Let me count the ways - History
Thursday, 19th Nov 2020 15:18 by Clive Whittingham
QPR and their opponents this Saturday Watford have met 112 times competitively, and shared dozens of player connections. Here we summarise the recent meetings and look back at the career of Heidar Helguson.
QPR 0 Watford 1, Friday February 15, 2019, FA Cup Fifth Round
An all-too-rare FA Cup Fifth Round appearance for QPR didn’t have the fairy-tale ending they so craved when Premier League Watford last came into town in February 2019. Rangers had beaten Leeds and Portsmouth in the prior rounds, but Steve McClaren’s technique of picking the same starting 11 game after game was starting to take its toll on the squad and they came into the game on a five match losing run. Nevertheless, Mass Luongo and Nahki Wells could both easily have scored in the first half, the former with a volley that beat Foster but missed the far corner, the latter with an improvised effort the keeper saved well. You know it’s not your night when Etienne Capoue makes the most of a series of mishits from a corner in first half stoppage time to open the scoring. The usual clutch of dodgy McClaren subs in the second half did little to rescue the cause, but Toni Leistner missed an absolute sitter at the death which would have forced extra time.
QPR: Lumley 6; Furlong 6, Leistner 7, Hall 6 (Osayi-Samuel 84, -); Wszolek 6 (Eze 76, 5), Bidwell 6; Luongo 6, Cousins 7, Freeman 7; Smith 6, Wells 5 (Hemed 71, 5)
Subs not used: Ingram, Scowen, Manning, Kakay
Bookings: Luongo 73 (foul)
Watford: Gomes 8; Janmaat 6, Kabasele 5, Holebas 5, Britos 6; Cleverley 7 (Quina 84, -), Highes 6, Capoue 6, Sema 6 (Mariappa 74, 6); Gray 6 (Doucoure 74, 7), Deeney 6
Subs not used: Deulofeu, Penaranda, Navarro, Dahlberg
Goals: Capoue 45+1 (assisted Cleverley)
Bookings:, Mariappa 76 (foul), Doucoure 86 (foul), Janmaat 90+1 (foul)
QPR 2 Watford 1, Monday April 21, 2014, Championship
QPR secured a home win against the run of play in the last minute on Easter Monday 2014. A poor second half of the season had let automatic promotion slip away from Rangers, but the first three months had been so good they were also safely in the play-offs long before the end of the season. The back end of the regular campaign meandered along with inconsistent performances, results and team selections and a routine draw with Watford looked on the cards when Joey Barton took time out from booting every one of our set pieces at the nearest defender to actually score with a second half free kick and equalise Ranegie’s opener. But when the R’s counter attacked from a Watford corner in the last minute of normal time Charlie Austin was on hand with a fabulous 20-yarder, round a clutch of defenders and Almunia in goal, into the far corner and home with the win.
QPR: Green 7; Simpson 6 (Hoilett 72, 7), Dunne 5, Onuoha 7, Hill 6, Traore 6; Carroll 6, Barton 6, Morrison 6; Austin 6 (Henry 90+1, -), Doyle 5 (Zamora 72, 7)
Subs not used: Keane, Suk-Young, Hughes, Murphy
Goals: Barton 76 (free kick won Morrison), Austin 90 (assisted Zamora)
Bookings: Austin 85 (foul)
Watford: Almunia 6; Angella 6, Cassetti 6, Ekstrand 6; Riera 6, Abdi 6, Tozser 7, McGugan 8 (Battocchio 63, 5), Pudil 6; Deeney 7, Ranegie 6
Subs not used: Merkel, Doyley, Murray, Faraoni, Bond, Hoban
Goals: Ranegie 51 (assisted Deeney)
Bookings: Riera 51 (foul), Ranegie 57 (foul), Abdi 59 (foul)
Watford 0 QPR 0, Sunday December 29, 2013, Championship
With Charlie Austin struggling with injury, Harry Redknapp was in full pre-transfer window mode when these sides last met at Vicarage Road over Christmas 2013. Redknapp stopped short of his classic two goalkeepers on the bench trick, but did field a team in a 4-6-0 formation with no strikers on the field at all and duly saw out the most predictable 0-0 draw in the history of the sport. A week later, the credit card came out again to allow Austin to be temporarily replaced by Kevin Doyle and Mobido Maiga and Will Keane having already added Yossi Benayoun as a free agent earlier in December. QPR’s accounts for the end of the year showed a wage bill approaching £80m, a flagrant breach of the FFP rules for which the club will be making payments on a £20m fine for the next nine years.
