him before he had played a competitive game but he was a player content to let things drift.

"When I came through Arsenal’s youth team there was no pressure, it was just fun and jokes, messing around, doing tricks in training, trying to chip the keeper. In Italy everything was really serious, regimental, and it helped me.

"It was really hard at first. The first month I was there my phone bill was £5,000. I couldn’t speak the language so I was always on the phone home. I thought I’d made a massive mistake. After three or four months I met some Italians who spoke English and I started to socialise with them and I started enjoying life. I lived between Rome and Florence, both great cities. I would definitely go back."

The glamour of life off the pitch was reflected on it. Bothroyd collected shirts throughout that 2003-04 season. He didn’t do badly: Buffon, Davids, Kaka, Shevchenko and Baggio. "The best is Paolo Maldini’s shirt. He was the best player I have played against. Milan retired that shirt when he stopped playing."

He is now an evangelist for expatriation of technical English players, approving of his old friend Joe Cole's move to French football with Lille. "I spoke to him about coming here to QPR before he went to Lille. I’ve known him since I was about 12 years old. We used to play for Islington district together. He was a bit different then, all about juggling and flicking balls over people’s heads. He would run round the whole team and then square on the line for me to tap in."

While the football was carefree, his life outside the game was not.

"I went to Holloway Boys school which was a rough school. I grew up in Archway but a lot of my friends were from Tottenham. A lot of friends of mine are in prison.

"I remember my first day at school. I was there, very smart with my tie, my blazer and my new shoes and there was a fight and this kid pulled out a rounders bat and started beating this other kid round the head. From primary school to that, I was shocked. I was lucky that my friends looked after me, realised I could be a success."

That success has been deferred. It looked like being a career shaped by squandered talent. After Coventry and Perugia, Bothroyd had failed to find consistency at Blackburn, Charlton Wolves and, briefly, Stoke.

In 2008 he moved to Cardiff and things started to change. He scored 45 goals in three seasons and, last November, was called up to the England squad, coming on as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat to France.

He joined QPR in the summer on a free transfer, rejecting “five or six” other offers, including one from Spain. A big part of his motivation is to be able to spend more time with his eight-year-old son, who lives in London. Having found the adapting to his new club tricky at first, he now wants to make himself “indispensable” to QPR and try to add to that one cap.

He is getting serious off the field too. No more partying with dodgy playboy billionaires. He plans to adopt a child after he has finished playing and is investing more time in his charitable work. In Cardiff he had done fund-raising work for Ty Hafan children’s hospice and he has recently been trying to help Alice Pyne, a 15-year-old terminally ill with Cancer.

"She has given me a whole different outlook on life. She always speaks very positively. I chat to her on the phone and on twitter. I’m in the process of trying to organise for her and her family to come to the Manchester City game. She’s never been to a football match and she has a bucket list and she’s trying to do things with the time she has left. So I’m going to help in any way I can." Telegraph

Paul Warburton/Fulham Chronicle - QPR fans outraged after Spurs snub

QPR are looking to form a disabled supporters association following howls of protest over a paltry 14 tickets allocated for the Spurs derby on Sunday in a ground that holds 36,000.

The 14 disabled fans get a carer’s pass as well, but it pales by comparison with the 3,000 able-bodied Hoops filling up the away end at White Hart Lane.

Steve Lewington looks after disabled son Aaron at home games, but none of the Lewington family will be in north London after failing to get one of the precious spots.

“It’s very disappointing – and we’re not the only ones disappointed,” said Lewington senior. “But it’s almost like winning the lottery if you get one. From what I’ve been told, there are only four places available at Stoke in November for wheelchair users.”

QPR’s away allocation for the return Spurs game on April 21 is currently 13 (26 with carers) in an 18,000 ground. But even that was three more than Tottenham’s original allowance before discussions with Rs and the Premier League.

A Facebook page calling itself the QPR Disabled Fans Association is not an official body says the club, but disabled liaison Officer Jon Davies will set the wheels in motion for such a group after meeting Level Playing Field, formerly the National Association of Disabled Supporters.

A club spokesman said: “Jon will be meeting with Level Playing Field in early November to discuss ways forward with creating an official DSA, should the disabled supporters wish to form one.”

It would appear the problem of sufficient space for disabled supporters, both ambulent and wheelchair, is not Tottenham’s alone.

Chelsea and Fulham insist space for away disabled can be adjusted depending on demand, but the clubs’ given statistics allow 372 home fans at Stamford Bridge, with places for 18 away. Fulham have space for 101 home fans, and 79 away.

Even a brand new stadium like The Emirates would struggle to accommodate large numbers of disabled visitors at Arsenal games.

For a £400 million-plus stadium built just five years ago, there is an allocation of 339 for those in red – and just 44 for the away team. Fulham Chronicle

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