Beware repeating the same mistakes - preview
Saturday, 3rd Oct 2015 00:26 by Clive Whittingham
With pressure building on head coach Chris Ramsey, QPR are in danger of pursuing a course that has failed them several times before.
Queens Park Rangers v Bolton WanderersChampionship >>> Saturday October 3, 2015 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather – Cloudy with some sun, 15 degrees >>> Loftus Road, London, W12
Well, we made it to the last week in September before Les Ferdinand had to come out and ask fans for patience. The jungle drums, already beating that little bit louder after last Friday’s capitulation at Fulham, will be difficult to ignore if QPR fail to perform/beat lowly Bolton at Loftus Road on Saturday.
It is easy to criticise Chris Ramsey if you want to.
You can use statistics – just six wins from his 24 league games in charge so far and 13 defeats, Rangers have conceded more goals in the Championship this season than anybody apart from bottom-placed Bristol City. You can use results - they’ve won only one of their last six matches despite having the likes of Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips to select from.
You can say he lacks experience as a manager – as opposed to a coach – which is provable just by looking at his CV. You can say he’s reluctant to change things during games, even when they’re going wrong, because QPR frequently haven’t used all their substitutes during his games in charge and things have often gone wrong. You can point to QPR picking the same team in the same system for every game at the moment, as if Fulham present no different a challenge from Blackburn, or Forest from Hull. You can say that he’s continuing to pick players despite them being out of form – Karl Henry currently public enemy number one, the two full backs not far behind him.
But we’ve heard these criticisms and more of all QPR’s recent managers.
Harry Redknapp was negative away from home, the football was poor, his lazy team selections regularly needed two half time substitutions to get the team into the shape it should have been to start, he didn’t pick youth players… Mark Hughes was tactically clueless, awful in the transfer market, liability and so on and so forth. When they were here, two of the most experienced British managers on the circuit, the clamour was for more adventure away from home, more young players in the first team, more attacking play, more players bought from the lower leagues and Europe rather than over-the-hill big names. Now that is happening, and the results are poor, the stock phrase is “we need an experienced manager in here”.
This constant thirst for change and short term success is getting QPR nowhere other than into growing financial trouble.
As well as the perfectly reasonable criticism of Ramsey’s work this week I’ve seen somebody criticise Les Ferdinand’s assertion that a new look team with a whole load of new players will need time to gel because Man Utd haven’t needed any time to gel with their new players – new players that cost £400m. I’ve seen somebody else slagging Ramsey off because he looked like he was being too friendly with the players on a short five second training ground clip on that bastion of televised sporting journalism Soccer AM. I’ve seen somebody else vowing that the QPR fans will “force him out”. There’s an unhealthy bloodlust about the place. Unhealthy because it makes our support base look like the shouty, reactionary yobs who infest things like the 606 phone in or Arsenal Fan TV, unhealthy because it’s costing the club money and unhealthy because it’s not improving the results.
We cannot keep sacking managers or head coaches. It’s not working. If we’re in the mood for stats, let’s see some on how QPR have improved on or off the pitch for replacing Warnock with Hughes, or Hughes with Redknapp. There aren’t any, because all that happened then, and all that would happen again if we pulled the trigger now, is the new man arrived, insisted on buying a dozen players much the same as the ones who were already here, further bloated the squad and wage bill while still losing games on the field.
If the critics got their way now and Ramsey was sacked to be replaced by Nigel Pearson or Sam Allardyce there would be a minimum of six new players bought in January at a cost, and another dozen next summer. The squad would be completely turned over again, the wage bill would be astronomical again, the Financial Fair Play rules would be breached again and in 18 months’ time when QPR still aren’t very good there’d be the same vitriol about the negative, basic standard of football being played, there’d be another boo boy target to replace Karl Henry, and the clamour would be for something else. My bet is that the mob would bay for a European coach, because “look at Southampton etc etc etc”.
When Les Ferdinand talks about consolidating he’s vilified because on paper the team is good enough to be in the top four of the Championship this season. But if this team does finish up there, and goes up again, where are the foundations or any hint of anything at all that we wouldn’t get our arses handed to us all over again in the Premier League and come back down? The best players we have now – Phillips, Austin, Fer, Sandro – that are getting people’s hopes up were all here last season when we were relegated. Why the rush to get back, with those same players? What big differences do we expect?
The only constants at QPR at the moment are the results – bad, always bad – and the pace of change – unrelenting. What the club needs to try, and seems to be keen on doing, is a period of calm and constant, slowly building something under a structure rather than just rotating managers and throwing cash at it.
The problem raised by September’s performances, however, is a nagging doubt that they’ve stuck on the wrong guy. Even Chris Ramsey’s supporters need to see more from his team in the coming weeks than it’s showed over the last four weeks.
