Furlong wins it late in happier times - History
Friday, 24th Aug 2018 09:43 by Clive Whittingham
Ahead of Wigan's visit on Saturday, LFW looks back to Ian Holloway's first stint in charge when QPR beat a big-spending, title-chasing Latics team thanks to a late goal from Paul Furlong.
QPR 1 Wigan 0, Saturday November 13, 2004, Championship
Wigan and QPR had met a handful of times in the seasons leading up to this as the R’s chased the Latics up the Football League ladder. This was their first ever meeting in the second tier of the English game and came as Paul Jewell’s Wigan side was pressing for it’s a maiden promotion into the top flight, and just a few months after Ian Holloway’s QPR had finished second in the Second Division to move back up a division themselves.
That promotion hadn’t kept Ian Holloway safe from the vultures that circle around Loftus Road all too often however. The introduction to the board of Gianni Paladini had left Holloway looking vulnerable, particularly as his newly promoted team had initially struggled at the higher level and won just one of their first half dozen league games. Following a meek 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield United – hardly a surprising result with a centre half pairing of Richard Edghill and Georges Santos – the story was that the QPR boss would be sacked if he failed to win the next game and replaced by Argentinean Ramon Diaz.
Luckily for Olly, and for Rangers, a pulsating home game against fellow newly promoted side Plymouth was won by three goals to two with Paul Furlong lobbing in a spectacular second and Kevin Gallen scoring late at the School End to seal the win. That victory was the first of seven on the spin that lifted Rangers to fourth in the table and eventually developed into a run of nine wins and a draw from 15 matches played. The run came to an end in spectacular fashion with a 6-1 defeat at Leeds but the week before QPR had been on top of the world after a famous win at Loftus Road against the big spending, high flying, free scoring Latics.
Jewell had paired Jason Roberts and Nathan Ellington together in attack that season and the duo proved to be prolific with service from Jimmy Bullard – but a combination of awful finishing and fine goalkeeper from Chris Day kept them scoreless on this occasion until the dying embers of the game. Wigan ’s profligacy set up a grandstand finish when former Everton winger Kevin McLeod crossed on the run from the left flank for veteran frontman Furlong to superbly guide the winning goal into the far corner of the net with his head.
Jewell fumed at his side on the touchline, angry that they’d carelessly conceded possession in a dangerous area while pressing for a winner. Wigan , nevertheless, did go onto win promotion while QPR’s challenge fell away, but on that occasion it was the R’s well on top.
QPR: C Day, M Bignot, D Shittu, G Santos, M Rose, G Ainsworth (K McLeod, 64), M Bean, K Gallen, L Cook (G Padula, 76), J Cureton, P Furlong
Subs not used: F Simek, S Branco , A Gnohere
Goals: Furlong 89 (assisted McLeod)
Wigan: J Filan, D Wright, M Jackson, I Breckin, L Baines (S McMillan, 46), N Eaden, A Mahon, J Bullard, D Graham (G Teale, 76), N Ellington (M Flynn, 87), J Roberts
Subs Not Used: G Whalley, G Walsh
QPR 2 Wigan Athletic 1, Tuesday February 21, 2017, Championship
QPR followed up a 4-1 win at Birmingham with a battling midweek home win against relegation haunted Wigan when these sides last met in February 2017. It looked like plain sailing when Matt Smith opened the scoring after four minutes but Omar Bogle crawled all over the QPR defence after that, winning a penalty and scoring it himself after 20 minutes to equalise. Conor Washington saved the day with a winner on the hour as the R’s moved clear of the whirlpool at the bottom of the league.
