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Charlton’s late smash and grab heaps pressure on QPR – report
Sunday, 23rd Feb 2014 22:18 by Clive Whittingham

A last minute header from Charlton captain Johnnie Jackson condemned woeful QPR to a 1-0 defeat at The Valley on Saturday.

In the hyperbolic world of modern day professional football, you’re never more than a few weeks away from a perceived crisis.

In 1990/91 QPR were afflicted by a succession of injuries at the heart of the defence – a problem so severe that they agreed to take the terminally useless Gus Ceaser on loan from Arsenal. They lost eight straight matches in the old First Division and drew the next two. A Christmas home win against Sunderland briefly lifted the gloom before three more quick fire defeats followed – 11 losses and two draws from 14 matches.

Today, manager Don Howe would almost certainly have been sacked. He’d have been branded too old, outdated, stories about him “losing the dressing room” would have quoted anonymous sources in the tabloid press. Back then QPR kept faith. Howe brought in Bobby Gould to assist him, and Gould leafed through his little black book of lower league contacts and produced Darren Peacock from Hereford and Andy Tillson from Grimsby to solve the central defensive issues. Rangers lost just three of their last 16 matches and won eight.

When Howe was then controversially replaced by “younger man” Gerry Francis – a returning club hero – the R’s started the following season without a win from their first eight league matches. By mid-November they’d won just three in the First Division from their first 16 games. These days it would be “too much too soon” for young Gerry Francis. QPR would be pilloried making a dreadful mistake promoting the new manager too high, too soon, purely because he was such a great player for the club. Again there were mitigating circumstances – Ray Wilkins and Alan McDonald had long term injuries – again the club kept faith an again they were rewarded. By the end of the 1992/93 season Francis had QPR fifth in the Premier League, top London club ahead of Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs.

Even as recently as 2002/03 in the Second Division one of Francis’ former players Ian Holloway was on a run of results as dire as many can remember – 12 without a win including humiliating defeats by Cardiff, Notts County and Vauxhall Motors. The board stuck with their man, he signed a young Lee Cook on loan from Watford, and by the end of the season Rangers were in the play-off final at Cardiff. A year later they were promoted in fine style, Holloway carried aloft from the pitch at Hillsborough by the jubilant, talented, committed group of players he’d put together. Good times.

Four matches ago QPR had just secured a fourth successive league win against Bolton and were sitting in the automatic promotion places. Four wins from the next four league games and there’s a good chance they’ll be back there. After a nightmare Premier League season in 2012/13 where the R’s won just four times in the entire campaign, and inflicted a hoard of over-paid mercenary players on themselves, many – including this website – feared a Wolves-like plummet through the Championship this season. Instead the R’s currently sit fourth, seven points shy of the automatic promotion places and seven points away from the pack chasing the play offs in seventh and below.

It’s a funny looking crisis, even after a woeful third consecutive defeat against one of the most limited sides you could ever hope to play at Charlton on Saturday. Again, there are mitigating factors – Rangers are missing Ale Faurlin, Danny Simpson, Matt Phillips and Charlie Austin which effectively removes the youth, speed, creativity and goals from the team in one fell swoop.

And yet the mood in the away end at The Valley by the end of Saturday’s dirge, and across the message boards since, has been turning against Harry Redknapp and the management team. The chairman Tony Fernandes Tweeted before the game that this was a big game for QPR, and that the board had provided everything they’d been asked for this season, ratcheting up the pressure another notch. QPR responded with an insipid display, and dreadful defeat. The newspapers are now quickly filling with tales of Redknapp’s imminent demise. To an outsider looking in, it all looks so typical of the modern day QPR – chronic short termism and regular managerial changes.

You could say – and you’d be spot on in my opinion – that Fernandes’ “providing everything that’s been asked for” is part of the problem, because all a manager like Harry Redknapp will ever ask for is another signing and short term signings are the last thing QPR need. To have accumulated eight loanees in a league that only permits five to be selected – Benoit Assou Ekotto and Niko Kranjcar sat out altogether on Saturday, leaving God-only-knows how much in weekly wages up in the main stand – is preposterous, but Fernandes and his CEO Phil Beard know barely enough about football to fill the back of a cigarette packet and they are therefore wholly reliant on the football manager for the football input. Fernandes’ apparent surprise that chucking money at the problem, again, hasn’t worked, again, makes a mockery of this idea that QPR have learnt any lessons from last year’s shuttle disaster. QPR have no infrastructure, ethos, identity or clear idea of what they’re doing – and money and attention is permanently directed away from those things towards making more big-name signings. QPR had nobody above the manager with any football knowledge whatsoever last season, and they still don’t. Lessons learnt stretch little further than the directions to Championship away games.

