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Pat Nevin biog: a reality check on modern football schedules
at 10:29 5 Dec 2021

Just finished reading Pat Nevin's charming, counter-cultural and altogether inspiring autobiography (Pat Nevin: The Accidental Footballer, Monoray, 2021). A gem of a winger, a thinker, and a real beating heart to complement a lovely footballing (and non-footballing) brain. Also, he was friends with the greatest British band since, ooh, anyone, viz. Cocteau Twins. Highly recommended.

A propos one of my hobby horses, my eye was caught by this passage on p.190 - Warbs Warbler Warburton and his apologists take note!

'[After a 1-0 away win at Southampton in March 1986] [t]he next day we won the Full Members' Cup Final at Wembley, beating Manchester City 5-4.*

*Yes, it really was the next day. Two games in two days was something the modern footballer wouldn't accept, but it happened on a number of occasions back then. It never seemed to bother me too much. These days on the radio when I am asked about the stress of too many games close together for the current players, I try very hard not to go all Monty Python, with a Yorkshire accent: "Luxury! We played two games in two days, usually on mud heaps or potato fields. At that time I played seven games in fifteen days, GBH wasn't even a yellow card, I played nearly 850 games in my career when the average for a modern player is well under half that and they get paid not far short of Bill Gates's wages, while I had to sofa-surf at the end of every season. And you try telling that to the kids to day and they won't believe you."'

As far as I know, Pat is still walking around normally, so presumably he hasn't suffered any lasting damage from doing his job to such, by contemporary industry standards, extraordinary performance levels. By contrast, the lack of authoritative science, as far as I'm aware, behind what MW has recently been claiming about modern football schedules causing footballers to fall like flies really needs dragging out into the light of day, rather than our perpetuating the modern disease of mistaking assertion for argument.
[Post edited 5 Dec 10:35]
Post-Stroud: it could be worse . . .
at 09:52 5 Dec 2021


We could be playing in the Bundesliga, where apparently even officially bent refs. are routinely recycled.
[Post edited 5 Dec 9:53]
Warburton pre-Forest interview
at 18:36 28 Oct 2021

Pretty much as you'd expect - everyone sombre after Tuesday, great opportunity to exorcise some ghosts vs Forest 'under the lights' (what there are of them), then about half the 7' interview on '7 games in 21', 'all you can do is a maintenance programme' and an even-by-his standards full-on diatribe about fixture congestion when he seems to speak for about two minutes without stopping. Even when Paul Morrissey, 'to play devil's advocate', breaks rank by gently suggesting that constantly carping about it might be an excuse for the players, Warburton just bats off as if it wasn't even a potential question, worryingly. (Can we not book him in for a session with a sports psychologist?)

Gaffer - We. Get. It - just give over, for the love of Jesus. You're managing a squad, just as football managers have since pro football began (when squads were much smaller, and there was only one sub allowed). Even if some would probably say games are tougher than they were, physically - perhaps they are, perhaps they aren't - we're also led to believe that most players are fitter than they were thanks to the paradigm-shifting glories of sports science, dieticians and all the rest (though you wouldn't think so, watching Charlie blowing out of his arse even after a 20 minute cameo). On the other hand, when you think about the conditions that the likes of Stan and Gerry had to deal with (terrible pitches, minimal protection), you'd be insane to suggest it's not much easier being a player now than then. Yet I don't remember all the moaning about, essentially, footballers and managers just going about their business back in the day when everyone just got on with it, even though, to again state the obvious for the benefit of the woke crowd, we played just as many if not more games in the past. There's plenty of times in my teaching career I've been 'thrown in at the deep end' and/or had little or no preparation time, but I do my best and get with the programme, like all my other colleagues have to.

Rather than using the club platform to vent yet again his issues with the above, Warburton would do better to question his own refusal to think about the abdication of professionalism that confirmed our cup exit - it's hard to recall two suicidally crappier pens than those by Chair and Barbet in the history of pro football, and I only hope words have been had with both of them at Harlington, though I fear they won't have been. Mind you, we now know who our back-up pen takers definitely aren't, and well done Lyndon for bucking the trend and having the concentration and technique to show up the failings of his team-mates. (If I were him, I'd have given Ilias, Charlie and Yoann a big f*ckign mouthful in the dressing room afterwards.)

I hope we're all feeling a bit better on Friday night even though I'll be thinking where recent events leave me as a follower of pro football now, but I'm not optimistic - Forest are in great form, we're still waiting for that 'response' to Peterborough, and it's on a day with a 'F' in it live on Sky. What could possibly go wrong?

