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Friday, 19th Aug 2022 19:00 by Clive Whittingham

Post Blackpool defeat we look at why the sort of early season loss we've seen a thousand times before triggered such a strong reaction, and pray for no repeat in a similar game against Rotherham tomorrow.

QPR (1-1-2 LWDDL 16th) v Rotherham (1-2-0 DWWD 10th)

Lancashire and District Senior League >>> Saturday August 20, 2022 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather — Warm and sunny >>> Loftus Road, London, W12

It won’t have escaped either regular reader’s notice that Tuesday’s home defeat to Blackpool pissed me off even more than normal.

Probably a bit more than it should have too, given we missed a catalogue of chances in the first half, the taking of even just one makes it a different game entirely, and I’ve seen far worse performances and results down the years - and fully expect to see far worse this season. As our video man Dave Barton pointed out, there was a very similar home loss to Swansea at exactly the same point of Mark Warburton’s first year in charge here - Jordan Hugill in the Lyndon Dykes role - and he and we went on to do just fine.

In the interests of ‘these previews don’t write themselves’, I’ve spent some time since considering why I might have felt like this.

Specific to Tuesday’s game against Blackpool — it’s always intensely annoying when you have the chances to win two or three football games, miss all of them, and end up losing one instead. Add in the time wasting and the referee’s complicity in that, not one month after we were promised the opposite would be the case this season, and you’re in for a ball-aching night all round. I’m worried about this team. I think we have a good starting XI, but nothing beyond that, and even the starters lack sufficient goals from the forwards, any sort of confidence and self-belief, and the minerals to get through setbacks as meagre as conceding a goal, falling behind in a game or playing away from home. That’s a recipe for a tough winter, and you can’t be passing up early chances to put points on the board like Blackpool at home if you want to avoid that. All of our excuses about players missing through injury were negated by their absentees, all my usual reasoning about the financial and FFP challenges we face competing in this league nullified by their similarly restricted spending power. I’ll sit here and defend QPR to the hilt against the “show some ambition” and “sign a fucking striker” brigade, but even I think we’ve got to aspire to a lot better as a club and a team than that second half on Tuesday, in which their goalkeeper had precisely nothing to do.

There is more to it than that though. I am grumpy and upset with QPR in general. I thought we were bloody crap at Sunderland as well, when actually if you look back Albert Adomah, Rob Dickie and Tyler Roberts all came within an inch of scoring — all probably should have done — and won us that game in that atmosphere.

I think the hangover from last season that I’ve written about a few times is very real, for both players and fans. It certainly is for me.

I allowed myself to believe — I looked at that team and that manager in those early games with Man Utd, Leicester, Hull and Middlesbrough and thought there was no way they would finish any lower than sixth. The scale of the collapse was unfathomable to somebody in that mindset, and to make matters worse this job gives me an understanding of the club’s accounts and FFP situation so I’m more aware than many that it was the chance, at least for the next few years. We spent money on that push that we won’t have to spend again without significant player sales. Having built for so many years to get to that position, financed it with a generational talent in Eze, only to now be potentially facing several more seasons before we can do that again, is very demoralising. Furthermore, another drawback of this role, is the stuff that’s come out since, some of which I’ve been able to publish and some not, about the dire state of affairs behind the scenes — the arguments, the egos, the people not talking to each other, the divisions, the selfishness — that undermined that wonderful chance we had. The club is leaking again, and everybody’s got a different story to tell. Obviously some of it won’t be true, some of it will be peddled by people with agendas, some will be protecting their own position, some of it will just be stuff made up by a bloke down the pub that becomes lore through retelling. But, still, I’ve been labouring, and writing, under the misapprehension that at least QPR have been getting their house in order off the pitch. Lovely looking new training ground apart, we haven’t. That hasn’t been cleaned up simply by changing the manager and coaching staff either. I think it’s starting to dawn on Michael Beale a little bit exactly what he’s walked into here — I think given his comments about new signings when he first arrived and what he’s saying now, certainly the FFP headroom situation is far worse than the brochure made out — and that’s upsetting as well. His demeanour has already changed markedly.