QPR: Smithies 7; Furlong 6, Onouha 7, Lynch 5, Bidwell 6; Manning 6, Hall 6 (Lua Lua 29, 7), Freeman 6; Wszolek 6, Smith 6 (Sylla 76, 6), Washington 7 (Ngbakoto 68, 6)
Subs not used: Mackie, Ingram, Perch, Luongo
Goals: Smith 4 (assisted Washington), Washington 60 (assisted Freeman/Lua Lua)
Bookings: Lynch 15 (foul), Sylla 76 (foul)
Wigan: Gilks 4; Connolly 5, Buxton 5, Burn 6, Warnock 6; Power 6, Hanson 6 (Mandron 81, -), Morsy 6, Tunnicliffe 6; Grigg 6 (Obertan 73, 6), Bogle 8
Subs not used: Perkins, Kellett, Laurent, Weir
Goals: Bogle 17 (penalty – won Bogle)
Bookings: Bogle 22 (repetitive fouling), Grigg 30 (foul), Power 35 (foul), Hanson 46 (foul), Buxton 61 (foul)
Wigan Athletic 0 Queens Park Rangers 1, Saturday August 27, 2016, Championship
Things actually started quite well for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Queens Park Rangers that season. This victory at Wigan on the last Saturday in August, sealed by a Nedum Onuoha strike from a Jake Bidwell free kick straight after half time, was their fourth win from seven matches in August. But even this performance was fairly lacklustre, and the game appalling to watch, something which became an issue when the wins started to dry up in the subsequent months.
Wigan: Bogdan N/A; Power 6; Morgan 5; Buxton 5; Warnock 6; Garbutt 6 (Davies 81); Gilbey 5 (Gomez 68); Macdonald (Wildschut 54); Powell 6; Jacobs 5; Grigg 5
Subs not used: Flores, Burke, Burn Jääskeläinen
Bookings: Powell 42 (foul), MacDonald 51 (dissent), Jacobs 66 (foul), Morgan 82 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 6; Hall 8, Onuoha 8, Bidwell 7; Henry 6; Luongo 7, Cousins 5, NGkakato 5; Chery 6 (Borysuik 83, -); Polter 6.
Subs not used: Washington, Ingram, El Khayati, Paul, Kakay, Shodipo
Goals: Onuoha 48 (assisted Bidwell)
Bookings: Cousins 13 (foul), Bidwell 38 (foul), Henry 42 (dissent)
Queens Park Rangers 2 Wigan Athletic 1 AET, Monday May 12, Championship play off semi-final second leg
QPR came from behind to win in extra time when these sides met in a play-off semi-final second leg that was every bit as entertaining as the first leg had been dull. James Perch, funnily enough, gave the visitors the lead in a tie that had been turned into a one-off straight knock out affair by a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Wigan. There were chances to go two up as well as James McClean first tried diving to win a penalty from Rob Green (referee Mark Clattenburg right on the spot with a yellow card) then somehow missed from a yard immediately after half time. Charlie Austin buried an equaliser from the spot after Junior Hoilettwas obviously fouled by Caldwell, and then the talismanic forward won the tie in extra time after Bobby Zamora had hooked a throw in into his path. Rangers went on to beat Derby 1-0 at Wembley in the final.
QPR: Green 7; Simpson 7, Onuoha 8, Dunne 8, Hill 6 (Suk-Young 50, 8); Barton 8, O’Neil 6 (Morrison 69, 6), Doyle 6 (Zamora 65, 8), Kranjcar 8, Hoilett 6; Austin 8
Subs not used: Hughes, Henry, Murphy, Benayoun
Goals: Austin 73 (penalty won Hoilett), 96 (assisted Zamora)
Bookings: Barton 57 (foul), O’Neil 60 (foul), Kranjcar 63 (foul)
Wigan: Carson 7; Kiernan 7, Caldwell 5 (Barnett 74, 6), Boyce 7; Perch 7, Gomez 7, McArthur 7 (Espinosa 36, 6), Maloney 6, Bausejour 6; McClean 6, McManaman 7 (Waghorn 71, 6)
Subs not used: Crainey, Al-Habsi, Maynard, Collison
Goals: Perch 9 (assisted McClean)
Bookings: McClean 22 (cheating)
Wigan Athletic 0 Queens Park Rangers 0, Friday May 9, 2014, Championship play off semi-final first leg
With the away goal rule not in force in the Football League play-offs, QPR were able to head up to Wigan for the first leg of their 2014 tie and try to turn the second leg into a one-off at Loftus Road. They succeeded in doing that with a sleep-inducing 0-0 draw of precious few chances. Wigan may have had a lead to cling to had they been playing a more accomplished striker than Marc-Antoine Fortuné – selected ahead of Nicky Maynard, Martyn Waghorn and Nick Powell he missed the home side’s best two chances of the game. QPR were restricted to long range attempts from lone striker Ravel Morrison, but they hadn’t come to score goals and they got the job done.
