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I hitched a ride with a vending machine repairman — Report
Sunday, 29th Jan 2023 19:52 by Clive Whittingham

One win in 14 now for hapless Queens Park Rangers and the latest collapse at Hull City has sent criticism and blame flying in all directions. The players, meanwhile, get off far too lightly.

You want my number? Which number do you want? I’ve got numbers coming out of my ears. For instance… ten. Yeh, ten.

Ten is the number of times Albert Adomah touched the ball at Hull City on Saturday. A talented local youngster we could have picked up for buttons when he was playing non-league football at the other end of the street; could have had for a couple of hundred thousand when he was pulling up trees for Barnet all of 12 miles away; could have signed for relatively low amounts when we had money but were too busy blowing it up Joey Barton’s arse; but eventually decided we wanted when he’d made it big, come to the end of his career, was earning a fortune, but was doing TikTok videos of flicks and tricks in his conservatory in a QPR shirt. Nice story, good for a while, little Indian summer, few goals and memories, I can get on board with this. I deplaned, as the Americans call it, at Sheffield United away last season, when he was clearly done. It’s fair enough, he’s barely missed a game his whole career, he’s had a good innings, shake his hand, move him on. QPR extended his contract by two more years. And now here he is, at Hull away, “Mr QPR”, with 18 months of that deal left, getting a start because the manager that’s inherited this train wreck is so desperate to have somebody like that in that position he initially played Mide Shodipo (now eight years and 13 starts into his own handsome professional employment at QPR and good for 79 minutes of Lincoln’s dire 0-0 draw with Cambridge on Saturday), and capable of touching the ball ten times in a half of professional football.

How about this for a number? Twenty seven. That’s how many times Tim Iroegbunam touched the ball. That’s not only your central midfielder, but it’s the central midfielder you brought here to go box-to-box, to provide that athleticism and drive, to influence games. You saw at Preston away, now our only win in 14 fixtures (more fun numbers for you there), what he is capable of, but here we are in January and this kid has zero goals, and zero assists. Ale Faurlin’s contrary critics said he let people run off the back of him; Iroegbunam let’s people run off the front. They didn’t really have to run at all on Saturday because more damning than his 27 touches is he gave the ball away 30% of the time he had it - passing accuracy the thick end of 10% lower than even anybody else on the pitch. His yellow card came after committing a professional foul necessitated by him giving the ball away. There were Hull players on Saturday who passed to Hull players less often than Iroegbunam did. Just stand there and he’ll give it to you. He’s on loan, he came to play for Mick Beale, we spent all summer demeaning ourselves by begging pathetically in every public channel we could find for a borrow of players from Aston Villa (a club we were winning home and away league games against barely three seasons ago), so God only knows what bloody deal we’ve done there with regard to wage contribution, loan fees, and escalations of either/both should he not play games. A player we’ve never got a hope of owning, you look at his contribution here and you make a case for his continued involvement in this team other than it’s going to cost us money if we don’t. If we’re going to waste our time with kids trying to learn how to play football, they should at least be our own kids. This was abject.

Both were hooked at half time. There wasn’t a single outfield player in this performance who deserved to be spared the same.

Thirty-seven. That’s how many times Tyler Roberts touched the ball. At least Iroegbunam and Adomah had the excuse of going off at half time. Roberts didn’t even touch the ball as much as Matt Ingram on Saturday, and can you remember Matt Ingram having the ball in this game? His last one was a classic of the genre — a simple ten-yard pass to be played into the path of the right back for him to cross, laid up five yards short with a flashing blue light on it and intercepted, followed by a huge, exaggerated, performative strop, with all the arms flapping about and mock indignation that the teammate hadn’t been in the right place. A few moments later he just withdrew from the game altogether and went ambling about down the QPR right wing, while the play went on around him. It was weird, it was difficult to know what was going on, it was passive even by Tyler Roberts standards, even by this QPR team’s standards, but we should have known…

One thing this team is good at now, one thing this group of players absolutely excels at, one thing they will not be beaten at, is the race to be the first sit down during the play and then trudge off the pitch with some non-descript, six-week muscle injury. Roberts is prolific in this regard, at least. Ethan Laird cried out of the first half of the Swansea game with a problem so severe they reckon he’ll be back next match. Didn’t fancy Hull in January, no? Kenneth Paal went first in this game (you compare Kenneth Paal’s input at Millwall away to his first half hour here), and then Roberts for the fourth time in his brief QPR career followed suit. Laird, Balogun, Roberts, Paal, Clarke-Salter… I’m seeing a theme in our injury list here. Children, daddy left you, that’s how much he thinks of you, get over it. Behaving like spoiled little teenagers refusing to engage and play ball with mum’s new boyfriend. HE'S NOT COMING BACK GUYS, get used to it. By the time Roberts had his little sit it had got to the stage where Ilias Chair was also wobbling towards doing the same, but we’d used all the subs now and the physio was too busy adjusting Roberts’ top knot, so he graced us with carrying on for a bit longer. How privileged we are. After being run off the field late in last week’s game against Swansea, so much for the benefit of these one game weeks, eh?

