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Gorkss haunts lifeless QPR again as winless run goes on — full match report
Gorkss haunts lifeless QPR again as winless run goes on — full match report
Monday, 5th Nov 2012 23:46 by Clive Whittingham

Another game with Reading, another defensive shambles, another goal for Kaspars Gorkss, another game without a win, another match ticks by, another two points dropped.

In an interview with Junior Hoilett made up of submitted questions from supporters, the official QPR matchday programme was actually brave enough to ask the Canadian winger whether he regretted joining the club in the summer, spurning a potential European campaign with Borussia Mönchengladbach in the process.

“Definitely not,” he said. “I’ve never regretted anything I’ve done, I know we’ll do well with the players and staff that we have got here.” He went on to say he sees his long term future in W12 because of “the direction the club is heading.”

There’s a lot of this sort of rhetoric coming out of Loftus Road at the moment. A sort of weird mix of Andre Villas Boas, David Brent and former Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf – more commonly known as Comical Ali who became famous in the UK for talking about how the Americans would be burned in their tanks as Baghdad fell in the background behind him.

“The overriding feeling at the moment is one of frustration,” we’re told and “there’s a lot of quality in the building.” Training is “upbeat”, “high tempo” and “confidence is high.” Chairman Tony Fernandes preaches patience and stability but on Sunday he sat in the directors box to my right and watched a first half that, by the end, had me struggling to stifle laughter.

I wonder when QPR are going to realise that simply saying you’re heading in a certain direction doesn’t actually make it true. Saying that things will turn around soon doesn’t actually mean they will.

Immediately below Fernandes, myself and the other unfortunate souls on the South Africa Road side of the ground stood Mark Hughes, a man who our chairman admitted “interviewed QPR” rather than the other way around when he was appointed. Hughes is collecting quotes like this that make him look like a bigger fool with each passing winless match – ten now at the start of this season following this dire draw with an equally awful Reading team – and this week followed up his “this will never happen again while I’m here,” post-Man City belter with an ill-advised two minute burst of quotes about how the current predicament isn’t affecting his sleeping pattern.

I was reminded of a moment in the middle of the Rugby League season just passed when Leeds coach Brian McDermott – a former Marine it should be said – was asked if he was panicking as another home defeat left his reigning champions in danger of not making the play offs at all. Leeds always come home with a wet sail, in the same way that Mark Hughes’ teams have done up to this point, but compare McDermott’s response at the time to this weird, lethargic “it’ll be alright in the end” attitude that seems to prevail at Loftus Road at the moment.

McDermott said: “I am panicking. I don’t like being eighth. I want to be first in the league; I want us to finish top and not mess about waiting for this mythical back end of the season before Leeds switch on. That is a very dangerous route for us to go down and this is not helping this group. I know everyone else is saying we are all right after what happened last year, but I’m panicking. I’ve just asked the team if they’re in the comfort zone, wondering if this mythical back end will happen for us.”

Leeds finished as champions again four months later.

Speaking of comfort zone… sitting behind Hughes on the bench was striker Bobby Zamora, who took time out of his hectic schedule this week to inform the Mail on Sunday that he’s actually pretty fed up of football these days. He doesn’t watch it, it doesn’t interest him, he’s just not that bothered really. Frankly, I’m not sure he should ever play for the club again.

Nor, in an ideal world, should Jose Bosingwa. This is a man who has won the Champions League with two different clubs and has 24 Portuguese caps. Here he began a performance that could only be described as embarrassing by allowing Reading veteran Jason Roberts to turn him on the byline and play in Jobi McAnuff whose low cross almost provided Noel Hunt with a tap in inside the six yard box. Within two minutes Hunt did get the ball in the area, but dragged a shot through the goal mouth and away for a corner via a deflection.

Bosingwa spent the rest of the afternoon conceding mindlessly stupid free kicks and knocking aimless, lazy long balls up to a small QPR strike force playing against two big Reading centre backs. His entre performance smacked of a player treating our club as little more than a cash machine. He was pathetic and he wasn’t alone.

While we’re talking about full backs, how about Mr Porcelain himself on the other side Armand Traore? He graced us with his full attention for 70 minutes and then demanded to be taken off and replaced by Nedum Onuoha for 15 minutes until the change was finally made – as he has done in pretty much every match since he arrived. Traore wasn’t the only one looking longingly at the bench and limping about with one knock or another either. I’ve never known a team with so many players so keen to be substituted. Telling.

