QPR battle MK and restless natives for spirited victory – report Monday, 26th Oct 2015 00:04 by Clive Whittingham
QPR were able to overcome a limited MK Dons team, and barracking from their own supporters, and record a comfortable 3-0 win at Loftus Road on Saturday.
In some ways it was apt for the 1975/76 team to have their reunion at Loftus Road on Saturday for the visit of MK Dons.
They know as well as anybody that the QPR fans regularly turn on their own players – the late Mick Leach used to get pelters from this crowd even when Rangers were sweeping all before them and running Liverpool close for the league title.
In no way, other than their profession, are Karl Henry and Mick Leach comparable but 40 years on the abuse Henry took from his own so-called supporters on Saturday was every bit as nasty and counterproductive. By booing when a second-half cross was misjudged and flew straight out for a goal kick, chanting for the referee to send him off when he committed fouls, singing the name of substitutes who could potentially take his place, abusing the head coach when he made a change but left Henry on and then cheering almost as loudly as when the goals went in when he was finally removed deep into the second half, a significant portion of the QPR support surrendered the team’s home advantage.
Everything you’re meant to gain by playing at home was gone. The players looked uncomfortable and unhappy, some visibly standing on the field and shaking their heads at what they were hearing and seeing. They’ll face less hostile crowds than this in most of the away matches this season. There was notable fight back – the detestable “we’re fucking shit” chant was quickly drowned out by others booing and trying a more encouraging “come on you R’s”. But, overall, we showed ourselves up here and could have cost our team the game.
The howls of derision and “you don’t know what you’re doing” that rolled down from the stands when Ramsey removed Massimo Luongo to get Leroy Fer on in his first substitution were manifestly excessive. Karl Robinson, the manager of a franchise loathed by QPR fans and any other everyday football fan in this country, walked down the touchline and put a hand on Chris Ramsey’s shoulder as a gesture of solidarity and support. The QPR staff get more support from the fucking people at MK Dons than we offer them these days.
You hear QPR fans throw a bloody duck fit when the players dare to retreat straight to the dressing room at away games rather than come and applaud the away supporters for travelling, and yet then feel it acceptable to behave like this, making the players’ jobs more difficult, subjecting them to personal abuse, openly mocking them and demoralising them. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to offer any acknowledgement to the supporters at all from now on if I was playing for this team.
Henry’s persistent selection this season, despite poor form, has been irritating, and a paying public has the right to express that frustration. But here the bile ignored two things.
Firstly, Henry starting made sense. Not only because Sandro, despite costing the thick end of £10m in transfer fees and God knows what else besides in agent additions and wages, is physically incapable of playing more than two games in a week – the Championship Manager experts in the stands cite Sandro’s presence as one of the reasons Chris Ramsey should be doing better despite this. But also because MK Dons like to play out from the back through midfield, and need to be combatted by pushing high and applying pressure in their own half. Henry has the engine and defensive game to do that, none of the other QPR midfielders do. Recalling him here suggested Rangers had watched MK Dons and picked a tactic accordingly.
And more importantly - it worked. Until the failed cross on the hour, Henry had actually had his best game of the season, and was one of the better QPR players on the field - admittedly against severely limited opposition struggling to adapt to a higher level. By the time he was taken off, to ironic cheers, Rangers were 2-0 up and had the game won. His own performance waned after the failed cross, and a yellow card for a combination of a foul and kicking the ball away on the hour was mindless, but he’d played well to begin with in spite of the restless natives.
But then there is a section of the QPR support that doesn’t want Karl Henry to play well, or Chris Ramsey to do well. Last week at Birmingham one fan was heard to remark that he hoped QPR didn’t get a late equaliser, as he hates Ramsey and defeat moves him closer to the exit. One message board poster wondered whether it would be better for QPR to lose home matches with Sheff Wed and MK Dons to hasten the departure. Another, after Saturday’s win, said “sorry, the party is postponed” because the win meant Ramsey would stay for another week at least.
There’s not rating a manager, not believing in him, disagreeing with him, wanting him replaced… and then there’s this. We should all want QPR and Chris Ramsey to beat MK Dons, because we’re supposed to be QPR fans. We should want Chris Ramsey to win his next 50 games on the spin, and be here in 20 years and go down as one of the club’s greatest ever managers because then the team we’re supposed to support will have done brilliantly. But some seemingly don’t and are getting increasingly vindictive about it.