Literally a queue of QPR players trying to escape from this game early. Roberts ambled round the side and completely blanked the away end, responding only belatedly when the crowd - who I thought were way, way too passive in their complaints at this festering pile of totally unacceptable horsehit on Saturday - objected to his ignorance. Bye Tyler, see you in six weeks. Or, preferably, never-a-fucking-gain.

I mean, these numbers are all relative, right? It’s what you do with it that counts, yeh? At one point on Saturday Hull had registered two shots on target and were winning three nil — very QPR indeed. Aaron Connolly touched the ball 19 times, scored two and should have had three. We’ll get onto some other comparisons soon but let me just say at this point that if you add Adomah’s contribution to Iroegbunam’s and Roberts’ you don’t get anywhere close to the numbers posted by centre backs Jimmy Dunne and Rob Dickie — passes to the wing, back to the centre, back to the wing, back to the centre, centre holds it, holds it, holds it — and the three of them collectively are still only just north of Seny Dieng. This is the key problem with this team. There is no situation anywhere on the field of play that this QPR team cannot manufacture into a pass back to Seny Dieng. Sixty touches for the Senegalese goalkeeper, Albert Adomah had ten. Jimmy Dunne had 118, Jamal Lowe (a talented local youngster we could have picked up for buttons when he was playing non-league football at the other end of the street etc etc) had 32. Rob Dickie 82, Ilias Chair half that. In total, 200 touches for our two centre backs - their opposite numbers in Hull’s side did little more than half that. Your goalkeeper — your fucking goalkeeper - has had more of the ball than every player in the team bar the two centre backs and the right full back. Jimmy Dunne 118 touches, Rob Dickie 82 touches, Osman Kakay 75 touches, Seny Dieng 60 touches. Jake Clarke-Salter, another defender, is fifth with 46, and he only came on two minutes before half time. Chair, Roberts and Lowe combined didn’t see the ball as much as Dunne.

Rangers, I say this as a friend, albeit an angry friend, but you are playing boring, unwatchable, passive, phoned-in dog shit, and you are doing it in the wrong half of the field. Not a single one of them now looks like they care very much about any of it. We’ve been like this for a full year now. On the rare occasions those defensive players do look to play forwards, rather than just lazily turn it back and inside, they’re greeted with a wall of stationary attackers, marking their defenders rather than the other way around, pointing elsewhere rather than demanding the ball themselves, and bitching and moaning about everything the whole way through. Nobody wants the ball, nobody wants to run in behind, nobody wants to receive it in a tight space - just always pointing, pointing to somebody else, pointing in another direction, turning backwards and inside, losing the moment all of the time. This was the worst yet, and I suspect there’s more to come. Toaster's in the bath; IN THE BATH.

It was difficult to pick which Hull goal summed it up most, but luckily there were plenty to choose from so let’s crack on with those shall we? While we’re doing numbers, by the way, this is a Hull team that hadn’t won at home in seven attempts and had yet to keep a clean sheet on their own ground all season. One win in 13 for QPR and we were still above the Tigers in the table at the start of play, a team we’d beaten easily at Loftus Road with a 3-0 half time lead. That’s your opposition. That’s who you’re playing here. I’m struggling to think of a team QPR could beat playing like this.

Perhaps it was the first goal. After all, it started with Iroegbunam giving the ball away. We’re in the blue and white mate, over here. Any time you like. Jesus wept. It continued through a “tackle” from Kenneth Paal on Cyrus Christie that, frankly, fuck me, they used to shoot people for cowardice for shit like that. Attempting to retrieve the situation, Sam Field’s effort on the same player — Cyrus Christie guys, Cyrus Christie for God’s sake, the ultimate give-a-shit, mercenary journeyman nobody (amazed he's never played for us) — was equally pathetic. I’m sorry, I like Sam, I feel like I’m kicking a puppy, but he’s no more a captain of this team and this club than Jude the Cat. There was still a chance to recover the situation when the ball fell to debutant loanee Aaron Connolly, but attempted blocks from Dickie, Dunne and Kakay, all at once, were tokenistic and amateurish, and the ball flew into the roof of the net. This is the sort of goal a Ryman League side concedes to a Championship outfit in a lop-sided FA Cup tie — but then, we don’t do FA Cup ties either, which is how we ended up here having our arse handed to us rather than getting bummed in the gob at Sheffield Wednesday instead.

