|Barton trains with Fleetwood, Kean talks Hoilett nonsense β diary|
Thu 26th Jul 2012 22:19 by Clive Whittingham
The never-ending saga of Joey Barton has taken another bizarre twist this week with QPR giving the midfielder permission to train with League Two newcomers Fleetwood.
Barton is banned for the first 12 matches of next season for his sending off and subsequent antics against Manchester City in the final game of last season. QPR have also imposed a heavy fine on the player and banned him from the pre-season tour of Asia. There has been talk of a loan move to the lower leagues to get the ban over with quicker than if the former captain stayed at Loftus Road but this surprise move to Fleetwood Town’s pre-season training camp seems to suggest Barton isn’t much wanted around QPR any more regardless of his suspension.
Barton’s mood during the week has fluctuated, judging by his various quotes. He told his Twitter followers: “Training with them will certainly help me with my short term fitness and my plan on being as fit as possible during my 12 game ban. Fleetwood are a young club going places: five promotions already in the last few years. If I help some of their young players, great. Still have three years left at QPR. Exciting times for the club, which I intended to be a part of. Need to get some fitness in the meantime.”
But he later admitted via his new official website that he felt he needed the change of scenery as a reality check and that he was gutted that Mark Hughes had decided that, in addition to the ban, he should be omitted from the QPR senior squad.
Barton said: “I feel that training in the lower leagues will give me a reality check and maybe help me become a better person,” read a statement on his personal website. I want to fall back in love with the game and keep my fingers crossed that I can once again earn my place in a QPR shirt. The simple fact is that on top of my much-deserved punishment by the FA and then, of course, QPR, I’ve also been omitted from the senior QPR squad that are now out in Asia, which is, of course, even more gutting than the original punishment. I respect that Mark Hughes makes his own decisions, of course, and fair play to him for doing what he believes is right. QPR want me to train with the young guys and the reserves in the meantime.”
The whole episode would seem to make Barton’s inclusion in QPR’s 25 man squad for the first half of the season very doubtful indeed.
The rest of the team, meanwhile, concluded its tour of Asia with a 2-1 win against Persebaya in front of 55,000 raucous supporters in Indonesia. Adel Taarabt converted a penalty and Bobby Zamora also scored as Rangers recovered from falling a goal behind after a shambolic piece of goalkeeping from new signing Robert Green.
Manager Mark Hughes told the club’s official website: “In the end we were able to win all three games, which was important for us and has helped us to prepare for the Premier League. I'm surprised there are not more Asian players playing at a high level in Europe. I don't think there is anything wrong in terms of the ability of the players here, I think opportunity is a factor. Perhaps teams in the Premier League and across Europe need to open their minds to the ability that is available in other countries."
Defender Anton Ferdinand was somewhat in awe of the atmosphere at the third and final fixture that was peppered with fireworks and floodlight failures. Ferdinand told qpr.co.uk: “That was right up there in terms of atmosphere. It epitomised the great support the Malaysian and Indonesian fans have shown us all tour. It was unreal when the lights went out with the fireworks and flares going off to light up the stadium. It was amazing to be part of that and it's something I will always remember. I've played in a lot of big games. The FA Cup Final; the Play-Off Final; the Tyne-Wear derby; and of course, QPR v Chelsea; but that comes to close to them. It's not far behind them. It was just a joy to be involved in.
"I feel really good physically. Getting game-time under your belt is very important at this stage of the pre-season campaign. I feel quite sharp - my lungs feel good and my legs feel good. We go back to London and we put in more hard graft now ahead of the countdown to August 18."
QPR took three youngsters with them on tour – Max Ehmer, Michael Doughty and Michael Harriman – and all did their cause no harm whatsoever. Ehmer told the club’s official website: "The three of us have come here determined to grasp this opportunity we've been given. I think we have done alright. Hopefully we can keep going, continue to train with the First Team and help to promote the name of the youth department, along with all the other lads who are coming through the system."
Their fellow youth team graduate Bruno Andrade didn’t travel, playing instead for the reserves in matches at Woking and Aldershot. The 18-year-old has however signed a new contract at Loftus Road until the summer of 2014.
