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ROWAN VINE...The Sun
THE ROAD to redemption has once again led to McDiarmid Park.
Bosses wrote me off...they had been told lies that I was just a bad boy
The Englishman has barely kicked a ball for the last four years due to injury — while having his character assassinated into the bargain.
First a double leg break left him on the sidelines for 16 months.
Once the physical scars had healed, an even more damaging whispering campaign threatened to kill off his career in England.
Vine, who once cost Birmingham £3million from Luton in 2007, claims a feud with QPR’s controversial foreign owners forced then boss Neil Warnock into freezing him out of the picture altogether.
Opening his heart to SunSport, Vine has revealed how he was made to train with schoolkids, was BANNED from playing in the reserves even though he was coming back from serious leg operations, and saw his reputation TRASHED the length and breadth of the country.
Vine, who signed a one-year deal after impressing Saints boss Steve Lomas during a recent trial, said: “The last few years have been really hard. In England, there have been a lot of untrue things said about me.
“People saying that I was a bad lad, I have no desire, no hunger and didn’t want to play.
“I was injured for 16 months with a broken leg but when I came back QPR didn’t help me. Things happened behind the scenes with the owners, they didn’t want me and I was alienated for no reason.
“I wasn’t allowed to train properly, I had to train with the kids at 4pm.
“I wasn’t allowed to play in the reserves. I was trying to come back from injury — and this went on for two years.
“I’m sure if you phone Neil Warnock and ask him about me he won’t have a good word to say.
“That’s his own agenda. If people ask me about him I won’t slam him, I’m not that kind of person.”
Vine desperately tried to get out of Loftus Road in a bid to save his career — even phoning managers himself to ask for an opportunity.
But the 29-year-old found that his reputation had been blackened so much that people were not willing to even listen.
His faith in football was restored by Gillingham’s Andy Hessenthaler, who took him on last season.
But even Hessenthaler admitted that he’d been warned to run a mile rather than give him a chance.
Vine added: “I have picked up the phone to managers and they’ve just said “nah, I don’t even want to look at you’.
“Andy signed me and told me straight that nobody had a good word to say about me — even people who didn’t know me. I played for them for the last six weeks of the season and at the end he told me that he couldn’t believe the things people had said because it wasn’t true.
“It was nice of him to do that and it gave me the belief that someone would give me a chance.”
That chance came last Tuesday, when Saints boss Lomas called to ask if Vine fancied a trial.
Vine jumped at the chance and after scoring both goals in a win over Bristol City he found the phone started to ring again, with several offers quickly put on the table — including one from Rangers boss Ally McCoist.
But after being treated so well by Lomas he wanted to join Saints.
Vine said: “I just wanted someone to give me an opportunity. The gaffer and all the people at St Johnstone have done that.
“After the last few years that means a lot to me. I think that even if he was in England he would have taken a chance on me.
“I played against the gaffer in England but I didn’t actually know him.He’s a young manager, desperate to bring success to the club. I liked what he had to say.”
Vine will make his debut against Hearts this afternoon and said: “I don’t know a great deal about Hearts, but I have actually been to Tynecastle before. I was up in Edinburgh last summer and went to both grounds to have a look at them.
“I’ve heard all about the atmosphere there so am really looking forward to it.”
The QPR Official Site Match Report TRABZONSPOR 1, QPR 1
Posted on: Sat 04 Aug 2012
QPR drew 1-1 with Trabzonspor this evening in a thoroughly entertaining and competitive fixture here in southern Germany.
The Turkish side took the lead on 57 minutes with a fine goal from Ondrej Celustka but the R's maintained their unbeaten pre-season record thanks to a stunning late strike from Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Mark Hughes handed Junior Hoilett his debut for QPR following his arrival from Blackburn at the end of last month while Kieron Dyer also made his first start for Rangers in almost a year.
The former England midfielder made an impressive late appearance in the R's 3-0 win at Wycombe on Tuesday evening, and Hughes was clearly keen to see more of him before the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season gets underway in two weeks' time.
Rob Green lined up in goal with Armand Traore, Anton Ferdinand, Nedum Onuoha and Fabio Da Silva making up the backline from left to right. Hoilett began on the left flank with Dyer, Shaun Derry and Ji-Sung Parl starting in the centre and Jamie Mackie on the right.
Bobby Zamora played the lone Ranger in attack.
After an initial delay while Trabzonspor fans entered the stadium, the match got underway in warm temperatures and under a clear blue sky.
Trabzonspor began the game brightly and enjoyed a spell of early possession. The R's were disciplined in their shape, however, and restricted the Turkish side to one long range effort from Olcan Adin which flew over Green's crossbar in the fifth minute.
Moments later Derry was as alert as ever to spot the run from deep of Adin, and quickly nullified what would have been a real chance for Trabzonspor.
Rangers' opponents continued to press in the early stages and on 12 minutes Ferhat Oztorun centred for Mustafa Yumlu, but he could only steer his header wide from eight yards.
QPR's first opening of the half arrived seconds later, and it was Hoilett who nearly opened the scoring. Following good link up play down the right between Fabio and Mackie, the latter pulled the ball back for the new Rangers boy, but his shot from 15 yards flew wide.
Just before the half-hour mark a late challenge by Ondrej Celustka on Hoilett left the Rangers man on the deck and the referee immediately brandished the yellow card for the Czech Republic defender. Thankfully, Hoilett was able to continue although it is fair to say the QPR bench were far from impressed with the tackle.
As the half wore on QPR took control of the match and were looking the more likely side to score, while Trabzonspor were being frustrated by an excellently organised Rangers backline.