You cannot look at this goal and tell me this team are arsed about what they’re doing. They’re not. They don’t concede that goal if they are.

That was scored on nine minutes, and there had been warnings. Christie (Christie, guys, I just, I can’t speyk, we made him look like Kyle Walker) piled in and over the top of Paal nice and early and cut a low cross back that Dickie cleared behind well. Well done Rob, we’ll double replay that in the extended highlights. Barely two minutes later, less well done Rob. Adomah gave the ball away (one of his ten touches there) and a plan to play Connolly offside in the transition was, kindly put, Brigg Town standard. Dickie’s attempt to run back and recover, during which Connolly switched the ball calmly onto his favoured foot and Dickie tripped and fell over his own feet, was like watching your dad get beaten up by the RE teacher. Dieng had gone on a walkabout for himself so Connolly, a bit bemused by the whole thing, chipped an improvised effort towards the wide open goal and missed by a foot or so. QPR had put the WAKE THE FUCK UP alarm on snooze twice, and 60 seconds later they were behind, with a goal preventable at half a dozen different points in its inception if their aim had been anything other than “I don’t want to get hurt”.

This is unforgivably shit. I’m sorry to the two gentlemen who turned around at full time to give me the death stare for booing the players, before steadfastly standing there and applauding every last one of them from the field, but, fuck me, even I expect more from life than this, and I just sit there typing this shit for 16 hours a day in a poxy terraced house in Barnet with episodes of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares I’ve seen a thousand times before playing round on a loop in the background. At one point in the first half two Hull players hit the deck with non-existent injuries, referee James Linington (as he’s prone to do) dismissed them both as faking it and invited QPR to play on. Brilliant, one nil down, away from home, now against nine men, what an opportunity. Rangers looked terrified. Torn between going forwards or not, keeping the ball for a bit and waiting to see, kicking the ball out… GO. GOOOOOOO. Go you fuckers. Get mad. Go forwards. Capitalise. Be ruthless. While we were thinking about it both Hull players got up, ran back in, rejoined the action, filed behind the ball. Dickie to Dunne to Dieng to Dickie to Dunne to Dieng to Dickie to Dickie to Dickie to Dunne to Dieng to Dieng to Dickie to Dunne to Dieng to Dickie to Dinne to Dieng to Dunne.

I’m going to start executing hostages. I want you each to make the effort to play one good quality, progressive, forward pass down the field to a team mate every ten minutes or so. Otherwise I'm going to choose violence.

This is fucking appalling. It’s fucking appalling. And I feel like these players are getting away with it. There were people clapping them off at the end. I keep hearing “well don’t be surprised if loan players don’t give a shit” and “well they came to play for Mick Beale, he sold them a dream, and they’re obviously pissed off”. Every conversation quickly dives off into how this is actually the fault of people above them. Beale. Critchley. What about Les Ferdinand? What about Lee Hoos? What about the head of recruitment? What about this board? Everybody has their own little ‘whataboutery’ drum they want to bang whenever anybody asks why every near post defender in this Godforsaken division is suffering from blunt force trauma to the head from clearing all of our corners unchallenged. Then we become mired in how, in this modern game, with this stadium and this income, with these FFP rules, we’re essentially a League One club now anyway, only able to punch above its weight because the owners prop it up to the tune of £1.8m a month doping us higher up the EFL than we should be. That then develops into a rebellion from the older QPR fans about standards and passion and ambition. Round and round and round we go, and round and round and round I will go again in the lead up to the Huddersfield game as I reflect on how we got into this position, because obviously there are bigger issues and wider context than Tyler Roberts being a tart and Tim Iroegbunam passing the ball to the opposition more than the opposition did. But this is ostensibly a match report on yesterday’s debacle at Hull when, once again, 11 v 11, between the white lines, between 3pm and 5pm, our players weren’t even willing to do the basics of the sport. They didn’t want to run, tackle, head, get hurt, pass the ball. They were careless, sloppy, half arsed, under committed, well beaten, and thrilled to death about it. Lots of them seemed very keen to engineer early exits from the game — Harold Shipman had a lower daily body count than our physio registered Saturday.

Beale called it before he left, Neil Critchley is calling it now, we all see it. When the going gets moderately tough, these players don’t want to know, and you don’t win football games like that. Saturday, in isolation, is on them.