And you could make an argument – and several did, to the point of violence in an away end dripping with nastiness and aggravation on Saturday – that fans coming to matches and being negative about the team, and voicing their displeasure, are doing more harm than good and should stay away. With little under ten minutes remaining of this dreadful encounter with Charlton Redknapp removed Little Tom Carroll from the centre of midfield and sent on Yossi Benayoun. The away end, a large portion of which had been barracking Carroll throughout the second half, cheered ironically as the boyish 21-year-old trooped off with his head down. And this was stupid, counter-productive and moronic for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, the introduction of Yossi Benayoun is quickly replacing the appearance of the stoppage time board as an excuse to head back to the pub and beat the rush at the bar. His arrival at QPR, almost more than anything else, shows just how little this club learnt from its chastening experience last season. Why bother driving a scumbag like Jose Bosingwa from the club, just to add another like Benayoun? Bosingwa refused to sit on the QPR bench for a home game with Fulham last season, which made him a pariah in the eyes of the club’s fans, and while Benayoun hasn’t gone quite that far yet he ticks every other box that the detestable Portuguese full back did. Overpaid for his talent throughout his career, ageing, with Chelsea connections, well past his best, with nothing left to prove or achieve, in decline for several years, with no connection or affinity for QPR, looking for a final pay day to top up the pension… he is a disgusting, repugnant signing, and anybody cheering his arrival onto the field, regardless of whose expense it’s at, should be having a look at themselves. Lessons learnt from last season? Right sorts? The prosecution submits Yossi Benayoun into evidence your honour.

But secondly, Tom Carroll is being unfairly persecuted here. Yes he’s physically unsuited to the Championship division, yes he’s giving the ball away far too often, yes he’s clearly very low on confidence (cheering him off should do him the world of good) and no he’s not playing at all well but I would contest that the reason he’s standing out is because he’s still got the stones – despite still awaiting the onset of puberty – to stick his hand up and have a go for our team. Despite all of the above it’s still Tom Carroll who shows for the pass every time, it’s still Tom Carroll who turns and faces forward and tries to direct the team that way, it’s still Tom Carroll making the effort and trying things and doing what he can. At one stage in the second half he played a pass that was easily intercepted by Charlton left back Lawrie Wilson and even had it made its way through it would have rolled out of play next to the linesman – dreadful, inexplicable play. But if we’re scapegoat hunting – and the reaction to his substitution suggests we are – then how about the man Redknapp selected to play alongside him on Saturday?

Jermaine Jenas escapes similar public rebuke for all of the reasons Tom Carroll attracts it. Tom Carroll offered himself as an option to receive a pass more often on Saturday than Jermaine Jenas has in total since 2004. Carroll is a 21-year-old boy built like an 11-year-old with minimal first team experience. Jenas is now 31, has commanded an incredible £12m in transfer fees during his career, has amassed an astonishing 21 England caps, and yet is stealing a living from QPR by appearing very occasionally in the first team and maintaining an uncanny ability to always, without fail, be at least 10 yards away from anything that happens. A tackle, a pass, a goal, a shot, a goal conceded, a fight – whatever happens in a QPR match, Jenas is never closer than ten yards to it. He has as much impact on QPR games as the kids selling the programmes. So while Carroll rolls his sleeves up and gives it a shot, his vastly more experienced, better paid, supposedly more talented partner on Saturday barely got his kit dirty. And it’s Carroll who cops the stick and gets replaced by Yossi chuffing Benayoun. The game’s gone. Or at least this club has.

But you can forgive the QPR fans their frustration. For all the difficulties of last season, and all the hard work the club has put in arresting the decline, this is still an incredibly expensively assembled squad for the division it’s playing in. The rest of the league can only dream of spending the money QPR have shelled out this season on wages, and loaning in the quality of player they have attracted. Even with key injuries, every single one of the QPR players selected on Saturday would walk into the Charlton team, and yet they were beaten 1-0.