There will be no praise, for instance, for the form of Jay Emmanuel Thomas. A player twice bombed out by Championship clubs for laziness and poor attitude, a player scarcely picked by Bristol City in League One last season, picked up for nothing, worked with on the training ground, made to wait and fight for his place in the team, now scoring regularly and putting a real shift in for his team as a lone striker. Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand have done that, and yet it’s rarely mentioned.
Here Emmanuel-Thomas won the game with a wonderful individual goal that paved the way for a 3-0 success. Twenty minutes from time he collected a cross with his back to goal 20 yards out, killed it stone dead with an immaculate first touch, lobbed and rounded a defender with a perfect second, and then coolly rolled it home with a smooth third. Fabulous goal.
There were subsequently a couple of nervy moments. Jake Forster-Caskey was agonisingly out of reach of a low cross seconds after Rangers had taken the lead, then Simon Church toed the ball wide from close range at the near post. Robert Green rushed from his line to make a wonderful save to deny Church one on one in the next attack.
But QPR were destined to keep a second successive clean sheet for the first time this season. Not only that, but they’ve only allowed Sheff Wed and MK Dons to have one shot on target between them across 180 minutes. A week ago Ramsey’s critics said a coach of his supposed standing should be able to tune the defence better than he has done. Now the defence has started to keep clean sheets that’s rarely mentioned and, if it is, it’s put down to Neil Warnock’s influence despite him having rock all to do with it. Grant Hall, a young Ramsey and Ferdinand signing, was very decent again here for the second match running.
As on Tuesday night, and last Saturday, when Ramsey’s substitutions were pilloried it was hard to think of a change he could have made without the crowd reacting negatively. Removing Henry, obviously, but possibly also withdrawing Daniel Tozser. The Hungarian, however, remained on despite getting his own share of barracking for a sixty fifth minute free kick that flew over the bar from ambitious range after referee Scott Duncan had booked Kyle McFadzean for pulling back Emmanuel Thomas. Ramsey’s reward for that faith was a pass of exceptional vision and quality 13 minutes from time which freed Matt Phillips into enough space for him to cut inside and bury a second goal into the far corner. Tozser’s corners, too, were a breath of fresh air and made Rangers look threatening every time they were awarded one.
Phillips had earlier missed a diving header at the near post from a cute cross by Tjaronn Chery. When Ramsey replaced the Dutchman with forgotten-man Junior Hoilett, he was rewarded with a third goal hooked in by the Canadian over his shoulder from a corner. Tozser’s delivery at wide set pieces consistently excellent all day. Not a bad 20 minutes there for a head coach who apparently doesn’t know what he’s doing.
When Ramsey did finally bow to pressure and bring Ale Faurlin on for Henry the reaction was more akin to the exasperation of a crowd seeing their team trail 1-0, rather than lead by two. Faurlin still has that eye for an incisive pass which nobody else at QPR possesses, but he’s slower on the turn than Cravendale milk. Ramsey’s predecessors both used Faurlin remorselessly, straight after his injuries, for whole 90 minutes at a time several times a week, and both of them subsequently lost him to relapses. That hasn’t happened so far this year thanks to the way Ramsey is using him sparingly.
The first half hadn’t flowed quite as freely, and who knows how the game would have ended up had Emmanuel Thomas not unlocked it with his own individual brilliance, but QPR had been dominant throughout. Chery drew a steady save from visiting keeper David Martin after seven minutes; Hall dropped a clever back header into a dangerous area from Phillips’ dangerous thirteenth minute corner; Nedum Onuoha volleyed one set piece wide at the near, then had another ambitious long-ranger blocked away. Paul Konchesky could have hit a thirty third minute shot harder, the weak finish allowed a defender to clear from the line, but soon Emmanuel Thomas was turning smartly and cueing up Henry for a 25 yarder deflected wide. The lone striker then had a shot of his own deflected wide in first half injury time. Hall subsequently planted a firm header over the bar from Chery’s outswinging second half corner.