Then there’s the general situation we’re living in in the UK at the moment, which is miserable, and scary, and colours the general mood.

This is now a country in which nothing works, and there is no functioning government to fix that. Things are getting worse every day. We have increasing inflation, stagnant wages, rocketing gas and leccy, rent, mortgages, spiralling supermarket shop — if there was anything left in the supermarket to buy when you get there, which there often isn’t. We can’t afford to use the railway, even if there were trains to catch, which there aren’t. Putting gas in your car is extortionate. We can’t get a flight, and if you do there’s a good chance your bag won’t be joining you. You can’t get a boat out of here, without queueing on a piss-lined motorway for many hours first. You can’t escape and live somewhere else, because that right has been removed. You can’t get a GP appointment, or an ambulance, or through the doors of your A+E. You can’t get your useless passport renewed and sent back to you in any kind of time, nor your driving licence. You can’t get a driving test booked this side of Christmas. The climate change they said would come our way in 2050 is here now - random wild fires in London is now just a thing. After proving your ability to work from home for three years, we're now told we have to get back to the office by rich folk and Murdoch-owned newspapers, that our "commute is a vital part of your life". If somebody robs your house, you can’t get a policeman to come round — they send you an email 45 minutes later saying “it’s highly unlikely we’ll be able to solve this on the evidence available so we’re closing the file”. You can’t walk down Oxford Street without gangs of knife-wielding youths turning the shops over, filming it all for their SnapChat faces in full view with no fear of consequences. You can't play Monday night five-a-side football without somebody threatening to stab you for committing a foul on them. An 87-year-old man can’t go out on his mobility scooter in Hillingdon and collect money for Ukrainian refugees without being knifed to death in broad daylight. And this is the news, every day. We're surrounded by it and living it. We are getting poorer, hungrier, less safe, less protected, with fewer rights, opportunities and freedoms to protest, move away, strike, or do anything about any of it. If you try and escape for a day at the beach that log you curled into the S-bend on Thursday night is already there on the shoreline, waiting to greet you, because we can’t even dispose of our own shit anymore.

I’m finding it tough. I don’t really know how a lot of people in this country are going to exist through this really, without significant and immediate intervention from a government more fascinated by the issue of unisex toilets at Westfield.

QPR is meant to be the escape from that. It’s meant to be the day when you get away from whatever is stressing you out at home, at work, in life. But then you sit through that Tuesday game and it’s stressful and disappointing in its own way — though, obviously, nowhere near as important in the grand scheme of all the things I’ve outlined above, and please take this in the spirit that it’s intended given the tragic occurrences of the last week within a few miles of our stadium, all of which provide the most extreme and horrible perspective on just how little it really matters that Queens Park Rangers didn’t beat bloody Blackpool.

Some of this stuff might chime with you, some of it might not, I’m just trying to take you inside the mind of one QPR fan here and why exactly the sort of limp, early-season, 1-0 home defeat we’ve suffered a thousand times before stung quite as much as it did. I went in the Crown after the game and spoke to half a dozen people and there was that sort of frustration and anger coming across from them as well — weirdly over the top. So, I’m not alone, and like I say I’ve been wondering why that is over the course of the week.

Moving forwards, this mindset is no good.

It’s no good for you guys reading this, for a start. Given I’ve now been pulled up on the message board and in the pub for the tone of the site so far this season, I know most of you don’t want to read long, woe-is-me, completely-out-of-proportion and context whinges two or three times a week.

And it’s no good for QPR’s prospects and our players through the winter.

