Redknapp’s Bosingwa blast brightens dark day on the Tyne – full match report
Monday, 24th Dec 2012 02:42 by Clive Whittingham
After a dire match and 1-0 defeat QPR fans were grateful for the post-match comments of manager Harry Redknapp to liven things up and begin the process of removing the tumors currently sucking the life out of the club.
Harry Redknapp has never been shy of trading on his image when he feels it may benefit him: ‘Arry the player’s friend, putting his arm around footballers and telling them they’re the next big thing to try and extract performances before he replaces them in the next transfer window; ‘Arry the journalist’s best contact, innocently slipping names into press conferences and off the record chats to speed along potential transfers; ‘Arry the East End boy made good, almost totally illiterate as it goes and therefore unlikely to be capable of an enormous tax fraud whether he’s got a Monaco bank account in his dog’s name or not.
So it’s hard to believe that Redknapp’s extraordinary comments during the post match press conference at St James’ Park on Saturday were an unplanned fit of pique. The QPR manager, hair still sodden after 90 minutes standing out in the northern rain attempting to polish the turd he’s taken responsibility for, told journalists there are players at QPR who earn “far, far, far too much money for the amount of ability and what they give the club.”
Usually at this point the hacks would ask for names and the manager would decline, but Redknapp was in determined mood and pressed ahead to let the gathered media know he had “fined a player last week and he was earning more than anybody was at Tottenham.” When the members of the press, presumably rocked gently to sleep by the turgid 95 minutes of nothingness that had taken place beforehand, did finally bring up a specific name and ask about the status of Jose Bosingwa – absent from the last two matchday squads – Redknapp was happy to volunteer whatever information they wanted to know.
“He didn’t like being on the bench, he didn’t want to be on the bench, he didn’t feel he should be a substitute so he went home,” Redknapp said. “He’s been fined two weeks wages, £130,000, which aint too bad for two weeks. It’s decent, not too bad.”
And so the question has to be asked about the experienced QPR manager’s motives for this outburst. After all, while it has been rightly welcomed by every QPR fan who has had the misfortune to pay to watch Bosingwa play this season and sully the shirt of a proud club, it has created a situation where the club is paying £65,000 a week to a player who cannot possibly ever feature for the first team again but has shown such a lamentable attitude and rank performance level since arriving from Chelsea in the summer any search for a club foolish enough to take him on terms he would find acceptable is likely to be long and fruitless.
A cynic may suggest that Redknapp was seeking to deflect attention away from his own failings on the day. He said injury robbed him of his two full backs from last weekend’s win against Fulham – Nedum Onuoha and Armand Traore were dropped to the bench – but the decision to select Anton Ferdinand out of position at right back seemed a strange one all the same. Ferdinand wasn’t a very good footballer to begin with before he apparently started a six month (and counting) long sulk about not being made the captain which means he now seems to weigh twice as much as he did at this time last year and move about half as quickly. His brainpower was summed up nicely by a first half booking for throwing the ball into the stand to prevent a throw in neutral territory and Newcastle played merry hell down his flank all afternoon – particularly in the second half when he was comprehensively battered by Gabriel Obertan who’d previously been seen as one of the division’s biggest flops.
That left the altogether more impressive figure of Ryan Nelsen horribly overworked in the near post area as one cross after another swung over from Ferdinand’s side. Clint Hill mucked in well alongside him but Fabio Da Silva looked exactly what he is – a young player feeling his way back to full fitness after a bad injury – at left back although he does deserve credit for a first half challenge on Papiss Cisse as he threatened to run through and open the scoring after a one two with Demba Ba.
The new look defence was fortunate that Hill got enough physical contact on Ba after five minutes to force him to head over the bar, and then appeared nervous as Newcastle’s first corner was allowed to drop and bobble around in the danger area. As the time ticked into double figures Fabio got too tight to Ba in a one on one situation wide on the Newcastle right and allowed himself to be turned far too easily but the Senegalese striker overcooked his cross and missed his countryman Papiss Cisse in the centre of the goal by a foot or so.
But there were unenforced changes further forward as well, despite an improved performance and first win of the season against Fulham the week before. Esteban Granero came in for Shaun Wright-Phillips to join Ale Faurlin, Stephane Mbia and Jamie Mackie in a midfield that just didn’t seem as balanced and fluent as it had done a week ago as a result.