Watford: Almunia 6; Doyley 6, Cassetti 6, Ekstrand 7; Bellerin 6, Angella 6, Thorne 6, Murray 6 (Battocchio 87, -), McGugan 6; Deeney 6, Fabbrini 6 (Acuña 75, 5)
Subs not used: McEachran, Iriney, Bond, O’Nien
Bookings: Angella 38 (foul), Acuña 80 (foul)
QPR: Green 6; Simpson 6, Dunne 6, Onuoha 7, Assou-Ekotto 7; Phillips 6, Benayoun 6 (O’Neil 73, 6), Carroll 5 (Johnson 71, 6), Barton 6, Kranjcar 6, Hoilett 5 (Traore 79, 6)
Subs not used: Henry, Zamora, Murphy, Sendels-White
Bookings: Phillips 61 (foul), Barton 65 (foul)
Watford 0 QPR 2, Saturday April 30, 2011, Championship
Few Rangers fans will ever forget QPR’s visit to Watford in the league at the end of the 2010/11 season. A 2-0 win sealed Rangers’ Championship title with a week to spare, although of course the whole thing wasn’t finally ratified until the eleventh hour of the final day because of the FA hearing into the Ale Faurlin transfer. On the pitch QPR were disjointed and nervous for much of the match at Vicarage Road but Tommy Smith turned the game against his former club – first crossing for Adel Taarabt to score from close range, and then steering home a stylish second himself in the final minute.
Watford: Loach 6, Hodson 6, Taylor 7 (Bennett 54, 5), Mariappa 7, Doyley 6, Eustace 7, Cowie 6, Deeney 7, Buckley 6 (Murray 78, 6), Graham 6, Sordell 6 (Whichelow 73, 6)
Subs Not Used: Gilmartin, Mingoia, Drinkwater, Assombalonga
QPR: Cerny 6, Orr 7, Hall 6 (Shittu 23, 8), Gorkss 7, Connolly 7, Derry 7, Faurlin 7, Taarabt 7 (Ramage 90, -), Routledge 7 (Buzsaky 75, 8), Smith 7, Helguson 7
Subs Not Used: Agyemang, Hulse, Ephraim, Moen
Goals: Taarabt 77 (assisted Smith), Smith 90 (assisted Faurlin)
QPR 1 Watford 3, Friday December 10, 2010, Championship
QPR had been sweeping all before them prior to the first meeting of these two sides that season – top of the table by seven clear points and unbeaten in the first 19 matches of the season, a club record. The BBC popped down the road to see what all the fuss was about and inadvertently stumbled on a humbling that was not in the script. Watford, with Danny Graham in fine fettle up front, were magnificent on the night and surged into a three goal lead midway through the second half. QPR had several reasons to feel aggrieved – John Eustace should have been penalised in his own penalty box within four minutes and two of the Watford goals were clearly offside – but they weren’t good enough to take anything from the game despite a late goal through Tommy Smith and Watford deserved their win. Graham made the most of a deflection on Andrew Taylor’s cross to nip in and volley home the first midway through the first half, and then within four minutes after the linesman had incorrectly allowed Graham to play on Kenny made a leg save and Watford worked the ball back into the area through Mutch whose cross flew in off the slightest flick from Martin Taylor. Any hope of a second half comeback was extinguished when Graham, again at least a yard offside, stormed through to fire in a second for him and third for the Hornets.
