Sunday, 16 February 2014

The base level

Derby 1 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 1 Reading 3

If you ask me who my idol is that would not be a tough question to answer. If I were still in my early teens I would probably have said Madonna. But as I get older and the rose-tinted spectacles disappear I'd say my Dad was probably someone I looked up to more than anyone else. If you ask any of his friends people will say he is one of the most intelligent men they have ever known. It is true that he is well-read, clever and a bit of a know-it-all. He is rather annoying to play general knowledge quizzes with because he is the first to put his hand up all the time, and he'll respond for the other team if he knows the answer.

And as he turns 60 this year he is still out there in the working world working harder than I've ever seen before. He missed today's match against Reading as he is somewhere on the other side of the world working on new business. He sent us a message late at night on a Saturday saying he was in his hotel room working away. It is sometimes hard to believe that he has achieved everything he has simply because he works hard. At school he got prizes for everything and played almost every single sport well: rugby, cricket, cross country. And now he's this amazing triathlete who even competed for a semi-pro veteran place last year. It's a wonderful thing, these individual achievements, for a daughter to look up to. The funny thing about my Dad is that he'll be the last to say he's the most intelligent, and the first to say he works the hardest.

This week I've thought a lot about individuals and what they contribute to teams. Today was an important day as the club welcomed Tony Mills who is a terminal cancer patient for a special day out to see the Rs. I believe the journey started a few weeks ago when someone tweeted Joey Barton about him and Joey suggested organising the day for him to come and get special VIP treatment at Loftus Road. I saw the videos, as did everyone else, on Youtube, and witnessed how Joey travelled down to Eastbourne on Thursday to surprise Tony. He sat with him and his family, had a cup of tea, and made polite conversation to a man who is very very unwell. I had tears in my eyes. Being there for people when they aren't well one of the hardest things in life, never mind for someone you barely know. For me, it shows great strength of character, and I am shocked by some of the comments people made about a 'PR' stunt affair, and why the club would send a 'low-life' like Barton and not someone else. I am not the easiest person to turn when it comes to judging people's characters, but I would also be a complete hypocrite if I didn't give someone a chance who obviously makes an effort be it on the pitch (which surely by now we have seen and must admit to), or off it. I have made many mistakes in my own life and have been a horrible person to know at times. If people didn't give me a chance I would be very far from the  happier place I am now.

However, one or some individuals making an effort, unfortunately, does not equal a winning team. And on the pitch today - we saw signs of a lack of confidence and a sloppy disorganised approach. The bust-up that happened mid-match between Dunne and Benny was not emblematic of a team in it together. And I just wonder whether signs of a side of a few players who think they are better than they are (as per last season) are starting to creep in? Once we have this, it is very much like a cancer, and whatever is holding back what should be a vision of togetherness, has got to be sorted out if we don't want a very embarrassing end to our season.

For, it seems to me that in order for a team to work, we do not need players with Premier League experience who look wonderful on paper. We have this and it is clearly not working. What we do need is a set of individuals who are prepared to work harder than they currently are, with one vision and one goal. Interestingly, Stuart Pearce came to our office with Talksport this week to talk about teams and creating success. Someone asked Pearce - 'what would you do, if Joey Barton was in your team'. This person was obviously not a QPR supporter because frankly most of us don't have a problem with him at the moment. Nevertheless Pearce responded by saying that he didn't necessarily like a lot of things about Joey. He also went on to say, he was never the best, most skilful or technical player. But that in his Man City days, Joey was one of the hardest working: in early at training, last out. Constantly practising drills etc etc. It is somewhat hard to believe when he (bar today's rather worrying performance), appears to be one of our most gifted midfielders.

I believe that it is easy for us to forget that to succeed in anything, including football, only a modicum of talent is actually required. And once you have that base level - anything is achievable if you work hard or want it hard enough. I suppose you could look at many an entrepreneur and find that many weren't necessarily 'academic' but had their eye on a prize and worked darn hard to get it. Without doubt, it is also unlikely that one would be able to achieve in life without the support of others who shared that same goal. Just look at the Olympics when athletes who win a gold medal are the first to praise those trainers, physios and their family for making it happen.

I am not saying that individuals never make a difference. But if one or two people are not firing on all cylinders (and I am not saying I know who they are), something has to be done for the benefit of the team. Reading on paper are a good team, but they don't have the so-called 'pedigree' that we do. But so what? They had a goal, a vision and they had togetherness. With ten men they still dominated the game. They, unlike us, have been managed very well in recent times.

Sadly, if one or two cogs in the wheel break down it can be a huge struggle to get back on track. And without Charlie, Danny and Matty I personally feel a little bereft...and I wonder whether the players feel this too? So I want to know, just how is this being managed? How will the team be coached to believe they are capable of winning again?

I do not have the answer to this, except to say that some guts are involved and perhaps some tough decisions need to be made. While Tony Mills' time is limited, the players and staff need to spend time they have working even harder if they want to play better. Maybe they can take inspiration from fighters like Tony Mills.

A little less bickering would be nice, and a few more corny huddles will make me feel confident in QPR. Win, lose or draw I'd like to see a team playing once again.

1 comment:

  1. Well said we lost to a TEAM yesterday.
    They moved the ball quicker and got forward quicker.