Rangers won 2-1 at Woking on Saturday thanks to a well taken double from DJ Campbell. The first goal there came from the penalty spot, but Campbell was less clinical at Aldershot on Tuesday evening when he missed from the spot in first half injury time in a 1-0 defeat. Campbell, Tommy Smith and Rob Hulse have been left in limbo this summer – no offers forthcoming, and frozen out of the first team picture.
Campbell told London24: “I haven’t had a proper talk with the manager about my future so at the moment I’m just getting on with my training. I am a bit in limbo. It has been a bit hard to take because, as everyone knows, I’m a QPR fan. But I’m not taking it to heart, these things happen in football. If I have to leave, I’ll move on and start again somewhere else. I do feel like I’ve never had a chance to prove myself here. I spent most of last season injured and never had a good run in the side. But I’m 30 years old now and I want to be playing, I can’t just sit around. I don’t want a repeat of last season. Pre-season has gone well, I’m fit and raring to go. If I start the season with QPR then great, but if not I won’t be too upset.”
While those three kick their heals Rangers are looking to add yet more new faces to their squad, with Liverpool’s Craig Bellamy a name mentioned by Amit Bhatia. The vice chairman said: “Craig is definitely a name that has been mentioned, a name we’ve discussed. There are a few options. We have been a fan of Craig Bellamy for the last few years, ever since he became available – that’s not to say we have not been fans of other players. Many names have been tossed about, and who Mark settles on eventually will be his and we’ll do our best to support him.”
An interesting transfer ‘might have been’ is Spurs goalkeeper Huerelho Gomes who told The Sun this week that Harry Redknapp blocked a move to QPR last season. He said: “Redknapp barely talked to me. I was playing really well when he hired Friedel. So I was really surprised and decided to ask him about that. Redknapp asked me to be calm, because I was his goalkeeper and he trusted me, as he told me. But that didn’t happen. I asked Redknapp to let me go, but he said no to three offers for me. QPR, CSKA Moscow and Atletico Mineiro wanted me.”
Off the field CEO Philip Beard has said that improvements made to the Harlington Training Ground this summer have relieved the pressure on the new development at Warren Farm. He told the Fulham Chronicle: “We’ve made significant changes to Harlington and by doing that there’s less of an urgency to get out. I don’t think it can still be seen as a Premier League training facility, so the plan is still to get Warren Farm up and running as fast as possible and the community project as well but I don’t think there’s this urgency to get in there even if we haven’t finished because Harlington is in a position now where Mark feels it delivers what he needs. However, for the medium to long term we’ve got to move to the new facilities as soon as possible. We need to get it absolutely right."
The club has confirmed the appointment of Mark Hughes’ former team mate Glyn Hodges as the head of coaching and coach education, where he will lead a revamped youth and development structure based at Acton Park. He told West London Sport: “It’s a massive step. For starters, there’s an indoor area that means on the dark winter nights we can get the boys in there when otherwise they wouldn’t be able to train,” he said. There are great facilities there. There’s an astroturf pitch and everything else to give the boys what they need. It ticks all the boxes and it’s exciting that things are now in place to take the club forward.”
As ever in the LFW diary, we like to finish the News section with a more light-hearted and amusing story. No difference today, except we have two tit bits to finish with.
Firstly, to Portsmouth, a club said to be just days away from liquidation and closure that is currently trying to agree severance packages with its eight remaining professional players. Despite this, manager Michael Appleton has told the Portsmouth News that he’d like to bring QPR midfielder Shaun Derry to Fratton Park. He said: “Shaun is a Premier League player. Would I be interested in a Premier League player? Of course I would. At the end of the day, if people like that became available then we would be interested, so whether Portsmouth would be the destination for someone like Shaun, then who knows? If it became a possibility, though, then I would be very interested.”
But he’s beaten to our prestigious Mentalist of the Week award by everybody’s favourite basket case Steve Kean. The Blackburn boss has told the Daily Mirror that Blackburn want £6m, or Jamie Mackie, for their winger Junior Hoilett who will sign for QPR once his work permit is approved by the authorities. Kean has, however, overlooked the fact that Hoilett is out of contract, has not spoken to Blackburn all summer, and can leave with a fee being set by tribunal.