Wigan: Carson 6; Kiernan 6, Caldwell 6, Boyce 6, Bausejour 7; Perch 7, McArthur 6, Gomez 6, Maloney 6, McManaman 6 (Maynard 76, 6); Fortuné 4 (Waghorn 76, 6)
Subs not used: McClean, Espinoza, Barnett, Al-Habsi, Collison
Bookings: McArthur 23 (repetitive fouling), McManaman 23 (repetitive fouling), Caldwell 32 (foul)
QPR: Green 6; Simpson 6, Onuoha 8, Dunne 5, Hill 6; Traore 6 (Doyle 70, 6), O’Neil 6, Barton 6, Hoilett 6 (Suk-Young 88, -); Morrison 5 (Kranjcar 78, 6), Austin 6
Subs not used: Carroll, Hughes, Henry, Murphy
Bookings: Dunne 22 (foul)
QPR 1 Wigan 0, Tuesday March 25, 2014, Championship
QPR were indebted to the form of goalkeeper Rob Green as a stubborn backs-to-the-wall effort and early goal from Yossi Benayoun won the second meeting of the regular 2013/14 season between these two clubs by a narrow margin. Benayoun side-footed in from close range at the end of a flowing move that saw a neat reverse ball from Little Tom Carroll and an outrageous back flick from Clint Hill. But Josh McEachran had already curled a wonderful long range free kick an inch wide of the top corner with Green beaten and Wigan laid siege to the QPR goal thereafter. Green saved strongly from Perch and Powell in the first half while James McClean dragged wide when played through on goal. After the break the keeper dived bravely at McClean’s feet to deny the Sunderland man in another one on one situation while centre back Ramis headed a corner off the top of the bar. All that said, it could so easily have finished 2-0 had an outstanding free kick from Ravel Morrison ten minutes from time hit the underside of the bar and gone in rather than bouncing back out.
QPR: Green 8; Hughes 6, Onuoha 7, Dunne 6, Hill 6; Carroll 7, Barton 6; Kranjcar 5 (O’Neil 45, 6), Morrison 6, Benayoun 7; Zamora 6
Subs not used: Simpson, Keane, Hoilett, Murphy
Goals: Benayoun 16 (assisted Carroll/Hill)
Red Cards: Benayoun 90+1 (two bookings – one match ban)
Bookings: Benayoun 81 (kicking ball away), Morrison 86 (foul), Benayoun 90+1 (foul)
Wigan: Al-Habsi 6; Crainey 6 (Beausejour 61, 6), Ramis 7, Rogne 6 (Gomez 73, 6), Kiernan 6; Perch 6, McEachran 6 (Maynard 80, 5), McArthur 7, Collison 6; McClean 7, Powell 7
Subs not used: Carson, Caldwell, Fortune, Waghorn
Bookings: McArthur 71 (foul)
Wigan 0 QPR 0, Wednesday October 30, 2013, Championship
These two sides fought out an appallingly dull goalless draw in the pouring Wigan rain back at the end of October. Attempts on goal were few and far between with both sides seemingly more than happy with the point they started with. There was some late controversy, when QPR sub Andy Johnson pushed the ball around Wigan 's rookie keeper Lee Nicholls on the edge of the penalty area and then seemed to be taken out by the young stopper, but referee Michael Naylor seemed as bored as the rest of us by that point and didn't even award a free kick.