Barring a significant sale between now and the end of the month — and, no, persuading somebody to take Macauley Bonne off our hands will not move the needle on this to anywhere near the extent required — then this QPR team we have now is the ship we will sail in through the choppy waters to May. There is not limited cap space on our FFP calculations, there is no space at all. Jake Clarke-Salter, Kenneth Paal, and loans. I’ve said all summer that’s what we’d be restricted to, and it’s likely to be even tighter than I imagined. You can see and hear in Mick Beale’s interviews, body language, tone, that this is the case, and that he perhaps didn’t know, believe or wasn’t told it was the case when he arrived. He’s gone from “we won’t do loans, we want permanents only” and “we needed two or three in yesterday, I hope we’ll be doing three or four more as soon as possible” only a month ago to desperately trying to lay out the FFP situation at this club to supporters who are still haranguing Amit Bhatia on his social media every day of the week demanding this, that and the other. It’s not that our owners don’t have money - I personally don’t even think it’s that our owners wouldn’t spend the money because I still think they’d love nothing more than to be planting Air Asia baseball caps on £8m Daryl Dike last January — it’s that the money we spent last season going for promotion has moved us to the FFP limit, past which we cannot go. The rules of the league dictate the situation, not lack of ambition, nor tightness, nor lack of interest from owners currently funding the club to the tune of £1.8m a month and building a new training ground.

Beale has worked his whole career for this opportunity, and now finds himself able only to do what he can in training to improve the players we have, make tactical adjustments to try and better our chances, and work on other little bits and pieces around team building, morale and culture: the players are now doing pre-match meal together at Loftus Road for home games which they never have before; the home dressing room has been stripped out and made a bit lighter and airier; the players, Coach Carter style, will be suit and tie on gameday from next week. This is what we’ve got this season, we have all got to get behind it and pray that it works for him and us. We’ll criticise and assess his choices, his substitutions, his comments, sure, but we’re not getting anybody different or better, and as I said with Mark Warburton you’ll hate the next bloke’s substitutions, team selections and interviews just as much.

Lyndon Dykes was absolute pony on Tuesday night. But he doesn’t really need me, you, us to tell him that. We’ll write about it, talk about it on the message board, discuss him on podcasts, coat him off down the pub. That’s football fandom. At the games, we’ve got little choice but to suck it up, get over ourselves, and get behind him, less we exacerbate the situation. He’s our centre forward this year, for better or worse. Nico Hamailainen is our back up left back this year, like it or lump it. Repeating myself, we have the players and budget to aspire to a lot better than that second 45 minutes on Tuesday, and the prospect of not beating Rotherham tomorrow is pretty terrifying when you think how toxic that’s going to make things, the atmosphere it’ll cause on a day where the attendance is already going to be slashed by rail strikes, the pressure it’ll put on the manager, the further damage it’ll do to the players. I don’t quite know how I’m going to sit here on Sunday and write that up if that’s what does transpire — the spectre of Conor Washington looms large.

But, as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink used to repeat, it is what it is. This is QPR this season. We’re not going to achieve much by savaging them — message board Baz described it recently as ‘keying our own car’. We’ve got to focus on the positives: the starting eleven when everybody is fit is a good side, Chris Willock is back tomorrow, Sinclair Armstrong looks like a find, we do have some good young players here that will improve if their confidence can come back, we have got some good players to come back from injury, Beale did say he wanted to peak in March this year not August. If we can win tomorrow, that’s a reasonable start to the season points and position wise given the injuries we’ve had. To a large extent we’ve just got to get on with it and support the team as best we can.

I’m saying that to myself as much as anybody else. I’m sure I’ll last only as long as it takes Grant Hall to head in a corner tomorrow. Still, sorry if I’ve been over-the-top miserable.