Critchley - a man who went to the reading of Mick Beale’s will and got left the contents of the The Ark of the Covenant - agreed with me. To go with Jake Clarke-Salter’s appearance of the month came the half time hooking of Hull’s star midfielder Iroegbunam for Andre Dozzell, and passenger Albert Adomah for Sinclair Armstrong. QPR tentatively tried something down the right side and, oh, look, rather than not show for the pass, rather than walk about, rather than point vaguely in the direction of somebody else, Armstrong actually wanted the ball, wanted the ball played to him, wanted the ball played behind, and was willing to run there. Playing forwards. Stick a pony in me pocket, I’ll fetch the wicker man from the van. Callum Elder attempted to stick the shoulder in on the Irish youth international and, well, obviously fucking not. With that shrugged aside suddenly we had the ball, in the Hull half, with an attacking player, running towards their goal, in free space, and a low cross yielded a corner. We wasted that, because obviously we wasted that, but it’s not that hard lads is it?

Armstrong was our man of the match here, by a distance, with a five. We have 17 games left and in those 17 games we need to involve as many people who we own, who are staying, who will be here next season, who want to play for this club, and who are interested; and as few of the players who are patently obviously none of those things, as possible. I would rather lose with Sinclair Armstrong, Rayan Kolli, whoever it is, than lose with this lot like this. We’re losing anyway, we’ve won one game in 14. Critchley said afterwards “either the people change or you change the people”. I’m right with you buddy, get fucking changing right now — you didn’t even have Armstrong on the bench last week.

We followed all that up with a second Hull goal. Because of course. It’s difficult to know where to begin with this one. If you thought the first one was bad, strap in. I actually can’t believe a professional football team conceded it. Watch in this move for Oscar Estupinan, the Hull forward, collecting the ball 40 yards out from goal, with his back to the target, with three defenders touch tight, and his strike partner Connolly offside. QPR turn it into a goal from there. It’s actually miraculous. One set back to Seri in midfield was all it took. He played one pass back the other way through the now busted defence — Osman Kakay’s offside appeals from yards deeper than the rest of the line were child-like — and, one cut back from the right later, Rob Dickie, still potentially well in charge of the situation, missed the ball altogether with his right foot and diverted it into his own net from ten yards out with his standing left. I’m very confident I could put a team together from the Crown and Sceptre regulars who can do better than this. They could do better than this after a day in the Crown and Sceptre.

In this fixture last season Rob Dickie executed a goal-saving move from nearly this exact spot which was as good as I’ve ever seen, and then finished off the 3-0 away win with a goal scored because he was confident enough to go marauding forwards and join a late attack. It was his third goal in three games to start the season, and he was the Championship’s most marketable centre back. His decline from that to this is so severe the boy is whistling through the air. Like many of his team mates, there’s no sign of the bottom to come.

It’s hard enough fulfilling our aim to be a development and selling club to bridge the FFP gap we face in a time when the market for Championship players has collapsed almost entirely, but when your sellable assets are playing like this it’s impossible. Who in their right mind thinks anybody is paying any money for any of these players, while they’re playing like this, other than them and their cunty agents? Phone it in because Mick’s left… poor lambs. Where do you think you’re going to end up? Do you think anybody watching this is impressed by you? Or is getting somebody to run your “Insta” and post generic “thank yous” or “we go agains” going to cover all this up?

If you didn’t like that, you’re going to hate this next one. Seri again - like a dad in a dad and lads match, but the lads are fat and shit, and the dad once had a trial for Orient. He was deeper this time, completely unchecked, allowed to play quarter-back - none of Lowe, Roberts, Chair, Armstrong thinking to go and press that, no? He took all the time he had, pump fake, glided one down the middle of the field and… well, I guess you could at least say QPR were in line this time? It was the same line Aaron Connolly was on, admittedly, but relative to the offside trap for the first goal I guess it counted as progress? What an absolute fucking rabble.

Three nil then, I’ll tell the children. Connolly, in 54 minutes, matching the goal total from his entire six-month and 21-appearance loan stint at Middlesbrough last season — and both of those were heavily deflected. Having admitted publicly his approach over recent years has been “unprofessional”, Connolly’s since had a five-game, no-goal spell at Venezia in Italy where he bemoaned the training involved “a lot of running”. Two goals here is a great start but, honestly, the way QPR played and defended on Saturday, would we even really have noticed if he was still pissed up?

