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Monday, August 13, 2012

QPR Report Monday: Mackie Exits Scotland...Premiership Previews and Predictions...Seven Year Flashback "Gun in the Boardroom...Police and Arrests"...Year Ago Bolton Opener



- Commiserations to Chelsea and John Terry after yesterday's loss in the Community Shield!

 - Seven Years Ago Today: QPR Beat Sheffield United at Loftus Road. But OFF The Field, there was the Alleged (Found "Not Guilty") Gun in the Boardroom...Police Called...Arrests

- One Year Ago Today: QPR Marked their Return to the Premiership by Playing Bolton: Match Reports!

   Jamie Mackie Withdraws from Scotland Party
   QPR's Jamie Mackie is one of three players who has withdrawn from Scotland's Wednesday match against Australia. Mackie reportedly has a calf injury.  Updated Scotland Squad


  Meanwhile QPR's Joey Barton has returned from Fleetwood FC and tweeted denying that he's headed to Blackpool but that "Hopefully, my future will be sorted this week. Still unsure myself right now."  Joey Barton

- QPR Youth will be playing in Under 21: Category 2 South Division (along with likes of Swansea, Cardiff and Bristol City)

- Two Year Flashback: Mo Sharif Joins QPR

- Incoming Player Gossip Continues

GUARDIAN/Kevin McCarra

Premier League preview No11: Queens Park Rangers
Mark Hughes seeks to add vivacity to virtue on the field as owners look to grow the west London club's brand off it

Guardian writers' predicted position: 11th (NB: this is not necessarily Kevin McCarra's prediction, but the average of our writers' tips)

Last season's position: 17th

Odds to win the league: 2000-1

Loftus Road is the smallest stadium in the Premier League, with a capacity of just 18,500. The prospects of building a far larger ground in London are always disheartening. Queens Park Rangers, however, are at least undaunted.

Philip Beard, the chief executive, contrived to be chirpy when reflecting on the fact that it would take five years at the very least to bring into being a new home with 45,000 seats. "That gives us the time to cultivate the brand and the support of QPR," he declared.

In practice, an impressive ground might be the quickest way of all to increase attendances substantially. As Beard appreciates, though, there are no swift or easy means to create large football facilities in London. QPR should at least be encouraged that they are likely to have a modern training centre at Warren Farm next season.

A stadium is a much more troubling topic. Even Roman Abramovich must be getting downcast as he ponders the challenge of giving Chelsea a ground with a greater capacity than the current 42,000 at Stamford Bridge.

Realism is unavoidable at QPR. Tony Fernandes, the majority shareholder in the club since last year, has business acumen and a sense of caution. "I think it's important not just to throw money at the game," he said. That calmness, all the same, does not mean that he is passive.

Neil Warnock took QPR into the Premier League last year. "He's a special guy, we're very happy with him," Fernandes said at the time.

The contentment did not last when Warnock went eight games without a win in the league. He was sacked in January. His replacement Mark Hughes did enough to keep QPR in the top flight.

There has been a sensible craving for security after the team conceded 66 goals in the Premier League season, with only the relegated clubs doing worse. The goalkeeper Rob Green has joined after leaving West Ham. Ryan Nelsen saw little action after a move from Blackburn Rovers to Tottenham Hotspur in January, but Hughes may feel that the know-how of a 34-year-old has a higher value for QPR.

No one at least can accuse the club of delusions. Little cash, for instance, has changed hands so far in the close season. Park Ji-sung has joined from Manchester United with the initial fee reported to be £2m. It is scarcely an eye-catching sum and the midfielder is 31, but his consistency and general ability were appreciated at Old Trafford. Another United player, the full-back Fábio da Silva, has arrived on loan.

Although it makes sense to deal in well-known quantities, there is also a need to bring some vivacity to the team and there has been a breadth to Hughes's acquisitions. Junior Hoilett, who left Blackburn Rovers at the end of his contract, has it in him to beat opponents and bring some extra liveliness to QPR's approach. The Canadian was in the Ewood Park youth programme from the age of 13.

Hughes, as Blackburn manager, overlapped with Hoilett for a year and would had a sense of the player's potential even if the youngster was out on loan to the German club Paderborn. That sort of familiarity is even more marked in the case of Nelsen, whose long stay at Blackburn included three full seasons under the management of Hughes.

There are assets at Loftus Road and Joey Barton could be numbered among them were it not for the fact that his career is being swamped by controversies. The midfielder was sent off at Manchester City at the close of last season with mayhem breaking out once he had been shown the red card. That did not merely help the hosts take the title.

His misconduct led to a 12-match ban and, of late, he has made pre-season appearances for Fleetwood Town to recover match fitness.

His omission from QPR's's pre-season tour to Malaysia could well be interpreted as a form of exclusion, but it would hardly have made practical sense for the club to involve a player who could not be considered for selection once the real season is in progress. There had been briefly been talk of the club cancelling his contract although that did not appear feasible in reality.

The club, after all, did value a footballer who had come to them after four years with Newcastle United. Barton started 31 of QPR's league matches last season. It is obvious that there will be a reluctance even to try and rehabilitate him but professional sport normally deals in practicalities. The 29-year-old may yet re-emerge. Guardian

OBSERVER -  Premier League 2012-13: club-by-club guide to how the summer has gone
Manchester United still hope to make a big signing as statement of intent to neighbours who pipped them for the title last season....


Last season: 17th Title odds: 3,000-1 Going down: 11-2

Summer update Rangers might have stopped playing before the final whistle blew on last season but they cannot wait for the first one this time out. In Park Ji-sung, who was unveiled at a glamour press conference on the 29th floor of London's Millbank Tower, they feel they have signed a "global superstar". Mark Hughes completed a lot of encouraging business early on and his ambitions are high. After promotion in May last year under Neil Warnock, a 17th-placed finish was the target and was achieved, just. Hughes has said that Rangers will no longer be involved in relegation scraps on his watch.

Key player Park will be pivotal.

Achilles heel Rangers had the worst away record in the division last season.

Headline generator Joey Barton's debut after his 12 game ban. What odds on a straight red?

Ins Park Ji-sung (Man United, �2m); Ryan Nelsen (Spurs, free); F�bio da Silva (Man United, loan); Samba Diakit� (Nancy, �3.5m); Junior Hoilett (Blackburn, tribunal); Andrew Johnson (Fulham, free); Robert Green (W Ham, free).

Outs Ten players released.

Prediction 9th   Observer

- An Appeal for Football Ref Reviews

Football League Clubs Spending on Football Agents in 2011-12

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