Wigan : Nicholls 7, Boyce 6, Barnett 6, Perch 6 Shotton 6, McManaman 7 (McClean 74, 6), McCann 6, Gomez 6 (Albrighton 74, 6), Powell 7, Holt 5 (Fortune 45, 6
/Subs not used: Watson, Pollitt, Espinoza, Beausejour
QPR: Green 6, Simpson 7, Hill 7, Dunne 7, Assou-Ekotto 6, Faurlin 7, Jenas 6, O’Neil 6, Kranjcar 6 (Phillips 44, 6), Hoilett 5 (Johnson 75, 6), Austin 5
Subs not used: Henry, Murphy, Chevanton, Onyewu, Traore
QPR 1 Wigan 1, Sunday April 7, 2013, Premier League
A Goal of the Season contender from Loic Remy wasn’t enough to secure QPR a much needed three points at Loftus Road when these sides met on this ground last in April. In a televised match between two of the Premier League’s strugglers Rangers knew they had to win at all costs but suffered an early blow when Bobby Zamora inexplicably studded Jordi Gomez in the side of the head before half time and was justifiably sent off by referee Phil Dowd. Hope seemed to be draining away but a lightning fast counter attack ten minutes from time ended with Stephane Mbia feeding Loic Remy for a world class 20 yard strike that hummed into the net from 20 yards off his instep. Loftus Road went ballistic but Mbia would turn from hero to villain by conceding a series of dangerous free kicks around his own penalty box thereafter. The last of these, in the fifth minute of added time, was curled over the wall and in by Shaun Maloney. The result effectively ended QPR’s hopes of staying in the Premier League but ultimately it did little good for Wigan either and they were relegated as well.
QPR: Cesar 6, Traore 6 (Onuoha 46 6), Hill 6, Samba 6, Bosingwa 6, Hoilett 5 (Taarabt 56 5), Jenas 6, Mbia 7, Townsend 8, Remy 7 (Mackie 88 -), Zamora 3
Subs Not Used: Green, Ben-Haim, Park, Granero
Booked: Remy (foul), Samba (foul)
Sent Off: Zamora (serious foul play)
Wigan: Blazquez 6, Alcaraz 6, Boyce 6, Figueroa 6 (Espinoza 88 -), McCarthy 5, Maloney 7, Gomez 7, Beausejour 6 (McArthur 6), Schamer 6, Kone 6, McManaman 6 (Di Santo 67 6)
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Stam, Henriquez
Booked: Alcaraz (foul), McCarthy (foul), Figueroa (dissent)
Wigan 2 QPR 2, Saturday December 8, 2012, Premier League
QPR were still searching for their first win of the season when they travelled to fellow strugglers Wigan for the sixteenth match of the campaign back in December 2012, but the appointment of Harry Redknapp as manager had brought about improvements to the team and renewed hope among the supporters. A lacklustre start to a crucial six pointer at the DW Stadium, during which the home side took the lead through James McCarthy, threatened to derail that progress but Ryan Nelsen powered a header home from a corner and then in the second half Djibril Cisse slid home after Shaun Wright-Phillips had won the ball well in the Wigan half and crossed into an understaffed penalty area. Sadly the R’s couldn’t hang onto their lead for more than three minutes and McCarthy capped a decent individual display with an equaliser with a quarter of an hour left to play – a preventable goal, but really it was only the goalkeeping of Robert Green that had kept the hosts at bay that long and Rangers scarcely deserved their point.