Rob Dickie’s late-ish header from a corner was brilliantly saved by Matt Ingram in the top corner. If you want to write the thing off as one of those days where Matt Ingram makes top corner saves, be my guest. Yoann Barbet scored a free kick for Bordeaux on Saturday — not now Yoann. You want to clap these players off at the end, after they’ve served you that, then it’s your prerogative. It’s my prerogative to sit here and say that I think this was disgusting. Professional footballers, so distraught at precious Mick Beale’s desertion they apparently cannot possibly go on, phoning in months of this slop, while we pay our money and travel the country to support them. Huddersfield, Middlesbrough, Rotherham, Blackpool and Wigan our next five away games, and we’ve got players racing each other to get off the field early, desperate to beat one another to a sit down with the physio and the next non-descript strain or pull that gets them out of even bothering this much for another six weeks or so.

This is Tony Mowbray’s quote today, about 15-year-old Chris Rigg who is now playing for Sunderland while only training with them twice a week around school: “He deserved to play, I don’t put him on as a stunt for the football club, I wouldn’t expose a 15-year-old to that if he wasn’t good enough — he trains, he runs, he tackles, he plays forwards, he dribbles, he shoots… he’s a really good footballer.” He trains, he runs, he tackles, he plays forwards, he dribbles, he shoots. Can you say any of that, about any of our players at this moment? And that kid is 15.

This is Neil Critchley after today, speaking about our senior footballers, and he’s absolutely right: “It’s nothing to do with technique, technical ability, tactics — nothing to do with tactics — it’s down to sheer will, heart, desire, all the things that when the going gets tough we’re found massively wanting.”

Talk, already, of dismissing him is inevitable after one win from 13 in charge. It’s also nonsense. None of this is his fault, this guy came in late to a game of pass the parcel, the music has stopped and this package is the Hiroshima bomb. The club is riddled with problems, and we’ll go into those in the midweek coverage, but we’ve seen that these players can do it, we’ve seen that these players can do it against this opposition, and then here they do this.

An average team, that doesn’t care, phoning in its individual contributions. Football wise, a lethal combination. This will get worse before it gets better. We’ve been down this road more than twice.

Links >>> Ratings and Reports >>> Message Board Match Thread

Hull: Ingram 6; Christie 7 (Simons 89, -), Jones 6, McLoughlin 6, Elder 6; Tufan 7 (Woods 75, 6), Docherty 6, Seri 8 (Longman 75, 6), Slater 6; Connolly 8 (Coyle 84, -), Estupinan 6 (Smith 89, -)

Subs not used: Figueiredo, Lo-Tutala

Goals: Connolly 10 (assisted Christie), 64 (assisted Seri), Dickie og

QPR: Dieng 4; Kakay 2, Dickie 2, Dunne 3, Paal 1 (Clarke-Salter 45+3, 3); Field 3 (Johansen 75, 4), Iroegbunam 1 (Dozzell 45, 4); Roberts 1 (Willock 79, 2), Chair 3, Adomah 1 (Armstrong 46, 5); Lowe 3

Subs not used: Archer, Trävelmän

Bookings: Lowe 20 (dissent), Iroegbunam 40 (foul), Armstrong 67 (foul), Dunne 90+1 (foul)

QPR Star Man — Sinclair Armstrong 5 Appeared to be interested and engaged in the game going on around him. Congratulations, you’re the new head scout.

Referee — James Linington (Isle of Wight) 6 The intrigue here actually wasn’t with the referee.
James Linington refereed it much as he always does, firmly but mostly fairly, and not standing for any faking of injuries and trying to get the game stopped — I thought Paal was very lucky to not be booked for walking back onto the field after his treatment, sitting down again to stop the game again, and the physio coming back on when the referee was clearly signalling for them both to stay on the touchline. Couple of harsh moments against us: Jamal Lowe was booked for dissent and, while we can’t know what he said, he was right — Hull had just been awarded a free kick for something he’d waved play on through on us at the other end not 15 seconds prior and I was actually quite pleased to see Lowe getting involved about that because it was a joke. Overall, fine.

Less fine was the linesman on the away end side of the ground, Paul Hodskinson from Preston. He seemed to be running, almost from the start, with an injury. He also seemed, at various points in the game, to have switched off from it entirely, sort of shuffling around and looking at his feet while play was going on. In the first half both of these things caught him out when Hull played a through ball on the far side of the pitch to an obviously offside player, and he was neither up with play, nor in motion, nor looking at what was going on. Play was therefore waved on, sparking something of a revolt in the away end in that corner. He then - and I’ve genuinely never seen this before - turned to the QPR fans in the corner, and stuck both his arms out wide in a sort of “come on give me a break” kind of a gesture, While. The Game. Was. Going. On. When the inevitable “lino you’re a cunt” chant started up, he actually started fist pumping behind his back in our direction along to the beat of the song. He might get away with it, being on the other side of the field to the assessor, but it’s not something I can recall ever seeing before and I doubt it will go down well with the PGMOL if they’re aware of it. All very odd. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a game where I wondered whether one of the officials might have had a couple of pints with lunch.