You Rs, whatever. It's my birthday, and I'm still feeling like banging my head against a wall.
[Post edited 28 Oct 19:02]
Post-Sunderland: complaining to the club and EFL.
at 02:46 27 Oct 2021

I would urge all of us not to take this lying down. The following mail has gone in from me tonight to the Club/Lee Hoos, and the EFL. I feel there needs to be an official protest from the top of the Club, and fans like me need to see it.


Dear Mr Hoos and the EFL,

As an aggrieved QPR supporter and active contributor to the QPR messageboard Loft for Words, which has been unified in its livid disgust this evening, I am writing to you now in conjunction with the above incident this evening. This is the first time I have felt driven to do so in 45 years of following the club re a footballing matter, but it cannot be allowed to pass.

As the QPR manager Mark Warburton made clear in his post-match interview, the decision not to award a legitimate goal to QPR, scored by Charlie Austin, was scandalously wrong in a scenario that was not even remotely close, contributing directly to the club's exit from the competition this evening and ultimately making a mockery of the spectacle. It is likely this goal would have won the game, as it was scored a few minutes before the end of the 90 minutes. Given the magnitude of the error and attached photographic evidence that clearly shows Austin very comfortably onside when the ball was played, the decision to disallow the goal can therefore only be explained by a conspiracy of craven incompetence or else corruption.

It has also been pointed out that, to add insult to injury, a flagrant handball by a Sunderland defender in the build-up to the goal occurred, which could and should also have led to a penalty and a red card, so the laws of the game were also not applied twice over for reasons best known to the incompetent officials.

Please review the attached evidence carefully. I wish to know (i) what action will be taken against the referee Keith Stroud and his offending linesmen Paul Hodskinson and Mark Dwyer, as well as the 4th official John Busby, who, despite having a monitor, apparently also enforced this miscarriage of justice, for effectively bringing the game into disrepute; (ii) what reparation will be made to QPR FC for the loss of gate receipts, sponsorship and associated benefits attached to their failure to progress, and (iii) where and when an official apology will be issued for this injustice that is visible to fans.

Finally, I think it would be very wise that Mr Stroud and his officials are not allocated any game at QPR FC for the foreseeable future, as I think it would be difficult for the Club to guarantee their safety were this to happen.

I look forward to your replies.

Yours sincerely,
Under-valued, self-sabotaging and/or prematurely released Rs
at 16:30 9 Oct 2021

Leon Jeanne
Abdenesser El Khayati
Paul Smyth
Chair first goal for Morocco
at 16:10 9 Oct 2021

Lovely first Chair goal for his country (or Chai-ear as the commentator called him) at 1.07, albeit it all looked very easy against an apparently food-poisoned Guinea Bissau.


(Adel nowhere to be seen - was he injured?)
[Post edited 9 Oct 16:35]
Dykes' disallowed goal
at 18:31 2 Oct 2021

Didn't look offside to me, but haven't seen it back, as the club video didn't seem to deal with it properly. Can anyone corroborate or critique the official decision?
Today's crowd
at 18:29 2 Oct 2021

Looked a few more than for Brum (which seemed over-inflated). Can't have been more than 12.5/13k tops?
QPR stream purchase (link broken)
at 18:59 28 Sep 2021

Again! I guess they don't want us Johnny Foreigners/overseas aficionados to actually follow the team. Any one else having an issue?
at 17:35 25 Sep 2021

Really unfair, imo, the pelters he's been getting since Friday night. For me, he was one of our better players against the Baggies, could have had a goal (or made one for Dykes), and showed one or two classy twinkletoed moments, despite the fact so little was going through feet in our midfield. Far more deserving of criticism were the inadequate Ball and anonymous Jojo, which latter did anything but give us leadership. Willock also was disspiritingly quiet, after dazzling against Everton. It's not right he should be singled out, as so many were below-par.

For their winner, they did what they'd done most of the game, doubled up on him, and aggressively dispossessed him near the halfway line - he wasn't dallying - and he had no time to lay the ball off, if you actually watch the goal back. They attacked with pace and skill from there, the whole defence got pulled over, and Grant capitalised by dint of Kakay's poor positioning.

If we had a proper right back/right wing back working in tandem with a well-drilled defence, we'd probably have stopped at least half a dozen oppo goals this season - that's where the major issue right now, as it also was for their first, notwithstanding Seny's brainfart. I hope Warburton can sort it, as I fear neither Kakay nor Moses are up to it, and for me it's another reason to potentially start Uncle, which worked so well against Everton, so we're defending higher up.

