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Redknapp’s Bosingwa blast brightens dark day on the Tyne — full match report
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.

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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.

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qprmick added 03:44 - Dec 24
With Ferdinand playing, I was quite pleased that Cabaye is out injured, he would have had a field day.

AussieRs added 03:46 - Dec 24
Great report as ever Clive, many thanks.

The only way I can really add to it is telling you I watched it at 2-4am live Sunday morning, having just had my tonsils removed and septum repaired the day before. Through a vale of snot and tears, the game was every bit has awful as you describe and no amount of Oxycontin could alleviate the pain.

Some weeks ago I asked where Faurlin had got to and Arry brought him back in, to good effect - great strategic forward passer of the ball though Newc game was his worst.

My last comment really just goes to the whole Bosingwa thing. What was so palpably missing under Hughes and then also vs Newc was any semblance of QPR's desire to compete. Newc were genuinely poor with key players missing or out of form. Contrast our performance on Sunday morning with that of Southampton when they played us - they knew it would be tough, they came prepared to fight, run, lunge, create, get back behind the ball etc - the motions of our sport.

It became clear that Hughes did not have the capacity to engender such commitment in QPR. Sunday was the first glimpse that even Harry Houdini's powers may be fatally limited. This goes beyond Bosingwa. In Prem Lge terms, Newcastle were there for the taking on Sunday but we simply never turned up. While the efforts of people like Nelsen and Mackie are praiseworthy they are, to my mind, really just trying as hard as they all should be. SO WHY AREN'T THEY?!

More tissues please......


CJD added 08:05 - Dec 24
That debacle on Saturday now heads my all time worst games which, in forty years of watching Rangers, is some claim. Unbelievable. All the Mags I know were expecting Rangers to beat them!

QPRski added 09:36 - Dec 24
Factual and accurate report as always. It was a dire match and a pity that the previous weeks winning team was radically reshuffled.

Despite Santa not bringing me three points for Christmas from St James' Park, I would like to wish the LFW team and member all very best wishes for Christmas!

isawqpratwcity added 11:48 - Dec 24
Great report, Clive. I feel the pain.

Commiserations to all who went on a complete dog of a day (on the internet it looked like a night game in the Faroes). Great to hear the vocal support coming through.

As for the overpaid underperformers...completely serious prediction...we haven't a hope of even giving them away.

Neil_SI added 12:00 - Dec 24
I don't think we can have any complaints really. Generally when you play like that, with such little ambition to win a match, you usually get what you deserve, which is nothing at all.

Had we held out, it would have been a great point though. And I do think this was a better structural performance from the base than we saw at Wigan away, albeit we still managed to draw that one.

You can see we still don't have the stamina to hold out though, so there needs to be an improvement in focus and concentration throughout the entire match. We're starting to manage doing that for longer stretches, so we must see that as progress.

In other matches this season, when there's been a key event, we've usually capitulated, such as scoring and taking the lead against Wigan, but conceding so soon after. This is little progress in small steps, even if the outcome was on the whole a negative one.

MackemR added 14:17 - Dec 24
We were set up to take a point, we showed little ambition against a weakened team and the game was over as soon as they got a goal as we were never going to score in a month of Sundays. I can understand the 'draw away, win at home' approach but that will be of little cheer to the away support. I only had to get the Metro from Sunderland; I felt sorry for anyone who travelled up from London to watch a perfomance that matched the weather.

Great report as ever Clive. It was so noticeable the Mags identified Ferdinand as the weak link. I wonder why? Hey ho, onwards and upwards.

M40R added 16:24 - Dec 24
And to cap an awful display M'bia did not bother to climb the 17 flights of stairs to denote his shirt.

TacticalR added 17:10 - Dec 24
Thanks for your report, and all hail to those who went up to Newcastle.

This was a game of misplaced passes won by a moment of class from Newcastle. Both teams looked nervy and short of ideas, and we never looked like scoring.

Given that, it's easy to miss the positives, but there were some. We look more solid in central defence than we were under Hughes (at least it doesn't feel as though every set piece is going to lead to a goal), and we did a reasonable job of containing Newcastle for most of the match.

For the goal either we are operating zonal marking, or no one wanted to get stuck in to Santon. Santon brought the ball right across the pitch from the left back position, and first Hoilett tracked him, then Mbia, then Derry. Finally Fabio got drawn towards the ball, got caught on his heels, and lost Amiobe (who still had a lot to do).

Cissé. Born offside.

Fabio. Had his hands full with Papiss Cissé and didn't look particularly comfortable, especially as Cissé is so much taller. Seemed a bit wreckless at times, and lost Amiobe for the goal.

Ferdinand. Hard to know what to say that hasn't been said before, but as a right back...he's not very good at stopping crosses is he?.

Nelsen. Had to clear up after Ferdinand time and again. Always seemed to be in the right place. Our best player.

Granero. His head seems to have gone. He just couldn't get into the game. And why did he take the corners? Taarabt's outswing corners are much better. He's got to cut out his tackles from behind too.

Taarabt. Newcastle knew the danger he could pose, and he was much more closely marked than by Fulham. Made some very poor passes to Granero. In the second half made some very nice runs past several players, but seemed to disappear from the game for long periods.

Green. Good save from Anita's free kick, but also fluffed a couple of catches under no pressure.

ozranger added 22:52 - Dec 24
Thanks again Clive. Nearly everything I could think to say you picked up on, especially Nelson's unfortunate time to choose to drop back in the box, thus putting Ameobi onside. But, I found it fascinating that Mbia would choose to try to get others to lift after the goal. For about 10 to 15 minutes prior, he looked spent and was struggling to do anything, especially to track back. Granero was also another who thought defending after having lost the ball was an option not on his agenda. And Ale, whom I think deserved some dressing down, appeared to go missing for significant parts of the match.

But again I ask, as with some others, why oh why did HR alter his team? If any change was to be made it appeared that Fabio for Onuoha was the only likely option. I would have liked to see him against both Gutierrez & Obertan as here speed and wit were more the problem than height and strength that he was struggling with.

Let's see what will be on the park for boxing day and just hope for the best.

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