Attendance 16,418 (749 QPR) The worst policed and stewarded game I’ve been to in this league for years. We basically had a steward and copper each, the away end was absolutely swarmed with them. At varying points in the game QPR fans were set upon by jumped-up, minimum-wage gibbons who, after years of not being able to see their own sorry excuse for a dick past the size of their gut, need the artificial self esteem boost that comes with the loan of an orange hi-vis and the power to tell football fans what to do. Crimes ranged from having a bottle with a lid on in the stand, and trying to sell a paper fanzine outside the turnstiles. On either side of the away end, meanwhile, free reign. Every spotty little virgin in the city was here, ready to charge towards the away end and give it the big “come on then” gestures from behind the safety of a thin wire netting. Ask the police why the discrepancy in the treatment and they told you it wasn’t up to them, they’re powerless in the ground, and it’s up the stewards — lo and behold, after the third goal, police go wading into the QPR fans at the back of the stand. Look, I’m clearly just pissed off and angry and lashing out at everybody and everything tonight but, mark my words, if Hull City are going to police and steward that away end like that every week then sooner or later, with better followed clubs than ourselves and less passive groups of supporters, they’re going to have a problem.

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Monkey_Roots added 21:01 - Jan 29
“ this guy came in late to a game of pass the parcel, the music has stopped and this package is the Hiroshima bomb”… I spat my tea out at that one.

A great read Clive.

Now, whether you’re in the camp that likes NC or the camp that thinks he is wrong for us, thanks to the situation he has inherited, it’s far too soon to pitch a tent in either camp. If he gets sacked, I will absolutely f*cking despair.

ozexile added 21:03 - Jan 29
Thanks Clive. Good report, I feel for all the supporters who pay money for this.

GaryBannister86 added 21:08 - Jan 29
" I would rather lose with Sinclair Armstrong, Rayan Kolli, whoever it is, than lose with this lot like this. We’re losing anyway, we’ve won one game in 14. Critchley said afterwards “either the people change or you change the people”. I’m right with you buddy, get changing right now – you didn’t even have Armstrong on the bench last week."

Exactly. As ever, you articulate exactly what I am feeling.

BushRanger82 added 21:14 - Jan 29
I'm just glad I packed up following that lot around the country, after the second, or was it the third, soul destroying stint in the Premier League.
Rangers should be paying all of you to endure this misery.
Sheeesh, I find home games just about as much as I can bear, I couldn't bring myself to endure what you had to yesterday in Hull.

stowmarketrange added 21:31 - Jan 29
That report just about sums up what a crap 90 minutes of football we contributed to.We had a 10 minute spell either side of ht when we actually bothered to try and play a bit of football,and their 2nd goal came against the run of play,but they just gave up after that and the 3rd goal from my view in the back row of the away end was criminal.
I was one of the few who stayed to the end and made a token effort of applauding the players who bothered to come over to us.But then my train wasn’t until 6.50pm so I had nowhere else to go.
Just another bad day watching qpr and it certainly wasn’t worth the 15 hour round trip.Shame the football gets in the way of a day out really.

stowmarketrange added 21:41 - Jan 29
And you were right about that crap Lino.I ran the line today for half an U16 game and an adult womens game and I kept up with play more than this clown did yesterday.And I’m 62,overweight and have 2 dodgy knees.I saw him shrug his shoulders and stick his arms out by his side as if he was saying “How do you expect me to know whether it was offside or not?”

PastCaringNW2 added 08:24 - Jan 30
Horrible performance. Superb piece of writing. Always good to see you sneak in a Moneyball reference.

As I have mentioned before I strongly suspect that the DoF and Hoos have bought into the Oakland As / Billy Beane fable but not where it counted - not the commitment to analytics, not learning to spend limited resources wisely, not looking for advantages in the market and on the field that others have missed. None of the good stuff. They watched the movie, didn't bother reading the books and missed the underlying point of the Billy Beane story entirely.

What they have bought into instead is the misguided idea that players and coaches are just interchangeable parts, names on the board that have no hinterland and to whom no real duty of care applies. The money compensating for all other considerations.

Sure these men make a lot of money compared with you or I and that at least provides a degree of safety in turbulent times (they probably don't turn the heating down to 16 hen it is minus 2 outside) but it doesn't mean that your HR policy should be at Bezos / Musk levels of bottom line driven joylessness and I would argue that right now, in terms of a place to develop a career as a young or young-ish footballer, QPR is probably the least attractive London club to join in the top five divisions.

