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Monday, September 17, 2012

QPR Report Monday: QPR-Chelsea Reports...Four Year Plan Director Praises Paladini...Mark Lazarus: 52 Years Since (First) QPR Debut....4 QPR Birthdays...John Terry: One More Week...40 Years of Stan Bowles...Bhatia?

Fifty-Two Years Ago Today, Future 1967 League Cup Final Hero, Mark Lazarus Made the First of His QPR Debuts!


The above, as so much else: From the 1880s to the 21st Century: Bushman QPR Photo Archives 


Birmingham Mail - By Matt Lloyd Sep 17 2012

QPR insider backs Paladini for success if Birmingham City takeover goes through

A FILM director who charted Gianni Paladini’s roller-coaster reign at Queens Park Rangers has backed him to succeed if he buys Birmingham City.

Mat Hodgson was behind the camera to cover the highs and lows of the Italian’s spell at QPR in his documentary The Four Year Plan.

The colourful film charted the hiring and firing of a string of managers as the London club tried to make it into the Premier League.

Hodgson, of Ad Hoc Films, said Paladini, who lives in Solihull, would be a “perfect” fit for Blues. “Gianni lives in the Midlands and I think he could bring a fresh energy and impetus to the club.

“He is excellent at rousing investment and support. In particular he has a huge book of contacts from his time in the game both domestically and internationally.

“Despite the rocky road, QPR ended up getting promoted during his time at the club.

“Birmingham are a huge club with big gates and sponsorship opportunities to draw upon which would certainly help.

“And things can turn around extremely quickly in football.”

Hodgson’s documentary laid bare the sometimes chaotic scenes in the QPR boardroom as managers came and went.

But he said, for all the tumult, Paladini worked hard behind the scenes to bring success.

“He has a good nature, very friendly, illuminating and great company,” Hodgson said.

“He does all he can to keep everyone happy, sometimes to his own detriment.

“Gianni is definitely a football fan. This is probably best illustrated by his quest to get back into it following his departure from QPR.

“You would struggle to find a more passionate man.

“He did a lot for QPR and QPR did a lot for him, but I saw how he cared.

“I saw how he jeopardised his health during difficult periods, so I don’t think his love for football or the club he is with could be questioned. Birmingham Mail


Mel Eves Column/Sunday Mercury: Gianna Paladini would be excellent for Birmingham City

I’LL make no bones about it – Gianni Paladini and his consortium would be great owners of Birmingham City.

I’ve known Gianni for nearly 30 years and although his time in charge at Queens Park Rangers seems to have given some Blues fans a jaundiced view of him, I think they’re wrong.

The television documentary about QPR, ‘The Four-Year Plan’, appears to have coloured plenty of opinions since news broke this week that Gianni and a consortium of Italian backers were bidding to buy Blues from Carson Yeung and Co.

Yet some of the more ridiculous stuff that came out in that documentary was really down to flamboyant billionaire Flavio Briatore, who was part of the ownership group at Loftus Road but isn’t involved in this bid.

And, anyway, this is different. Gianni isn’t someone who’s come out of nowhere and thinks that Birmingham’s just north of London.
He’s lived here for 40 years and his kids were born in the city; he understands the mentality of Blues and their supporters very well and, frankly, if he does end up buying them, his credibility would be on the line far more than it would be at any other club.

I think that means he’d put that extra little bit in – and I don’t mean just in terms of cash. He’ll see it as somewhere he can get his feet under the table and really make a difference to the club and their fans.
He has a good track record in the past as an agent, bringing to England some of the first Italian players to appear here – names like Fabrizio Ravanellii and former Baggies favourite Enzo Maresca (pictured) – as well as the top-class Brazilian Juninho.

That shows he has a real handle on the value of good players.
He knows what it will take to get Blues promoted and if he’s got to spend a few million more, then he will, but he’ll want value for money. I think he’d be prudent, but he wouldn’t try to do things on the cheap.

And I certainly don’t see him as the kind of owner who would come in and impose players on Lee Clark and his management team – Gianni’s a real football man and I think he’d let the boss get on with it.
Most importantly, I think he would engender a sense of goodwill between the club and the fans, which Blues desperately need to rediscover.

