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There isn’t any way to sugarcoat it: QPR have endured a miserable start to the campaign. With no wins to celebrate and just two points on the board, along with fractures reportedly developing within the squad, the pressure is mounting on boss Mark Hughes, despite owner Tony Fernandes’ promise that he won’t be changing anything. What’s gone wrong? The Life’s a Pitch team investigate…
While accepting it’s premature for Fernandes to press the panic button, footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke feels the QPR manager has to take some responsibility for his side’s disappointing start to the season. “Mark Hughes has got himself into a bit of a pickle,” says Adrian. “There are too many players and he doesn’t know his best side. He’s chopping and changing the starting line-up and back four every single game. If it’s not the personnel, it’s the system that’s being tweaked. At the moment they’re playing like strangers, and they have no way of getting used to one another if he keeps changing the team.”
Dominic Fifield of the Guardian points out that it’s not the most youthful of first-team squads. “The squad is huge and old. It’s an experienced group that, presumably, is fragile when it comes to injuries.” But when asked whether QPR would be better off with Harry Redknapp in charge, Dominic opines that such a move might cause more problems than it solves. “I’d imagine that if Harry Redknapp took over the first thing he’d do in January would be to buy 10 new players – and that might not help.”
The Mail on Sunday’s Ian Ridley has been impressed by new midfielder Esteban Granero, but questions the desire of some of the other recent arrivals. “Granero is a good player but he has got Stephane M’Bia alongside him and it doesn’t seem as if he wants to be there. In France they have actually come out and said that M’Bia was almost forced by Marseille to go to QPR, and that he’d barely heard of them.”
West London Sport 11/10/2012 by James Doe re Non League Day
When I set up Non-League Day in 2010 I had no idea it would grow to what it has become today.
Set up as a social media experiment among friends after being inspired by a pre-season trip to watch QPR play Devon club Tavistock, it is now an event backed by Premier League and Football League clubs, MPs, celebrities, media organisations, charities and, most importantly, non-League clubs themselves and the fans that decide to turn up on the day.
Always scheduled to coincide with an international break, Non-League Daygives fans of Premier League and Championship sides the chance to experience football at a level they may be unfamiliar with.
It gives them the chance to go along and see what’s going on at a club that might be on their doorstep, which they’ve never shown any interest in before or even knew existed.
Many non-League clubs field more than just a first team, with the money taken at the turnstiles often part-funding thriving youth set-ups and facilities which can be used by the whole community for other purposes.
The level of skill on offer at non-League grounds will never compare to that at Stamford Bridge for example, but there are other sides to the experience where the smaller club will always win hands-down.
For many supporters of non-League football it’s the sense of belonging and preservation of traditional values that remains so appealing.
The vast majority of games still kick off at 3pm, ticket prices are realistic, you can stand anywhere in the ground (often with a pint!) and will always be guaranteed a warm welcome by people who run their clubs for the love of the game.
There is also a better chance of winning the half-time raffle!
If you like the sound of that then there are plenty of clubs in west London that are taking part and offering some great deals to get new spectators to come along.
Season-ticket holders at Chelsea, Fulham, QPR and any Brentford fans not travelling to Scunthorpe can all get in for free at Ashford Town (Middlesex), Northwood and Uxbridge.
Those clubs’ fans will also get in for half-price (£5) at Hampton & Richmond Borough and Wealdstone.
For the really energetic, Hendon are also holding a five-a-side tournament and will let all competitors in to their match against Leiston for free.
Failing that, you can just show your season-ticket and get in for £5 as at Hampton and Wealdstone.