Pretty much the only advantages we have that are worth a light are the travelling support, the community work and the new training complex and Eze looks like a man who advanced himself in spite of the way the club is run, not because of it. Chair may be coming to the same conclusion and he clearly loves the bones of the club. Right now, as we somehow summon up four more wins and stagger towards somewhere not too far shy of 20th, I just want to see the kid happy and for Sinclair Armstrong to get enough games to earn a move to somewhere where they will play to his strengths. Not much to ask but an ocean away from where we are now.

The result of having the club run by people who read business management how-to books on the toilet? We've seen three of the last four seasons go to shit, seasons thrown away post transfer window when a combination of managers, coaches and players had to play out the schedule knowing the chances were that they were not coming back to Rangers for pre-season and were being left to swing. How many 50-50s are you going into full throttle when you know you are looking for a new employer come June? Unless your name is Angel Rangel not so many. As a coach how much time are you going to spend working on improving players who you wont be seeing again come July? Months of football and mountains of money literally thrown away.

A club with real potential to get at least a play off place let two pretty key components go in Hall and Pugh and were either unable or uninterested in replacing them. They had meanwhile penny-pinched their way through the process of getting players out of furlough and back on the pitch with predictable (terrible) results that carried right over into the following season. Covid was a nightmare for sure but it was that nightmare for every team in the league and when it came to the careful management of our most tangible assets (aside from the stadium itself) the club clearly let them down. Then in Warbs' last year, having leaned the square root of nothing in the process, we did it all over again!

And the accumulated impact of treating people with real lives as interchangeable parts has led us eight here. Players know that whatever loyalty they show this club will not be reciprocated because the whole thing is being treated as a numbers game but not in a good way. This doesn't excuse Saturday's debacle at all but the tone has been set and the apparent ease with which Beale was allowed to join (with no track record but an easily broken contract) and then leave only goes to underline that. Like a Tory cabinet of none-of-the-talents the upper echelons of this club come across as cynical men who accept the cynicism of others as normal practice. Loyalty is for chumps and punters, keep churning the playing and coaching staff and keep the focus off of us. Fans are treated with contempt like people on the doorstep clapping the NHS or cheering a royal wedding while the country goes up like a dumpster fire.

So here we are with a squad where only Paal, Chair and JCS have deals that extend beyond next season. No one is going to want to buy any of them. None of them are in the kind of form that is going to change someone else's season right now, at least not for the better and not to the degree that the potential suitor wont just wait it out until January and do a deal then.

Is there a way out other than hoping there are three teams even worse than us come May? Not that I can see. Not when Hall, Manning and BOS look like the wise heads and Eze the exception that proves the rule.

My knee-jerk solution? Les and Lee are done. Bring Warbs in as DoF and give him complete control. Let decency be the guiding principle and see where that takes us. If he'd even have us at this point.

qprninja added 09:04 - Jan 30
A grand day out.

thehat added 09:11 - Jan 30

Thanks for the report Clive and love the Gallows Humour.

Feel for you and the other 800 hardy souls who made the journey.

Such an unbalanced squad with a lot of technical pretty footballers with no bottle fine when the sun is shining and things are going your way.

Neil Warnock liked to mix it up with so called "Bread and Butter Players" it's what we lack.

I also think our formation has been wrong for quite some time we are crying out for 3 at the back.

Anyway what do I know but 1 win in 14 and counting.........

Go to somehow claw our way to 50 points and get out of here.

francisbowles added 10:12 - Jan 30
Reading that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Andybrat added 11:04 - Jan 30
Definitely cry, feel sorry for you Clive, Hull isn’t the best place at the best times but sounds like the worst. Hit the nail on the head, bar a few the rest are suffering from PMBS ( post MB syndrome) that also seemed to hit the Villa players too. All points valid, he needs to keep us up and then more changes will have to happen. Presume Ilias still trying too hard? I see reports of Armstrong going out to Shed Wednesday or Lincoln on loan, shame we can’t further loan out the players on loan with us. The so so frustrating thing is these players have the potential. Potential never won the league though…. Feels like a big game next week, though I say that every week


Rodney added 11:10 - Jan 30
A well-deserved rant, Clive. I'd hope you feel better for it but like many of us, I suspect that you are rather depressed and pessimistic about the future. Other than Laird and Lowe, I wish we could send the loan players back: their heart clearly isn't in it and they seem to be helping to foster a toxic, couldn't-care-less culture. I guess that, contractually, this isn't possible.