He would be far more approachable than the current regime have been – he’d be in this city, not on the other side of the world, for a start! – and I think the club needs that kind of emotional lift.
There’s been a lot of cynicism around all the off-the-field money troubles and Blues need to get rid of that quickly, so that everyone can concentrate on getting the club back in the Premier League.
Carson Yeung agreeing to this bid and accepting that his time is up would be a good start. Sunday Mail


Birmingham Mail/by Colin Tattum Sep 15 2012 - Birmingham City: It looks like we have no deal - Gianni Paladini

Prospective Birmingham City owner Gianni Paladini has revealed his surprise at the club's statement pouring cold water on his interest.

Paladini insisted that his group's bid, worth a potential �25 million, had been lodged.

And he even claimed he felt a deal to take the club out of Carson Yeung's hands was close.

Blues statement read:

"The Board of Birmingham City FC can clarify its position following recent media speculation regarding the ownership of the club.

"After comments made to the media, the club would like to place on record that there are no discussions taking place with any group associated with Gianni Paladini.

"A takeover bid was made to the Board�s lawyers by representatives of an undisclosed party but this was summarily rejected."

Paladini reacted: "A bid has gone in, 100 per cent.

"This statement is a shock to me because a lot of these negotiations have been going on for over a month.

"My lawyer will tell you there has been a lot of discussion, we have talked about price.

"They have discussed a price. We offered one price, they wanted another price. Mr Peter Pannu - who I have never met before - he has had a lot of conversations with my lawyer.

"It is quite clear we have made a bid, but I don't want to get into a confrontation with Mr Pannu. That's not the way I want to do it."

The wording of Blues statement is interesting in that it says no discussions are taking place - present tense - not that they haven't at all.

And the 'undisclosed party' could be Paladini's consortium.

"The deal is there, it can be done in 48 hours," added Paladini, who admitted he didn't know where he now stood.

"But it looks like we have got no deal.

"So all the work we have done, to get this group together, to convince them that Birmingham is the right place, and the right club, has been completely wasted."

A clutch of Italian businessmen are providing the backing for Paladini's takeover attempt.

"Fortunately I am in a position where I mix with very wealthy people, and they trust my judgement.

"I can only convince my people to invest money in Birmingham, which they have done, but I am not going to fight for six, seven months to get the club.

"The club is in the hands of this Mr Pannu and Mr Carson [Yeung].

"If they don't want to sell, or somebody else wants to pay more money, then good luck."

"I convinced my people to do the deal, I put the bid in, the bid was more or less accepted and now all of a sudden somebody calls me [about the statement] saying that Birmingham have never had an approach, I am very offended about that."  Birmingham Mail


(Courtesy of Haqpr1963!)

MIRROR /Martin Lipton

Fallen star: Terry branded 'embarrassing' after diving antics against QPR

Never mind the handshakes - it was the underhand business of diving that made Rangers star Ryan Nelsen look on Chelsea's JT with scorn

John Terry was branded “embarrassing” at Loftus Road – and for once it had nothing to do with Anton Ferdinand.

Ferdinand snubbed Terry and Ashley Cole during the pre-match handshake, as did QPR skipper Ji-Sung Park, with the Chelsea duo baited by home fans throughout.

But it was Terry’s first-half penalty claims in the goalless draw that brought snorts of derision for the Chelsea captain from Rangers centre-half Ryan Nelsen.

The Kiwi enforcer said: “If you ask John, he just fell down. He fell. I was holding him, of course, but he just fell down.

Upright citizen: Chelsea's John Terry on his feet with QPR's Anton Ferdinand Upright citizen: Chelsea's John Terry on his feet with QPR's Anton Ferdinand

“He does it to everybody in their box. I said to him, ‘That was a bit embarrassing, John’, and he laughed when he ran off. He didn’t say anything – he was too embarrassed, I think!”

Nelsen added: “He’s bigger than me – but he made me look really strong, actually.

“If the referee gives that, it’s ridiculous. If you really know the game, that’s never a penalty.

“It happens all the time. You watch him fall – that’s life. Fortunately it didn’t work. The ref was smart enough to see it.

“He was nowhere near the ball, was never going to win it, so he just fell down.

“He was just trying to get a penalty and trying to get something for his team to win. I wouldn’t make anything out of it.”

While Nelsen took a pot-shot at Terry, he had nothing but praise for his defensive partner Ferdinand.

“I thought he was fantastic,” said the New Zealander. “With all the pressure, unnecessary pressure, that was put on him, because Anton didn’t deserve this, with all the stuff that’s gone on, he was great.”