Kean nevertheless rambled: “QPR might make us an offer, if not it might go to a tribunal. We were always hopeful he would go to a club here because the compensation would be greater. Manchester City got a chunky figure when Daniel Sturridge went to Chelsea. We have had Junior for a long time and we developed him and put a lot of time and effort into him. I am sure that will be reflected when the time comes. There are plenty of good players down there. But we are finding out that clubs like to keep their best players. We feel we have been a big part of his development. It would have been nice to get a call. We had monthly meetings with his dad and he said he was keeping his options open. His dad is his agent and has been all around the world looking for offers.”
Poor old Steve. Fruit loop.
Adam Bolder has moved to Conference North outfit Harrogate Town on a free transfer. The 31-year-old midfielder played 46 times for Burton Albion in League Two last season, scoring three times, but was released at the end of the season. He made his first appearance in a 2-2 pre-season friendly draw with Osset Town earlier this week.
No new club as yet for Lee Cook who was released by Rangers this summer. Cook says he has had offers from League One sides having spent time on loan at Leyton Orient and Charlton last season but is holding out for an offer from a Championship team. He told Sky Sports: "I have had offers from League One clubs but I am just waiting for a Championship club to show some interest and make a move. At the moment that has not happened and I am surprised by that, but I have spoken to a number of other players who are in the same boat. I felt that going out on loan last season and being able to get those games under my belt I might have had an offer from somewhere. However if that does not happen then I will look to League One and focus on staying there for just a single season before earning the right to play in the Championship again.”
Rangers travel to Wycombe for their first senior domestic friendly of the summer. The Chairboys have made Gareth Ainsworth player coach assisting manager Gary Waddock ahead of the new season. Ainsworth told the Bucks Free Press: "At QPR when I was a player and I went on to manage it was really difficult. One day you're a team mate of the lads, the next day you're telling them what to do. I'm missing out on most of the banter because I'm upstairs in my office doing some session plans with Richard Dobson. I'm always going to be Gaz to the lads. They'll always respect me for what I've done throughout my career and how I play. They're a great set of lads and they've made it easy for me. I've been taking sessions as well as joining in. The gaffer's trusted me with coaching the first team. We all do it together, we try to keep it structured and work on a specific topic if we need to. It's a good learning curve for me and I've got two great people to learn off."
- Chelsea's summer spending splurge under new manager Roberto Di Matteo shows no signs of abating, with Brazilian Olympic international Oscar the latest through the door for a cool £25m. He joins from Internacional and follows Eden Hazard and Marko Marin through the door at Stamford Bridge this close season.
- Manchester City have tied captain Vincent Kompany down to a lucrative six year contract, but manager Roberto Mancini says new faces will be required to defend the club's Premier League title. Mancini, apparently applying pressure to director of football Brian Marwood, said: "It is important to get players quickly because, after what we did last year, we must continue to win. "This year will be harder than last so we need to improve our team. We have a man who works for this and we hope that they can do a good job."
- Danny Collins has left Stoke and signed for Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee.
- Gael Bigirimana, the 18-year-old Burundi born midfielder, has expressed his surprise after completing a move from Coventry to Newcastle on a five year deal. He said: "When I found out it was me they were interested in, it was a surprise. I'm just privileged to be here at Newcastle and grateful to the club."
- Swansea and Liverpool have started negotiations over the transfer of midfielder Joe Allen to Anfield, but an initial offer of £12m and Johnjo Shelvey on loan as been rejected. Swansea value the Team GB international at £15m.
- Plenty of early strife for new Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas. Star midfielder Luka Modric is training with the reserves after requesting a transfer and initially failing to report back for pre-season as he attempts to force through a move to Real Madrid. Meanwhile FIFA has said that Gareth Bale could be banned for the duration of the Olympics – Spurs withdrew the Welsh international from Team GB consideration because of injury, but he scored in their pre-season friendly in LA earlier this week.
Pictures – Action Images