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Saturday, December 31, 2011

QPR Report Saturday Update: QPR-India Football Connection Continues...Arsenal...Warnock's Views


- (Photos from Bushman archives)
- 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

- Happy Sixty-Sixth Birthday for Former QPR Chairman, Gianni Paladini

- QPR-Indian Connection Continues

- NEXT: Arsenal-QPR: Past Games/Reports/Photos..."Played for Both Clubs"

- Year Ago, announced, Petter Vaagan Moen joining QPR

- UPDATE: Alessandro Pellicori Mentioned re Italian Football Scandal

- REMINDER: QPR Official Supporters Club (OSC) AGM & EGM Scheduled - Today, Saturday December 31st Deadline to Attend or Apply


Jacob Murtagh/Fulham Chronicle - Blackpool set to miss out on QPR striker

QPR are ready to snub Blackpool's bid to bring DJ Campbell back to Bloomfield Road.

The striker quit the Seasiders for Loftus Road in the summer, but has endured a frustrating start to life in W12.

Campbell has made just one start since his switch back to the capital, having spent more than two months on the sidelines with a foot injury.

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway has been linked with a loan move for the Hammersmith-born hitman when the transfer window reopens, but Neil Warnock insists Campbell won't be returning to the Championship club.

He said: DJ hasn't been available for selection so he's got to get fit first.

I would've used him last week but he had stitches in his ankle and he didn't feel right. He's got to get on the pitch.[/b]

DJ is frustrated that he's not playing but he's been out nine weeks nearly. I put him on the bench at Liverpool after he only had two sessions, so I can't bring him back much quicker than that.[/b]

No disrespect to Blackpool, but I think there will be better clubs than that looking at DJ if he became available, but for the minute he's with us. Fulham Chronicle

India needs good football pitches: British expert
By Santosh Rao , New Delhi, Dec 31 :

Every overseas visiting football expert has a tip or two for the development of the game at the grassroots level in India. Now a technical official of an English Premier League (EPL) side Queens Park Rangers (QPR) has come up with one - that skills can only be honed on well-tended turfs and there was a "crying need for good pitches" in India.

QPR Youth Development Manager Steve Gallen believes if India has to become a football powerhouse in the region, to start with the grounds need to be evenly grassed. He however sees improvement in Indian football with better and more technically competent players.

Gallen, who is in Mumbai for the third edition of the five-a-side South Mumbai Soccer Challenge -- a talent hunt programme for South Mumbai schoolboys and girls in the 8-10, 10-12 and 12-14 age groups, initiated by QPR in collaboration with Congress MP Milind Deora and Saran Sports -- feels turfs in India were not conducive for football.

"India needs radical changes, besides infrastructure, there is a crying need for good pitches. If the turfs are of standard then the pool of talent will automatically swell and with it the quality of football," Gallen told IANS in a telephone interview.

The man who spent 15 years with the West London club though is happy to see the fast-changing football scene in India over the last three years. He says the players he has seen this time around are better than the crop in the two previous stints of his.

"Players are better, technically they possess good ball control and passing skills. Youngsters are more energetic and have better understanding of the game."

The face of football is changing in India, a cricket-crazy country is finally opening up to the beautiful game. Many European giants are keenly watching the football boom in India and exploring the possibility of associating with its promotion. However, the standard of football itself has not improved much.

India is steadily sliding in the FIFA pecking order. The downfall of the two-time Asian Games Champions is largely due to a lack of planning and investment. From a high of 95th position in 1995, the Indians are currently ranked 162nd.

The slump, he says, is not due to any alarming falling standards here, but because the other countries have grown phenomenally whereas India has stagnated.

"India has remained where they were 10 years back, while other countries have improved tremendously."

"There is no reason why Indians cannot compete at the highest level, it will take time. Football players do not have to be 6 ft 5 inches anymore, look at Messi, the world's greatest player is 5 ft7 inches. The only thing holding the Indian players back is the lack of proper facilities."

Talking of QPR's return to the Premier League this season after 15 years, Gallen said: "Last year was fantastic, we deserved to be promoted, but our players still lack experience to play at the top level. They will change soon, right now our focus is on staying in the Premier League."

Gallen has an ambition, setting up a football academy here.

"Personally, I will do anything to help, I love India. Eventually, I would like to have an academy here."

(Santosh Rao can be contacted at santosh.r@ians.in) (IANS)

Neil Warnock/Independent Column

Neil Warnock: How Arsne lent Joey wings for the birth of baby Cassius

Football management is full of surprises and I got one on Boxing Day.

We were in Wales preparing for Tuesday's game against Swansea when Joey Barton informed me his partner had started having contractions. I said to him: "Family comes first, you can go back to London whenever you want, just keep us informed."

He said the contractions were still a long way apart and he'd see how it went. In the morning they had slowed down, so he said he would be OK to play. Kick-off was 5.30 for TV, Joey played, and did well as we got a hard-earned point. By the time the match finished things had speeded up and he needed to get back to London fast.

This is where we owe a big thank you to Arsène Wenger, whose Arsenal team we play this afternoon at the Emirates. To go to Swansea we borrowed Arsenal's plane and flew to Cardiff. What a difference that made. It is amazing how relaxing a 35-minute flight is compared to hours on the motorway. It also meant Joey got back and to the hospital well in time to help his partner, Georgia, who had held on so considerately, through the birth of baby Cassius.

