|Terry acquitted, Buzsaky released, Taarabt retained â diary|
Fri 13th Jul 2012 20:35 by Clive Whittingham
A busy week at Loftus Road that began with the retention of Adel Taarabt until 2016 has ended with a not guilty verdict in the John Terry racism trial and the release of midfielder Akos Buzsaky.
Terry has been in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court all week, charged with racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand during Rangers’ memorable 1-0 win against Chelsea at Loftus Road last season. Despite video footage and lip reading evidence confirming that Terry had said “fucking black cunt” to Ferdinand, the magistrate couldn’t be sure beyond reasonable doubt that Terry’s defence that he was simply repeating an accusation made by Ferdinand back to him sarcastically wasn’t true and returned a not guilty verdict this afternoon.
The trial, and the unsavoury nature of much of the evidence, overshadowed what has been an otherwise positive week for QPR. Following the high profile acquisition of Ji-Sung Park Rangers were clearly delighted to announce an extension of Adel Taarabt’s contract to 2016. The Moroccan appears as happy at QPR now as he’s ever been before and will take the number 10 shirt next season.
He told Sporting Life: “We have a great manager and they want to improve so that is why I have taken the decision to sign a new long-term contract with Queens Park Rangers. Even last year when we were there we were not thinking the club would have this ambition and sign players like JI-Sung Park, but the chairman has big ambitions.”
Mark Hughes told the club’s official website: “I have seen a real effort from Adel and the quality of his work last year was good, both in an attacking sense and defensively. He has embraced what we are trying to do. He is undoubtedly a talented boy but he understands he has got other aspects of his game which he needs to work on and he has shown a real effort to do that. Defending is not a natural part of Adel's game but he understands that there is an obligation for any player who plays for me to recognise it's not all about playing when we have the ball in our possession. Adel and many of the players here understand that the club is looking to go in a forward direction and they want to be a part of it.”
Taarabt was also keen to refute stories that emerged earlier this summer that he had refused to play with disgraced former club captain Joey Barton when he returns from his 12 game suspension in October. Tabloid reports also suggested Taarabt’s legal team had threatened to sue QPR should their man suffer injury in training at the hands of Barton, but Taarabt told London24 the stories were simply not true.
He said: “I don’t know where this came from because I never said that. I saw that, I called the QPR press office straight away and said ‘I never said that. We have to put out an article denying it’. I even called Joey and told him it was not true and had no problem with him. He has all the time helped me here. Sometimes he was hard with me but that is because we wants me to do good, so for me I don’t have a problem with Joey Barton.”
Barton is excluded from the club tour of Malaysia which began today when the squad departed from Heathrow. A squad of 26 players has travelled, including fringe men like Michael Harriman, Michael Doughty and Max Ehmer, but the list of those not on the plane made for more interesting reading.
Akos Buzsaky has not flown, and the club quickly confirmed that he had rejected the offer of a one year contract extension and is set to leave after five years at the club. Championship side Blackpool, and Buzsaky’s former Plymouth boss Ian Holloway, are said to be waiting in the wings. Rob Hulse is also not included despite his agent’s assertion last week that he was intending to stay with the club, and Angelo Balanta is also still at home despite recently extending his deal. New signing Ryan Nelsen is with the New Zealand Olympic squad and Troy Hewitt’s omission is no surprise but the decision to leave DJ Campbell, Tommy Smith and Luke Young at home too surely spells the end of their time at Loftus Road. Rob Green will join midway through the trip oweing to his involvement in Euro 2012.
Speaking about potential player exits CEO Philip Beard told West London Sport: “It’s up to Mark, but the way I look at it everyone’s got to fight for their place. There’s 25 places available and I’m hoping, knowing the characters we’ve got in the squad, they will all be believing they can get one of those places. After that, it’s down to them to prove to Mark that they should be getting a place in the starting eleven. I think every club has to look at the bigger picture. If you’re bringing a significant number of players in then some players won’t feature in the manager’s plans. We’ve given ourselves enough time to look at that carefully and make the right decisions.”
The first game will be against a Sabah Select XI at the Likas Stadium on Tuesday.
QPR travelling party: Jay Bothroyd, Radek Cerny, Djibril Cisse, Matthew Connolly, Shaun Derry, Fabio Da Silva, Samba Diakite, Michael Doughty, Kieron Dyer, Max Ehmer, Hogan Ephraim, Alejandro Faurlin, Anton Ferdinand, Rob Green, Michael Harriman, Heidar Helguson, Clint Hill, Andrew Johnson, Jamie Mackie, Brian Murphy, Nedum Onuoha, Ji-Sung Park , Adel Taarabt, Armand Traore, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Bobby Zamora
One name on the list that will gladden the hearts of QPR fans is Alejandro Faurlin as he continues his recovery from the ruptured knee ligaments he suffered at MK Dons in January. Chairman Tony Fernandes has billed his return to action – which LFW understands is likely to come at the Chelsea home game in September – as like the signing of a £15m player.
The chairman told West London Sport: “It’s exciting. Mark Hughes hasn’t been with Ale because he’s been injured since Mark came to us. He’s coming back now though and that to us is like a £15m player that we’ve just signed.”