Not only that, but the performance wasn’t a good deal different from the one turned in for the corresponding game at Loftus Road against the same dreadfully limited opposition before Christmas. On that occasion a 30-yarder from Charlie Austin settled the match in Rangers’ favour, and only in the talismanic striker’s absence are we seeing just how many cracks he was papering over. Here Rangers failed to manage a single serious shot on target while playing against the worst goalkeeper they’re likely to face in many, many years.

Frenchman Yohann Thuram-Ulien stood between the Charlton posts on Saturday in a short-sleeved shirt, shorts that looked like they belonged to somebody else, and an expression that betrayed his discomfort at being asked to keep goal in the Championship. He looked like he’d won his place in the team in a raffle and yet Rangers rarely went near him. In the first half he had little more to deal with than the odd back pass and on three separate occasions, under no pressure, he hooked clearances straight into the side stand. By half time the Charlton fans were cheering ironically when he kept the ball in play, but his ill-fitting all yellow kit remained unblemished.

In the second half he did his best to present Rangers with the opening goal, inexplicably passing the ball straight to another of Redknapp’s short term fixes Mobido Maiga – who’d replaced Kevin Doyle just moments before – but despite having enough time to do an oil painting of the situation the loaned West Ham man executed an appalling first touch and toed the ball out of play for a goal kick. Absolute pony.

Thuram-Ulien looked like a man who wanted to give you a goal, if only Rangers would have given him the opportunity. But they rarely tested the erratic custodian. Carroll shot over, Morrison did likewise with a volley, Hughes skewed one wide before half time.

The visitors’ best two chances both fell to debutant Ravel Morrison – loanee number eight of eight. His touch was wonderful on a pitch more useful for cultivating potatoes than playing football, and he made QPR tick all afternoon but sadly, when faced with the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes, he fluffed his lines. On the hour he played a smart one two with Carroll in the Charlton box but then snatched at a chance and sent the ball sailing off towards the corner flag when it seemed easier to hit the target. Then in four minutes of added time a low cross from the wildly inconsistent Armand Traore seemed to fall plum for Morrison at the back post but he could only shin it straight to the goalkeeper.

The West Ham man looks a class act, head and shoulders above his new team mates, and his arrival forced Redknapp to select a formation far more suited to the players at his disposal than the straight-line 4-4-2 rubbish he’s been picking for the past few weeks. There was a lot to like about a back three that saw Nedum Onuoha recalled, and the wing back system suits Armand Traore much better although he was fairly wild here on a difficult playing surface. Onuoha showed the value of actually running forwards, with the ball, and genuine purpose, in the first half when he carried the ball to the heart of the Charlton box but then sadly hit the ground theatrically under minimal contact – referee Eddie Ilderton right to wave that one away. Far too often QPR went sideways or backwards for want of a better option, and when Carroll did try to move the ball positively, too often he gave it away.

This system puts Morrison at the heart of the action, and doesn’t expose Carroll so much, but it’s a sad indictment of QPR’s transfer policy that despite all the comings and goings and the multitude of loan signings they ended up here with Aaron Hughes – a mediocre 34-year-old centre back – playing right wing back with predictably dire results. It also seems strange for Redknapp to be throwing his hat in with Morrison, who has all the same problems as Adel Taarabt who he wouldn’t tolerate.

In truth, the QPR manager seems to be thrashing around. Gary O’Neil starts one week, then doesn’t make the squad at all, then makes the bench, then starts and goes off at half time. Tom Carroll is the fulcrum of the team one week, and then doesn’t get picked at all the next. Armand Traore comes on three times as a sub, then gets man of the match as a starter, then gets dropped altogether, then comes back in from the start. Junior Hoilett starts left one week and right the next. Will Keane is not selected for two games, then starts and plays well but goes off after an hour, then gets dropped to the bench, and who knows what next? Rangers play 4-2-3-1, then 4-4-2, then 3-5-2, and then…. You’d achieve similar team selections, and probably the same sort of results, drawing a starting 11 out of a bucket at the moment.

It would be stretching the criticism too far to say that Charlton deserved to win the game. Robert Green was fortunate to get away with dropping a deep cross into the danger zone after 68 minutes, and Johnnie Jackson lashed wide after being teed up by substitute Marcus Tudgay during a rare fluent attack shortly after that, but the Addicks are a very, very basic side with little attacking intent. QPR held the possession, and created two gilt-edged chances for Morrison.