And then there’s Anton Ferdinand, whose body language gave Harry Enfield’s Kevin the Teenager character a run for its money in the sulking stakes. Ferdinand spent his afternoon anywhere between five and 25 yards deeper than the rest of the defence, playing the Reading strike force onside, and on the rare occasions the defence did actually deal with the danger and clear successfully he trudged up the field at less than walking pace, back hunched, head down, apparently cold, fed up and too bone idle to get his expanding arse into position. This is somebody apparently trying to fight for a place in the team. Compare this to the off the ball work you see from teams like Newcastle and West Brom, who presumably QPR feel they should be competing with, and the difference is alarming.

It was hard not to feel sorry for veteran Ryan Nelsen who was, as he has been in several games this season, immense. The 35-year-old should be winding down a successful career, not attempting to hold back the tide surrounded by younger players with twice his speed and half his attitude.

I mention the back four in isolation because that’s exactly what it was: consistently far, far too deep and operating completely independently of the midfield in front of it. Low on confidence, low on morale, low on effort, low on commitment – a group of three individuals contributing little and one veteran free transfer signing trying to hold the job together. Further forward a midfield unit of Esteban Granero, Samba Diakite, Adel Taarabt and Junior Hoilett sat totally separate from the four players behind and two in front. They set about making Mikele Leigertwood and Jay Tabb look like Ballon D’Or candidates.

Tony Fernandes must have sat at the front of the director’s box during a truly, truly awful first half performance from his expensively assembled team and wondered what on earth has gone wrong. He backs his manager in the transfer market, he keeps him employed when many others would have swung the axe, he communicates with the supporters, he spends money on the club and the more he does all of this the worse the team gets.

What is wrong is that this extortionate squad of players and coaches lacks heart, attitude and feel for the club. And you can’t buy that stuff.

There were positives, provided by the players who did actually appear to want to be on the field, and were willing to show for the ball. Junior Hoilett, who had a decent first half and a poor second as opposed to the team which did at least go the other way, collected Reading’s first corner and drove down the field before setting up Taarabt for a shot that deflected wide. Djibril Cisse, recalled at Zamora’s expense, ran purposefully into the danger area and then lashed a shot over the bar. Hoilett did likewise but missed wide of the target.

But let’s be perfectly honest here; this is a Reading team that has proven wholly inadequate at dealing with the rigours of Premier League football so far this season. During the week the Royals conceded seven against Arsenal Reserves to lose a match they had led 4-0 at one stage in the first half. Despite that they were far, far better than QPR in the first half: Roberts, when he wasn’t chewing the ear off referee Michael Oliver, was a pacy, physical pest; Noel Hunt, consistently won a physical battle against defenders who were happy to allow him to do so rather than engage him and possibly get hurt; Leigertwood and Tabb dominated the middle of midfield while Ale Faurlin sat on the bench, unused.

After a quarter of an hour the visitors took the lead. Reading have been running the same corner and free kick routine all season - previously it was Alex Pearce at the heart of it but in his absence Premier League debutant Sean Morrison came up from the back, ran round late to the far post and then tried to head a deep cross back into the danger zone. Despite Reading doing this in every match they’ve played so far, Rangers were dumbfounded. The home team also - despite him playing for QPR for three years and scoring against them from the same position at the same end of the ground in the League Cup – neglected to pick up Kaspars Gorkss. Morrison was permitted two attempts at his free header, the second of which rebounded back into play off the bar and Gorkss stuck in the rebound.

And apparently Reading running the same set piece routine all season, and scoring from a set piece in the League Cup, and now taking the lead from a set piece in the league as well, wasn’t warning enough. All afternoon Rangers left visiting players unmarked from corners and free kicks. Morrison could have had a hat trick. Visiting players, hundreds of them, wearing bright yellow shirts, completely unmarked all match.

I’m drawn to another of Mark Hughes’ recent quotes about how his coaching staff prepare the team “meticulously” for every game to give them “the best possible chance of success.” Really Mark? Really?

With the going now really tough, that problem of players hiding started to become prevalent. At the midway point of the half Samba Diakite collected possession, looked up, and found nobody. In the end he carried the ball half the length of the field himself, bypassing three visiting defenders before delivering a low cross that Cisse miskicked when he should have scored. When faced with the same situation a moment later Anton Ferdinand chipped an aimless, lazy long ball up down the middle and only hard work from Jamie Mackie turned it into anything like useful service. Mackie teed up Taarabt who shot over and on the next attack the Moroccan miskicked on the edge of the area having driven to the heart of the Reading team.

