The view from the Pu - August
Friday, 3rd Sep 2021 15:13 by Steve Hardy
Steve Hardy returns for a third season of weekly reviews, and it's easily his most positive write up so far as QPR go seven without defeat to begin with for the first time since 1987.
Here we are again, just like that, back into the thick of another Championship season. No sooner had the Euros ended we were back to the real quiz and how good it felt to physically be back as well. So, like kids on the playground after the summer holidays, let’s dive into a month that gave us seven games, four wins, three draws, zero defeats and one perfect penalty shoot-out.
Let’s start with the obvious. Saturday August 7, the first day for 17 months that we were allowed back to a competitive game under no restrictions and my word did it feel good. I don’t want the violins to come out here but the last couple of years have been hard in my own personal life, and that isn’t taking into account Covid-19 and lockdowns, but one constant has always been QPR. When going to football was first taken away from us I was actually surprised at how much I missed it but walking to the train station for that Millwall game I was more surprised at the fact I had managed to cope without it. In the grand scheme of the pandemic football really did pale into insignificance but let’s also not underestimate its importance on people’s social lives and overall well being, and that’s not taking into account people who rely on people going to football as a source of income, so it was a fantastic feeling to have it back and fingers crossed it doesn’t get taken away from us anytime soon. Catching up with people that I had no idea if I would ever see again was a special feeling and in regards to the game I thought it was worth the entrance fee but maybe that was just me drinking in every minute having been deprived for a year and half, like a prisoner being released and comparing their Wetherspoons cheeseburger to a night at Claridge’s. Still, fantastic to see familiar faces again, be able to order a pint at the bar and clearly the results have a lot to do with it but I’m thoroughly enjoying the whole match day experience more than I can remember.
Following on from that positive stream of consciousness, it feels good to be a QPR fan right now doesn’t it? Not only because of results on the pitch but because of the squad that we have out there on it too. Every goal scored sees all outfield players join in the celebrations which is always a good sign but there also appear to be real similarities between this current crop and the all-conquering Warnock champions of 2011. The beauty in the play of Johansen coupled with the dirty work of Dom Ball remind me of a certain Messrs Faurlin and Derry, the skill and creativity of Chrissy Willock can be likened to a certain Moroccan although there is a bit of a gap in regards to their overall fitness and attendance at training, but what I’m trying to get at here is that everything just feels good at the moment. I know we’re QPR and we’re not allowed nice things so it is bound to go wrong at some point (points to Andre Gray) but we’re currently enjoying our best start to a season in all competitions in my lifetime so if you can’t enjoy that then there really is no hope for you. What is standing out for me the most though is that a lot of my friends and work colleagues who support other clubs seem to be rooting for us and mentioning how good we look which is how it always used to be but hasn’t been for years. A great opening month and long may it continue although looking at those away games next month that appears to be the real quiz (screw Blockbusters).
I missed a player out when talking about the squad as he deserves his very own mention, to be honest I could write a whole piece on him at the minute. Take a bow Rob Beckenbauer, our very own Kaiser. An absolutely incredible start and comfortably our player of the month for August, if not for the whole division. I’ve intentionally waited until September 1 to write this as I was genuinely worried that someone was going to snap him up but we’ve managed to navigate the window with relatively little clamour for our defender, and with three years remaining on his contract we’re in a good position. I can’t remember the last centre back to have such a great start to the season – probably Clarke Carlisle in 2000 but he was playing alongside Steve Morrow so that wasn’t fair – and I’m not just referring to his goals, his all round play has been exceptional. After Austin, for sentimental reasons, I think Dickie was the player I was looking forward to seeing the most this season and what a player we have on our hands. Comfortable on the ball, strong in the tackle, great in the air and he even seems to have picked up half a yard of pace over the summer, a real find and a great piece of business by our recruitment team. In case you haven’t worked it out I’m a fan, a massive upgrade on Grant Hall and when you consider his appearance record to date it isn’t even fair to be comparing the two. Probably on considerably lower wages too.
So, in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m riding the huge wave of optimism that has engulfed our club. Think I might have to go for a sit down. Oh, and one more thing, Albert Adomah, what a guy!
It feels like a shame to have anything negative to write after what has been such a good month and also to be talking about something that has already been covered numerous times but it was such a shame to hear about the issues that some fans have had in regards to entering the stadium on match days. I’m not here to talk about the pros and cons and profit and loss of modern technology against historical methods but surely it would have made sense to have at least one turnstile on each entrance operate the way it used to? This way it caters for some of the elderly supporters who may not have a smart phone – my Dad for instance – or the supporters who aren’t too tech savvy. I’m all for innovation and moving with the times but I am also a huge advocate of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ and just felt that it was a huge shame to hear stories of people still being stuck outside fifteen minutes into the opening game, especially considering how good the atmosphere was when the players first came out.
