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The view from the Pu – November
Tuesday, 4th Dec 2018 14:58 by Steve Hardy

Steve Hardy's monthly review looks back on a hard fought five points from November which should (should) have set us up nicely for Saturday's home game with Hull.

The Good

Before I get into the nitty gritty of the football, the first good point for November that I want to speak about is Don Shanks completing the New York City marathon for Stan Bowles.

Having run the New York marathon myself back in 2010 I know how hard it is to complete – as is any marathon – especially considering the last mile is uphill. To get a time of four hours 11 minutes at the age of 66 is truly remarkable so well done Don. I also think it reflects greatly on the club and the fans how much has currently been raised and don’t forget you can still donate to the cause by clicking here – it all goes towards helping Stan.

So, onto the football, four games in November with two draws, one defeat and one win totalling five points doesn’t seem like a spectacular month but I think you need to look below the surface to see that things are still on the up down at Loftus Road, well I believe so anyway.

The most pleasing thing for myself over the last couple of months has been the entertainment factor, maybe it’s down to use being in the top half but I’m sure I’m not the only one who is vastly enjoying going to games now as opposed to the apathetic ‘why am I bothering?’ attitude of the last few seasons. The games over the last eight weeks – Blackburn aside – have been genuinely great to watch, so much so that you don’t mind handing over the best part of £25 and your last half days holiday at work to trudge up to Rotherham on a Tuesday night. I’m going to stop a little short of saying the good times really are back in W12 as I still think we’ll finish somewhere between tenth and fifteenth this season but I’m loving going to games at the minute with no idea how the game is going to pan out and usually getting to witness a few goals into the mix as well. Long may it continue, and while I’m asking for things can we have one of those cup runs that we’ve all dreamt of now please?

Whilst the feel good factor continues to course through my veins before a tricky looking December let’s take a look at the off the pitch good news from November. Luke Freeman penning a new contract until 2021 is excellent news, the cynic and downtrodden QPR fan in me tells me that this has just been completed in order to increase any potential January offers that we may receive. However, looking at this from a glass half full side it’s win win isn’t it? We either sell a player for good money in January with Osayi-Samuel (fingers crossed) ready to step into his shoes or we have a key player tied down to the club until 2021 during his ‘prime’ years. Been really impressed with Freeman over the month, has shown a great attitude and has chipped in with some key assists and goals and the contract is just rewards.

And that leads me on to the best (to me) news of the month which is Sir Les announcing that he’s staying at the club. I know, and have never really understood why, Les gets a hard time from a lot of the supporters but I think he’s done a great job since he’s come in, steadying a sinking ship and we’re finally starting to see the green shoots of recovery which makes the fact that he has decided to stay brilliant news. I’m sure that his loyalty to the club here will soon be forgotten if things do start to go south but I just wanted to put my point across that I think this is great news for the club, along with Freeman’s contract, the training ground, Amit coming back, winning away games….I think I need to go for a lie down.

I’ve reserved my last of the ‘good’ sector to us, the fans. There were over 500 of us up at Rotherham last Tuesday which is pretty remarkable when you think it was available on TV from the comfort of a warm house. I know the results and performances have improved but I just think it’s brilliant to see Loftus Road fuller and the away attendances increasing as well. A lot of people call me an idiot for wasting so much time and money on a club that I’m usually moaning about (and for other stuff too) but it did feel good to see so many other hoops up in Yorkshire on Tuesday and we were all rewarded with a last minute goal to go mental to. To echo Clive, if you are staying away due to the horrors of recent years then this team is completely different and deserves greater support.

The Bad

I’ve got a few points to rifle through here but I just want to be clear that these are minor gripes of mine and all in all I’m a very happy hoop – although that in itself still feels mildly daunting.

Before it escapes my memory it seems that defensive mistakes seem to be creeping back into our performances. I wasn’t at Stoke but Lynch’s pass for their equaliser wasn’t his finest moment and both the goals at Rotherham could have been prevented in my eyes. Still, at least we are showing the spirit to come back in these games which bodes well.

That Blackburn game. My word it was cack. I’ve sat through some poor games of football in my time but that was right up there. Other than the penalty – which wasn’t a penalty – I can’t remember anything happening, it really was awful and it was played out in the pissing rain in a half empty, silent stadium. It’s what I can imagine reserve team matches used to be like in the 90’s, but, I suppose every game can’t be like the Brentford game can they.

Which leads me on to Bright Osayi-Samuel. What does this kid need to do to just get ten minutes out on the pitch? McClaren spoke at the fans forum about Bright playing well in the cup – which he did – but yet he almost steadfastly refuses to give him a run out in games, especially games where we’re drawing. Going back to the Blackburn game, the last ten minutes of which were slow and tiresome Championship fare, would it not have spiced things up if we’d introduced him to just run at Blackburn. The same goes for the Rotherham game which we were chasing in the last ten minutes, and in my opinion Rotherham had almost as slow a back line as we do. This is only a minor gripe of mine and I have no experience of coaching a football team whatsoever so what do I know, but I do feel like we’re missing a trick here.

I like Osayi-Samuel, I feel like he’s an upgrade on Shodipo who I also like, and just think he would be perfect to sling on in games we’re chasing to run at the opposition and use his pace. Maybe he’s got a picture of McClaren umbrella shopping or something.

The QPR

So with the good and the bad dealt with it just leaves me with the most QPR thing that has happened this month and I’ve been scratching my head the last few days to come up with something for this part and I can’t find anything.

In all honesty I suppose the season so far has been typical QPR, from the lows of August to the highs of October we now seem to be on more of an even keel but from 7-1 losses to three victories in a week is something that only our crazy club can offer up. Of course had the month gone on another day I’d have had the supposedly more winnable home match against Hull to write about as a ‘typical QPR’ moment.

November grade – B

This will be my last article until the end of December so just want to take the chance to wish everyone a happy Christmas and New Year and thanks to Clive for giving me the opportunity to write for the site and having written a few of these articles now I can tell you it’s not easy to come up with 1,000 plus words that you think people will want to read, so thanks again to Clive for providing a cracking website that keeps the majority of us busy when we should be working.


Links >>> Follow Steve’s match-by-match reviews on Instagram >>> August >>> September >>> October

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Myke added 17:50 - Dec 4
Cheers Steve, certainly a very positive, feel-good article. I appreciate it's within the confines of November, which was a mixed bag of results, but with the benefit or early December hindsight, I fear more trouble coming down the tracks - hopefully that's just me being a miserable old git
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nix added 13:37 - Dec 5
Thanks for this Steve. Agree with you about BOS, Sir Les and the slight fears about defensive frailties. It's difficult to rest any of the first team defenders because of the lack of strength in depth below them. Hall would be great but rightly still being wrapped in cotton wool. I think Furlong could still do a good job but Rangel has been impressIve enough for us not to drop him yet. But three games in a week is tougher when you're 36, so it's a difficult decision. Equally Lynch has been on his best form for us in the last couple of months of this season but then has fallen off a bit.

I'm not sure about the entertainment though. We had some cracking matches at home last season, beating Wolves, Sheffield United, Cardiff and Norwich But we certainly are more consistent and doing significantly better away from home.

Another slight concern for me is that we seem to be starting a bit slowly, then having to try really hard to catch up. Would like to see us a bit more on the front foot early in games.

That said, thanks for your regular reviews; another valuable addition to this great website.
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