The domination, the pattern of play, the individual performances and the final score were entirely out of step with the behaviour and noise from the crowd. Any idea that Loftus Road is an asset to QPR as an intimidating, atmospheric old English football ground with a tight pitch and boisterous home support were blown out of the water here. The place was a hindrance to the team which showed togetherness, spirit and all-important extra quality to win despite what they were subjected to. Not strong evidence of a supposed lost dressing room.
The late collapse was too much for a chunk of the sizeable travelling support from Milton Keynes to stand and they embarked on a full scale running battle between themselves, with police and stewards aplenty wading into the upper tier of the School End. “Your support is fucking shit,” sang the home fans.
We need to have a long look in our own mirrors before levelling that particular accusation at MK Dons or anybody else.
QPR Star Man – Jay Emmanuel Thomas 7 Another very decent performance, with plenty of hard yards covered and a good work ethic in evidence. Like Bolton, scored a crucial and very skilful goal at just the right time to set the game in QPR’s favour. Looks a far cry from the problem child we thought we’d signed, to Ferdinand and Ramsey’s credit.
Referee – Scott Duncan (Northumberland) 8 Little to referee but kept control well and the two cards were fully justified.
Attendance 15, 567 (1,000 MK Dons approx) An odd day in the stands all round, with the MK Massive kicking off in the second half to a level not seen since Millwall were last here, and the QPR fans seemingly determined to undermine their own team’s chances of winning the game.
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On the subject of our so called "support" I personally felt so disgusted that I was about to walk out the ground at 0-0 but my dad and sister made me stay, I know Karl Henry isn't very good, but his first really big mistake, the poor cross, was predictably instantly jumped on by c*nts who just couldn't wait to get on his back, as for the abuse Ramsey's getting, I'm starting to wonder if it's down to racism as Mark Hughes was a far worse manager for us, the guy basically f*cked the club over ffs, but he never received nearly as much sh*te off these d*cks as Chris has done, we really don't deserve f*ck all right now as fans I'm afraid
Sad to read much of this. The inference from some on the message boards that they would take a defeat to accelerate Ramsey's departure is truly incredulous.
Sadly we have had many players down the years who have been victim of the boo boys, Leach, Ernie Howe, Falco, Furlong to name a few. Henry seems to have now joined that list. We all get frustrated from time to time, but booing your own players can never be anything but counter-productive.
I do worry what Friday night will look like. Brentford are in good form and are probably favourites to win the game. More ammunition for the Ramsey Haters I fear
poor home support-how can we boo Henry when he gives his all Think the MK fans had a point when they sang that our support is s*** It seems that we only suport our team when we are winning Great goals from JET and Phillips and good to see Hoilett get a run out I pressed with Gran and yes Hill does make a difference Great to get 3 points and honour the legends of 75
So, what are we going to do about it then? Sit, embarrassed letting the players think that these idiots are speaking for all of us, or drown them out? If its a minority, it shouldn't be that difficult to do, should it? I fully understand that is easier said than done and, without the power of alcohol these days, because I go with my young son, I'm as quiet as the rest of you, but if it is getting as bad as I'm hearing, we've got to do something, haven't we?
I am shocked at this account on our fans. Whilst you cannot account for everyone who comes through the turnstile, historically I have felt we have had a good and grounded support. There are other clubs who have supporters whose expectations are often unrealistic (e.g Newcastle) or supporters who turn on their own players (e.g Chelsea pre-Abramovich and success). Unfortunately, it seems like a sea change, as this is not the first occasion but certainly the worst to date. I am not happy with where we are but in this division what do you expect? There are plenty good teams that cannot get a run together and I am still not sure just how good we are. Whilst the Fulham game was unacceptable, the rest of the performances have been a team trying to gel. Perhaps those who want Ramsey out and criticise the management here should reflect that we didn't get Tim Sherwood, along with his pay off bonus, as I am sure we would looking up at mid-table as a aspiration.
I also heard that MK Dons fans scuffles were blamed on infiltration of gangs from other clubs. I don't know if that is another perverse indication of how far they have come!
I'm thinking about going to Derby next Tuesday however going to buy a ticket with the home fans can't stomach the haters I'm afraid. As for critism of Chris Ramsey 2 best players on the pitch Jay emanual Thomas and Grant Hall 2 players brought in on free transfers by Chris and Les !!! Some prove the haters wrong and drown out the boo boys next home match.
