The view from the Pu – October
Tuesday, 5th Nov 2019 20:20 by Steve Hardy
Steve Hardy's monthly round up looks at an October that brought two wins, two defeats and a draw.
So along with August and September, October is now behind us and like a student who has drunk too much tequila and is chundering outside the pub it leaves you wondering where it has all come from and how much more is still to come. October brought us five games, two wins, two defeats, a solitary draw and an absolute boat load of goals.
Without echoing what too many of you have said previously I just want to point out what a breath of fresh air it is going to games this season. At the end of October we sit eighth, four points off the summit of the table and eleven clear of the drop zone. I think it’s safe to say that not many people – myself included – predicted this at the start of the season and for anyone who says they did I’m going to take a lot of convincing to believe you. I’m still trying not to get too carried away but it would appear that any fears of being dragged toward the lower end of the table can be put to bed and there’s even hope amongst some that a sneaky play off challenge could materialise.
I’m keeping my feet well and truly on the ground and believe we’ll have a lot clearer picture come the end of November after what looks on paper a tough month. Although as The Bread Man has said though we are where we are on merit and I’d like to think that teams are fearing us as much as some of us fear them. For me I’m just enjoying going to games having no idea how it’s going to go, safe in the knowledge that there will be at least three goals, it’s a lot more fun than it has been in recent years.
It may only be October but I see the rumour mill is alive and kicking in preparation of the January window/dross fest. Obviously we’ve all heard the links for Eze, which are richly deserved as he’s really kicked on this season but for me one of the players that has shined the most and has also been linked with a transfer to the division above is Ryan Manning. Finally called up to the senior Ireland squad this week and opened his account for the season earlier this month at Hull he really is cementing himself as one of the first names on the team sheet. He’s being linked with Southampton and fair play to the lad, he was constantly overlooked last season by McClaren and although Holloway provided him with his breakthrough I still believe that he was criminally underused at times throughout his final season at the helm. For me he’s been our player of the season and for the scientists among us I’m sure the stats back that up but the thing that impresses me the most about him is his ability to play the darker side of the game. At 23 he’s not really a kid anymore but we’ve spoken for the last few years about QPR’s naivety and failure to indulge in the dark arts but in the Irishman they do have someone who will get in the ref’s face or know how to wind the opposition up and without going full Preston North End it’s good to see. A great month for our left back and long may it continue. Well played Ryan and now watch forward thinking Mick McCarthy give him zero minutes in Ireland’s forthcoming games.
I wanted to save my final positive point to talk about QPR+. Random I know, but I was in the states for the Hull game and thought for a fiver I may as well purchase it and see what all the fuss was about. When the service was first launched last year I saw a few gripes on the message board in relation to it not working but I have to say that I was very impressed with it. I was able to watch it without any stoppages, with a good quality picture and the commentary from Mr Sinton is just something that you need to listen to whenever you’re feeling down. I know it’s only a very minor thing in football, as all that really matters is results on the pitch, but I do feel that off the pitch we should be very happy with some of the folks we have working for us, especially when you read Lee Hoos comments this week in regards to racism in football.
So all in all I think it’s safe to say that the season is going very well so far, sort out that defence and I don’t think anyone will have anything to moan about, although there is always Brexit I suppose.
I might be the only person who feels this way but who else thinks back to the halcyon days of 2003 with a smile? Social media didn’t exist, you could buy a minimum of three pints with a tenner, The Office was on, Bloc Party were a decent band, Room on Fire was released and most importantly we never lost to Brentford. To be clear the next few sentences are not the twisted ramblings of a bitter man because they beat us (again), to be honest I’ve never really had an issue with Brentford and that is where I believe part of the problem lies.
There’s no way to say this without coming across as an arrogant tosser (I hope I don’t) but I feel like QPR away will always be the fixture that Bees fans look for first each year and therein lies the issue. You could see when we played them how much they were up for it, every ball they were first to and Cameron and Scowen didn’t get a moments peace, their centre backs could have played in a tuxedo and their press was so high they were basically on the Uxbridge Road. Compare that to our performance, in the first half especially it looked so flat and laboured. I don’t really know what the answer is to be quite honest, for me Ch**sea will always be the team I hate and no one else really comes close. Clive has spoken at length previously about the weird West London food chain that exists we hate Ch**lsea, they hate Spurs, Fulham hate the labour party and Brentford hate us etc etc. I’ve not really got a point to make here other than the fact that I’m tired of losing to them but at the same time I still don’t really consider it a rivalry, we had a bigger attendance against Luton for instance. I suppose I blame Sky, if it had been on the Saturday as originally scheduled we would have smashed em Rodney…
So let’s talk about this defence then shall we? I spoke back in August about needing to score at least two goals a game and the problems that this will cause going forward and it now appears that we need to score at least three goals a game to get something out of it. This cannot maintain itself surely, especially as teams begin to suss out how to play against us with a high press as Brentford and Reading expertly/meticulously did. Don’t get me wrong it definitely is a lot more fun to watch knowing that there is going to be goals but I do fear that we are going to be on the wrong side of an absolute hammering at some point. For my two bob’s worth the answer is switch back to the 5-3-2 system, as I feel that makes us look a little bit more solid and allows Todd Kane and Ryan Manning to be a lot more effective whilst also allowing our three best centre backs to be on the pitch at the same time.
Surely we’re due to keep a clean sheet at some point though, even our dross team of 2012/13 kept seven clean sheets and that was one of the worst teams in living history, we’ll see I suppose and without sounding too much like a happy clapper it will all work out ok in the end under The Bread Man’s guidance.
I just want to take off my hat, even though I’m not actually wearing one but you get the point, to the Ipswich Town fans for their banner and show of support for Billy Kee. Although I’ve never myself suffered from mental health problems I have been directly affected by them and know the toll that it can take on people’s lives. It may have only been a banner but they didn’t have to do it and think they deserve a huge amount of credit, sometimes what happens on the pitch can pale into significance. Fair play to the Tractor Boys.
Links >>> Follow Steve’s match-by-match reviews on Instagram >>> August 18 >>> September 18 >>> October 18 >>> November 18 >>> December 18 >>> January 19 >>> February 19 >>> March 19 >>> April 19 >>> 18/19 Season Review >>> August 19 >>> September 19
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