QPR: Kenny 7, Walker 6, Gorkss 4, Connolly 5, Hill 6, Derry 5, Faurlin 4 (Orr 59, 6), Mackie 6, Taarabt 4 (Clarke 59, 5), Smith 6, Helguson 5 (Hulse 70, 6)
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Hall, Rowlands, Ephraim
Booked: Walker (mistaken identity), Hulse (elbowing)
Goals: Smith 89 (assisted Mackie)
Watford: Loach 8, Doyley 7, Mariappa 6, M Taylor 7, A Taylor 7, Buckley 7 (Deeney 80, -), Eustace 7, McGinn 7 (Sordell 75, 6), Cowie 7, Mutch 8, Graham 9
Subs Not Used: Gilmartin, Hodson, Jenkins, Bennett, Massey
Booked: Buckley (foul), Andrew Taylor (foul)
Goals: Graham 26 (assisted A Taylor), Mutch 30 (unassisted), Graham 48 (assisted McGinn)
Watford 3 QPR 1, Monday December 7, 2009, Championship
Such was the dramatic nature of the post-match events at Vicarage Road when these sides met the previous season the game itself actually gets overlooked. Coming into the match just 48 hours after a 5-1 home defeat by Middlesbrough the R’s took the lead when Ale Faurlin fed a cute ball through to Patrick Agyemang who hammered it home from the edge of the area. It was clear all was not well within the camp though when Agyemang made a point of refusing to celebrate after scoring and sure enough before half time the Hornets drew level when Lloyd Doyley scored his first goal in three quarters of a million appearances with a spectacular diving header. The impressive Man Utd loanee Tom Cleverley set up Cowie for an eye catching second ten minutes after the break and then rounded the scoring off himself deep into injury time with Rangers pushing forwards looking for an equaliser. After the match the inquest in the visiting dressing room became heated and Akos Buzsaky was allegedly headbutted by manager Jim Magilton, and later found wandering around at the side of the pitch still in his full kit. The manager was sacked and replaced, disastrously, by Paul Hart. QPR were in the play-off places at the start of play but by the end of February had worked their way through two more managers and sunk to twentieth.
Watford: Loach 6, Hodson 6, Mariappa 7, Cathcart 6 (DeMerit 46, 7), Doyley 8, Cowie 8, Cleverley 8, Eustace 7, Harley 7 (Severin 82 -), Ellington 5 (Henderson 57, 6), Graham 5
Subs not used: Lee, Bennett, Sadler, Bryan
Goals: Doyley 43 (assisted Cowie), Cowie 56 (assisted Cleverley), Cleverley 90+4 (assisted Henderson)
QPR: Cerny 5, Ramage 6, Hall 5, Stewart 6, Borrowdale 6, Routledge 4 (Simpson 72, 5), Watson 4, Leigertwood 5 (Buzsaky 76, 4), Faurlin 7, Agyemang 6, Vine 3 (Taarabt 59, 4)
Subs not used: Taylor, Gorkss, Williams, Pellicori
Goals: Agyemang 33 (assisted Faurlin)
Bookings: Stewart (foul), Hall (foul), Borrowdale (foul)
Head to Head >>> QPR wins 49 >>> Draws 40 >>> Watford wins 33
2018/19 QPR 0 Watford 1**
2013/14 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Barton, Austin)
2013/14 Watford 0 QPR 0
2010/11 Watford 0 QPR 2 (Taarabt, Smith)
2010/11 QPR 1 Watford 3 (Smith)
2009/10 QPR 1 Watford 0 (Buzsaky)
2009/10 Watford 3 QPR 1 (Agyemang)
2008/09 QPR 0 Watford 0
2008/09 Watford 3 QPR 0
2007/08 Watford 2 QPR 4 (Rowlands 2, Stewart, Buzsaky)
2007/08 QPR 1 Watford 1 (Moore)
2005/06 QPR 1 Watford 2 (Nygaard)
2005/06 Watford 3 QPR 1 (Shittu)
2004/05 QPR 3 Watford 1 (Gallen 2, Furlong)
2004/05 Watford 3 QPR 0
2000/01 QPR 1 Watford 1 (Ngonge)
2000/01 Watford 3 QPR 1 (Connolly)
1998/99 QPR 1 Watford 2 (Peacock)
1998/99 Watford 2 QPR 1 (Slade)
1987/88 Watford 0 QPR 1 (McDonald)
1987/88 QPR 0 Watford 0
1986/87 Watford 0 QPR 3 (Bannister 3)
1986/87 QPR 3 Watford 2 (Allen, Fereday, Bannister)
1985/86 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Fenwick pen, Robinson)