The referee incurred the wrath of an increasingly frustrated home crowd around the half hour as he first of all bought an obvious dive from Roberts on halfway and awarded Reading a free kick, then penalised QPR again over by the corner flag when it appeared that Mackie was the man dragged to earth, and was then quick with the whistle again when Tabb hit the deck under minimal contact but Shorey struck the ball over the bar from a similar position to the one he’d scored from in the cup game here a month ago. Oliver did however show a yellow card to Hunt for a firm foul on Diakite, and then rather kindly let the striker off without so much as a warning when he deliberately used his hand to set himself away down the line. Other referees would have issued a second yellow card – but then I do often say we don’t come to football to see people sent off so I won’t criticise him for that.

Cisse and Taarabt combined well ten minutes before half time but the French striker mishit his shot. Then a purposeful run from Mackie drew a foul on the edge of the box and Granero saw a fine free kicked tipped onto the bar by Reading keeper Alex McCarthy with his finger tips. Bosingwa stuck the rebound over the top. Promising, but again anything good QPR did came from Mackie, Taarabt, Hoilett or Diakite running with the ball for want of a better passing option, ot through any structured attacking plan. QPR’s “meticulously planned” attacking strategy for this match could have been written on the back of a stamp with a thick pen.

The second half could scarcely have been worse than the first and the early signs were promising for Mark Hughes. Another lung busting run from Diakite drew a foul from Tabb and Granero struck the free kick into the side netting after a prolonged argument with Taarabt over who should take the kick. Cisse had a shot blocked and Jamie Mackie had what looked like a very decent penalty shout waved away by Oliver as he fell to ground chasing the loose ball. Then Hoilett went on a mazy run from the left flank to the heart of the penalty area but shot wide via a deflection.

Better, but Bosingwa was in a giving mood down at the School End in front of a paltry following from Reading. The hapless full back stupidly fouled McAnuff when he was going nowhere by the corner flag which gave Reading a chance for another free kick and, wouldn’t you just know it, Rangers left Morrison unmarked and he should have headed in a second.

Rangers made Morrison pay for that miss, and a botched attempt at a diving header clearance in his own area, with an equaliser halfway through the second half. The Reading man was attempting to clear a low cross from Bosingwa but having missed the ball completely he left space behind him which allowed Djibril Cisse to take one touch to control the ball and then divert it into the bottom corner with his second. A fine finish and proof once more that Cisse should be in the team whenever possible for his goal threat alone, even when he’s not playing particularly well overall.

Within two minutes Taarabt had called McCarthy into action from long range and there was a sense that a weight had been lifted from the home team’s shoulders with the equaliser. But the slapdash nature of their defending, and the way the back four was consistently far too deep inside its own half, meant Reading were always dangerous. Having sent on Jimmy Kebe for Garath McCleary the Royals boss Brian McDermott almost reaped rewards when the Malian ran fully 80 yards unchallenged before shooting wide after Bosingwa had farted about dancing in front of Tabb and then delivered a lousy cross that set Reading away on a counter.

The game then became a bit of an end to end farce. Bosingwa’s back post header was important at one end, Diakite’s driving run and shot at the other rather wild. Oliver awarded a generous free kick to Cisse, Taarabt and Granero argued over the free kick, the Spaniard shot into The Loft. Hughes sent on Bobby Zamora – nothing better to do with his time on Sunday apparently so he decided to turn out – and Reading introduced Hal Robson Kanu for Jobi McAnuff. As much as things change, they stay the same: ten minutes from time another corner, Morrison unmarked again, this time he headed wide of the target. Excuse me a moment while I tear off my own face and throw it at somebody through the pure frustration of watching the basics of football neglected to such a bloody huge extent for an entire afternoon.

Eight minutes from time, something amazing happened. QPR actually put together a structured attack, that cut through the Reading defence very deliberately. Three QPR attacking players actually linked up, they looked like they knew each other. Hell it was actually good to watch. Zamora killed the ball on halfway and played a crisp pass up to Cisse, he in turn fed a perfect ball through to Taarabt who remained composed enough to check inside his man and then just when it seemed easier to score he tried to place a shot and allowed McCarthy to make a fine save.

After 15 minutes of waving and limping Traore finally got his wish and left the field to be replaced by Nedum Onuoha. Reading in turn introduced Adam Le Fondre for Roberts when QPR’s piss weak defence would surely have sweated more over an introduction for Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Cisse did his best for the cause in five minutes of stoppage time – first keeping a long clearance from Cesar in and crossing wonderfully for Zamora who bundled the ball straight into McCarthy’s arms from close range. Then with the very last kick he lashed an inch wide with a shot the keeper actually injured himself trying to save. But Reading could easily have snatched the match as well – Kebe cut inside and saw a goalbound shot blocked, Leigertwood shot over the bar after Bosingwa gave the ball away again, and the Zamora chance actually came after Robson-Kanu had been left unmarked in the QPR penalty area and planted a free header straight at Cesar from a long throw. There was also a yellow card for Le Fondre when he dived attempting to win a penalty from Taarabt, of all people, back in his own area.