And yet the meagre ammunition the home team had to chuck at Rangers was, eventually, enough to secure all three points. They’d served notice in the first half when Jordan Cousins belted a low 20 yarder against the base of the post and then, with Green committed, the implausibly named Reza Ghoochannejhad contrived to miss the open goal and strike the foot of the post on the opposite side.

Then, in stoppage time, they struck. After Morrison’s second miss Richard Dunne was fortunate to get away with a miscued cross-interception that would have diverted the ball into his own net but for a smart recovery from the Irishman on the line. Rangers were unable to clear their lines and Green had to make a fantastic save to deny Ajdarevic from 20 yards after Onuoha gave the ball away but, just as happened at Doncaster earlier in the season, the R’s didn’t take advantage of a stoppage time reprieve and ended up conceding the winning goal from the resulting corner – Jackson heading down, into the ground, and up into the net, after climbing easily above Hughes at the back post. For an experienced centre half to be beaten that easily in the air by a central midfield player from a basic set piece in the last minute of the game rather summed up Aaron Hughes’ afternoon, and the performance and attitude of the QPR players as a whole.

Harry Redknapp spoke briefly to Kevin Bond after the goal but otherwise said nothing. He glanced briefly towards the away end on two occasions and met an angry reaction both times – sparking more arguments between QPR fans. If you believe the club would take a breath, realise their problems are long term, make a sensible appointment aimed at a building programme with a focus on youth and facilities rather than another raft of signings and immediate plundered promotion, then by all means demand Redknapp’s head. If you think they’ll appoint the next big name that comes along – Gianfranco Zola? – and spunk more money on more signings then, really, what’s the point?

Few QPR players braved the away end to thank 3,200 QPR fans for their support at full time, and while that’s poor form you can understand people with no affinity or connection with the club for not wanting to walk into the teeth of that sort of abuse – booing had started long before the end, long before Charlton scored.

This has the potential to turn very ugly, on and off the pitch. The church is restless.

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Charlton: Y Thuram-Ulien 5; R Wiggins 6, D Dervite 6, M Morrison 6, L Wilson 6; D Poyet 6, D Green 6 (A Ajdarevic, 64, 6), J Jackson 6, J Cousins 6; R Ghoochanneijhad 5 (M Tudgay, 64, 6), S Church 6 (C Harriott, 89, -)

Subs not used: R Wood, M Sordell, B Hamer, M Fox

Goals: Jackson 90+3

Bookings: Jackson

QPR: R Green 6; C Hill 6, R Dunne 6, N Onuoha 5; A Hughes 5, J Jenas 3, T Carroll 5 (Y Benayoun, 81, -), A Traore 5, J Hoilett 5 (W Keane 59, 6); K Doyle 5 (M Maiga, 70, 5) R Morrison 6

Subs not used: K Henry, B Murphy, Yun Suk-Young, G O'Neil

QPR Star Man – Ravel Morrison 7 Sadly, his debut will be remembered for two missed sitters in the second half that cost the R’s a point or more, but it’s frightening to think of how bad Harry Redknapp’s side would have been without him.

Referee – Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear) 7 A decent performance. Correct not to award Nedum Onuoha anything in the first half when he appeared to be fouled on the edge of the area, and allowed the game to flow, making allowances for a difficult pitch, far more than he ever has done on previous QPR appointments.

Attendance 17, 333 (3,200 QPR approximately) A nasty element to the atmosphere in the away end, with QPR fans fighting among themselves and arguments breaking out all over the place. Personally, I don’t think there’s much wrong with voicing displeasure at a performance as bad as this, but given that even after the goal went in people were still turning around and yelling at fellow supporters to “be positive or don’t bother coming” clearly I’m wrong there. The reaction towards Tom Carroll has been covered.

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Neil_SI added 22:43 - Feb 23
"The church is restless"

You saved the best till last.

Myke added 23:20 - Feb 23
Thanks Clive. There seems nothing to add to what was clearly an abysmal afternoon. I have to say I do feel sorry for Fernandez, even if, as you quite rightly say, he is adding to the problem by sanctioning endless, pointless loan signings. You can understand his frustration as the wheels appear to come off his promotion dream. Personally, I would shudder at the thought of this lot playing in the premier league - still scarred by last seasons 'performance'.

connell10 added 23:40 - Feb 23

essextaxiboy added 01:01 - Feb 24
Well I thought that was going to be a rant . I agree about Carroll , Barton suffers the same criticism because he has the ball so many times . I also agree about Redknapp . This season is down to him succeed or fail
He should see it through .