1985/86 Watford 0 QPR 1* (Byrne)
1985/86 Watford 2 QPR 0
1984/85 QPR 2 Watford 0 (Fillery 2)
1984/85 Watford 1 QPR 1 (Bannister)
1983/84 Watford 1 QPR 0
1983/84 QPR 1 Watford 1 (Stainrod)
1981/82 QPR 0 Watford 0
1981/82 Watford 4 QPR 0
1981/82 Watford 4 QPR 1* (Stainrod)
1980/81 QPR 0 Watford 0
1980/81 Watford 1 QPR 1 (King)
1979/80 QPR 1 Watford 1 (Currie)
1979/80 QPR 1 Watford 2** (Hazell)
1979/80 Watford 1 QPR 2 (Allen, Roeder)
1971/72 Watford 0 QPR 2 (Evans, Salvage)
1971/72 QPR 3 Watford 0 (Marsh 2, McCulloch)
1970/71 Watford 1 QPR 2 (Marsh 2)
1970/71 QPR 1 Watford 1 (Venables)
1969/70 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Clarke, Hazell)
1969/70 Watford 0 QPR 1 (Bridges)
1966/67 QPR 4 Watford 1 (Marsh 2, Sibley, Lazarus)
1966/67 Watford 1 QPR 0
1965/66 Watford 1 QPR 2 (Keen, R Morgan)
1965/66 QPR 1 Watford 1 (Langley)
1964/65 Watford 0 QPR 2 (Leary, I Morgan)
1964/65 QPR 2 Watford 2 (Bedford, Leary)
1963/64 Watford 3 QPR 1 (Graham)
1963/64 QPR 1 Watford 0 (Bedford)
1962/63 QPR 2 Watford 2 (Barber, Collins)
1962/63 Watford 2 QPR 5 (Bedford 2, Lazarus 2, Malcolm)
1961/62 QPR 1 Watford 2 (McCelland)
1961/62 Watford 3 QPR 2 (McCelland, Towers)
1960/61 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Evans, Longbottom)
1960/61 Watford 0 QPR 3 (Lazarus, Woods, Clark)
1957/58 Watford 0 QPR 0
1957/58 QPR 3 Watford 0 (Ingham, Longbottom, Petchey)
1956/57 Watford 2 QPR 4 (Temby, Cameron, Balogun, Shipwright og)
1956/57 QPR 3 Watford 1 (Hellawell, Balogun, Brown og)
1955/56 QPR 3 Watford 2 (Kerrins, Cameron, Angell)
1955/56 Watford 0 QPR 1 (Angell)
1954/55 Watford 1 QPR 1 (Cameron)
1954/55 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Cameron, Clark)
1953/54 Watford 0 QPR 2 (Cameron, Angell)
1953/54 QPR 0 Watford 4
1952/53 Watford 1 QPR 1 (Shepherd)
1952/53 QPR 2 Watford 2 (Stewart, Smith)
1947/48 QPR 5 Watford 1 (Boxshall 2, Pattison, Hatton, McEwen)
1947/48 Watford 0 QPR 1 (Jones og)
1946/47 Watford 0 QPR 2 (Mallett 2)
1946/47 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Mallett 2)
1938/39 QPR 1 Watford 0 (Mallett)
1938/39 Watford 4 QPR 1 (Pearson)
1937/38 Watford 3 QPR 1 (Bott)
1937/38 QPR 2 Watford 0 (Bott, Cheetham)
1936/37 QPR 0 Watford 2
1936/37 Watford 2 QPR 1 (McMahon)
1935/36 Watford 2 QPR 1 (Lowe)
1935/36 QPR 3 Watford 1 (Cheetham 2, Ballantyne)
1934/35 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Blackman, Blake)
1934/35 Watford 2 QPR 0
1933/34 QPR 0 Watford 0
1933/34 Watford 0 QPR 0
1932/33 Watford 2 QPR 2 (Howe, Rounce)
1932/33 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Brown, Marcroft)
1931/32 Watford 2 QPR 2 (Howe, Blackman)
1931/32 QPR 4 Watford 4 (Goddard 4)
1930/31 Watford 0 QPR 4 (Wiles, Daniels, Coward, Rounce)
1930/31 QPR 2 Watford 3 (Daniels, Goddard)
1929/30 Watford 1 QPR 1 (Beresford og)
1929/30 QPR 0 Watford 0
1928/29 Watford 4 QPR 1 (Rogers)
1928/29 QPR 3 Watford 2 (Goddard, McNab, Coward)
1927/28 Watford 3 QPR 3 (Lofthouse 2, Goddard)
1927/28 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Swan, Goddard)
1926/27 Watford 1 QPR 2 (Charlesworth, Lofthouse)
1926/27 QPR 2 Watford 4 (Young, Mustard)
1925/26 Watford 3 QPR 1 (Young)
1925/26 QPR 2 Watford 0 (Whitehurst, Middleton)
1924/25 Watford 1 QPR 0
1924/25 QPR 0 Watford 0
1923/24 QPR 2 Watford 1 (Birch, Marsden)
1923/24 Watford 0 QPR 2 (Birch, Davis)
1922/23 Watford 0 QPR 3 (Chandler 2, Davis)
1922/23 QPR 1 Watford 2 (Birch)
1921/22 QPR 1 Watford 1 (Birch)
1921/22 Watford 2 QPR 2 (Gregory, Birch)
1920/21 Watford 0 QPR 2 (Birch 2)
1920/21 QPR 1 Watford 2 (Birch)
* - League Cup