At the end of the day these match reports are simply the long winded rambling of a dyed in the wool QPR fan who just wants to see the team succeed. I’m no kind of authority, I’m regularly wrong about just about anything, so feel free to disagree and tell me I’m being harsh. QPR, after all, had more shots than Reading for whom the goalkeeper was the stand out performer. Rangers went closest to winning the game and should have done given the chances they created in the second half. Had they taken a couple of those and won 3-1 – they could easily have done so – I’m sure I’d be pouring forth about the relief that everybody is feeling and how it’s onwards and upwards from here. Write this off as an over-the-top, knee jerk reaction if you like. It could well be just that, and we’ll all look back and have a jolly good laugh at how I thought Bosingwa was appalling against Reading and then he went on to win the Player of the Year award and I wrote about a draw at home like it was the end of the world when it actually turned out to be the start of the revival and whatever.

However, in my opinion, not only could you compile a very long list of very basic things QPR did wrong on the field, but you could also start putting together a worrying dossier of examples of poor attitude, dreadful body language, and quotes from players and management that suggest they either don’t grasp the seriousness of this situation, or they don’t give a toss, or both. And yes, I’m aware that it’s always the first wail from a supporter that the players don’t care enough and aren’t trying and more often than not it’s just reactionary nonsense from some beered up idiot. That could well be what this is, but I looked at the way Bosingwa and Ferdinand carried themselves in that game, I’ve read what Hughes and Zamora have said this week, and I’m looking out there at all these players who cannot bloody wait for their number to go up on the substitution board and I’m both worried and heartbroken.

All I ever am is honest, and honestly, I thought that was an utter fucking shambles.

A terrific advert for the Championship, which is where this fixture will be played next season if both teams don’t start pulling their collective fingers out soon.

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QPR: Cesar 6, Bosingwa 4, Ferdinand 4, Nelsen 8, Traore 5 (Onuoha 84 -), Hoilett 6, Granero 6, Diakite 7, Taarabt 7, Mackie 5 (Zamore 81,-), Cisse 6

Subs Not Used: Green, Hill, Derry, Wright-Phillips, Faurlin

Goals: Cisse 66 (assisted Bosingwa)

Reading: McCarthy 8, Gunter 6, Morrison 6, Gorkss 7, Shorey 6, McCleary 5 (Kebe 62, 7), Tabb 7, Leigertwood 7, McAnuff 6 (Robson-Kanu 79, 6), Roberts 7 (Le Fondre 88, -), Hunt 6

Subs: Federici, Pearce, Cummings, Pogrebnyak

Goals: Gorkss 16 (assisted Morrison)

Bookings: Hunt 33 (foul), Le Fondre 90 (diving)

QPR Star Man – Ryan Nelsen 8 A beacon of quality, hard work, ability, commitment, heart, experience and organisation at the heart of a defence that was an abject embarrassment to its profession and looked thrilled to death about it.

Referee – Michael Oliver 7 I actually came away from this thinking he’d had quite a poor game. He allowed Jason Roberts to pretty much follow him around all afternoon saying whatever he liked and influencing decisions and several times awarded free kicks when he’d clearly been conned by a dive. I also thought Mackie had a decent case for a penalty. However, on reflection, the game was controlled reasonably well, and the big decisions were correct including the late booking for Le Fondre.

Attendance – 16,797 (900 Reading approx) With the form that both teams are in, the early kick off, and the presence of the television cameras, a low crowd was to be expected, especially as the match was graded in the ‘extortionate’ ticket band. Reading actually brought less than they did for the League Cup game which is very poor for a local Premier League game. I’m amazed at how patient the QPR fans are being with the team and management, and I wonder how long it can continue.

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smegma added 00:04 - Nov 6
Your comments about Nelsen are spot on, couldn't have put it better myself. He was also my MOTM.

qprmick added 00:31 - Nov 6
It would not surprise me if the monied men at the top walked unless we improve. They have done everything they can do for this club and to be continually letdown is not in their business makeup.
The only time I see a game is on the tv so we miss the fact that Ferdinand is miles behind his tea mates. Peter Crouch must be licking his lip in anticipation On tv we didn't look too bad but I actually think we played better with SWP in the team,so how bad does that make us? Here's hoping things must improve. We usually have the wood on Stoke maybe that will still apply.

