Monday, 12 November 2012

The End is Nigh....but for Hughes or QPR?

Wasted chance
One week on in the season and I made my way to the Britannia Stadium to see the R's, armed with blind optimism, a characteristic of R's fans, having convinced myself (again), that this will be the day QPR win. I arrived in the Potteries to be greeted by arguably the glummest match day ambiance I've encountered anywhere. Everywhere , Potters fans were trudging their way toward the ground, hands in pockets staring at the ground in silence like the matchstick men in LS Lowry's industrial paintings. Where was the match day buzz? And this was just outside the ground! Yes they are the loudest fans in the country, its just that it doesn't happen for long or that often. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the poor Stoke fans have only seen them win once in sixteen games but fortunately for them QPR were in town today to gift them a rare three points. 1200 or so faithful R's made the trip knowing their support was unlikely to be rewarded with points. In fairness to our Chairman, Tony Fernandes, he made the effort to thank us by visiting the R's in the away end, I even got to shake his hand but stopped short of asking him why Hughes was still with us, as up to that point I was still on the fence. After 90 minutes of football I had no option but to plant both feet firmly in the Hughes out camp.

The game itself was much like the season so far, with QPR seemingly unlucky to come away with nothing again. Stoke for their part, choose to play an ugly style of football, hoofing the ball long up to Crouch to knock down for Walters to gobble up. Ironically, on the odd occasion they decided to keep the ball on the deck and pass it, they did it quite well. But Stoke value their Premiership status above football so will not risk playing a prettier game for fear of ending up like, dare I say it, QPR.

Hughes made only the one change from the Reading game bringing back Faurlin at the expense of Mackie. Hoilett predominantly played on the left, as he used to at Blackburn last season and Taarabt played behind Cisse. (It has only taken MH 11 games to work that one out) On the whole the back four coped pretty well with Stokes aerial bombardment and set pieces, which was surprising after the failings against Reading. Bosingwa was wasteful and made too many wrong decisions, Traore ruined his first full 90 minutes in a while by being at fault for Stokes goal. Cisse was woeful, spending too much energy doing the wrong things whilst most of the R's chances went through Taarabt who was guilty of missing a guilt edged opportunity of giving QPR the lead by opting for an opulent chip instead of just slotting the ball home, which ultimately proved to be the difference between a point and nothing.

QPR played well from the back, through the middle but when the ball got to the front to Hoilett, Taarabt or Cisse never had an answer to beat a well organised and committed defence. When we did get to the final third we ran out of ideas, lacked direction and rarely got numbers in the opposition penalty area. Diakite played a more defencive role and his darting runs forward were missed today, but Granero was again clever with the ball and was unlucky not to score when his shot inside the area was well saved after good work from Taarabt. In summary we played the better football to a point, but couldn't score and conceded due to a mistake again and lost in true Mark Hughes style. Sound familiar?

Decisions to make
It would seem that this loss is the turning point for Hughes and his relationship with the fans as the final whistle was the cue for many R's fans to scream their displeasure at some of the players but reserved their most vociferous and bilious abuse for Mark Hughes. Scores of R's fans, their faces contorted with hate, mercilessly bombarded Hughes with verbal hostilities as he shook his head in disbelief as he scurried off down the tunnel. Bosingwa sprinted off the filed at full time and had been the first to receive the not too subtle opinions for the R's and looked visibly shaken by the abuse he had to entail, as were the likes of Ferdinand, Traore and Cisse, with the latter staring daggers at his tormentors.

This was a significant incident as it shows that Hughes has now lost the fans and if he stays and things don't improve, then the treatment that Steve Keane got at Blackburn will seem like a lovers courtship, compared to what he will get from R' fans whose patience has been stretched far beyond breaking point.

I also watched the players body language and how they interacted with Hughes and his staff in the warm up and the subs at half time and the impression I was left with was that they seem a little disillusioned with it all. They look as if they're not sure what they're supposed to be doing and are not enjoying playing for Hughes. I looked at the broken figure of Robert Green as he walked off the pitch after his half time warm up. His face looked haunted as he walked down the tunnel oblivious to the R's faithful in front of him. He looked hurt and broken by his experience at QPR as if living a nightmare. I get the impression the patience of the players is running out and think its just a matter of time before Hughes loses the dressing room. Mark Hughes has reached the end of the road and this is why I think he has to go.