Rangers have today announced further pre-season friendlies in Germany as they continue to plan their summer around the draconian restrictions on sporting fixtures in London during the Olympics. They will spend eight days in the Bavarian town of Bad Wörishofen at the end of the month and play friendlies against unconfirmed opposition on August 4, and Bundesliga side FC Augsburg on August 11.
Meanwhile in the frozen North, our former manager Neil Warnock has been signing the praises of Paddy Kenny after reuniting with the goalkeeper for the fourth time in their careers earlier this week. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post Warnock questioned QPR’s decision to sell him the experienced goalkeeper in a cut price deal.
Warnock said: “We’ve worked very hard with this one. It’s taken some time to get over the line, but I think he’s the most important signing I’ll make while I’m at Leeds United. I rate him that highly, and I think the fans will see why. I didn’t think we’d be able to get him. There’s no way I would have let him go. I wouldn’t have swapped him for anybody they have on their books. I think he’s a great goalkeeper. He’s one of the best in the country, not just the Championship. We are delighted to get him. He’s a northern lad, he knows what a pull Leeds is and he knows all about it. We’ve had our moments over the years, but we respect each other and that’s why he has always been the main man I’ve wanted to sign.”
C – Nick McMaster
Argentinean winger Emmanuel Ledesma is to get another crack at the Championship after signing a three year deal with Middlesbrough. The Argentinean, who joined QPR on a season long loan from Genoa in 2009 but struggled to make an impact despite an electric start to life at Loftus Road, scored four times in nine starts for League One Walsall at the end of last season.
He told the Hartlepool Mail: “I’m fast and I enjoy dribbling and like to pass the ball to the central striker to score but I also like to score goals myself. I scored a hat-trick in the League Cup for QPR and now I want to score many more goals for Middlesbrough. I’m going back to Argentina this weekend because hopefully my baby will be born and I want to be there, but I’ll be back at Middlesbrough for training. I’m very happy to be here because it’s a big team and a big club. I’ve seen Middlesbrough play, but only on the TV, and I know about some of the great players who’ve been here, like Zenden and Mendieta.”
Boro boss Tony Mowbray told the BBC: “Having watched him last year, we know he's talented. He's a left-footed centre-forward who drops into midfield, links up the play and has a real work ethic."
In other news, former QPR goalkeeper David Seaman has been speaking to London24 about Rangers’ acquisition of West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green.
Seaman said: “It’s a great signing for QPR and I’m sure Rob will do well. I got my England appearances when I was at QPR through playing well and that’s what he needs to do. I’m surprised he’s moved from West Ham to QPR, if I’m truthful, but he obviously must feel it’s a step forward – he wants to play regularly and that’s what he will be doing. He’s a steady goalkeeper, he’s had his ups and downs and all keepers do that – it’s all about how you react to mistakes. Personally I thought Rob got treated terribly after his mistake in the World Cup but that’s by the by now. It’s just about playing well, keeping mistakes to a minimum and continuing to improve and that’s what I think Rob’s going to do.”
Finally John Spencer has been sacked as manager of MLS side Portland Timbers after a 3-0 away defeat to Real Salt Lake. Spencer was appointed in August 2010 but has seen his side fail to record an away win since October.
- Fulham have signed Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega on a free transfer, subject to a work permit. The 26-year-old Columbian scored just twice in 26 appearances for Wigan last season but has signed a three year deal at Craven Cottage.
- Spurs have completed the signing of Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen for an undisclosed fee believed to be just shy of £10m. Vertonghen, a 25-year-old Belgian international, is the club’s second summer signing following the capture of Gylfi Sigurdsson and he is almost certan to be joined next week by Emanuel Adebayor after Man City accepted a Tottenham bid to make his season long loan deal a permanent transfer.
- Reading have re-signed former left back Nicky Shorey on a free transfer from West Brom. Shorey is one of five players released by new Baggies boss Steve Clarke along with Joe Mattock, goalkeeper Marton Fulop, Somen Tchoyi and Lateef Elford-Alliyu. Marc-Antoine Fortune, Romaine Sawyers, Simon Cox, Jerome Thomas and Luke Daniels have all signed one year extensions. The club is yet to decide whether to offer terms to Keith Andrews and Paul Scharner. Clarke has moved to sign Belgium international winger Yassine El Ghanassy on a season-long loan deal from Pro League side Gent.
- Southampton are struggling to get two of their summer transfers over the line. Rangers midfielder Steven Davis has been refused international clearance to complete his move to St Mary’s as the farce continues north of the border, while a move for Vitesse Arnhem left back Alexander Buttner has stalled because a third party claims it is owed a portion of the transfer fee. The Saints are also said to be chasing promising Crystal Palace full back Nathaniel Clyne.
- No such worries for Swansea who have this week signed 25-year-old Spanish defender Jose Manuel Flores from Genoa for an initial £2m and Villarreal midfielder Jonathan de Guzman on a season long loan deal. New Swans boss Michael Laudrup does say he is braced for big offers for young midfielder Joe Allen however.
- New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says he wouldn’t be averse to the idea of loaning out striker Andy Carroll, who is predecessor Kenny Dalglish spent £35m on 18 months ago. The news has alerted West Ham who recently missed out on the signing of Norwich target man Grant Holt. Liverpool meanwhile are set to complete the signing of Roma striker Fabio Borini for £8m. Rodgers worked with the Italian at Chelsea and Swansea.
Pictures – Action Images, Toon – Nick McMaster