Kaos_Agent added 01:32 - Feb 24
Thanks Clive, a carefully measured response to emotional times. Before the season began, who'd have thought that a comfortable 4th place in February would go alongside a crisis of confidence in the congregation? Lord Have Mercy.

"Gary O’Neil starts one week, then doesn’t make the squad at all, then makes the bench, then starts and goes off at half time. Tom Carroll is the fulcrum of the team one week, and then doesn’t get picked at all the next. Armand Traore comes on three times as a sub, then gets man of the match as a starter, then gets dropped altogether, then comes back in from the start. Junior Hoilett starts left one week and right the next. Will Keane is not selected for two games, then starts and plays well but goes off after an hour, then gets dropped to the bench, and who knows what next? Rangers play 4-2-3-1, then 4-4-2, then 3-5-2, and then…. You’d achieve similar team selections, and probably the same sort of results, drawing a starting 11 out of a bucket at the moment. "

I tried unsuccessfully to get a forum chat going about good ideas for team selection and setup. Thanks to your concise description of Harry's approach, I see now that it's dead easy. No meticulous preparation, just a nice deep bucket which is kept topped up. No gel required.

ozranger added 06:53 - Feb 24
Um, er, I think I am going to have to watch this game again. I actually thought JJ was doing quite decently and that the Jenas watch was going to suffer this week. Maybe Setanta was showing a different game. Will get back to you on this one.

Petros added 07:54 - Feb 24
Excellent report, especially the defence of Carroll, and the out of a bucket feel to HR's selections. A little harsh on Benayoun maybe, who is not very good, but a long way from Bosingwa levels of cynicism so far ( BAE on the other hand is getting more toxic by the game).

probbo added 08:23 - Feb 24
I suspect some of the congregation will soon be turning to hymn number 666 and singing 'you don't know what you're doing' to the manager and if I were there I have to say i'd probably join in. I can't condone the barracking of individual players but as an overall faltering team, i'm as frustrated as any R's fan out there. And much (all) of this is on Redknapp.

There's still time to get things back on track and I hope we do but i'd not be adverse to a period of consolidation in this league - I on;y say that cos I think we need to press the 'reset' button and start again. The clamour instant promotion is presumably so TF can recoup some of last year's vast outlay quickly but it would be easy to frame a scenario where three months in to another faltering Prem campaign Redknapp gets the sack, some other manager comes in and the whole cycle repeats itself for the third time in as many years.

RonisRs added 08:50 - Feb 24
It makes for such depressing reading. I thought starting Onouha was the right way to go. One thing they need though is target practice on the training ground, 67% possession and not one shot on target.......... surely we cant lose 4 in a row ???? then only Harry knows who's playing on Saturday. sacking HR at this stage and then bringing in someone else, makes no sense; lets hope we make the playoffs, have CA, Simpson etc fit for the playoffs and then scrape through.

OldPedro added 09:23 - Feb 24
Thanks for the report Clive. Tbh I have no idea whether we should keep Rednappp or not but whatever happens with so many loan players and several players contracts up at the end of the season, its going to need another rebuild in the next transfer window.

ozranger added 09:57 - Feb 24
Okay Clive, you are either going to kill me, ban me or just ignore me, but... I re-watched the first half and counted the number of received passes by both Jenas and Carroll from team mates. This will haunt one of us. Jenas 40 and Carroll 38. Yes, Jenas received more passes from team-mates than Carroll in the first half. Please go back and watch it again. Also, it was interesting that the two worked together in that if one moved forward to help with the attack, the other moved into a position just in front of the defence. Now, I will not say what happened to the ball after they received it or what happened in the second half as just watching the first was strenuous enough, so possibly the second was completely different.

Now, I guess it is time to put up the rotten egg and tomato shields as well!

JAPRANGERS added 10:06 - Feb 24
It's like having contract workers in a company, loan players are not committed to the team, they don't feel they belong to it. And we have 8 FFS! Crazy. How the hell did this happen/be allowed to happen??