One final note, where on earth did Coventry get all this money from? To be able to spend £13 million for a right wing back to sit on their bench seems insane, I will certainly be interested to see how they navigate FFP after this one and I wonder how much they will sell the Ricoh to themselves for. All jokes aside, it was a bit of a shame to see how that scenario ended for a player who I was genuinely excited for when we signed him and I’m guessing it has resulted in us paying some of his contract off. But like a lot of us are saying, in Warburton we trust and I completely understand why this has been done, I spoke last season about my thoughts on the interview he gave and it felt like it was only a matter of time before he was on his way. On the plus side at least we don’t have someone just hanging around and picking up a wage for zero return.
August grade – A Comfortably the best month since I have been writing these.
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 >>> October 19 >>> November 19 >>> December 19 >>> January 20 >>> February 20 >>> March 20 >>> April 20 >>> May 20 >>> June 20 >>> July 20 >>> September 20 >>> October 20 >>> November 20 >>> December 20 >>> January 21 >>> February 21 >>> March 21 >>> April/May 21
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When Saturday Comes #7 by wessex_exile
Well that didn’t go as planned at all – after a stirring battling performance full of grit, character and togetherness with the small band of travelling supporters at Barrow, the U’s then finally returned back to the JobServe and completely failed to turn up against bogey side Crawley. They weren’t the only ones either, Hayden Mullins was absent as well, and we have since learned he has Covid-19 and will also miss tomorrow’s game at Swindon too – I know we all wish Hayden a speedy recovery. Fortunately, I won’t be missing the match, with tickets arriving last weekend – first live game for best part of 18 months, and I can’t bloody wait!
When Saturday Comes #6 by wessex_exile
After over a month of absence, the U’s finally make a welcome return to the JobServe for a home league fixture. Sutton seem to have quickly got over their Covid-19/ injury crisis/ international call-up woes, fielding a team the following Tuesday that was strong enough to push Cardiff City hard in a narrow 3-2 defeat to the Championship side. But enough of that, I haven’t seen the outcome of the EFL investigation, but I don’t doubt the decision has either already been or will be rubber-stamped. Gamesmanship – maybe, but I hope at least the EFL are now a bit more alert to the fact that some might think they can treat them like chumps when it suits their purpose? Still – it’s great to be back home isn’t it!
When Saturday Comes #5 by wessex_exile
“Well, I can tell u my son was stood nearer the back of the Holker Street end and although he couldn't see who was responsible, he was disgusted and was very clear in telling me that the 'N' word was used by someone stood directly behind the goal nearer the front. I'm sick of hearing this, no one but the player being abused heard anything so maybe he was mistaken crap. This shite still exists despite everything that the authorities try to do because unfortunately there are still racists in every, city, town, village and hamlet in this country. [SwearFilter] scum of the earth.”
When Saturday Comes #4 by wessex_exile
I start with an apology for the no-show last weekend, but for all the right reasons. My nephew and his fiancé finally managed to tie the knot on Friday, at the fifth time of asking (previous four attempts falling foul of covid restrictions unfortunately). It was a fantastic afternoon and evening over in Essex, but meant it just wasn’t possible to get a blog produced. A significant proportion of the wedding party were U’s supporters, including the groom, but any thought of live-streaming the Rochdale game at the evening celebration might have resulted in the fastest divorce on record, so we contented ourselves with surreptitious glances at the BBC Sports updates – and what an own goal it was! Different circumstances, but I was (painfully) reminded of Aidan and Kevin’s howler at Blackburn – golden rule, never, ever pass the ball directly towards your own goal.
When Saturday Comes #3 by wessex_exile
The goalless U’s have eventually got that monkey off their backs, with the Frank and Freddie show combining to win a somewhat dubious penalty, in the 5th minute of injury time, allowing Freddie to get his new goal account at the U’s off and running (all in all he now has 37 goals, five of them penalties). It was tight though, and on another day the goalkeeper would have got a hand to it, but they all count, whether it’s a 25 yard peach or one off the arse. Everyone has rightly said that without doubt Mansfield were the best side we’ve faced so far – I’ll go so far as to say they’ll probably be one of the best sides we face all season. Though it wasn’t comfortable viewing at the time, some of their passing and movement, particularly on the break, was breath-taking at times. But enough of the love-in, however good they were, the U’s stood up to them, kept them out for the most part, and eventually got the point we deserved.
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