Wednesday, 13 August 2014

#30 That Great Day in May starts bucking the trend for the better at QPR.

It’s been a nice summer for QPR fans, thanks mainly to a last minute strike from Bobby Zamora at Wembley in May to send forty thousand R’s in Wembley Stadium ecstatic.

That Goal from Zamora
Needless to say, that goal secured QPR’s return to the top flight. But the feel good factor amongst R’s fans appears to be down to much more than just the return of Premier League football to Shepherd Bush. No, it was the fact that we actually won at Wembley…we actually scored at Wembley. After the disappointment of the FA cup replay in 82 and the game we don’t like to mention in 86 v Oxford, what a great feeling it was for all the R’s around the world, to see the Superhoops finally win at Wembley, after a forty seven year wait. Not only that, but with the odds stacked against us, reduced to ten men and seemingly without a chance of scoring and hoping to hold out for penalties. But the team battled valiantly not to lose and then took their chance when it came and punished Derby's failure to capitalise on their advantage. I don't know how we did it, but we did it. It was meant to be. It was finally our time… our time for a Wembley victory. The fact that it happened to be the play off final was just an incidental, us QPR’s fans wanted something to really celebrate, something we've dreamt about for years, and my god we got it. The R’s support was simply breathtaking and magnificent in every way that day and the prize of being in the top flight was a fantastic bonus, as us R’s finally got what we have craved for decades…. and it don't half feel good.

Only now on the eve of the 2014/15 Premier League season am I beginning to think about the R’s being back. I've been too occupied with feeling good about winning at Wembley all summer to think about it. Every day someone, somewhere, be it on Twitter, Facebook or any of the other platforms, some kind of media file relating to that Great Day in May is posted to make us feel good, and it’s great. E.g.BBC radios Phil Parry's Bobby Dazzler commentary and his “Would-you-be-lieve-it” Follow this link to listen.

40K Rs fans doing QPR proud
Most R’s wouldn't have been too fussed about not going up, but they didn't want to see another Wembley defeat. However, for all their insistence that all would be fine should we fail to be promoted, Tony Fernandes and Co really wanted this promotion, and they wanted it bad.  With their relief evident and with a second bite of the cherry, we must hope that the QPR hierarchy have learnt from past mistakes and do a better job of things this time. With the consequences of FFP it is vital that Fernandes and Co don’t fail. This is their chance, this is our chance. Some may say second chance. Survival in the top flight is only half of it, we must now become sustainable and viable. It’s not an overnight solution and quick fixes won't do. The owners must now apply diligence in applying the foundations for the future of QPR.

So with a Premier League season to look forward to and with memories of that great day fresh in our memories, everyone and everything QPR is feeling good. So what have we done in the summer to make sure we stay in the top flight?

Despite it being a world cup year, the press still occupying themselves with linking QPR with most players with a pulse, regardless of whether or not the story has legs or not. So no change there in not being able to rely on the press for any meaningful information re transfer news. Having said that we did get Rio Ferdinand after the press bleated he was QPR bound all through the World Cup. Yes, he is getting on, but he has an abundance of experience and was a factor that influenced Steven Caulker decision to come to us.  The Caulker signing bucks the trend of previous QPR transfer business in that he is young, doesn't get injured much and is a good player. While Rio will be used sparingly, I would expect Caulker to be ever present at the centre of a back three next season, with Onuoha, Hill, Dunne, and Donaldson all competing to partner him.
That great day in May

Harry plans to play with a 3-5-2 formation next season and has acquired the services of Chilean international Mauricio Isla on loan for a season. Isla had a decent world cup and is an attacking wing back that Harry believes will create extra opportunities going forward. Harry has also managed to sign another fine young player in Jordan Mutch. Harry’s belief is that Mutch is ideal in fitting in to his plans for the way we play next season. Mutch is a quality midfielder that had a great season in the Premier League despite being relegated with Cardiff last season. Loic Remy was all set to move to Liverpool when a seemingly failed medical quashed that deal and is now back at QPR and it looks like he could start the season with us. Should we manage to keep him and he wants to stay, it would be like signing a new striker. Remy and Austin up front in a 3-5-2 is a mouth-watering prospect.

Other rumours that seem to have legs in them link QPR with Ajax striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Villareal midfielder Jonathan De Guzman. There is the usual press speculation that Harry is trying to get Townsend back from Spurs, but I don’t think anything will come of that.  On the other side of things Messer’s, Balanta, Benayoun, Ephram, Granero, Hitchcok, Hughes, Johnson, Mbia, O'Neil, Park Shariff and Young have all parted company with the club. However, the R’s are still burdened with the salaries of Wright-Phillips and Cesar who have shown little inclination to move on and are happy to draw their salaries with little or no time on the pitch. Meanwhile Adel Taarabt has returned to Loftus Road with Harry now saying that he is in his plans as QPR mull over a £3m bid from AC Milan. So we're pretty much in the same situation as we were last year with the Moroccan genius. So a clear bucking of trends in our transfer business has seen the R’s combine youth with experience, players that seemingly want to play for us and not on extortionate wages, which the R’s have also tightened the reins on.

As I write this blog it has been announced that QPR have given a coaching role to (another) former England manager in Glen Hoddle. I for one am pleased with this appointment as I believe Hoddle is a fantastic, forward thinking coach that can bring what Harry and his existing staffs are missing to our club.

Glen Hoddle - QPR's 1st team coach
So what of our chances in the Premier League this season? It’s a hard one to call and after the amplified optimism following our carte blanche signings in summer 2012, I am going to have to reserve judgement. Preseason friendlies didn't reveal much but at least we got the results we should have against the standard of opposition. However, it does look as if QPR could continue to have problems scoring although measures have been taken to improve our defence for this campaign in the top flight. Survival is not going to be a walk in the park and we are going to have to fight for every point. It is essential that we buck the trends of our past tenure in the top flight and really consolidate some home form. We must be looking to win at least eleven home games to be in with a chance so I would like to think Harry will be emphasising the importance of making home advantage count. The appointment of Hoddle could also have an enormous bearing in steering this campaign in the right direction, in a similar way to McClaren last season, but hopefully with a little more flair at home. Either way we are QPR so you know its going to be a very bumpy ride.

Hull are first up at Loftus Road for the season opener, so here’s hoping that this time round the R’s can continue to buck trends, as they have been this summer, and not get stuffed at home, but start with three points. A sell out Loftus Road will be waiting in eager anticipation to see what drama our beloved club will serve up this season.

Before I go, watch this video it should put a smile on your face.

Blog to you soon.
Come on you R’s

The Bush Ranger

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