The view from the Pu – October
Thursday, 1st Nov 2018 15:04 by Steve Hardy
Four wins and a draw from five games, four clean sheets kept, and a surge into the top half of the table – Steve Hardy is scared/excited as he reviews QPR’s soaraway October.
A common theme of my monthly reviews this season has been that there doesn’t seem to be much improvement on where we were last season, well the October we’ve just witnessed has put a firm end to that.
A near perfect month with four wins, one draw and zero defeats seeing us net seven goals and conceding just the one. I think you’d have to go back to the Redknapp promotion season for a month with similar results and back to the Warnock championship season for similar levels of enjoyment and clearly it has left a lot of us in strange state of panic and joy. What a month though, something that seemed nigh on impossible mid-August, let’s look at a selection of the highlights from October.
How good was that second half against Frank Lampard’s Derby County? Maybe it’s a consequence of three years of mediocrity but I came out of that game wishing the game could have gone to extra time. Compared to the standard dross of Championship football this was a lot more exciting, bad refereeing decisions, both teams going for it made for a lively 45 minutes. It was like watching two blind teams playing without a bell in the ball and the crowd fed off that which made for a lot more interesting spectacle than we’ve been used to in recent times. I felt like the players could feel the energy from the fans and vice versa and it has been good to see the crowds get better as the month has progressed.
That leads me nicely onto the spirit within the team, what a vast difference from what was on show at Blackpool and Swansea. I’ll be the first to admit that it had me worried but it looks like (fingers crossed) I was wrong, these players seem to care and be playing for one another as shown by the reactions to Leistner’s and Wells’ first goals and also the celebrations at the end of the Ipswich and Villa games. I’m going to give everything a big fat sloppy Grandma kiss of death here but it really feels like we’re all in it together again and the club is a great place to be for players and supporters alike. I laid in to McClaren in my September review and I’ll hold my hands up here and say I was wrong to do that, I still don’t particularly like the guy but you cannot fault what he has done over the last four weeks epitomised fully by the saving tackle and reaction from Angel Rangel right at the end of the Villa game. I’m thoroughly enjoying watching this team at the minute and long may it continue.
Talking of being wrong, I think I owe an apology to Geoff Cameron. One of the key reasons that we have had such a good month is the performances of the American. I’ll admit that I didn’t fancy him much when we signed him and couldn’t see the point in signing him to play in midfield but he’s making me eat humble pie and I don’t mind. On about 55 minutes at Portman Road I turned to my mate and said ‘we’ve won this’ and I can’t remember having ever felt like that at an away game in 20-odd years of following the R’s. Cameron’s solid performances in front of the back four are one of the reasons why the Ipswich and Wednesday matches ended up looking a lot easier than they should have been. A great month from the 33-year-old, could he be our new Sean Derry?
It’s good to have something to play for. I can’t be the only one who was absolutely buzzing to be in the pub before the Villa game last Friday but it was a good feeling heading there knowing that a win would take us – if only briefly – a point shy of the play off places. It’s been a while since we’ve been in this situation and it feels good to be looking up rather than down. I do exercise caution though as we were in a similar situation last season after beating Wolves and Sheffield United only to then go on and get our arses handed to us by Forest and it all fall apart. I still think that when you lose the first four games of the season your first priority must be to stay up and that still remains the case but the Championship seems more mediocre than ever this season and it’s tighter than a mouse’s waistcoat so let’s just keep trying to enjoy it (while it lasts) and see where we are at Christmas. November looks similar to October on paper so you never know, I’ve never been so excited for a trip to Blackburn!
As I’m typing this I have just seen a tweet from Ealing Council re Warren Farm and the appeal being thrown out so it really is a great time to be supporting the club.
I suppose I really should be sticking a big fat N/A in this section but we did concede a goal against Frank Lampard’s Derby County and unfortunately we didn’t win every game! In all seriousness though the one thing I will touch on here is that because we all support such a bi-polar football club I feel like a lot of supporters – or maybe just myself - are just sat here waiting for it all to go wrong. I am enjoying this winning and not conceding a lot but there’s this nagging doubt that we’ll soon fall back into a losing run or the players will down tools and we’ll start sliding down the table. Maybe it’s the start to the season still fresh in the memory or just years of being a QPR fan that have made me so cynical but I’ve had plenty of people messaging me to say how well we’ve been doing and they’ve all been met with replies of caution. We’ve seen how well we can play (we’ve also seen how bad we can play) and we’ve continued that against some of the more fancied teams within the division so why can’t we just enjoy it without any nagging doubt?
Let’s be honest I’m really scraping the barrel if that’s the only negative I can find for the month.
I’ll nominate myself for the month of October. A lot of people are talking about Wells or Leisner being signings of the season but I beg to differ. Back in May on a trip to Dublin I picked up a crappy little flatcap for €19 and since then I have worn it to the following games:
I’m now a firm believer that the flatcap has magic powers and is our signing of the season, maybe it used to be Kevin Gallen’s? I mean it’s seen four wins and two draws with only one goal conceded, that’s got to get some of you believing.
Seriously though only at QPR do you get a chump like me who is happy to go around looking like some idiot who has watched too many episodes of Peaky Blinders and thinks it looks good. Hopefully I’m sat here at the end of November with the hat still unbeaten and another positive review to be written.
Grade for October – A
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