MelakaRanger added 00:32 - Nov 6
I agree. Your comments and conclusion are spot on

This band of players we have is no team. There is no team spirit, no fire in their bellies and no pride in being a QPR player.

We have, on the whole, a bunch of highly paid, over rated, under performing and bullet proof (from being dropped) players. There are exceptions but fundamentally we do not have a 'team'.

I applaud Tonys call for stability and the lack of a knee jerk sacking. But if we fail to beat Southampton then Tony had better change his mind or we will be relegated for sure

shrewranger added 00:32 - Nov 6
after reading's kick in the nuts against arsenal in midweek ,they were surely a team ripe for the taking.but they were quicker out of the blocks than us and better in every department than us for most of the game.i doubt any member of the reading squad could find a regular starting place in any other premiership side and yet they outplayed the best rangers squad
since the days of sir les.there is something seriously wrong here,despite a few false dawns we are not getting any better.
this has got to be down to mh and his coaching staff...they must in my opinion go..whatever the cost,which would chicken feed compared to the cost of relegation.
i've been a qpr fan for 45 years and i've seen my fair share of shite,but i can't remember feeling this low about a team that i fully expected a lot more from.despair is the word.
i hope i'm wrong and proved to be a crap judge of football..but unless things change very quickly this team will be comfortably relegated.

qprjug added 00:35 - Nov 6
The first half display was a disgrace, why the tempo wasn'tmuch
Quicker we will never know. Everyone except the staff presumably
Could see it so why didn't it happen.
I'm afraid time is running out for us, can't see it improving too much either with that amount of effort.
Other teams put the effort and workrate in, why can't we.

vegasranger added 01:05 - Nov 6
Excellent report Clive. I can't believe what I'm reading from some fans on the boards talking about a good point, too good to be in our position etc. The first half was a disgrace with no pace, no fight, let alone orgaization. Another soft goal which I'm not sure other premiership goalkeepers wouldn't have saved. Second half was an improvement against a very bad team who played 120 minutes in midweek. Hughes stands on the sideline with his hands open to the skies as always. I never see any instructions coming from him. Tarrabt hit a pathetic shot when it was easier to score but he just has to be clever all the time. I'm still not sure about our fitness levels either. Tracking back in the second half was very poor. Only real positive for me was Cisse. By the end of the game he looked his old self.

timcocking added 02:01 - Nov 6
Spot on as usual, exactly how i read it at the moment.

I can't see us turning it around any more i'm sad to say.

Myke added 02:11 - Nov 6
Excellent report Clive, with no attempt to dress this up as something better than it was - shambolic. A few things struck me as I watched it on sky,which as my compatriot rightly points out doesn't allow us to see how poor some players are off the ball ( like Ferdinand). To start with the positives, it was great to see mackie get the nod over SWP, although as soon as Park recovers he will be reinstated. Anyone recall my comment during the summer vis a vi Park and Mackie? I still stand by assertion that Park was an unnessary 'marquee' purchase. Anyway, second positive was Tarrabt's urgency and desire to win, allied to a new work rate (De Fonte's 'penalty') and descipline. Third positive was Hoillets pace and desire ( and if I'm quick to say 'told you so' over Park then I must also acknowledge my error in judgement in describing Hoillets signing as 'unnecessary') Fourth and final positive was, as previously pointed out Cisse's return to form during the course of the game. In the first half he was poor ( Not all his fault as Ranger's lumped long balls up to him, due to lazyness or the perfectly understandable case of mistakenly believing he was Zamora - they're so alike after all!) But once he got his goal, he was a new ( or should I say a return of the old) player. He too cares. So we have half a team that cares, Cesar (who is developing a worrying penchant for scoring own goals) Nelson ( who was immense) Tarrabt, Hoillett, Mackie and Cisse. (I've excluded Diakite because nobody could guess what's going on in that man's head and Granero, who had his poorest game yet, set play aside, and was once again, ala West Ham, out fought and out-muscled by the oppositions mid-field. Incidently, I thought Legs was macnificent, I always felt he was harshly treated by QPR fans. It was clear we are a bubch of individuals, rather than a team. Any threat we posed in the first half came from individual driving runs - Cisse, Hoillett, Tarrabt, Mackie - rather than any combined team moves. It was actually the worst possible result, obviously we wanted to win, but if we had lost then Fernandes may have removed Hughes, as it is, his life support machine remains plugged in and our slow death continues. Normally I would be extremely reluctant to advocate another managerial change, but Hughes seems clueless and with someone with the calibre of Rednapp waiting in the wings...

ozexile added 02:14 - Nov 6
Many moons ago when I first came to oz I went to the ashes test at Sydney. These were the days when Shane Warne could bowl us out underarm. English batsman after English batsman came to the crease petrified. A loud mouthed Aussie next to me continually shouted at them " Have a go, ya Mug". That was the only thing that came to mind when I watched us on Sunday. If we're the worst team in the league, fine, if we're gonna get relegated fine, if we lose every game 5-0 fine. But for god sake when you wear the QPR shirt. Have a go!