I also thought Warbs got the subs wrong and wrongly timed - Jojo should have been hooked earlier, Willock should have stayed on, and I'd have introduced Uncle for Moses and Austin for Gray. I know hindsight is 20-20, but his 'fine margins' apply to him too.
Warburton post-match interview
at 00:29 25 Sep 2021

Just listened to it on the Offish and, I don't know about you, for me it really caps off a depressing evening's work.

'We had to play a different style of football tonight .' No, we didn't! We needed to mix up flair and fortitude, not turn into Wimbledon AFC with an inferiority complex. We chose to play a game we clearly can't play well, got deeper as the game got longer, made the wrong subs, gifted them a goal (again), and handed them the three points by snatching defeat from the unlikely jaws of victory.

Then Nick London, right on script - in a voice whose tone always sounds to me perfectly tuned to that of a man longing for excuses to fail even when he's saying he's not - makes sure he gets said excuses away 65 seconds in, by talking up the 'how significant is it?' angle on the Everton cup win. A more perfect specimen of the 'leading question' you couldn't hope to find, which Warbs bites on gratefully, mentioning de Wijs down with cramp and JoJo hitting the deck, even though (as he himself half-acknowledged) neither actually played on Tuesday! You seriously couldn't make it up! Get a grip, man, and stop treating us all like imbeciles!

If the players really are at 'an exhaustion stage' after two games in a week, then, after fewer than 10 games of the season, I can only say (and will continue to say) something is really wrong with the fitness programme at QPR. It just won't wash!

Essentially, by telling the fans that there are 'consequences' (the manager's word) for progressing to the heady heights of the last 16 of the Carabao Cup, it's not hard to see that he's aggressively managing down our expectations to provide mitigation for both the team's and coaching staff's continuing deficiencies as some kind of irreversible form of footballing fate. Personally, I feel even worse about that than tonight's game, on the principle that a fish rots from its head.

Some people may feel I'm over-reacting, and perhaps I am, but my underlying beef stands regardless. People either look up or down in life, and I think tonight the barely coded message to the fans from the manager is not to expect too much, and, worse, to definitely expect to suffer for actually trying in a cup competition.

As a final observation, I wonder how the surviving members of our 1966-67 squad would feel listening to our manager speak this evening, who managed to actually win the League Cup and, blow me down, the Div III championship to boot (46 games then as now, funnily enough), with a squad of 18, on shit pitches, and, supposedly, a much lower knowledge-base of physical training - though, it would appear, much more aspiration. If, anyone is able to wind back the clock, I'd love to know if Alex Stock was whining to the media in a similar vein about dampening down our hopes before the leaves were off the trees - he'd have killed, I'm sure, to be working under modern management conditions. Either way, the likes of Dave Clement and Mick Leach would, I'll wager, be shaking their ghostly heads!
[Post edited 25 Sep 0:38]
Dieng peno save
at 10:01 22 Sep 2021

I fulminated at the time, but was the ref right? I've looked at it a few times since, and it seems Seny did marginally encroach off his line, but I'd be surprised if that hasn't happened many times before with no action. I'm also thinking of that outrageous incident when we had a pen at HQ a sesason or so back (it might have been one of Wells's) when one of the oppo defenders encroached so far into the box he was virtually alongside the ball. Was this a case of 'proper' Prem technical reffing that we never would have seen in a bog-standard Champ game? At the time, it looked harsh to me. Perhaps the ref. just wanted to see if the kicker would score, but there's another question in my mind as to why, if he saw an infringement, he didn't stop play and delay the pen rather than allow Seny to make a great save and then punish him for it.

Can anyone remember an incident where this has happened before? It also seems bizarre that the laws apparently allow all kinds of pre-kick high jinks by the keeper (whether on his line or off it) - think of Grobbelaar and his wobbly knees back in the 80s - in ways that I'm never sure help the keepers themselvesl But I was just thrilled that Seny saved two to take us through, as his record has been poor here up to now.
Willock (and Chair)
at 01:33 22 Sep 2021

On this season's/tonight's showings, my worry is how long before some serious suitors come calling. I could see the likes of Arsenal offering 20m in Jan, but it increasingly looks like our holding onto him and Chair beyond this season may depend on our going up. I'd say, if they keep progressing, 50m for the pair will not be unrealistic money, though I hope we won't (have to) sell either for a fair old time to come. Thinking of the damage they could do in the hoops at the top of the tree has me creaming.
video/stream coverage tonight
at 11:45 21 Sep 2021

Is there any? Nothing on the Offish.
Wells post-match
at 06:12 19 Sep 2021

DId anyone see him on the turf at the final whistle? Classy not to celebrate his goal too much, but he looked devastated. Is he still in love with us?
Hugill or Wells?
at 23:20 22 Aug 2021

Hugill or Wells?

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