Redknapp would no doubt point to a busy Christmas period approaching, with two important home games to come later this week, creating a need to not only rest players but also ensure the potential replacements have game time in their legs. The tactics against Fulham were fairly obviously based around getting Adel Taarabt on the ball as often as possible too which Newcastle will have prepared for so making changes they perhaps didn’t expect could also have worked to the London team’s advantage. Sadly Taarabt’s twentieth minute skip and dive past three players which eventually drew a foul from Mike Williamson was about as good as it got for the Moroccan all afternoon. He was regularly crowded out of a congested central area leaving lone striker Djibril Cisse feeding on nothing and snatching at speculative long range shots when the ball did ever arrive with him.
Perhaps Redknapp’s Bosingwa critique was designed to loosen the purse strings a little more this January. He has been at pains to point out that the board has spent a lot of money already, and said after this game that several agents had got rich at QPR’s expense and “pulled their trousers down”, but Redknapp knows he will struggle to keep this group of players up, and QPR’s owners will be only to aware of the extra TV riches that lay beyond this season for top flight teams. By criticising Bosingwa and playing somebody as poor as Anton Ferdinand at right back instead, then blatantly shutting up shop and trying to eek out a 0-0 draw, Redknapp has highlighted the need for reinforcements in defence and attack.
Newcastle are in poor form themselves – just one win from 11 played before this. The sum total of their first half threat was two free kicks: the first harshly awarded by referee Kevin Friend against Stephane Mbia who’d appeared to win a header cleanly against Anita, the second against the same player for fouling Tiote this time, and both were whacked high over the bar by want-away striker Demba Ba to the audible displeasure of the home crowd.
There were other shots – Tiote tried his luck from long range on a couple of occasions – but Newcastle were bang average overall. Despite this, QPR struggled to get out of their half in the first period, and then after the break sent on Shaun Derry for Ale Faurlin, Shaun Wright-Phillips for Esteban Granero and Junior Hoilett for Djbril Cisse which all rather smacked, and looked, of a team playing for a point. By doing so against a mediocre side, and then starting to single out individuals for criticism afterwards, Redknapp would appear to be creating a context for a handful of January arrivals, regardless of what he says about being careful with money.
Or perhaps, perhaps, Harry was just as bored as the rest of us and fancied brightening up an afternoon that never saw daylight, and was hardly lit up by a dire dirge of a football match, with a few post-game fireworks.
After a quarter of an hour in this match hard work down the right from Jamie Mackie and Djibril Cisse won two quick fire throws that were eventually worked in field to Granero who produced his outstanding moment of an otherwise anonymous performance by chipping the ball in behind Fabricio Coluccini for Adel Taarabt to run onto and smack a low shot from an impossible angle at Newcastle goalkeeper Tm Krul. Right at the start of the second half Krul made another, more difficult, save to deny Cisse who’d taken a shot on early after Taarabt had gone past two players and laid him in. Mbia headed the resulting corner over the bar after being left unmarked at the near post. I mention these moments solely because they were the only serious shots on goal that QPR managed all afteernoon. Taarabt was crowded out, Cisse was starved of possession and consequently took on ludicrous long range attempts when the ball did make it to him with predictably ineffective consequences. If this game was still taking place now, Queens Park Rangers would not yet have scored.
That meant it became a question of whether Newcastle could find a way to prevent it being 0-0. Anita tried his best with a free kick on the hour that looked to be in crossing territory but was taken on as a shot anyway and forced Robert Green to make a sharp save down low to his right on a greasy surface. Two minutes later Anita tested the goalkeeper’s powers of concentration again by trying a low shot into the near post directly from a corner but Green was once again alert to the danger and flung himself forwards to prevent another embarrassing moment in his fledgling QPR career.
But just as the travelling faithful, marooned seventeen stories up in the clouds, were starting to warm to the accident prone stopper he almost contrived to give the home team the lead in farcical circumstances. Ba started the problems, getting in behind Hill onto a long ball and having a shot blocked away for a corner that, although poorly delivered into an area where no Newcastle player had run, Green dropped under no pressure at all and had to scramble to collect from right under the cross bar at the second attempt. We have another Tony Roberts-type on our hands here – several hours of fine saves and competent goalkeeping inevitably followed by a goal-costing catastrophe every two or three games. I don’t trust Green as far as I can throw him.
Pardew sent on Shola Ameobi for Papiss Cisse just after he’d headed a teasing cross over the bar when well placed to do better, Gabriel Obertan for Jonas Gutierrez and Sylvain Marveaux for Cheick Tiote after the combative midfielder had picked up his weekly booking for upending Shaun-Wright Phillips. They all made a difference with Obertan far, far too good for Ferdinand down the QPR right, Marveaux upping the tempo and passing quality in midfield, and Ameobi eventually providing the game’s decisive moment.