Great report as usual Clive. Did the "guy" who bad mouthed you, know who were do you reckon?? Somebody on here??

dixiedean added 11:07 - Feb 24
I've never been a Redknapp fan ( amazing that he got off his charge IMO) but I can't see any value in getting rid of him at this stage. We may as well see this season out come what may, but I would make a change at the end of the season, whether we go up or not. Problem is in modern football everything is a quick fix and everyone's as bad as we are - eg Fulham, Cardiff ( haha) , Swansea to name but 3. I do wonder what coaching input HR and his supposed coaches actually put in, as we have been rudderless ever since Steve Mac left - and Derby have been on the crest of a wave from the same point , which is clearly no coincidence. Everything is random. As Clive said, team selection and shape seems to be a lottery. I've never been convinced by LTC and personally I wouldn't pick him, but the moronic jeering is poor . By all means abuse the Bosingwas of this world for their piss-taking lack of effort , but it's not fair to pick on the likes of LTC who doesn't hide . Maybe now he will and who could blame him ? On paper the outside world must wonder what we're all moaning about, but momentum is a big thing at this stage of the season and ours couldn't be worse and there's no obvious sign of it changing unless Morrison starts winning games on his own. At least he's under 34 years old, so maybe HR has learnt something !

QPunkR added 11:34 - Feb 24
ozranger - the single solitary reason Jenas watch didn't happen this week is 'cos I decided (quite rightly, as it turned out) that it'd be far more enjoyable playing centre back on a sharp astroturf pitch and getting grade-3 astro-burns all up my leg than watching that absolute shower of b@stards.
In spite of sitting here in crippling pain, I feel vindicated

smegma added 11:35 - Feb 24
I'm sorry but the case for the defence of Carroll is flawed. He was absolutely awful and has been for a while. The only time he passed the ball forwards on Saturday it went straight out for a goal kick with no QPR player within the same postcode as the ball. Had it been Henry or Jenas people would've jeered. He goes' 'looking for the ball' apparently, yet when he receives it, he does a 360 degree turn and gives it back to the player that originally passed to him.Brilliant creativity. Has everyone forgotten the shot he took at the home end in the first half that was in danger of hitting the Thames Flood Barrier just upstream??And can someone tell me when he last made a tackle??? I don't care whther hes 21 or 41, he is not good enough at this level.You've covered Benayoun and Jenas comprehensively and the ONLY midfielder who has earnt his wages this season was banned on Saturday and how we missed him.

Antti_Heinola added 11:45 - Feb 24
Excellent report Clive. Awesome.

Ozranger. Stats like that mean very little I'm afraid. It's about where they get the ball and why. When Carroll had the ball and was looking for a pass, where was Jenas? Was he in space that might make a difference? Where was everyone else? Watch that first half again and see how many times Jenas sprints. Actually, don't bother, because the answer is 0. I think that's where stats can be really misleading. It's like the shots on target one - a mishit pea roller is effectively counted as more dangerous than a strike that whistles past the post and has the goalie scrambling all the way.

And just one more thing, Oz. Please don't ever ask anyone to 'go back and watch it again' unless, they, you know, need to be punished for some kind of genuinely heinous crime. I'm not quite sure how you sat through it again (or where you got it from?) but I think Clive may have better things to do, like wrench his own toenails from their sockets with some pliers.

Eddo added 11:59 - Feb 24
Plenty of valid comments following another concise match report - Well done Clive.
Loved the last line 'The Church is restless'.

Supporting QPR will never be boring, but instead remain the roller coaster of peaks and troughs we have experienced since the mid sixties, in some ways we should be grateful that the owners have not given up despite the 'apparent' lack of success [sic].

Wrt LTC - Is there ever be a case for booing your own players that give 100%?
But, by the same token and by default, the average football fan seems happy to vent frustration on those that strut around the field without a care in the world.

If there was ever a time when QPR needs its fan's supprt - it's now.
Lets make the most of the early KO, raise the roof and get this season back on the track our owners have set out!

I am sure none of us would swap places with 'the once mighty' LUFC!

Burnleyhoop added 18:34 - Feb 24
Excellent report that encapsulates the frustrations and concerns of us all. I no longer feel the need to vent because almost everything has been said. The only saving grace from another season that may descend into farce is the assurance from TF that he remains steadfast in his long term plan should we fail to get promotion. He has however, intimated that he intends to drop His F1 affiliations with Caterham if they fail to achieve a modicum of success this coming season.
Even his patience clearly has it's limitations.

