Saturday, 1 December 2012

Feeling the love

Manchester Utd 3 Queens Park Rangers 1

Sunderland 0 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 1 Aston Villa 1

After the Southampton game two weeks ago, I had made up my mind that we were going to be relegated. My hope was that we would at least be going down with a fight. But with a manager at that point who had the personality of a plastic bag, and a bunch of players who looked as if they didn't want to get out of bed that morning I suppose I was being rather overly optimistic. I even suggested that it wasn't yet time to fire Hughes. I was worried about the potential effect of another 'new era' at Loftus Road.

But as has been the case with QPR in more recent times, we faced yet another tumultuous change at the club. We witnessed a turn of events that saw Harry Redknapp cleverly play the Ukraine's interest in him to his advantage. It eventually meant that QPR did change from the 'long term plan' to the 'short term plan' (one of my tips for Fernandes). The situation appeared to have forced the hand of the board of QPR within a matter of 2-3 days. Before we knew it, we had a new manager. And not just any manager, but the manager that was meant to be the England manager earlier this year, a manager whose speciality is saving clubs like us from the drop. And a manager with a bit more personality than a plastic bag.

Three matches later, and two matches in to Harry's official reign the club is still without that elusive win. But while I may be frustrated and pretty sick of writing either D or L on my QPR Season Planner I'm heartened by the more passionate performances we are seeing from the team. Judging by the tweets this afternoon, there are many people who believe there are still a number of players that are grossly under-performing. My view is that there is a vast improvement in performance. I will even say that Bosingwa (the player I have a 'healthy contempt' for) was rather useful today against Villa. However, we still have some very worrying problems. And if we can't solve them quickly, I fear that by the end of December we will know for sure that we will be relegated. They are as follows:

1. We do not have a prolific enough striker.

I love Jamie Mackie. He plays with heart, he plays with passion. But he isn't an out and out striker. And nor are any of the other players that we had out there 'up front' today: Hoilett, SWP...Plus we have two 'strikers' in Zamora and Johnson who are both injured. And an inconsistent Cisse.

2. We are having problems in the final third

We're starting to see some creativity in the midfield. Moving Mbia in to more of an attacking position has been an absolute revelation (and I really hope that he was not injured seriously today). But anywhere near the box or in it and we're either lacking ideas, or smashing the ball (yes Taarabt, you) against random legs as opposed to the goal itself.

3. Our defence is still shaky

It's looking better I must say. Bringing Clint Hill back means we've got at least another player other than Nelsen who's willing to put his body on the line. But we don't have a huge amount of options. And with Cesar out (for I am not sure how long) we have a rather 'nervous' looking Green in goal. Did anyone else think that perhaps Cesar might have saved that Villa goal today? Perhaps I'm being harsh but tonight's replay will help me decide.
My very sad QPR Season Planner

Having said all of the above, I'm much happier than I was two weeks ago. Win, lose or draw, relegation or not, I truly believe that with Harry on board our journey will be one with some fight and some pride. It feels good to actually cheer and sing Harry's name. There's another dimension to being at a QPR match now which hasn't been there since Neil Warnock left. In all honesty, I am not sure we ever really felt like Mark was really on our side. I don't think we as fans, ever felt the love. And if we don't feel that from our manager, then how do we suppose the players might have felt about him? Or more importantly, how do we suppose the players might have been lead to believe it was okay to behave like? Perhaps it is, therefore, no surprise that we hear of SWP standing outside LR sprouting off about how it is the fans' fault they lost against Southampton (allegedly). Something tells me behaviour like that will not go unnoticed under Harry's watch.

And quite frankly, that's about all I could ask for right now. We wanted our Rangers back, and we just about have them. But we can't have the best team in the world because Mark Hughes lumbered us with a bunch of under-achievers. While we have improved, they still aren't as good as they should be. We also know that there will probably be no money for Harry to spend in January - with just one or two loan players a possibility we cannot expect wholesale changes. So all I want to see is Harry sticking a few rockets up a few arses. Ideally, if we find ourselves in a position where we don't think we'll survive by the end of December, I'd like to see us let go of many of our highly paid under performers and focus on playing with some pride and perhaps causing a few upsets along the way while we head back to the Championship.

I'm starting to feel the love with Redknapp in charge, especially because his grand kids are apparently availing themselves of QPR gear. I suppose with the media circus that tends to surround him, it also means that the Rangers still make the headlines even though we probably don't deserve it. But what the heck, us poor fans have got to take what we can get right?

On another note, the past few months have been extremely hectic in my work and personal life. And amazingly, even though we've been losing or drawing,  Queens Park Rangers has still managed to give me something to look forward to. And today I made it to Loftus Road with a pretty bad case of a sore throat and left it with an even worse case of it after screaming and singing for 90 minutes. But it was worth it, as I had the chance to meet some good friends that I have made through this amazing QPR fan journey.

People who aren't interested in football would probably be surprised to hear that there's a great sense of community and friendly spirit that I feel whenever I get to the football. But that's half the reason why I go, and half the reason why I enjoy it so much. Call it corny but with members of the #qprtwitfam advising me on which medication I should be taking to sooth my throat, I must say I was feeling the love today in that way too.

So where to now for QPR? I'll be at Wigan next weekend hoping to witness our first away win in 'like years dude'. But, win or lose, just give us a decent fight boys and I'll still keep on singing.

1 comment:

  1. Bang on again Ems, and as usual a very good read. Maybe see you at Wigan. U R'sssss