The big striker finally broke the deadlock nine minutes from time – receiving the ball from Anita in the area, cutting inside as Taarabt went to ground too soon with an attempted tackle, and then curling a beautiful finish around Green and into the bottom corner. It was a lone moment of quality in a match of League One standard, and no more than Newcastle deserved as much the better of the two teams on the day.
Stephane Mbia seemed particularly riled by the turn of events, urging his team mates to move into more attacking positions in pursuit of an equaliser, but their meagre efforts at goal hunting actually caused more problems than they solved. Green had to save from Marveaux at the end of a counter attack started by Wright-Phillips dallying on possession from a cleared corner and losing the ball instead of returning it to the area. Then Clint Hill was booked for deliberately hauling down Ba as he romped forward hunting for a killer second on another swift break away.
Even five minutes of time added at the end of the game couldn’t help the visitors as referee Kevin Friend, presumably as an act of revenge for being bored to tears over the previous 90 minutes, decided that stoppage time was an appropriate moment to start giving everything as a foul and then insisting the ball was placed on the exact blade of grass the alleged offence took place on. This slowed an already pedestrian-paced game down to a complete standstill for the remaining time. When, for the third time in as many minutes, he picked up a ball that had been placed ready for a restart and moved it half a foot to the left of its original position, I’d happily have gulped down a cyanide pill and been done with it. I don’t want to sound like Alan Green here but this was boring, turgid, awfulness by this point. One of the worst games of football it’s ever been my misfortune to sit through.
Rangers might have stolen an undeserved point had Adel Taarabt hit a last second free kick with more venom, but he did find the target all the same and Krul needed two attempts to gather the ball.
Maybe Redknapp’s message was more for the players – both those already at QPR and those who might soon be. The days of big wages for little return are over and, as the manager points out, should never really have begun in the first place at a club with the smallest stadium in the league. Redknapp says the club won’t be screwed over by sellers taking advantage of a desperate situation – if Rangers don’t take a significant points haul from the two remaining games this week he may deem January a month of more use for offloading the likes of Bosingwa if he can possibly find willing buyer, rather than adding further at a notoriously difficult time of the year to do decent business.
Or perhaps he’s just getting his excuses in early. Redknapp surely knows he’s faced with a colossal task to repair the damage Queens Park Rangers have inflicted on themselves over the last 18 months.
Newcastle: Krul 6, Simpson 6, Coluccini 6, Williamson 6, Santon 6, Gutierrez 6 (Obertan 60, 7), Perch 5, Tiote 6 (Marveaux 77, 7), Anita 7, Ba 5, Cisse 5 (Sh Ameobi 61, 6)
Subs not used: Harper, Ferguson, Bigirmana, Sa Ameobi
Goals: Ameobi 81 (assisted Anita)
Bookings: Tiote 62 (foul), Perch 87 (foul), Ameobi 90 (foul)
QPR: Green 7, Ferdinand 4, Nelsen 7, Hill 6, Fabio 5, Mackie 5, Mbia 6, Faurlin 5 (Derry 78, 5), Granero 5 (Wright-Phillips 56, 5), Taarabt 5, Cisse 5 (Hoilett 64, 5)
Subs not used: Murphy, Traore, Onuoha, Diakite
Bookings: Ferdinand 41 (kicking ball away), Hill 85 (foul)
QPR Star Man – Ryan Nelsen 7 Blotted his copy book rather by straying too deep and playing Ameobi onside for the goal but otherwise carried the defence through the game as he has done so often this season, winning more than his fare share in the air and battling hard on the ground as well. Player of the Year awards already look like they’re sewn up in his favour.
Referee – Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 6 Got so pedantic and pernickety about things in the closing stages of the game I wanted to go down and beat him to death, a shame really because in the first half he’d shown a willingness to let the game flow and not reward players for throwing themselves to the floor by constantly awarding free kicks. No big decisions wrong but a mediocre and at time infuriating display that further hampered a dreadful match.
Attendance 50,180 (1,100 QPR approx) I’m enjoying this current trend for singing “Harry Redknapp’s blue and white army” throughout the second half, although given the position of the away fans at St James’ Park it likely served little purpose than keeping us all warm. Well done to everybody who made that trip in that weather for that price at this time of year to watch this team – massive respect.
Pictures – Action Images
Photo: Action Images
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