Links >>> Promising start — Interview >>> Ainsworth strikes — History >>> Chuckles Woolmer — Referee >>> Rotherham United official website >>> Sheffield Star — Local Press >>> Millers Banter — Forum

Below the fold

Team News: The sanity of everybody seems to hang on Chris Willock making it through the night unscathed. I bet Mick Beale is scared to answer his phone. Other than that it’s pretty much the same bunch we had on Tuesday with none of Jake Clarke-Salter, Taylor Richards or Luke Amos likely to be seen this side of September’s international break. Seny Dieng picked up a knock in the first half of the Blackpool game that looked like it might force him off at half time, Joe Walsh warmed up extensively during the break, but he put his hand up to play second half and has hopefully come through that unscathed given what it was like when he was injured last season. Kenneth Paal apparently broke his nose in that game but one would think/hope to fucking Christ, that this doesn’t mean he can’t play tomorrow.

Tom Eaves, a summer arrival from Hull City, is yet to see action for the Millers but is in the travelling party for this game so likely to feature from the bench. Peter Kioso and Joshua Kayode are medium term absentees but veteran Richard Wood is fully fit again — though after a clean sheet at Preston in the week he’ll do well to win a starting place back. Jamie Lindsay and Ollie Rathbone will toss a coin for one midfield spot. Grant Hall, 129 appearances and six goals between 2015 and 2020, and Conor Washington, 14 goals in 98 appearances between 2016 and 2018, compete for Nick London’s QPR Legend status this week.

Elsewhere: The folly of looking at league tables this side of Christmas, never mind the third week of August, was surely shown up by Blackburn winning their first three matches to “set the pace” only to then crash and burn at Reading in the week, who themselves were coming off a proper humbling at Rotherham. Still, intriguing to watch Norwich’s early labourings, boosted slightly by a midweek home win against woeful Huddersfield, and given a further examination tonight at home to Millllllllllll as the TV games get underway for the weekend.

Coventry have still only managed to play two matches, and are off again against Huddersfield tomorrow, though pitch works are now at least underway - good of Wasps to at least pull one finger out of their arse. Plenty of intrigue among eight other games at 15.00 though: John Eustace has made a terrific start under tough circumstances at Birmingham and might fancy his chances at home to Wigan Warriors; the settling in period of Vincent Kompany’s Burnley continues at home to Blackpool; Preston Knob End are unbeaten, yet to concede, but have drawn three out of four 0-0 prior to a visit from Watford; Middlesbrough, as we suspected, are aggressively into the transfer market now, and might spend again on Preston’s Emil Riis as they prepare to head to Reading (might be better if they reverse the usual loan protocol and force Lumley to play against them); Luton and West Brom were fancied by many but don’t have a win between them ahead of Swanselona away and Hullatasaray at home respectively. Then there’s Stoke v Sunderland which is of interest to nobody at all, and Sheffield Red Stripe v Blackburn.

The weekend is rounded off on Sunday lunchtime when Cardiff cross The Severn Bridge to play Bristol City — Nigel Pearson’s post-Luton interviews in the week an absolute classic of the genre as his team prepare to pass 8,000 minutes of football played without the award of a penalty in their favour.

Referee: The bad news is it’s Andy Woolmer. The good news is he really was quite decent across three appointments with us last season, including a very difficult game at Coventry, and Rotherham hate him even more than we do. Details.


QPR: Tuesday night’s defeat to Blackpool was the first time Rangers had lost at home to the Tangerines in 13 attempts going back to 1972. It continued a number of worrying other trends, however. The R’s have now won only one of their first five games this season, and five of their last 24 going back into the previous campaign. Seven of the last ten teams to visit Loftus Road have left with at least a point, and five of those have won the game. Since the start of last season QPR have won 17 of the 36 games Chris Willock has played in — without him they have won only three, drawn five and lost ten. They are yet to win without Willock this season, and have never lost a game in which Willock has scored — W10 D1. Rangers went from 1983 to 2004 without playing Rotherham at all, then had them on the opening day of that season at Loftus Road. The 1-1 draw that day, against a team that went on to finish dead last, contributes to a poor recent record against the Millers. There have since been 11 meetings across six seasons, Rotherham have been relegated in four of those campaigns, and yet QPR’s record is a pretty meagre W5 D3 L3.

