Wednesday, 19 June 2013

#24 QPR 2012/13 - An Unmitigated Disaster

It has been a while since my last blog post. It has been too painful to write about the plight of our beloved QPR but, time is a great healer and today, inspired by the release of next seasons fixtures, I am ready to blog about the R's.

I wont go into too much detail from our final games of last season, as you all know we only got a point and only one goal from Stoke onwards. In fact from the Villa game (which we had to win to turn the season around) we only got two points. Suffice to say were just  not good enough and dare I say, we should have gone down the year before. Having said that, we were truly awful last season and it was easily the worst season I have ever had in over forty years following the R's.

But why was last season such an unmitigated disaster? Especially after all the optimism and hope our transfer activity instilled in even the most pessimistic of R's fans. We will never be able to put it down to one single reason, but one thing is for sure Mark Hughes is the main reason, That and his signings that failed to deliver, some of which were an utter disgrace. On the playing side, I think the players never recovered from playing so well at Spurs and losing and then getting dumped out of the League Cup by Reading days later, when this completion was earmarked as the "one we were gonna try and win this year." As the close season has gone on, we are hearing little stories about the club, players bad attitudes, players consistently late, bad feelings and rifts among the players. The clubs real grafters were stuck on Championship contracts, whilst our big shot new signings waltzed in on their millionaire Premier league contracts without justifying themselves at the club. It seems too, that Messer's Beard and Fernandez have been very na├»ve and have been fleeced by many an agent. We now know that all was not well or happy at Loftus Road and indeed we had not made much progress as a club since the days we were the laughing stock of football under Briatore and regimes before.

Relegation hurt, but what hurt more was the damage done to footballs perception of QPR. We used to be a club that many a football fan all over the county used to say" oh you support QPR, I don't mind them, its a good club" or words to that effect. We were (and still are) the perennial strugglers that always gave it a good honest go, mainly on limited resources and against the odds. The last two seasons in the Premier league has seen QPR sell its soul in pursuit of being an established Premier League club. Football has seen us throw money at overrated and washed out mercenary signings that have failed our club and brought about our failure. Football has watched as QPR has been amongst the leaders in the buying table at the close of each transfer window, spending beyond our means, as our rich Sugar Daddies insist that all is fine on the financial front at QPR and all the figures add up. This is fine while the Sugar Daddies are still interested in the club but what happens when they lose interest? We the fans will still be here to pick up the pieces again but will they? At the moment our rich owners are enthusiastic in the R's and the plan to build a new stadium. The Stadium project far outweighs the disaster of relegation. As a commercial project in W12, it would certainly reap huge rewards on their investment into the club and it is this project that keeps the focus of our owners. Football has seen QPR fail in spectacular fashion and once again we are a laughing stock with many a football fan gloating at such an epic demise.

But what of the useless players we are lumbered with after relegation. Again, lack of football knowhow from the board leaves the club to suffer, as we are stuck with inadequate players, on big, long contacts that are going to be difficult to move on. I remember the days when QPR would lose it's best players because we could not pay them enough. Now we can't get rid of players because we are paying them too much, this just isn't QPR. Harry has been constantly going on about it and has been whinging to all who will listen in the press since before the season ended. After the Wigan game Harry's whole demeanour changed, he looked broken and beat, and I only hope old Harry comes back when we report back for pre season, because if he isn't ready to give it 100% he should say so now. Personally I think if he can get his head right, he's the right man for QPR, I think he has genuine affection for the R's and is one of us now. The state of the club and some of the squad he has inherited has pushed him to the edge, but hopefully now he has the backing of the board, Harry can put together a squad that can get us back up.

Enough of last season now and on to next season and the welcome decision by the club to reduce the season ticket prices in line with our last outing in the Championship. This will go a long way to ensuring our gates don't dip too much and should provide a better return than the meagre two home wins last season. I look forward to not only seeing more wins but more goals and the sound of Pigbag blasting out a lot more this season. Another good decision from the club was to bring back the thicker hoops to our home shirts as opposed to those stupid "Tesco Value bag" hoops and the return of the Red and Black hooped away shirt. The new pitch is good news too but I think we need to paint the back of the Paddock White again, as although blue looked good and think it was bad luck!

On the playing front we are linked with Danny Simpson having lost out on Wayne Bridge. Harry spat his dummy out over this one but did we really want another 33 year old, injury prone has been on big money, I don't think so. Looks like the board have learnt something from last season. With the transfer window set to reopen on July 1st it will be interesting to see who we can get rid of. It would seem that Cesar is Arsenal bound, Granero's agent has said he is moving on, Remy will surly go as it's a world cup season (subject to pending court case). Mbia and Traore don't want to play in the Championship (which is fine by me, they can go. So can Barton, SWP, Hoilett, Green, Ferdinand, and Diakite) whilst Park will be looking for a move and Taarabt is subject to the usual speculation regarding a move and we can only hope and pray that someone, somewhere..... anywhere, takes Bosingwa away from W12.

Harry says he has identified a number of players that he needs to get the R's back up and that the club are actively perusing these targets. I think we need to get at least two new strikers as Zamora (apart from not being very good) needs an operation that would rule him out for a season and if he doesn't have it will be playing in pain and will only be able to play for 40 to 60 minutes a week. I hope they give DJ Campbell another year, he can do it at this level and he's the right kind of player for QPR. Harry has mentioned a lot of the squad aren't up to two games a week so the next month or so will be interesting. I also think that Green is just not good enough, even for the Championship, he makes too many mistakes and is too much of a liability and will cost us points over 46 games. Paddy Kenny must have earned QPR 10 or 12 points on his own the season we went up, that is the bench mark we should be looking for if we are to challenge. Green is nowhere near that so I would like to see a keeper come in or give Murphy a decent chance.

So, with the fixtures released today, we find our opening fixture at home again, this time to Sheffield Wednesday who battled relegation for most of the last season. Let's hope we can put an end to the opening day disasters we have had in the last two years. I think its too early to say how we will do next season as there is a lot of rebuilding to do before them. The only sure think is we wont go up without changes.

In the mean time, as we hope and dream of a successful promotion season back to the premier league, I also hope that we get our soul back as a club. I hope we get our old QPR back with players who want to play for QPR and give it there all for the club. I hope that we can be sensible in our transfer dealings, knuckle down and put some honest graft in. I hope we get our credibility back and enjoy our football and being QPR again. So I leave you with a link to our celebrations when we won promotion back to the Championship in 2004. I choose this promotion because it felt so much better than 2011. We did it against the odds, with real QPR people, who wanted to play for QPR. There were no FA charges or doubts. We earned it and it was great. Just look how the R's packed Leppings Lane end in our last game at Sheffield Wednesday. How great did that feel?

Watch it. It will make you feel good.

I, like my fellow R's fans will be watching in anticipation over the coming weeks to see how we manage in our rebuilding project and how we do in our pre season. Another lesson learnt by the club is our pre season tour will be in Devon and Austria. Good call.

Will blog again next month unless something major occurs.

Onwards and upwards. Come on you R's.

The Bush Ranger.

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