I can remember my old man being really upset with the crap Mick Leach had to put up with at LR. I seem to remember Don Givens getting some stick as well. There's always been an element of this at Rangers and it makes me sick. Paul Furlong's first home appearance for us was marred by intermittent booing and is/was representative of a small (but vocal) element of our support which is massively _thick_. Reading this report doesn't surprise me at all and is one of the reasons why I (and a lot of Rs I know) really cannot be bothered with it all at the moment.
Let's be honest, those idiots in the corner have been embarrassing us all for years. Some of the chants are absolutely pathetic - 'Your support is fcuking sh!t' and 'Your mum's your mum, your dad's your dad' - being two of the worst. I also cringed in embarrassment at the Kasper Schmeichel chant last season. I was delighted to see that knob with the drum get booted out at Charlton this season and I haven't seen him back since so hopefully he's picked up a ban. Interestingly enough, we came home on the train with a West Ham fan on Saturday who had been in the home end at Palace the week before. He said that their support was magnificent and didn't stop despite their team losing. Notwithstanding the fact that Palace are in the Prem and we're not, if you had a choice between playing in front of their fans and playing in front of our toxic dickheads, who are you going to chose?
Clive I'm so glad you've highlighted the problem that our fans give to the players and management. I'm convinced our failure in recent times is contributed to by such negativity from our supposed supporters. Do they think slagging off the current team and management will encourage better players and managers to join our club? Anything less than instant success is not to be tolerated. Players added to the team at low cost are expected to play like Messi and never make a mistake and God help them if they do. I appreciate Ramsey was also the inexpensive option as manager, but how many expensive managerial supposed superstars have failed before.
Ramsey is to some extent learning how to be a manager, but I'm glad you've highlighted the good decisions he made in this game which suggests to me he is coming along quite well. Of course not in the eyes of some of our football expert fans who haven't really got a clue, but always seem to think they know best about everything and aren't restricted by fitness issues or limited by the cost of players or managers they would bring in to replace those trying to do their best for QPR despite being slagged off at every turn. It is time these fans considered whether they want QPR to progress and improve in a gradual way or if they just want the regular excitement of changing players and managers so they can find new ways to destroy them.
Great report Clive – Very disappointing from some of our fans – These players are not the Mercenaries that were here a couple of years ago the club is doing all it can to get us back on a level footing and I was ashamed with the reaction given to Henry and for a ten minute spell it really effected the players and could of costed us the game.
We are work in progress and will be for a couple of years and there may even be a Fulham type performance from time to time but give me this set of players over the Hughes era any day.
Spot on Clive. I've been very citrical of the management and the players myself this season, but some of the reaction is just way over the top. I think one of the problems is that as supporters we go to see Rangers week in week out to be entertained, but sadly it has been lacking in that department recently and frustrations boil over. But at the end of the day we got 3 points, and I for one am very happy with that.
Clive – your reports are always superb….a post match highlight to look forward to. However sometimes you take extreme positions to prove a point. This is one of those! I agreed completely with the comments about the booing and off, off, off chanting of Henry that was clearly painful. From my seat in the front row of P block I could hear it in full cry and wondered if I was missing something! I asked my lad what was going on at one point because it was so strange!
However what you are missing is that Ramsey clearly can’t manage a match as it unfolds. Everyone seems to be able to see this. He makes every change too late, and often seems to be watching a completely different game to the rest of us. It is because of this that the masses are now being so over critical.
I thought we would go down this year so I am currently delighted. We kept some good players, and will be comfortably mid table. But with the resources he has surely it isn’t unreasonable to expect more. I think he is a good coach but a poor manager.
Both Poulter and Austin Tweeting on Tuesday with comments, especially Charlie Tweeting “what’s he doing now” when he took off JET tells me that not all is right in the camp. We can see he is running games badly you can bet the players do.
Henry was our best players a few games last season – be is in horrid form. Stop playing him.
Only playing one up front isn’t great – but if you do it please play a midfield that can pass. Toizer and Henry aren’t that. Toizer stands on the half way line waiting for the game to come to him. Taking off Luongo our best player on the day was bonkers. Taking off JET for a 6th midfielder at home at 0-0 against a mid-table team on Tues was odd.
