Monday, 24 December 2012

#17 Failure to Deliver

Harry Redknapp’s unbeaten start to his QPR reign came to a disappointing end on Saturday as the R’s went down to a late goal to lose one nil at St James Park. Harry made three changes to the team that beat Fulham last week, Wright-Phillips moving to the bench to accommodate Granero in the middle with Fabio and Ferdinand coming in as full backs, as Traore and Onuoha failed to recover from knocks.  Ferdinand was the unusual inclusion at right back as the result of Bosingwa no longer being an option after refusing to sit on the bench last week after being dropped and was subsequently fined two weeks wages. (£130000 according to Harry)
Said a few home truths
The R’s started the game solidly, but without the attacking initiative of recent weeks and the early exchanges were fairly even.  As the game progressed in the driving cold north east rain, chances were few and far between and a drab opening half was spoiled further by Newcastle’s insistence on playing the long ball game. Cisse did little and Mackie had a half chance saved as the teams went into the break level.
QPR’s aim was to upset the Geordie’s game and the spoiling tactics were proving to be successful as the normally vociferous home crowd were kept quiet. Sadly, some players were distinctly lack lustre today and we never looked like we were going to score. Granero looked subdued, Cisse was ineffective and Taarabt and Mackie’s opportunities to influence the game were rare.  Newcastle continued to employ the long ball and Pardew decided to replace Papa Cisse with Ameobi for a more physical presence in complimenting the long ball tactics. His introduction did little to put off the R’s excellent centre half pairing of Nelson and Hill, as they battled their hearts out to take something from the game.
As the game entered its final 10 minutes, the R’s defence were coping comfortably with everything Newcastle had to offer, but we were failing to make any effective chances in the opposition area despite Harry making changes by bringing on Hoilett and Wright-Phillips, so Derry was brought on to see out the draw. Two minutes later, Ameobi hit the winner for Newcastle after an innocuous attack found the striker unmarked when Fabio should have picked him up, but opted to challenge for the ball when we  already had players to cover. Fabio’s mistake let Ameobi in to sell a dummy to the lunging Taarabt and tuck the ball in wide off Green…game over… lost one nil. A very disappointing result considering we were solid defensively, but devoid of anything attacking that would result in a goal.  We should have been looking to get a point today, as Newcastle have been poor lately and were not much better  today and were probably the biggest purveyors of the long game we have come across this season.

Dear Santa please give us enough points to stay up
Harry Redknapp, having just lead the R’s to their longest unbeaten period in the premiership since our return to the top flight was understandably down beat in the presser after the game. He was disappointed that he only has one fit striker (and that it is Cisse) thus limiting his attacking options, and that he had to change the defence around , which lead to the inevitable questions regarding Bosingwa. It seems the story had broken that morning and Harry was not slow in confirming the formers petulance and the resulting punishment whilst mocking the absurdity of his salary in comparison to his ability. Harry went on to berate the ridiculous wages some of the players were earning whilst only being average, suggesting they were not worth it and almost robbing the club. Reading between the lines this has also had a detrimental effect amongst the players in regard to the large gap in earnings between the new and old personnel.

Whilst Harry is completely correct in what he was saying, I believe his remarks were also intended to shame some of the players into upping their game. Harry had quite a bit to say, he expressed his reluctance to spend (waste) more of the owner’s money, adding that they had already had their trousers taken down and been spanked enough by agents, inadequate players and more or less the previous management.  My interpretation of his remarks is that his predecessor (I can’t bring myself to mention his name) had left the club in turmoil and he certainly doesn’t rate some of the players that have been brought in of late.  It seems to me that Harry has (and always has) one eye on the task of getting QPR promoted back into the Premiership next season, as indeed most of us are starting to have. Having said that, I don’t believe he has accepted we will be relegated, yet, but he is hedging his bets. I think that Harry believes he can get us back at the first attempt and is mindful of what he needs to do to achieve that. As Harry continued in his frank and honest presser he looked bewildered at how one man had been left to cause such a mess at our club in addition to the failure to deliver at the club from top to bottom.
There have been mistakes and much failing to deliver since our return to the top flight. It started pre Fernandes when we should never have sold our best centre half, Gorkes or failed to secure the services of Routlage.  Fernandes then took over and we panicked and bought badly in Barton, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand and Traore, then gave them inflated long term deals.  Tony to his credit put his money up but failed the club by employing a manager that was given too much control and took too long in getting rid of him. Phil Beard, whilst excellent at what he does, has also failed to deliver in allowing sub standard players to be paid ridiculous money on long term deals and has been naive in player negotiations to say the least. Harry’s predecessor was the worst culprit in his failure to deliver. He made further poor buys, running the club beyond its reasonable means and didn’t get the team to play or achieve the results. The players have also failed this club and its fans in failing to deliver on the pitch or getting results. (With the exception of a few) Only the fans of QPR can hold their heads up with pride as the support home and away has been fantastic.
So where does that leave us now? Can we get out of this mess? With regard to the off field mess, Beard and Co will have learnt from this. On the field if anyone can get us out of this Harry can, but I haven’t seen enough yet to suggest we will. To stay up this year we are going to have to do things like win back to back games. We have not achieved back to back victories since April 2011 and not since December 1995 in the premier league. (and not at all since our return) We are going to have to win away from home and take maximum points from those around us. It’s not impossible, but things will have to change for the better, now. We have to beat WBA and Liverpool in our next two fixtures to be on sixteen points at the turn of the year, similar to last year. If we can do that I think we are in with a shout. Hopefully by then, Harry can do some business in January and put out a team that can do what Harry wants them to do and we can maybe start to win back to back and away from home.
The next two games are vital to QPR and I still think it’s do-able and so does Harry. Either way, we all love QPR no matter what,  and what will be will be.
Merry Christmas to all you R’s fans.  Here’s hoping Santa will give the R’s thirty five more points minimum this season.
Next blog out after Liverpool home.

Come on you R’s

The Bush Ranger

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