Charlie Austin, with a dislocated shoulder that would keep him our for two months and put paid to QPR’s automatic promotion hopes, soldiers on to score the opening goal in a 2-1 win against Bolton on their last visit to Loftus Road in January 2014.
Team News: Chris Ramsey's spur of the moment decision to twat a black cat over the head with a broken mirror on his way to Fulham on Friday proved foolhardy, with Charlie Austin and Jamie Mackie suffering bad hamstring injuries within 20 minutes of each other. Austin is out for a month, Mackie for closer to three. That leaves only Mad Seb Polter, himself coming back from a hamstring injury, unless Rangers are intending to start with a midfielder up front – Leroy Fer and Matt Phillips possibly 'best equipped' for that.
Elsewhere: In a world where the Football League say the average cost of a ticket across its three divisions is £14, Sky believe people want to stay in on a Friday night and watch Rotherham v Big Spending Burnley.
Sadly it's Rotherham without Big Fat Steve Evans, who left the club at the start of the week for turning their form around too dramatically from eight matches without a win to two victories in a week. People like to know where they are Steve, ok? And you suddenly stirring the division's whipping boys into life isn't doing anything for anybody's betting coupons, so take your chips and curry sauce and waddle off ok? Personally, I'll miss Steve. Nothing makes you feel better about your own lifestyle than watching a man whose mouth moving up and down brings him out in torrents of sweat.
The other bookend of the weekend sees Tarquin and Rupert punting down the Thames to Charlton on Sunday for a 12 noon kick off that's sure to require a huge police presence and massive subwoofer in your living room just to bring home the sheer hostility of the passionate local derby atmosphere.
There's the usual load of sludge on Saturday. Champions of Europe v Brum – fun. Trees vs Tigers Tiger Rah Rah Rah – bright colours. Bristol City v Franchise – I think somebody somewhere must by tolling a bell. The Mad Chicken Farmers against Ipswich – all the blue. Wolves v Huddersfield – scream when you can't take any more.
What else do we have here, well Derby Sheep v Abacus is an intriguing one isn't it? September has been better for Super Coach Paul Clement but not by much, while the sums just didn't add up for Marinus Dijkhuizen at Griffin Park and he was sacked last weekend after a home defeat to Sheffield Owls where they'd actually played very well and almost won with ten men. His replacement Lee Carsley has really rallied the troops this week by saying he doesn't want to be a manager, didn't want this job in the first place, will definitely leave at the end of the season and is gutted it's taken him away from his youth coaching job. Steady on there Lee, you'll have Aaron Sorkin worried for his job with rousing monologues like that.
Postscript – just noticed there's two more games below the fold in the page. Waitrose v Middlesbrough, Sheffield Owls v Preston. So, yeh, that as well.
Referee: Darren Drysdale from Lincolnshire takes charge of a QPR match for the first time in two seasons – last time he was here was the 0-0 thriller with Blackburn in late 2013. For his full QPR case history, recent stats, and a picture of him dry-humping Richard Langley on the pitch at Reading, please click here.
FormQPR: Good August, bad September, QPR are W3 D3 L3 in the league so far this season. The home form is a growing concern. Not only have results been poor (one win from five attempts in all competitions) but the recent performances have been alarming, particularly the first half last time out here against Blackburn. The 4-0 shellacking at Fulham last Friday made it one win in six for Rangers, having started with four wins and a draw from seven, and also lifted the goals conceded total to 17 which is 'bettered' only by bottom of the league Bristol City.
Bolton: Wanderers have only won once this season – I know, I know, stop throwing things. That 2-1 home success against Wolves forms part of a recent run of one defeat from six, however, and they were unfortunate not to beat Derby on day one in game that finished 0-0. Three clean sheets and five draws so far suggests the Trotters are difficult to beat but can't score enough, but then a 4-1 loss at lowly Huddersfield runs against that. Away from home they've lost three out of four conceding eight and scoring just once. Seen this film before.
Prediction: Reigning Prediction League champion ISawQPRAtWhiteCity tells us…
“In honour of the recently-demised Yogi Berra, I have to say that QPR are coming to a fork in the road, and they should take it. As I've been banging on about all week: W3 D3 L3, it ain't great, it ain't awful. But this is a squad that has massive potential, so we have to see massive change: motivation, tighter defence, something other than the automatic Austin-charged attack. Bolton aren't going to just roll over and read from our script, but I think we will do it.
Jim’s Prediction: QPR 2-1 Bolton. First Scorer: Tjaronn Chery
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 1-0 Bolton. First Scorer: Massimo Luongo
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