Why are some of the kids he wanted to play all out on loan and others not getting a game.
I blindly support QPR as I have done sine 1973. That doesn’t mean I blindly support a manager who is making some very very odd decisions.
I wouldn’t boo our own players or chant off, off, off however. But I can understand the crime.
Thanks for the detailed response. It's all about opinions of course so I'll take your points in order and offer you mine…
1 – Agree, Ramsey's in game management is questionable (kindly put). Substitutions too late, or no substitutions when we seem to be crying out for one is a running theme. He would probably point to Huddersfield away, where he was getting abused for not making a change, but won the game 1-0 with a late goal by sticking to the plan. I'd also say, we're not exactly blessed with a load of options from the bench. Our squad is still overloaded with 'tens', we don't have game-changing wingers or strikers to put on really, which is probably why he's reticent to do it.
2 – The resources to do better. Yes, we're cutting the budget but we're still spending vastly more than most other teams in the league. Not to the ridiculous level we did under HR, but still a lot certainly. But IMO a lot of the players the fans are excited about still having here, and raising expectations accordingly, aren't anywhere near as good as we make them out to be – Austin apart. Green accident prone, Sandro injury prone, Fer injury prone and poor defensively, Phillips blows hot and cold, Onuoha is playing poorly. They were all here last season when we finished last.
3 – I thought the Austin Tweet was about the Champions League game he was watching but might be wrong. He Tweeted later everybody needs to stick together so doesn't strike me as being of that mindset. Polter… I believe Fleetwood Mac had a song lyric that's applicable there. If you're not being picked, you're going to think the guy not picking you is an idiot.
4 – Agree, Henry is a mediocre player in poor form and shouldn't be playing as often as he is. Ramsey could do himself a favour, for PR if nothing else, by using Doughty more there and I don't think Doughty is as bad as people make out so should be getting more game time. However, Henry played well for the first hour on Saturday and was important to combat the way MK play because he's one of the few defensive central midfielders we've got with the engine to press high, and get back, and press high, and get back multiple times. You'd kill Faurlin if you tried to make him do that, Tozser doesn't look like that sort of player to me, Luongo started the season in that position but has looked a lot better since moving forwards.
5 – You watched a different Tozser to me on Saturday. That ball for the second goal wasn't too shabby for somebody who can't pass.
6 – The JET sub… He was abused on the Saturday for replacing him with Polter, then he was abused for not replacing him with Polter. Mackie and Austin are injured, we're not swimming in options. JET, refreshed, played well late in the game on Saturday, possibly because he'd had that rest on Tuesday. How about some credit for Ramsey and Ferdinand for creating a hard working centre forward out of a player previously considered lazy and not good enough for teams at this level?
7 – The kids. Don't know, I don't like that either. Gladwin and Furlong should have had game time by now. From his point of view, would you want to subject youngsters and inexperienced players to that atmosphere on Saturday? If he was picking them and losing he'd be getting abused and told to pick the experienced players instead. He really can't win with some.
8 – Understand the crime all you like, it makes it harder for the players to play and for the team to win. That's the opposite of what we want and what we're there for, or at least it should be.
One minor point – one wonder pass by Tozser (which it was) doesn’t mean he is running midfield. I think the plan of this system is a ‘stopper’ (Henry I guess) and a conductor (Tozser I guess). I had this conversation on the Forum the other day – you can’t have someone in that position who doesn’t show for the ball.
How many times do the back four have the ball and are offered nowhere to go. Clint then slings a big diagonal forward. If we are going to do that we should be playing two up front!
I hate to say it, but Barton came back and showed for the ball every time (I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he was prepared to take the ball under pressure). Ali shows for the ball. Tozser doesn’t. The central plank to playing five in midfield, and one up, is playing the ball not kicking it long.
Either Luongo (better further forward), Fer (can’t defend) or Ali need to play there. Or change the way we are trying to play.
By the way you can rest assured I didn’t boo or chant…I am just giving the other opinion….which I can still understand!
Some of the reaction from Rangers fans recently goes against everyrthing this club stands for and all the reasons we choose to support them in the first place. Shameful chants that belong at Chelsea not QPR.