Wigan: Al Habsi 6, Boyce 6, Lopez 5, McArthur 6, Bausejour 7, Jones 7 (Maloney 76, 6), McCarthy 8, Stam 7, Kone 6, Gomez 6, Di Santo 6 (Boselli 85, -)
Subs not used: Pollit, Golobart, Fyvie, Redmond, McManaman
Goals: McCarthy 19 (unassisted), 74 (assisted Beausejour)
QPR: Green 8, Bosingwa 5 (Fabio 84,-), Nelsen 7, Hill 6, Traore 5, Diakite 5 (Granero 77, 5), Mbia 6, Derry 6, Taarabt 6 (Cisse 58, 6), Wright-Phillips 5, Mackie 6
Goals: Nelsen 26 (assisted Taarabt), Cisse 71 (assisted Wright-Phillips)
Bookings: Taarabt 45 (foul)
QPR 3 Wigan 1, Saturday January 21, 2012, Premier League
QPR recorded their first win since November, and first maximum point haul under new manager Mark Hughes, with a 3-1 win against Wigan at Loftus Road in January last season. Things were looking pretty straightforward at half time after James McCarthy's inexplicable handball gave Heidar Helguson a chance to score what would turn out to be his last competitive goal for the club from the penalty spot, and then right on the stroke of the break Akos Buzsaky smacked a delicious free kick in off the base of the post. Wigan were indebted to goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi for keeping them in contention at that stage but the second half became a fraught, nervous affair once Hugo Rodallega had halved the deficit with a free kick of his own from similar range to Buzsaky's. A second penalty award from referee Jon Moss – against Gary Caldwell for climbing over Helguson in the box – should have put the game to bed by Al Habsi saved from Helguson at the second attempt which meant Tommy Smith's late 25 yard screamer was a blessed relief to the QPR fans who'd waited three months for a league win.
QPR: Kenny 7, Hill 6, Ferdinand 7, Hall 7, Young 7, Wright-Phillips 6, Barton 6, Buzsaky 8 (Derry 82 6), Mackie 6, Helguson 7, Campbell 5 (Smith 45, 6)
Subs Not Used: Czerny, Orr, Ramage, Bothroyd, Macheda
Booked: Barton (foul), Young (foul)
Goals: Helguson 33 (penalty, McCarthy handball), Buzsaky 45 (freekick), Smith (assisted Wright-Phillips)
Wigan : Al Habsi 8, Gohouri 6, Caldwell 6, Boyce 6 (Stam 69 6), Figueroa 6, McCarthy 5, Watson 7, Moses 7, Gomez 6 (Crusat 61 6), McArthur 6 (Sammon 45 6), Rodallega 7
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Lopez, Di Santo, McManaman
Booked: Gohouri (foul), McCarthy (handball)
Goals: Rodallega 66 (free kick)
Wigan 2 QPR 0, Saturday August 27, 2011, Premiership
Tony Fernandes’ takeover of QPR had been ratified in the days leading up to the August Bank Holiday fixture at Wigan last season and Joey Barton was perched high in the main stand after c/ompleting his move to Loftus Road from Newcastle the day before. The QPR starting 11 wasn’t even as strong as the one they’d won the Championship with the season before with Bruno Perone given a full league debut at centre back and the lumbering Patrick Agyemang selected in attack. Agyemang missed the chance of the match, firing horribly wide after Adel Taarabt had struck the post from distance, and Perone thumped the cross bar with a header in the second half. But Rangers were poor overall and Wigan deserved the win they achieved, albeit through two deflected goals from striker Franco Di Santo.
Wigan: Al Habsi 8, Boyce 6, Caldwell 6, Lopez 6, Figueroa 6, Diame 8, Watson 7, Moses 7 (McArthur 69, 6), Rodallega 8, Gomez 7 (Stam 85, -), Di Santo 6 (Sammon 69, 6)
Subs Not Used: Kirkland , McCarthy, Thomas, Jones
Booked: Lopez (foul), Caldwell (foul)
Goals: Di Santo 41 (unassisted), 66 (unassisted)
QPR: Kenny 7, Gabbidon 7, Hall 5 (Harriman 61, 7), Perone 6, Connolly 6, Faurlin 6, Derry 6, Taarabt 7, Buzsaky 6 (Bothroyd 72, 7), Smith 6 (Andrade 80, -), Agyemang 4
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Helguson, Ephraim, Hewitt
Head to Head >>> QPR wins 7 >>> Draws 7 >>> Wigan wins 2
2016/17 QPR 2 Wigan 1 (Smith, Washington)
2016/17 Wigan 0 QPR 1 (Onuoha)
2013/14 QPR 2 Wigan 1 AET* (Austin 2)
2013/14 Wigan 0 QPR 0*
2013/14 QPR 1 Wigan 0 (Benayoun)
2013/14 Wigan 0 QPR 0
2012/13 QPR 1 Wigan 1 (Remy)
2012/13 Wigan 2 QPR 2 (Nelsen, Cisse)
2011/12 QPR 3 Wigan 1 (Helguson, Buzsaky, Smith)
2011/12 Wigan 2 QPR 0
2004/05 Wigan 0 QPR 0
2004/05 QPR 1 Wigan 0 (Furlong)
2002/03 QPR 0 Wigan 1
2002/03 Wigan 1 QPR 1 (Thomson)
2001/02 QPR 1 Wigan 1 (Gallen)
2001/02 Wigan 1 QPR 2 (Thomson, Brennan og)
* - Play-off semi-final
Fitz Hall >>> Wigan 2006-2008 >>> QPR 2008-2012
Fitz Hall had played a part in one of the most memorable moments in recent QPR history even before he joined the club from Wigan in 2008.