I can understand his commitment to try and achieve immediate promotion this season and has backed Redknapp accordingly. For the future stability of the club he needs to change strategy big time should it fail (or succeed). We absolutely need to develop a team that has an identity the support base can relate to as this revolving door policy is crushing the heart and soul of our club. I'm now almost embarrassed to admit to being a QPR fan.........painful.

TacticalR added 21:15 - Feb 24
I don't why, but I have not been as badly affected by this defeat as some people seem to have been. Perhaps it was reading mase's prediction that QPR were going to lose this one. Perhaps it was having seen Charlton at the Valley once already this season and seeing the effect their up and under football can have on the opposition.

We didn't do enough to win, but probably should have got a draw. We had one or two chances but didn't take them - Morrison fluffed his lines. We did over-elaborate on our passing in midfield, occasionally switching to long balls forward which were no more effective. We looked very lightweight up front. As well as all the players you mentioned that we've lost through injury, we were also missing Barton and Kranjčar. I really felt we could have done with Nico to coordinate the midfield and feed the strikers (except it felt like we didn't have any strikers to feed).

I agree with you about Carroll, no point in booing him as he was by no means the worst player out there. In fact Carroll laid on the best chance of the match for Morrison. I have a horrible feeling the season has caught up with Carroll, and, well, he's only little. Perhaps he'll get his second wind before the end of the season.

If you want to boo someone, boo Onuoha and Aaron Hughes. Onuoha's terrible ball control in the middle of the area set up the Charlton shot which led to the corner which led to the goal. Aaron Hughes could not get in a decent cross the whole game and resorted to playing the ball along the edge of opposition box behind the strikers, as that's all he could do. His challenge for the ball for the goal was non-existent.

Right from the beginning of the season the question has been 'what are we watching?'. We often played badly, yet came away with a result thanks to Austin, so the system seemed to be working. Now Austin has gone we're just playing badly.

Royboy48 added 22:33 - Feb 24
I think Tony knows exactly what he is doing - he's set out to get immediate re-promotion, and take advantage of the financial momentum of the parachute payments. Although an immediate top flight return is not central to his long term vision, the opportunity should not be wasted. He knows - as we all know- that Harry is a short term fix and fixer. He's gambled on Harry doing what Harry does best. He's given him all the ammo.

TF is a calculated risk taker- and, by the way, we are still 4th with a game in hand....

Watford_Ranger added 22:36 - Feb 24
They should pin that paragraph on Jenas to his training room locker but the dozy bastard has probably forgotten which one is his.

snanker added 22:37 - Feb 24
Who thinks Leeds can smell blood ? Yes smegma we missed Barton like no tomorrow. Can't see us digging our way out of this one. Its gonna be another gutting tough 3 months..

derbyhoop added 23:20 - Feb 24
I applaud your historical references to longer term planning and sticking with decent managers who have come good.
I didn't go Saturday but listened to the commentary. Despite your defence of LTC, even Bradley Allen was saying he'd been poor. By contrast, Jenas was regularly mentioned for positive contributions during the game.
There is a danger that your dislike/hatred of Jenas is blinding you to his plus points. In that respect you're not that far away from the idiots cheering when LTC gets hauled off.

Be careful not to lose perspective. You are in a position where you influence a lot of fans.

Northernr added 09:18 - Feb 25
Derby - The thing is I don't have a dislike or hatred of Jenas, I'm just perplexed about what he actually does, I sit and watch him for big chunks of games and his ability to stay 10 yards away from everything that's happening is uncanny. Derby at home this season he was excellent, right in the thick of the action, but he just doesn't get involved enough. A player of that talent should be taking games at this level by the scruff of the neck. LTC is trying to do that but is too lightweight/low on confidence/potentially not good enough to do it.

Burnleyhoop added 18:56 - Feb 25
And the worst thing about it all is Redknapp doesn't appear to have a clue who or how to play from one week to the next. It appears to be no more than a mish mash of personnel and formations and hoping for the best.
Injuries haven't helped, but you really do have to question what the hell the coaching team are doing. For god's sake pick the best players (from what remains) and play in a formation that suits and stick with it. How hard can it be?

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