** - FA Cup
Heidar Helguson >>> QPR 2008-2012 >>> Watford (loan) 2009-2010, 1999-2005
The DVD extras for The Four Year Plan documentary feature a scene in Gianni Paladini's office that would be alarming for QPR fans if they weren't already oh so painfully aware of the way the club went about its business in those days and the results of that on the pitch. It's entitled 'The Striker' and it's a long scene from the cutting room floor of Paladini trying to add firepower to the QPR squad.
Now the method for such a quest at Loftus Road used to involve Ian Holloway getting out chief scout Mel Johnson's extra-large file of players he'd been to see multiple times in various Godforsaken reserve matches and picking one of his recommendations. Decent scouting is an amazing thing in football, and increasingly ignored by clubs who prefer to deal instead with favoured agents. Up in the North East Newcastle have climbed a division and qualified for Europe while vastly reducing their annual wage budget, acquiring what is now some of Europe's most sought after talent, and making a profit on transfer fees through the scouting operation run by Graham Carr. At QPR, Johnson's tireless trawling of the British motorways yielded previously unheralded stars for a cash strapped club, often in times of desperate need – Martin Rowlands, Lee Cook, Lee Camp, Danny Shittu and so on.
But presumably Paladini's opinion of scouts was much the same as his opinion of CEOs, which he expressed upon the ousting of Mark Devlin from that position: "freeloaders", "leaches."
In need of a striker for a team under the caretaker management of Gareth Ainsworth and shortly to be taken over by Paulo Sousa, Paladini picked up his mobile phone to his friends and contacts in the game. The stipulation was "desperate for a striker,” though this was later narrowed down slightly to "no, no he has to be fit." Thankfully Mel Johnson is still with us, or he'd have turned in his grave.
But in amongst the colossal amounts of tat that arrived at the club while Paladini was involved – some of which is only now being shifted on and almost none of which is having much luck finding another club as gullible as QPR – Rangers actually struck lucky in their quest for a 'striker who is fit'.
I've always had a soft spot for Heidar Helguson because prior to his signing I wrote a piece for LoftforWords detailing five strikers I felt we could sign who would make a difference to us, of which he was one. Well, I'm not right often so I've got to hark back to the rare successes when I can.
Luckily whoever Gianni was on the phone to thought Helguson was a "striker who is fit" as well. That wasn't quite the end of things though. Shortly after the confirmation that Sousa would be the manager the club announced it had agreed a loan deal with Bolton for Helguson and he was in line to make his debut that Saturday against his former club Watford. That Saturday at Vicarage Road Rangers were hammered 3-0 with Helguson nowhere to be seen.
Three days later Sousa took charge for the first time for a home match with Charlton in which Helguson played no part. In fact, Helguson hadn't signed at all and although the club remained silent on the issue they actually came very close to an embarrassing situation where a player QPR said they had signed on the Friday actually turned out against them for Charlton on the Tuesday. Luckily the deal with the Addicks never went through either, and Rangers were able to finally complete the signing at the end of the week – confirming as much with an interview on the official site recorded as if he'd been there all along.