On a balmy May evening in 2003 the centre half had been playing for Oldham against Rangers at Loftus Road in a delicately poised Second Division play-off semi-final second leg. Tied on aggregate and seemingly destined for extra time, the game exploded into life seven minutes from the end when Clarke Carlisle stepped out of the QPR backline and headed a long clearance from Oldham ’s excellent goalkeeper Les Pogliacomi back down the field. Carlisle had probably been concerned with little more than clearing his lines but the header dropped in behind the Oldham defence which hesitated, expecting young Rangers forward Richard Pacquette to be flagged offside. The striker turned his palms to the sky and walked away from the ball, the flag remained down as a result, and that was all the invitation Paul Furlong needed to seize on possession and set off towards the School End goal.
Hall went with Furlong that night, grappling manfully with the former Chelsea man as he somehow kept the ball under control and moving towards the goal despite the pressure of both his opponent and the situation. On the edge of the box Hall finally surrendered, falling to the floor after finally being shrugged off by Furlong who then drew Pogliacomi from his line and finished crisply into the far bottom corner. QPR fans who have been following the club for 40 years said it was the loudest they’d ever heard Loftus Road in their lives. For Furlong it was the completion of quite a turn around: booed for his Chelsea connections and poor performances after a summer arrival from Birmingham his form exploded after Christmas and culminated in that goal which catapulted him to the status of a modern day club legend. The Rangers fans were too busy acclaiming a new hero, celebrating the late sending off of pantomime villain Wayne Andrews and hailing a late save from Chris Day that preserved the lead and is still, to this day, one of the greatest stops ever made at the Loft End of the ground to think too much about the fallen Oldham centre back.
It had actually been Hall with the shot that came so close to forcing extra time – an instinctive effort when a desperate last throw of the dice had fallen at his feet. He’d been brought to Oldham by manager Iain Dowie having been rejected as a youngster by first West Ham and then Barnet. Dowie knew him from non-league Chesham, where he’d turned up after leaving Underhill and played for Iain’s brother Bob when he was manager there. He was a key part of an impressive Oldham team that Dowie built his own managerial reputation on – our current captain Clint Hill partnered Hall at the back in that side with another ex-QPR man Paul Murray doing the leg work for a classy, ageing midfield pair of David Eyres and Darren Sheridan. Former Leeds man Clyde Wijnhard led the attack and Pogliacomi was in the form of his life in goal. Hall was named in the division’s Team of the Year in 2002/03. Dowie, Oldham and Hall were unlucky to remain stuck in the third tier.
With Oldham impressing but failing at League One level it was inevitable that the side would be broken up and Hall went first – joining Premier League side Southampton for £250,000 in 2003. He was never a regular at St Mary’s but when Dowie also got a call from higher up the ladder – at First Division Crystal Palace – he sent for Hall immediately, and paid a hefty £1.5m to get him to Selhurst Park as well. Dowie had just overseen a remarkable promotion – Palace were in relegation trouble when he joined from Oldham in November but they won 16 of their last 24 games and two play-off ties to take their place in the Premier League.