I tend to be reluctant to criticise management when we don't know what is going on behind the scenes but some of the decisions regarding contracts (Travelman, Adomah, Shodipo, Richards, Roberts etc) and team selection are at best baffling and, more often, downright infuriating.

It seems that, contractually, our arm-waving friend, Roberts, has to be selected if fit. Wouldn't it send out a good message if he were selected in the starting eleven and then pulled off after 5 minutes? Based on recent performances and his softly-softly interviews, Critchley doesn't seem to have the personality to motivate or inspire players, therefore some decisive action like early substitutions and expulsions to train with the kids might be his only way to get his message across that THIS. IS. NOT. ACCEPTABLE.

Marshy67 added 11:38 - Jan 30
Clive, talk of sacking Critchley might be nonsense but Wigan sacking Kolo Toure after just 9 games seemed like nonsense to me.
If this slump continues will the powers that be keep their nerve or will the thought of relegation lead to the inevitable?
It wasn't that long ago that McLaren was taking massive flak after his team lost their first 4 games.(Worst start to a season ever)
He survived and the team went on a run that had people talking of a play-off place.
Then the rot set in and he was sacked with the team plummeting to 17th.
Having supported this lot since 1966, just because something might be nonsense you can never rule it out!
Nonsense is normal at the Bush!

Northernr added 12:50 - Jan 30
Well on the Wigan comparison, Toure was obviously a daft idea to begin with, critchley wasn't, and isn't.

Marshy67 added 16:04 - Jan 30
I agree with you there Clive but it shows how ridiculous management has become when someone is hooked so quickly by the same people who gave him the job in the first place!.
Reading your reports and the lack luster displays how can Critchley turn things around.
Do you think he has the squad on-side?
He seems like a decent guy and I hope things work out for him.

Northernr added 17:07 - Jan 30
I feel very sorry for him because once the players go over the white line it's up to them, and this lot are making it very clear they're not having it at the moment. He hasn't got FFP headroom, or loan space, to make additions, sometimes you can get out of this by bringing fresh faces in. Holloway snapped one of these runs by bringing in Ryan Manning from the youth set up, so I wonder if there's anything at all down there could come in. I think it would help to go back to the back three, but then you're relying on JCS being fit, and to a certain extent it's deckchair shuffling. I don't envy his position.

Sittingbournehoop added 21:18 - Jan 30
Absolutely bloody awful and no light at the end of the tunnel, a manager who is completely useless and a team where half have lost all confidence and the other half just don’t give a toss. No honeymoon period for Critchley, just needs to somehow gain enough points to avoid falling through the trapdoor into league one. Perhaps relegation might be a blessing in disguise for a good clear out from the boardroom down. All I want is a team that are organised and committed and care about the club, is that too much to ask for?

NewBee added 21:24 - Jan 30
Superbly written piece as ever, with nothing I could add.

I also enjoyed @PastCaringNW2's comment which followed re Moneyball/Billy Bean etc, and which seemed to me to be a very thoughtful anlaysis of the root cause of the club's problems.

However, I am not persuaded by his proposed solution, namely:
"Bring Warbs in as DoF and give him complete control. Let decency be the guiding principle and see where that takes us. If he'd even have us at this point. "

Our own experience at Brentford is that there is no better person to have at the helm when things are going well and he can claim his share* of the credit etc.

But it's when things go wrong that you see the real man, i.e. he starts pointing the finger at everyone round him and refuses to take any of the blame.

In other words, you think you're getting a snake charmer, but in the end, you're getting a snake.

* - His share being 100%...

welwynranger added 15:17 - Jan 31
Nearly 60yrs of watching this team.
I have seen many bad teams that haven't been good enough, but they tried.
I believe this lot are good enough but just don't try.

TacticalR added 23:22 - Feb 1
Thanks for your report.

A miserable day all round. Certainly not Iroegbunam's day. We picked up a bit in the second half, but then that second goal killed us, and the final result could have been even worse.

Aaron Connolly was hardly mentioned in the oppo interview. He was definitely a surprise to QPR. It was pretty embarrassing the way those simple balls over the top (which he brought down with a superb touch) completely bypassed our defence.

Back to the second other thing apart from all the crimes against defending that you mentioned...just before Hull scored we had a lot of players who were drawn to the ball in a pack, seemingly having lost all sense of their allotted positions, and this was one reason why there was a huge gap in our defence for Hull to pass through.

I see this performance and other recent performances has led to some serious soul searching on your part, as you have surmised that these performances are an expression of a much deeper problem. I don't know what the answer is, but in the short term we could do with Johansen's nous in midfield - he was key to our revival last time around.

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