Rotherham: The Millers have played a game fewer than most, with their opening away trip of the season at Coventry postponed because of the state of the pitch there. They are unbeaten in the four they have played, torching Joe Lumley and Reading 4-0 to go with an opening day 1-1 at home to Swansea, and then drawing their first league away game 0-0 at Preston during the week. They were the only Championship team to draw lower league opponents in the League Cup and not lose the game in the first round — winning 2-1 at Port Vale. Chiedoze Ogbene, linked with a host of clubs, has scored three of their seven goals so far, and the Millers are desperate for him not to follow Michael Smith and Michael Ihiekwe out of the summer exit door as well. Smith with 19 and Freddie Ladapo with 11 were the top scorers here last year, but both have since departed on frees. Paul Warne’s men only lost five away games in the whole League One season last year, finishing second behind Wigan with an overall record of 27-9-10. Winning on the road, however, has been their biggest problem at Championship level. They have been relegated in each of their last three seasons in this league and across those seasons won just seven of 69 away matches. Six of those victories came in the lockdown season, 2020/21, when they finished with 42 points, two shy of safety, with 11 wins in total. Across 2016/17 and 2018/2019 they played 46 away games in this division winning once — at Steve McClaren’s QPR, 2-1, in March 2019.

Prediction: We’re once again indebted to The Art of Football for agreeing to sponsor our Prediction League and provide prizes. You can get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Let’s see what last year’s champion Cheesy thinks this week…

“Not only are Rangers getting hard to watch, but this prediction thing is getting impossible. Zero points for me so far and I'm not confident of getting anything fromSsaturday as I feel the result can go three ways. Hopefully, with Willock back, the football will be more entertaining.”

Cheesy’s Prediction: QPR 1-1 Rotherham. Scorer — Ilias Chair

LFW’s Prediction: QPR 2-1 Rotherham. Scorer — Conor Washington

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distortR added 19:39 - Aug 19
You're not alone, Clive, I'm burying my head in the sand at the moment, really hard times are coming, are here. Know that your writing is a positive thing for many of us on here, and be proud.

ngbqpr added 20:08 - Aug 19
It's your site / your graft Clive - and despite being one of the glass half fullers who didn't feel the need to spleen-vent on Tues night / Weds am, and mentioned as much on here, I'm sure none of us has a problem with the site being a reflection of your current mood...the consistently superb writing, regardless of mood / result, being a more than fair trade off if we aren't in full agreement.

As you summarise, sunlit uplands it ain't for the vast majority of us right now. I'm managing to keep Rangers in the 'escapism' bottle just now, please may they give me and all of us more convincing reasons to do so though.

GaryBannisterswedge added 20:39 - Aug 19
Chin up Sir, I also felt really disappointing on Tuesday and certainly a glass half full fella the older I get, but it’s Rangers and our way to throw in a shocker when expected to win/riding a feel good wave after the last 10 mins at Sunderland
It’s your gaff and you’re a fine writer so if you’ve got the petrol then so be it!!

Paddock_chap added 21:11 - Aug 19
Terrific piece of writing once again. What I love about your articles is how they put into words so clearly such similar (but vaguely formed) feelings of my own. The lack of consequences seems to permeate everything at the moment. Tuesday night was another example. Times are bleak, but if it means anything, your writings on QPR remain something to really look forward to.

sinceApril66 added 21:23 - Aug 19
The rawness and depth of feeling you express is one of the things I appreciate most about supporting QPR… Would hate you to anaesthetise that. I’m still hopeful because our 1st team has a lot of very good players at this level… and we might still loan in a goalscorer..? I really hope we don’t smash-up Armstrong’s potential by idealising how much he can contribute right now.

ozexile added 21:41 - Aug 19
Vent away Clive, we're a big family here. Got to take the bad with the good. Fantastic writing