Hall was a regular for the Eagles in the top flight but couldn’t prevent a cruel relegation sealed on the final day of the season in a local derby at Charlton. Dowie made Hall the captain for their first season back in the second tier but the team ran out of steam badly in the second half of the season and was easily beaten by Watford in the play-off semi-final. Dowie subsequently jumped ship to Charlton in acrimonious circumstances while Wigan agreed to meet the £3m release clause in Hall’s contract and take him back to the Premier League in 2006.
Hall never settled with the Latics. Ankle and knee ligament trouble sidelined him for long periods and when he did play he was responsible for some horrendous individual errors. Steve Bruce had no time for him and when QPR came calling for his services in January 2008 he’d made just two appearances in the previous six months – in a League Cup defeat to Hull and 4-0 league thrashing by Man Utd.
Rangers were newly minted, following a takeover by Flavio Briatore, and having struggled in the bottom three for most of the first half of the season were looking to flex their financial muscles for the first time under the supervision of manager Luigi De Canio. Eight players arrived immediately with Arsenal’s Matthew Connolly, Hull ’s Damien Delaney and Preston ’s Patrick Agyemang signing lucrative deals; Akos Buzsaky, Rowan Vine and Hogan Ephraim making their loan deals permanent; and Man Utd’s Kieran Lee arriving on a temporary contract along with Hall.
And so began a bizarre, and often incredibly frustrating, four year stay in W12 for Hall. Initially the signs were good - Hall was mobile, good in the air, sound on the ground and suited De Canio’s free-wheeling playing style perfectly. When De Canio left at the end of the season Hall’s old mate Iain Dowie replaced him and Rangers started the following season with Hall as captain and main man. He scored twice in an opening day victory at home to Barnsley and missed a penalty that would have given him a hat trick. He scored against the Tykes again on the opening day of the season three years later in a 4-0 win that set Neil Warnock’s Rangers on the way to promotion.
But Hall’s time at Loftus Road is best remembered for a catalogue of injury problems. There never seemed to be anything seriously wrong with him – no broken legs or pulverised knee ligaments – just a series of back, calf and hamstring niggles that would see him limp out of games in the first half and disappear for three weeks before returning. This pattern became monotonous during Jim Magilton’s time as manager. The Ulsterman was determined to start Hall whenever he was fit which meant he would play two games, limp around for a bit in the third holding his back, vanish for three weeks, and then immediately return to the team to start the cycle again. With consistency of selection key in the centre back positions this started to grate – particularly as Hall wasn’t playing well enough to justify the immediate recalls when he was fit – and goals started to be shipped. Magilton’s unwavering faith in Hall had a lot to do with the downfall of a promising managerial reign.
Hall was actually out on loan – and injured again – at Newcastle when Neil Warnock first arrived and he preferred the far superior pairing of Kaspars Gorkss and Matt Connolly during the promotion season. But Warnock also later came under the defender’s spell. Hall and new comer Danny Shittu started making appearances at the end of the promotion season when Connolly and Gorkss lost form and confidence and that summer, as Rangers prepared for the Premier League, Warnock allowed Gorkss to join Reading while making Hall the first choice QPR defender for the top flight. Not surprisingly he was neither fit nor good enough.
There were few tears shed when Hall’s ridiculously long and lucrative four year contract finally came to an end last summer. Quite the opposite in fact – there was a barbecue at LoftforWords Towers to celebrate the moment. Hall was picked up by Watford on a free and for a time was threatening to win another Championship promotion with the Hornets – but, yet again, he was only been fit enough to start half their fixtures.
Has since retired into a career as a football agent.
Others >>> James Perch, QPR 2015-2018, Wigan 2012-2015 >>> Ben Watson, QPR (loan) 2009, Wigan 2009–2017 >>> Scott Sinclair, QPR (loan) 2007, Wigan (loan) 2009-2010 >>> Gino Padula Wigan 2000-2001, QPR 2002-2005 >>> Jason Jarrett, Wigan 2002-2005, QPR (loan) 2007-2008 >>> Matt Jackson, QPR (loan) 1996, Wigan 2001-2007
The Twitter @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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