DesertBoot added 02:16 - Nov 6
It was pitiful. Sorry Hughes but your time is up. An extraordinary amount of riches have been thrown your way and our club is going backwards.
Hold the new stadium blueprint. We may not need it for quite some time unless a HUGE decision is made swiftly.

lifer added 03:29 - Nov 6
A very accurate account. I can't really disagree with any of it. I sat there watching the first half wondering what on earth was happening to the team I love. Possibly one of the most inept and frustrating 45 minutes of football I've witnessed at Loftus Road over 50 years, and believe me, I've seen some garbage. I share Fernandes' view that the club needs stability, but let's try and differentiate between knee-jerk reactions and what is actually necessary for QPR to achieve the kind of success everyone wants (which at the moment is not a lot more than Premiership survival). Mark Hughes is quite clearly not the guy to take this club forward. Neil Warnock worked miracles with very little under Briatore, but then lost his nerve and broke up a successful team with a great fighting spirit too quickly. Hughes' answer to the immediate problems he faced was to bring in tranche of new blood, some alright, most past their sell-by dates. This policy was consolidated in the Summer, and now we have a completely unbalanced team of over-the-hill mercenaries mixed with a bunch of hard-working committed players who rarely get a look in. The ageing Ryan Nelsen has turned out to be a great signing, without him in defence we'd be in far worse shape. Bosingwa's performance on Sunday was nothing short of disgraceful. Lazy, uncommitted, disinterested. Traore wasn't much better. Hoilett, Taarabt, Diakite and Mackie put in a solid shift while Cisse and Granero were okay. As for Zamora, words fail me. His recent revelations about his disaffection for football go some way to explaining why he always looks so disintersted. I notice however that he doesn't dislike football enough to hand back his wages. I'm amazed that any professional sportsman has no apparent problem with publicly disrespecting the fans and the club that pay his wages. Not only that, but then Mark Hughes leaps to his defence. Personally, I reckon Zamora should never play for QPR again. I genuinely resent the two minutes of his annual wages funded by my season ticket. I think any real QPR fan can see that what the Rs need are hungry players who give a shit. We do not need passengers like Bosingwa, Traore, Park (absolutely useless), Rob Green, Fabio, Zamora, Johnson and Onuoha. I'd rather have Gorkss, Hill and Connolly in defence, not that they are the finest purveyors of footie available, but at least they seemed to care. Faurlin sits on the bench game after game, as does Jamie Mackie. How long before they decide to move on? It's not good enough. Hughes & his cronies have got to go before it's too late. Surely, if we can't beat Southampton at home....

isawqpratwcity added 04:40 - Nov 6
Clive, hang in there. Levein has just been sacked with a better record than Hughes and having had less time to prove himself. TF has to wake up to this!!!!!

While I cannot argue with your dismissal of the commitment of large chunks of the squad (televised links don't show players wandering round not giving a sh*t), it is an argument that I don't want to buy into yet. It is a common theme on the forum, but I cannot assess it myself and I also think attitudes can be changed. I couldn't give stuff whether a player supports another club, or is bored sh*tless by the game, or whatever. 'You're being paid, go and do your job.'

So, what do you do when the team overall is not performing? Change the manager, change the captain. The two of them then wade in, praise/encourage/nurture/train/direct/teach/suggest/point out/threaten/suspend/sack (any or all of) until the team starts to improve. I firmly believe that the "fish rots from the head": overall performance is the manager's responsibility, and it is also the easiest place to start when there are big problems.

It is critical that we don't get relegated. We have a massively expensive squad and management that cannot survive even with parachute payments, while the Premier is set to get massively more lucrative. WE. MUST. NOT. GET. RELEGATED.

TF needs to act to save our Premier status and to do it now. I don't believe our monied owners won't act to improve things before deciding to bail out of the club: they are wealthy businessmen, and they didn't get that way by tolerating incompetent employees. Wake up, TF, admit you need to 'review' an earlier appointment: the time to turn things around is running out fast.