On 35 minutes, the R's so nearly took the lead. Park played a great ball over the Trabzonspor backline to release Mackie but as the former Plymouth man looked to deftly clip the ball beyond Tolga Zengin, the Turkish keeper was equal to it and managed to smother the ball.
There seemed to be no let-up in the strong challenges which were being put in by Trabzonspor and shortly before half-time it was Fabio who was left on the turf by a heavy tackle from Ferhat Oztorun. On this occasion the referee gave a warning rather than a card as the half drew to a close.
The R's gaffer made a host of changes at the break, bringing on Max Ehmer, Clint Hill, Matt Connolly and Michael Harriman to play across the back while Mackie remained on the pitch and played on the left flank with Adel Taarabt and Hogan Ephraim joining Park in the centre of midfield.
Andy Johnson came on to play wide on the right while Djibril Cisse started the second half in attack.
Mackie wasted little time showing his determination following the re-start, with a strong challenge in the 47th minute on Yumlu landed him in the referee's notebook.
Ten minutes later the deadlock was broken, and it was Trabzonspor who took the lead. Celustka lifted a ball over the top from deep in his own half and substitute Volkan Sen managed to beat the offside trap before coolly chipping the ball beyond the out-rushing Green from 18 yards.
Rangers responded well to falling a goal behind and nearly levelled matters almost immediately but Cisse was unable to get the vital touch in a goal-mouth scramble as the ball was hacked to safety.
Mid-way through the half, Hughes made two more changes with the equally-industrious Mackie and Park replaced by Michael Doughty and Wright-Phillips respectively.
Green needed to be at his best to prevent Trabzonspor from doubling their lead on 71 minutes when Robert Vittek fired goalwards from 20 yards, but the England stopper was equal to it and managed to push the ball to safety.
At the other end, Taarabt created space in typical fashion on the edge of the Turkish outfit's penalty box but his shot was well blocked by centreback Souleyman Bamba.
With eight minutes remaining Rangers had a seemingly strong handball claim turned down when Harriman's centre from the right seemed to strike the arm of the Trabzonspor centreback but the referee waived away strong appeals from the R's players.
However, QPR didn't have to wait long to level matters. Just seconds later a sublime pass from Doughty released Wright-Phillips down the right and he slammed the ball home with a stunning strike into the bottom corner.
Wright-Phillips has grabbed three goals during the pre-season campaign now and it seems he is full of confidence with the new season just around the corner.
Incredibly, the R's nearly took the lead on 84 minutes through Cisse but his shot from a tight angle on the right came back off the upright.
It was one-way traffic in the closing stages as Rangers went in search of a winner, and it nearly came from an unlikely source when Clint Hill's goalbound effort from close range was blocked on the line before being hacked clear.
The referee blew the full-time whistle moments later to bring an entertaining and competitive first fixture here in Germany to a close.
Trabzonspor starting XI: Tolga Zengin, Mustafa Yumlu, Souleyman Bamba, Ondrej Celustka , Ferhat Oztorn, Baris Ozbek, Marek Sapara, Soner Aydogdu, Olcan Adin, Halil Altintop, Paulo Henrique.
Subs: Zeki Ayvaz, Alanzinito, Serkan Balci, Zeki Yavru, Didier Zokora, Gustavo Colman, Adrian Mierzejewski, , Emre Gural, Robert Vittek, Onur Kivrak.
Bookings: Ondrej Celustka (28)
Goals: Celustka (57)
QPR First Half: Rob Green, Fabio Da Silva, Anton Ferdinand, Nedum Onuoha, Armand Traore, Jamie Mackie, Ji-Sung Park, Shaun Derry, Kieron Dyer, Junior Hoilett, Bobby Zamora.
QPR Second Half: Rob Green, Michael Harriman, Matt Connolly, Anton Ferdinand, Max Ehmer, Jamie Mackie (Michael Doughty, 62), Ji-Sung Park (Shaun Wright-Phillips, 62), Hogan Ephraim, Adel Taarabt, Andy Johnson, Djibril Cisse.
Bookings: Mackie (47) Goals: Wright-Phillips (83) QPR
Posted on: Sun 05 Aug 2012
Mark Hughes was a satisfied man after witnessing his QPR team come from behind to draw 1-1 with Trabzonspor in southern Germany this evening.
Shaun Wright-Phillips' stunning strike late on cancelled out Ondrej Celustka's 57th-minute opener to maintain QPR's unbeaten run throughout pre-season, and Hughes toldwww.qpr.co.uk: "I was pleased with how we approached the game.
"After the initial period where we had to come to terms with how they played, I thought we totally dominated the first half.
"It was a similar story in the second half. I obviously made a lot of changes to keep everybody up-to-speed in terms of fitness and game-time.
"We made a couple of mistakes which led to us conceding a sloppy goal from our point-of-view but once again towards the end of the half we came back strong, scored a good goal and we could have nicked it.
"Overall we are pleased and we would have been disappointed to lose this game because I thought we were in charge for long periods."
Following games in Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as Tuesday evening's match at Wycombe, there was an evident step-up in the quality of the opposition tonight, and Hughes explained: "That's intentional.
"Every game we play in pre-season we look for an improvement in terms of the quality of the opposition and the questions that will be asked of us.
"We have built up steadily and it was a step up again tonight."
Wright-Phillips netted his third goal of the pre-season campaign, and Hughes has been delighted with the manner of the midfielder's performances.
"Shaun is playing really well and we are all pleased for him.
"Last year he was lacking a bit of confidence and in the end he was perhaps trying too hard, which compromised him. Now he looks very much the player everyone knows he can be."
And with the new campaign just a fortnight away, Hughes admitted: "The team is starting to take shape in my own mind.
"I am pleased with how pre-season has gone up to this point. In fairness, it couldn't have gone any better. But we are still building and still looking at options."