Sunday, 1 December 2013


Doncaster Rovers 2 Queens Park Rangers 1

At work I am discovering the world of econometrics. Not an easy concept to understand but in basic terms an econometric model helps businesses to understand what, out of a number of variables, is driving results and return on investment. For marketers, this may be in the form of brand health or sales for example. Econometricians describe the process of modelling as something akin to baking a cake, where after receiving the data they then do all sorts of complicated mathematical things to understand what's driving what, and where there is a correlation.

With the way QPR are playing at the moment, I can't help but think about this concept of a cake. Across the social space, fans are debating about what the problem is - is it tactics and formation or is it simply attitude or effort? An econometrician would look at all of these things and try to understand which elements are causing problems for us. Although, of course - with having won almost all games, the combination of variables would currently be perceived as positive if indeed our ultimate goal or measure was to win games, and not just to play exciting football.

As I alluded to last week, the team does seem organised and regimented. People know their positions, but we don't seem to be playing out of them where I think we should be - when we've got a chance to take a risk, or run at the opposition and score goals. I would also suggest that the last two matches have seen a few players pull in more lacklustre performances: some fancy passes but just not ones that are dangerous enough for the Championship. Yes Niko, your bum looks great in the QPR shorts but perhaps a few more sessions down at the gym will improve performance? Playing with only one up front may also be taking its toll. While we have suffered a bout of injuries many players are back or coming back from them, and yet Harry has decided to stick with the past. This is so unlike the former Tottenham manager who we know likes to take a gamble and has always put forward an attacking team. Then there is the personal stuff we don't know about that goes on behind closed doors- were there players that had crap going on at home which made them lack focus yesterday, or did someone get annoyed that they were left on the bench and didn't start which got up everyone's nose before the match began? Who knows?

On the other hand, so far, this type of approach has allowed us to win by narrow margins. Until yesterday.

So, what is it that is going wrong out of all the possibilities? I would suggest an econometrician would be hard pressed to figure it out for QPR. They are right though, it is like a cake in that it's probably a combination of everything together that is driving this general malaise in football results as well as style of play. We do have one problem though. Econometrics also assumes that for all brands there is a base level of sales or results. This is the base level that continues to happen no matter what other variables or factors occur in time- that base level relies on ongoing sales, repeat purchases as well as the power of the brand. I am not sure that any club other than perhaps the Uniteds and Reals of this world can boast a base level of results. Most other football teams have too much volatility in their existence. However the one constant which has always amazed me and makes me extremely proud is the hardcore base level of loyal QPR fans. For such a small club we bring over 1,000 people for most away games and Fernandes and his team can rely on a near-sell out crowd for most matches. Unfortunately, good football results cannot solely rely on fans. .

I witnessed an argument yesterday at the Keepmoat. One person was claiming we were playing negatively, another was saying it might be ugly but it's winning us games. I agreed with both until we lost. And taking into account all of the above, we can't rely on a base level of play because frankly we haven't got it. I believe Harry has to take a bit more risk and use the players to their full potential. And that has to be not just in terms of formation, but in terms of tactics and in terms of who's playing and what ever the hell is motivating them. Everyone knows the best chefs are those that experiment with new ideas and ingredients, right?

Here is everyone before the match at a great fish restaurant in Doncaster called Fish Bits

Outside Fish Bits in Doncaster

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