Imelda added 04:56 - Nov 6
I am sure a lot of other people have the same information as me but I happen to know that the dressing room is divided and that not all the players support MH. Their opionion is that he picks the team on how much they cost (is "his" players) and not the best team for the match. Or even picking those players who do care - and we can all name those who are either sitting on the bench or not even on the bench these days but at least would fight for the match, the team and the supporters

I have supported the team for over 45 years and I was sooooo looking forward to this season - now I can't wait for it to be over one way or another

YorkRanger added 06:20 - Nov 6
Spot on Clive - my Message Board post was Underwhelmed and that is exactly how I feel. Interestingly Cascarino said of Zamora in The Times yesterday re his quote of not being interested in football that he should retire if that is how he feels - spot on. The insensitivity is incredulous when he earns a fortune from the club and there are thousands of us who have QPR as central to the functioning of their lives.

N12Hoop added 06:58 - Nov 6
When players don't seem that motivated and aren't out there giving everything they have for 90mins then you know it is time for a change at the top. And when you have players on the pitch who don't seem that bothered, it is even more insane that you have a player on the bench in Faurlin who does. Even Derry and Hill would have been better on the pitch on Sunday because they wouldn't have allowed passengers around them. What I saw on Sunday was a team that is going down without a whimper.

R_in_Sweden added 07:57 - Nov 6
Pretty spot on as usual Clive.

It can only assumed that Tony cannot be seeing the same things that we are, to be fair he isn't really a "football man" and is relatively new to this lark. I know he's calling for patience that will in turn give stability and that he sees these players that he's splashed out on and the manager as long term investments, but he cannot apply the same principles that he does with Air Asia. At the moment it feels like Hughes could almost persuade Tony to let him pilot one of his airplanes. He's dealing with quite a few petulant individuals not a fleet of Boeings with attentive cabin crews. Time to bite the bullet.

As for Zamora, what a complete tw*t. Fernandes and Hughes (although I've totally given up on him) should read him the riot act. The ultimate insult on Sunday was seeing a defender that our friends from down the road have offloaded on us putting in such a lethargic and pathetic performance, the stepover debacle in the second half was like watching Ronaldo's grandad having a go for a laugh.

As for Ferdinand, I like other exiled R's couldn't see what you saw due to the limited vision that TV coverage allows.

Let's all hope that we'll all look back on this in a couple of months and laugh at our misguided pessimism. Sleep well.

shooters47 added 08:18 - Nov 6
Clive, spot on mate and it is only Tuesday and so far we have the following:

Cisse: " Its down to us and we're just not scoring enough goals or keeping clean sheets, once we correct that we will be ok" BLOODY GENIUS

Fernandes: " I have done all I can now so its now down to the manager and the players" AT LAST AND STILL A BLOODY GENIUS

See you at Stoke Saturday and even though they are good in the air they can also pass a ball which we have problems coping with as well!!

Definitely having a drink for this one!!

MackemR added 08:23 - Nov 6
As I live in Sunderland I am getting off quite lightly from the locals as Martin O'Neil's team couldn't hit a donkey's bum with a banjo at the moment. Thank God, say I, as I completely agree with Clive's report. Ferdinand has always had a reputation for not looking arsed (just speak to anyone at the Stadium of Light) whilst our full backs fill me with horror. I tweeted on the day that we perform as a 11 individuals and not as a team and I still firmly believe this. How can Hughes say he needs more time - it's November for heaven's sake!

Saying all that I don't know what the solution is. We cannot keep chopping and changing - nor should we go out and buy another six or seven players in January. I can only suggest that despite the big wages Hughes may be best dropping a few so called star names and promoting kids to the first team (if we have any). We may still have a weak defence but they may take better to being coached and play like they care about the R's. And I can't believe I have just said that.

JB007007 added 08:45 - Nov 6
Great report and comments.
I'm starting to lose faith in what I thought Hughes was working to. We said leaving the ground that there is just no cohesion, no structure to our play. You can maybe forgive (£50,000 per week!) players that need some time to gel, but in this performance against a championship team, which is who we effectively played, we have gone backwards.
I'm going to get slated here, but again I lay some of the blame for our goal on Cesar. The guy doesn't command his area and he palmed the ball staright back into the danger area. We are just so easy to score against. All the opposition has to do is pump a ball into the area and they'll get a good chance.
I'm not a big Anton fan and I think he's been given a free ride because of his name to a degree, but I thought he was worthy of a 5 or 6 on Sunday. He made a couple of timely interceptions in the second half.
I'm afraid Bosingwa is plain idle and disinterested. The reality could be, we've signed too many over thirties on high wages just looking to finish their careers. That is with the exception of Ryan Nelsen. I actually feel sorry for the guy.
I can understand TF insisting that we need the stability, something every fan called for for years, but I just dont see any improvement and an earlier comment by Imelda about a drssing room split must have some truth going by the look of the attitude and disjointed overall approach.