An inauspicious start then and things would get worse before they got better. On debut, as a late substitute in a draw at Crystal Palace, Helguson was presented with the ball on the edge of the area by an uncharacteristic mistake from Eagles goalkeeper Julian Speroni who was left stranded away from his goal and had almost certainly cost his team the match in the final minute. Helguson sidefooted wide of the gaping target.
Rangers were in the midst of a run without a goal away from home that would eventually stretch to a record breaking 14 hours. After Damion Stewart's headed winner in the cup at Aston Villa the R's had travelled to Birmingham, Swansea, Reading , Ipswich, Manchester United, Watford and now Palace without scoring a goal. A week later they lost 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday to extend the record still further – Martin Rowlands' penalty miss surpassed only in farce by Helguson's glaring horror from a yard out with the keeper laid flat on the floor.
Helguson rallied. He was superb in a home win against Preston, scoring twice, and netted that elusive away goal in a 1-1 draw at Plymouth. But his fitness was an issue, and he was in and out of the team. Sousa was eventually sacked after speaking to supporters outside the ground about the club singing the Icelandic striker and winger Lee Cook despite concerns about their knees. A year later, with Flavio Briatore's grand plan for QPR falling apart around his ears and a team managed by Mick Harford facing relegation to League One, the R's took to the field for a 1-0 defeat at bottom placed Peterborough with a strike force of Marcus Bent and Tamas Priskin who were both on loan. Helguson was thought of so highly by Rangers at this time they had loaned him out to Watford, one of their relegation rivals.
Nobody seemed that bothered by that. There were occasional mumblings of discontent whenever he scored for Watford – which he did 11 times in 2009/10, which would have made him QPR's top scorer of the season – but by and large the QPR fans didn’t rate him, didn't think he was fit enough, and weren't that sorry to see him loaned out. A stupidly small number of people questioned the logic of having a striker of that quality at Vicarage Road while we pissed around with Tamas Priskin.
Then Neil Warnock arrived.
Neil Warnock likes strikers. His judgement is often hit and miss – for every Jamie Mackie there's a Leon Clarke – but he likes strikers, he likes to have lots of them, and he enjoys signing them. Given the rack and stack nature of the way he put his Sheffield United attack together it's no surprise to know that he had tried to sign Helguson before, but it was still a fairly certain indication that the barrel chested forward wouldn't be spending 2010/11 on loan at Watford.
Helguson was magnificent for QPR in their promotion season. Again he lived up to his reputation of being underappreciated – with the plaudits mainly going the way of Paddy Kenny and Adel Taarabt – but Helguson was just as key to that title winning team as anybody else. There was much talk of the work of Shaun Derry behind Taarabt, clearing up the Moroccan's various tangles and keeping him in check, but, on the other side of Adel, Heidar was taking the brunt of the centre back abuse away from him. His hold up and lay game was second to none in the division and his ability to bring a ball down and use it intelligently to bring others into play was outstanding. The defenders couldn't leave Helguson alone, and couldn't defeat his muscular presence in 50/50 (or even 30/70) competitions so he was able to constantly get the ball under control in dangerous areas and then feed strike players like Taarabt and Wayne Routledge to do the damage. For good measure, Helguson scored 12 times for Rangers and twice for Iceland that campaign with a thumping header in a 3-0 win at Middlesbrough particularly memorable. His penalty technique terrified supporters, but never faltered.
He then became the victim of a series of mistakes made by Neil Warnock upon promotion. Admittedly working under impossible conditions thanks to Flavio Briatore's return to the forefront of the club's boardroom activity, Warnock was far too quick to abandon the players that had worked so hard to get the club promoted. Kaspars Gorkss was replaced by Danny Gabbidon, Adel Taarabt was soon left out altogether, and Helguson found his place taken by Jay Bothroyd.
He came back into the team at the beginning of October for a home match with Blackburn and gave QPR the lead after 15 minutes with a well flighted chip. Even then he hadn’t been scheduled to play and only got the nod late in the day when DJ Campbell, who had been slated to start, pulled up injured. He didn't look back though, following the Blackburn goal with a brace that included another bullet header in a 3-2 win at Stoke and a famous penalty winner at home to Chelsea. By January, when he rescued an undeserved FA Cup replay from a disastrous outing at MK Dons, his tally stood at nine.