So when we see Arsène today we'll have to say "thanks very much". I even sat in his seat. I made sure I took all my rubbish out of the seat-back pocket too. I didn't want to leave it all mucky for him.

2. I set a record by not substituting anyone

I don't expect Arsène will do us any more favours today, but it is great just to be playing at places like Arsenal and we go there in good heart after coming back from Swansea with a well-earned point. You don't realise how difficult a place the Liberty Stadium is to go. Jamie Mackie's goal was only the third they've conceded at home all season. They've had huge amounts of possession even against big clubs, so we did really well to match them. We played so well in the second half I didn't make any changes which, I was amazed to discover, meant we were the first Premier League team this season to go through a match without making a substitution.

Adel Taarabt must have been absolutely flabbergasted at not being taken off but he was doing well. Maybe he was on a high after being called up for the Cup of African Nations by Morocco.

We'll also lose Armand Traoré to Senegal. It does make it difficult for us, but in a way it is a nice problem to have. I didn't think I'd be worrying about international call-ups when I arrived at Loftus Road to find a club fighting against relegation to League One.

3. Games galore and the window – it's chaos

I'd like to wish everybody a Happy New Year, but I have to admit it is not a great time of year for football managers. There are so many games and then the transfer window opens in the middle of them. It is absolute chaos.

On the one hand I'm trying to juggle my squad to make sure players get rest when they need it, while trying to combat different opponents, on the other I'm trying to get players in and these days that's a long process.

For example, last summer I spent six weeks talking to Watford and Danny Graham, only to miss out at the end because we couldn't agree with the club or player at the time. He signed for Swansea and I couldn't blame him, though inevitably he scored against us on Tuesday. I even brought him to the house to meet Sharon. When I mentioned that this week some papers got carried away, as usual, but I do think women are good judges of people. I'm always interested to see what her first impressions are.

This is an important window for us, having had to rush things in August, and we have been lining up targets for ages. I'd love to get someone in for Monday's match against Norwich but that will be very difficult. Fortunately, we then have 16 days before our next league match, so hopefully I'll get some business done then.

At least the window did not open last night. Then we might have been facing Thierry Henry as well as Robin van Persie today....

Interesting article re New London Stadia, including for QPR: "Finance and fans prove obstacles to new Stadia"

- Three Year Flashback: Briatore on Running QPR....Sixteen Year Flashback: Nigel Quashie Made his QPR Debut.

- What the Premiership Table Looked like a Year Ago: Blackpool 8th with 25 points


Absolute Radio - QPR are in trouble - Wright

By Julian Shea.

Robin van Persie will find himself the centre of attention on Saturday, as he has for most of the year, when Arsenal take on QPR - but enjoy the spotlight while you have it, because after that, it's all about Thierry Henry.

The Gunners' game with QPR is the final Absolute Radio Rock 'n Roll Football commentary match of the year, with van Persie needing three more goals to break Alan Shearer's Premier League record of 36 goals for a calendar year.

The Dutchman has kept Arsenal afloat single handed sometimes in what has been a stormy season, hence the shock return of Arsenal's 34-year-old record goalscorer Henry on a two-month loan - but one man more than happy to see Henry back at the club is Absolute's Ian Wright.

"Around the team there's not a lot of help for Robin in terms of goals and if anybody else could have got Thierry Henry, of course they'd have taken him," said Wright.

"Of course he's not one for the future, but if he can come in and relieve a bit of the pressure it'll help give the other guys time to get themselves going - we can't expect too much but he's got enough to make a difference."

Manager Arsene Wenger is unashamed in his adoration for Henry, but Wright says he is unlikely to have let sentiment cloud his judgement before signing him.

"He wouldn't have signed him if he hadn't seen enough in training and didn't think it would help the team."

The scarcity of goals from elsewhere in the team has heaped pressure on van Persie, which is another reason Henry has been recalled by Wenger.

"In the last few games he hasn't nicked too many, and when he doesn't score, it doesn't seem like it's coming from the other areas, so there's a lot of pressure on him - you do worry if not van Persie, then who else?

"Wenger's hand has been forced but he's very fortunate to be able to sign someone like Henry."

Henry will be watching from the stands on Saturday, and will have a chance to assess the service he might get from Theo Walcott after the winger recovered from illness, but Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Andre Santos and Jack Wilshere are all still absent.

QPR will also be adding to their squad in the January transfer window, but they are unlikely to be bringing in the likes of Henry - and for Wright, that is a cause for concern.

"They definitely need new blood because the squad they've got at the moment isn't good enough, and they could be in for a very hard end to the season," he said.

"I think there are things happening in the backroom that need to be resolved - I'm not sure there's a lot of harmony there.

"Teams down the bottom like Wigan know what it takes to stay in this league, and I think Blackburn have had a lot of bad luck, but the way QPR have played, they look weak throughout the team so they really need to strengthen. I really do worry for them."

Given Arsenal's need to share the goalscoring load around, this could be the ideal game for them to get started.

"I'm going for three, maybe 4-0 to Arsenal. I've not seen enough of QPR at the back to think Arsenal won't get a lot of goals. This could be a good game for Arsenal." Absolute Radio

- Interesting article re New London Stadia, including for QPR: "Finance and fans prove obstacles to new Stadia"

- Three Year Flashback: Briatore on Running QPR....Sixteen Year Flashback: Nigel Quashie Made his QPR Debut.

- What the Premiership Table Looked like a Year Ago: Blackpool 8th with 25 points


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