GUARDIAN/DOminic Fifield

No handshake for John Terry and Anton Ferdinand but both excel

• Centre-halves shine in full-blooded QPR v Chelsea derby
• Both finish scrappy encounter with injury worries

The accusation, when it came, was delivered through a half-smile and greeted with relief all round that the grievance centred upon a footballing flashpoint rather than anything more sinister. Ryan Nelsen fairly bristled at the suggestion he was fortunate not to concede a first-half penalty for a foul on John Terry, his own version of events pointing towards an over-eagerness from the Chelsea captain to tumble to the turf.

"I was holding him, of course, but he just fell down," said Nelsen. "He does it to everybody in their box. He was nowhere near the ball, was never going to win it, so he just fell down. He was just trying to get a penalty, so I wouldn't make anything out of it. He's bigger than me so he actually made me look really strong, but if the referee had given anything it would have been ridiculous. That's never a penalty. I actually said to him: 'That was a bit embarrassing, John' and he laughed as he ran off."

After talk of the handshakes had dominated the build-up, perhaps it was inevitable that such a tense occasion would end with scrutiny of tangles of arms and legs in the penalty area. Chelsea and Terry would dispute the Kiwi's assessment of the clumsy first-half coming together as the centre-halves heaved to connect with a flighted free-kick, and the visitors could point with some justification to Shaun Wright-Phillips's illegal touch on a galloping Eden Hazard which was also ignored by Andre Marriner. Yet, as west London digested this stalemate, the overriding emotion was one of relief that a potentially fractious occasion had passed. The forthcoming Football Association hearing, almost a year in coming, may provide a more far-reaching level of closure.

There were no real surprises, with much going with the prescribed script. Anton Ferdinand had opted against shaking Terry's hand and spurned that of Ashley Cole, too. The full-back, who had offered court evidence in defence of his captain before Terry was acquitted of a racially aggravated public-order offence back in July, saw the snub coming and chose to spit matter-of-factly over his right shoulder before shaking hands with the next Queens Park Rangers player in the lineup. The home captain, Park Ji-sung, twice failed to acknowledge Terry, perhaps a legacy of playing alongside Rio Ferdinand at Manchester United, but none of it really constituted a surprise, with the football that followed predictably as scrappy as it was ferocious.

That would have suited both the centre-halves in focus, a full-blooded occasion into which they could fling themselves and forget their distractions. Both were excellent, even if each departed limping. Chelsea will continue to assess Terry's right knee ahead of Wednesday's intriguing visit of Juventus. Ferdinand ended marooned upfield as a static right winger with heavy strapping on his right hamstring. "He was fantastic given all the unnecessary pressure that had been put on him," said Nelsen. "He didn't deserve this. He and his family have been through so much, so to put in a performance like he did today showed the character of the man." The same could be said of his opposite number.

The personal tête-à-tête aside, this was a collision of two teams still seeking to gel. QPR's progress has been steady since their opening-day mauling by Swansea, even if they must have been dismayed to lose Andrew Johnson and Fabio Da Silva to what scans may reveal to be long-term knee and hamstring injuries respectively.

Júlio César excelled on debut, while Nelsen, at almost 35, looked anything but a player who had only arrived back from Auckland on Thursday afternoon. A confrontation with Fernando Torres was more daunting than that with the Solomon Islands in World Cup qualification. "But he's gone up against a striker of world renown and really dominated him," said Mark Hughes. "Given the week he's had, credit to him."

Torres has scorched Nelsen before – two goals against Blackburn in April 2009 are still seared on the Kiwi's psyche – but, one first-half effort aside, he was ineffective on Saturday and grew frustrated until hauled from the fray. Chelsea have staked plenty on the 28-year-old flourishing alone this term, their transfer policy geared towards supplying him with chances rather than strike partners. Juve will have been encouraged to see the Spaniard isolated and increasingly frazzled.

Yet the resumption of European competition may coax something other than mere defiance from Torres and the reigning champions. Chelsea know they will be marked men this time around, their reputations established by events in Munich back in May, but there is an eagerness to defend that title against fierce competition.

"This year you'll see Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, all teams who were not in the first pot of seeds [in the draw]," said Roberto Di Matteo. "Then there's Zenit St Petersburg, who have just signed Hulk and Axel Witsel, and Shakhtar in our group. They're all very strong. Winning this trophy twice in a row has proved impossible, and every opposition will play with more motivation against the holders."

The Italian has not watched a re-run of the final against Bayern, preferring to stick with his memories. Di Matteo tends to look forward, but privately, at least, will be relieved these two London rivals should now be kept apart until New Year's Day.

Man of the match Esteban Granero (Queens Park Rangers) Guardian

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