Monday, 31 December 2012

#18 Reality Check

Well it looks like QPR upset Santa this year as our two festive home fixtures returned no points after the farce of a defeat to WBA and comprehensive and humiliating drubbing to Liverpool.

Words can not describe how sick I feel this morning after the way we were taken apart by Liverpool yesterday. My rejuvenated optimism and hope was quickly crushed as the sheer helplessness of the team and its shortcomings unfolded against a Liverpool team that was taken apart by Stoke just four days earlier. This was a Stoke team that has the belief, passion, and fight, to battle for the results (very much like we used to.) You will not see headline signings on £65k+ a week there. Each and every one of them will run and fight for each other for the cause of Stoke. They also found themselves 3- 1 down at home to Southampton after not playing well, but still had the fight and spirit to get a draw. I did not see these qualities collectively as a team from QPR yesterday, in fact not for a very long time. But it's not just yesterdays result that hurts, its more than that. What has our beloved QPR turned into. We have been here before, I have seen us in trouble like this more often than not over the last forty plus years, but the teams we've put out have always fuelled optimism and had a glimmer of hope and still made me proud of them. I don't get that feeling from this team.

I, like most hard core QPR fans love our club unconditionally. We don't expect to win the premier league, we hope...we want to try and challenge and get our satisfaction from being in the challenge, in the running and exceeding expectations.(We could win a cup) But above all QPR is our club, we have our own way, we always put out a team that try, play football the right way and that compete. We know what we are, we know our limitations, but we love QPR. We now have a manager that recognises these values and in the short time he has been with us, I think he's hurting as much as us R's fans. And believe me the pain is agonising at the moment and I'm sure all R's are also feeling it, but this time there is no pain relief in hope, as this team fails to inspire, and that's a first with me. This does not apply to all the team, there are still those that will fight for the cause and its no surprise that in these tough times its the real QPR players that got us into the big time that have been recalled to lead the way along with Nelson. ( a rare successful acquisition)

Loving QPR unconditionally does not mean we have to be detached from reality and it saddens me to see the bickering in the social media between R's fans saying its not loyal to voice criticism. But is it criticism? Surely we have to keep it real. Slagging off players in public or on the social media is not helpful, but I don't have the right to prevent anyone expressing their opinions. However, discussion of QPR's shortcomings and our views are both helpful and our right, even though it is sometimes hard to see the truth for what it is. Some QPR fans have been a little delusional since the arrival of Tony Fernandes and many have subscribed to the ambitions and plans that our energetic new owners have for our club (myself included). From an outsiders perspective (rightly or wrongly) QPR could/has been perceived as delusional with ideas of grandeur, and many are celebrating the situation we find ourselves in. I myself have always been honest in my blog and tried to emphasis the emotions experienced following the R's. This honesty has always reflected reality, so here's another reality check.

Harry's predecessor (you know, that Welsh bloke - still cant say his name) has in eleven months ruined much of what is the QPR way and (almost) what we waited sixteen years to get back. Apart from the fact that he never played football our way (insisting on being so deep and inviting pressure as opposed to excitement and attacking flair,albeit sometimes cavalier) he had the best resources ever afforded to a QPR manager. He acquired players that were getting on in years, past there best and just plain greedy, most of whom were on unprecedented salaries for QPR and on long term deals, (and we are yet to find out if they have relegation clauses) again not all of them, but most of them. This caused ill feeling amongst the proven QPR players that remained on much smaller contracts. He failed to strengthen the defence, which was our most obvious failing, when he said he would conduct his transfer business early. Of the players he bought that had any kind of pedigree, such recognition was gained as part of much better teams and in reality can not deliver when the onus is on them to lead. (one example being Park.) Results were dire and we survived relegation last year despite him being in charge. The shortcomings we have now are his legacy to QPR. The result of his failure to acquire the right players to make a QPR team. To put it bluntly, the team he built is not good enough. We do not look like a premier league team and have been punching above our weight. I have not seen a team so devoid of any attacking sense ever at QPR, this bunch of players do not know how to create or punish defences at this level and you can count the amount of times we get more than one man in the six yard box in a game on one hand, its no wonder we have only had one penalty this season.

I don't envy the task Harry has with what he has inherited on the playing side. Yes there are some players that put the effort in, but most of them are simply not good enough to produce what we need to improve, let alone survive. The fact that Harry has been starting Wright-Phillips is testament to the shortcomings in reliability of our squad, as he is not good enough despite his efforts or recent slight improvement. Robert Green (already relegated from the top flight twice - Jonah) is an absolute liability, regularly beaten from distance and makes too many costly errors. Against WBA, foul or no foul, why didn't he punch the ball out and/or push Fortune back out of the way. There are more players that have improved under Harry, but again are not good enough to improve our form or save us from the drop and I could go on naming names, but you know who they are. We only won seven games in 2012 and in any ones book that is a poor return, but it looks better than it really is as we have only won once since April.

The reality of the situation is that, as the team stands today, it is just not good enough and fails to inspire any hope of survival, being a QPR fan and an eternal optimist, for me to say that it must be bad. So unless Harry can conjure up some magic in the transfer window and destroy the destructive legacy left by his predecessor, I will not be expecting that sudden run of form and deluge of points unless the team is significantly improved. I will not give up hoping in my heart, but my head will be expecting Championship football next season. Unless Harry can improve the team, the fact is, you cant see us surviving. However, the fat lady is not singing yet and should you see one don't let her open her mouth!

Even as I write this, I remember the 1990/91 season. We were stuck in the bottom three for months after a bad start to the season and lost many games up to Christmas including eight in a row. Don Howe was manager and took on Bobby Gould to assist for a short while, with the latter discovering some gems in the transfer market as we signed the likes of Darren Peacock, Rufus Brevet and Andy Tilson amongst a few others when we were in a dire mess. These acquisitions epitomised every thing that we are at QPR and we ended the season comfortably above the drop zone. That was against the odds then much like now, but we done it then and I only hope we can do it again now in a similar fashion.

As I get to the end of this blog post, the pain is still there and I still can't watch Sky Sports News because I just cant bear to be reminded of yesterday's game and the R's predicament  does get you down. Relegation I can handle, (I don't like it, but can handle it) but the manner in which we are playing is hard to stomach. It is not the QPR way and it hurts. I will draw hope and optimism not from the team, but from those few QPR players that are real QPR. I will draw hope from Harry Redknapp and the fact that he believes he can save us. I will draw hope from the open transfer window and the subliminal messages from Harry in his post match interview regarding this matter. And I will draw hope from the family that is the QPR fans and our shared understanding of what it is like to support the R's. We will share the pain, and the glory, because should the worst happen to us this season we will be back. We're QPR, its what we do.

Come on you R's

The Bush Ranger

Next blog out after the Spurs home game - don't want this blog to be too concentrated on match reports.Want to mix it up a bit. Comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog, sums up the situation both past and present very well.