Watfordhoop added 08:59 - Nov 6
I think it is clear the club needs two things: a coach and leadership. I don't expect Hughes to be a coach, but if he isn't one then he should have one or two in his team who can put right the same errors being made week after week. As for leadership, look at his body language during the game and the same pathetic excuses after every game. The team is not unlucky, it is poorly coached and poorly led.
I really cannot understand why Ferdinand was selected ahead of Clint Hill, who may not have the pace to play full back, but he has more commitment in his little finger than Ferdinand has in his whole body, just look at his body language. Boswinga seems to be here for the money, he was awful on Sunday. Zamora's body language speaks volumes, which seems to have been confirmed by his newspaper interview, why is the club paying his wages. Clearly there is a problem with Granero, otherwise why all these rumours about Real Betis, perhaps he realises what a mistake he has made.
I have an uneasy feeling that the person who is pulling many of the strings behind Fernandes is Hughes' agent. Is he also the agent for Granero and Cesar or any of the rest of the team? I think we should be told.
I am still not sure that replacing Hughes is the right answer and I think that replacing him with Harry is not in the Club's long term interests. The Club needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up, as Alex Ferguson did at Old Trafford and some of the steps are in place.
Fernandes should be telling Hughes that he can bring in no new players, he has to work with what he has got, but, for god's sake bring in a decent team of coaches and kick some of the overpaid lardarses into showing some interest on the pitch and if they don't, bring in the youngsters.
Tony, don't show your support with votes of confidence, sit Hughes down and ask how he is going to address the weaknesses that are evident to all the supporters and give him the tools he needs (not more players). If Hughes can't see the problem, then he is the problem and needs to be replaced.

johann28 added 09:21 - Nov 6
'Utter f**king shambles.'

nadera78 added 09:37 - Nov 6
I was going to add to all of this but I've already had my say on the main forum, and Clive's covered it all for me anyway. Understanding has given way to anger, which in turn has become disillusionment. I'm losing interest in this team and this league. Football's supposed to be fun ffs!

daveB added 09:41 - Nov 6
if you listen to Zamora interview it's pretty clear that he just said he doesn't watch football at home and never has so a bit harsh to slate him for that and say he should never play again

AshteadR added 09:46 - Nov 6
A good report Clive, very accurate and honest.

The first half reminded me of a Sunday morning pub team, where half the players just didn't want to be there. There's been a lot of talk about injuries, but even with everyone (pretty much) available, the back four is an accident waiting to happen - and the accident is every week unfortunately.

How Faurlin can't get in this team, or even off the bench I'll never know - what must be going through his head.

For the first time I can remember, I'm actually not that bothered whether I go the match on Saturday or not. I can't see it being a happy anniversary!

dixiedean added 09:50 - Nov 6
I can't think of another game where everyone has seen it the same way,superbly crystalised by Clive,as always. The only difference is in which players we thought were bothering and which were taking the piss. Bosingwa was clearly in latter category. His pathetic amble back while Reading counter-attacked was frankly a disgrace and what I'd expect of a Sunday team player with a hangover on Gunnersbury Pk. For me the shining light ( apart from Nelsen,as usual) was Taarabt. He looked hungry & motivated right from the off and maintained it for 90 mins. OK he should have scored at the end but I'll forgive him that for his all-round effort ( including heading away a Reading corner in 1st half,which none of our defenders managed!) It's becoming clear that this ' team' or group as they like to call it these days,doesn't lack ability but lacks motivation and heart. I did say during the game we'd have been better off with Derry and Hill as at least they give a shit,despite their limitations. As someone posted here the other day,there's a certain manager now at Crystal Palace who would shake this lot up better than MH and his current team of yes-men. And how a manager can publicly pick and choose which games he thinks are winnable is beyond me. A great way of motivating the opposition ,if ever there was one. Maybe he's trying to lull Fergie into playing his youth team. I've not been in the Hughes Out camp til now,but Sunday was a watershed. Terrible body language and for the first time,it spread to the crowd. Up to the equaliser,the atmosphere was poisonous. There'd have been a riot if he'd brought on SWP. 3 of next 4 games away. Happy days.

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