Sadly it didn't move from there, derailed prematurely by injury. Helguson, unfortunately, always has had a knack of picking up a short term injury and turning it into a long term problem – it's always a strain or a pull or a small tear, it's always initially diagnosed as a month-long problem at most, and it's not unusual not to see him again for three times that length of time or more.
That's a trait, among many others, he shares with Paul Furlong – another former Watford striker who endured difficult early days at QPR before winning the fans over in a blaze of glory. Ian Holloway described Furlong as a Rolls Royce centre forward – beautiful, graceful, stylish – and Helguson has been exactly the same for Rangers when given the chance.
The decision to allow him to leave that summer, in theory, made sense. Helguson, at 34, was never going to be ahead of the likes of Djibril Cisse, Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora in the QPR pecking order and wouldn’t want to spend his final months as a professional knocking around with our reserve team. He joined Cardiff, but his importance to QPR since he arrived was only underlined further when the supposedly more glamourous replacements flopped and QPR careered out of the Premier League well ablaze.
He overcame fitness problems, advancing years, a farcical managerial merry-go-round and more besides to lead our promotion side and then score the goals that kept us in the Premier League. He did it all in the same classy style, with the same fixed facial expression. He was a proper footballer.
Others >>> Samba Diakite, QPR 2012-2016, Watford (loan) 2014 >>> Fitz Hall, Watford 2012-2014, QPR 2008-2012 >>> Andros Townsend, QPR (loan) 2013, Watford (loan) 2011 >>> Tommy Smith, QPR 2010-2012, Watford 1995-2003 >>> Tamas Priskin, QPR (loan) 2010, Watford 2006-2009 >>> Danny Shittu, QPR 2011-2012, 2001-2006, Watford 2006-2008 >>> Gavin Mahon, QPR 2008-2011, Watford 2002-2008 >>> Clarke Carlisle, Watford 2005-2007, QPR 2000-2004 >>> Lee Cook, 2009-2012, 2004-2007, (loan) 2002-2003, Watford 1999-2004 >>> Richard Johnson QPR 2004-2005, Watford 1991-2003 >>> Paul Furlong, QPR 2002-2007, (loan) 2000, Watford 1992-1994 >>> Kenny Jackett, QPR (coach) 2001-2004, Watford (player) 1980-1990, (manager) 1996-1997 >>> Steve Palmer, QPR 2001-2004, Watford 1995-2001 >>> Chris Day, QPR 2001-2005, Watford 1997-2001 >>> Alex Bonnot, QPR 2001-2002, Watford 1999-2001 >>> Michel Ngonge, QPR 2000-2001, Watford 1998-2000 >>> Dominic Foley, QPR (loan) 2002, (loan) 2001, Watford 1999-2003, (loan) 1998 >>> Jermaine Darlington, Watford 2004-2005, QPR 1999-2001 >>> Darren Ward Watford (loan) 2008, 1995-2000, QPR (loan) 1999-2000 >>> Steve Morrow, QPR 1997-2001, Watford (loan) 1991 >>> Devon White, Watford 1996-1997, QPR 1993-1994 >>> Gary Penrice, QPR 1991-1995, Watford 1989-1991 >>> Dennis Bailey, QPR 1991-1995, Watford (loan) 1994 >>> Mark Falco, QPR 1988-1991, Watford 1986-1987 >>> David Bardsley, QPR 1989-1998, Watford 1983-1987 >>> Kenny Sansom, Watford 1994, QPR 1989-1991 >>> Warren Neill, Watford 1996, QPR 1980-1988 >>> Gary Chivers, Watford 1987-1988, QPR 1984-1987 >>> Glenn Roeder, (manager) 1993-1996, 1989-1992, QPR 1978-1983 >>> Tony Currie, QPR 1979-1982, Watford 1967 >>> Terry Mancini, QPR 1971-1974, Watford 1961-1966 >>> Keith Pritchett, Watford 1976-1982, QPR 1974-1975 >>> Ian Morgan, Watford 1973-1974, QPR 1964-1973 >>> Mike Keen, Watford (manager) 1973-1977, (player) 1972-1975, QPR 1959-1969
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