What we have at the moment is as good as we are going to get from Mark Hughes. When we are not committing harikari in defence we will play the ball out through midfield up to the top and then it will all break down. That's it, he cant get us past that, his plan A in not good enough and he does not have a plan B. It's not just this season, the writing was on the wall last season. Of his minuscule six victories, only the win against Swansea was earned without a degree of good fortune. This season, of the goals we have scored, only the goals against Spurs and Man City were crafted as a result of a team move opening up the opposition and not having to rely on a piece of individual brilliance.
Look at his under achievement at Man City and all the players he bought that he could not get to fit in, but then did well when they moved on (eg Joe). Look at the players he bought that didn't play well for City until he left (eg Kompany) He avoided relegation with Blackburn playing a physical direct game and did similar at Fulham. He earned the one of the leagues poorest away records with Fulham a feat he's managed to make even worse at QPR, but he hasn't actually achieved anything. He's full of spin and talks a good story but he never delivers. I believe he's done all he can at QPR and that he and his staff a have run out of idea's. If I thought for one minute that they had a chance of turning things around I would keep quiet. But I haven't seen anything to suggest they can or will.

Hughes has more in common with Father Ted than just looks
If forty points is the magic figure to achieve for Premier League survival we will have to win 12 of our remaining 27 games. That's almost  a win every other game. Do you honestly think Mark Hughes has got what it takes to deliver that kind of ask? I don't think so and his record certainly suggests not. Hughes is now statistically the worst manager in the history of QPR.(Points achieved from those available ratio) Worse than the likes of Mullery and Burkinshaw and believe me that is bad. The worrying thing is that when things don't go according to his game plan he hasn't got a clue what to do. More worrying is his delusional reasoning, one of the latest being that Zamora has been effected by AJ's injury and that AJ was bought as Zamora likes to play with him. No Hughes, Zamora is not good enough,and never has been, for the Premiership, but you were too lazy to look for a more suitable striker, preferring to take the easy option and signing your former strike force. Not the best strategy for identifying players to purchase. Hughes won a few trophies as a player but as a manager he is a loser, a habitual loser who's habit rubs of on everyone. A loser that is turning our club and a team of proven winners into losers. His latest comment re the Stoke game was that he was "happy with the performance". We lost, again. He would rather we "play poor and win." Well yes Hughes you often get us to play poor, but we still lose.

Harsh words some may think, but I've sat of the fence for long enough in the hope that Hughes could turn this around. I've come to the conclusion its not going to happen for he is as calamitous as his look a like Father Ted. Replacing him with someone else is no guarantee, but it is the only chance we have of survival. Stick with Hughes and its bye bye Premiership football and the financial security of next seasons most lucrative ever premier league TV deal. The kind of money that will give Fernandes the kind of stability QPR FC really need.

So Mr Fernandes you have to decide whether Mark Hughes is going to keep QPR in the Premier League so that this club can become financially viable. Surly this is the kind of stability that is more important than managerial continuity.

Yes I am angry at the way things have gone and yes some of the players are to blame, but ultimately its the Manager that has to sort it out, so lets get a manager who can.
Strong views this week and its been difficult not to litter this piece with expletives but these are my views.Views that I am sharing with you reader and I welcome your comments and views via the source you found this blog on or on the comment option on this blog.

So next game is a sell out at home to Southampton and I refuse to even contemplate the possibility of defeat for my own sanity. But should it happen expect the hostilities to be stepped up against Hughes.

Its got to come right soon... right?

Come on you R's

The Bush Ranger.


  1. Thank you for expressing so lucidly what I believe the majority of supporters currently think. As a season ticket holder, I have never taken to Hughes for the self same reasons you have articulated - poor record, poor tactics, poor away form, at every club he has been at. I cannot believe Fernandes hasn't already got a contingency plan in place - he has little option but to come out in support of Hughes when he is faced with the question or tweets. Let's hope the next choice of manager (which is inevitable regardless of this weekend's result against Southampton) is well considered.

  2. Fair article, but I don't agree with the stick Zamora is getting. He holds the ball up well and brings our midfield into play, and lets not forget he is still our top scorer. It's true he's not going to set the world on fire and bang in 20 goals a season, but that's not his sole purpose in the team. It bothers me that so many fans think of a striker as having to score loads of goals to show his worth. Football has changed from how it was 5-10 years ago, goals are expected more and more from the midfield in support, as football has become more of a 'team game'. Rarely have I seen Zamora supported by the midfield when he holds up the ball (we can't expect him to do what Van Persie did and do it all on his own, as its true he is simply not that good, and very few are), although this is partly MH's fault as he's refused for so long to play Adel and Junior on the pitch at the same time in support. And yes, give Cisse the ball in the box and the odds are that he will score, however he does nothing for the team otherwise and hasn't a clue how to lead the line and bring others into play. We havn't got a good enough team and defensive qualities to support him, let alone Adel (who at least offers a lot more). The poacher that Cisse is is a dying breed of strikers.

  3. Hughes, Fernandes and the QPR pikey fans.....give yourselves an uppercut. Mugs, the lot of you, Mugs. GC