Loftgirl added 00:46 - Aug 20
With this standard of writing, you can be as long-winded as you like.

snanker added 03:35 - Aug 20
Ten outa 10 again Clive. I was thinking of heading back to UK end of this season but think I'll save my Oz $ now !! Reasons to be cheerful in the ether. Gut angst more acidic earlier than normal. I'll take a draw.......please

royinaus added 04:12 - Aug 20
Don't apologise Clive
Other than my long suffering fiancee, I have no one here in Aus to vent to.
reading your reports allows me to do that as it feels like your in my head - I find myself aloud talking to the screen saying things like "exactly" or "that's what I said," and showing it to my intended to prove I'm not a nutter.
Make no mistake, after performances like Saturdays, the one thing I look forward to is your report - the fact that I often end up laughing is testament to your writing and sense of humour. She tells me next time we come over it has to be the summer but I'm working on that - I'll make a point of popping in the Crown before the game.

QPRski added 06:34 - Aug 20
Clive, you have perfectly described the current mood. I guess most R’s supporters would also agree with you. As you say, let’s look for the positives. An elegant and entertaining win this afternoon would be a very welcome short term tonic.

thehat added 07:01 - Aug 20
Amazing journalism again Clive.

The tone of your reports are always spot on and generally mirror the way I feel and see things.

In all this gloom your writing is a real ray of sunshine and a golden nugget to always look forward to win, lose or draw.

As a family we are facing all those financial challenges you mention which can spark big arguments with her indoors.

“How can you afford to take the kids to Swansea away then” was last night’s comment - to be fair she probably has a point.

Anyway 3 points today and the world is alright again……

qprbenjamin163 added 08:55 - Aug 20
There's much more frustration and aggression in the ground in recent months and I've no doubt as you so rightly point out that a lot of this is down to the current state of things in the country outside of football.
Horrible to sit round sometimes. The only thing you can do is not add to that vibe. Channel that energy into positive support, especially for the youngsters.
On the football side of things, my only 'frustration' is that we have failed to see for the last 5 years what damage the lack of a striker brings. We''ve been obsessed with full backs and holding midfielders for so long now it's complete madness and we simply won't be a threat until that's solved. It's as clear as day. The club and the fans are both guilty here. This clamour for signings in other areas baffles me. I would take a Kakay in every position if it meant we got an instinctive goalscorer in the team. It's bizarre the amount of stick that boy gets btw. He's nowhere near the problem and I think he's a good player with a lot of scope
Other than that I must say as a natural pessimist I don't share your despondency. New managers take time. We have some excellent players who will provide us with some great attacking football once all fit and firing. There's no lack of effort out there from what I've seen so far (first game live today granted), just a lack of cohesion which will come. The only other thing I'd say we lack is a couple more captains in the team. That's going to be hard to draft in so I'm hoping Dunne, Stef and Chair really step up this year in the role of leaders. We have a young exciting goalscoring prospect who's just being bedded in and it's going to be very interesting watching his progress over the coming months in the same way Eze and Furlong were. I just pray we don't expect too much too soon. I'm already a bit nervous about the coverage he gets on twitter. Just let him develop and applaud his mistakes as much as his good stuff. He needs to be allowed to make them. But LR isn't always a place where the fans allow you to make them so it's up to those who have retained some perspective to encourage him at the game when things aren't going well for him. There's something uplifting about vocally encouraging players who are getting a shit time from the rest of the fans. I see that as a really important job for the level headed to take on over the coming weeks. It can be done and it does change the mood in the ground. Chin up.
We have the potential to put together a really exciting performance, the fans can deffo play our part.

Mole_Senior added 10:05 - Aug 20
As you know Clive, I don’t comment too much on here but always read with great interest. I feel so strongly about your paragraph on life right now and wanted to thank you for summarising perfectly just how I’m feeling as well right now. Society is a crap heap and the incident in Greenford has tipped me over the edge. It’s so refreshing to read your views, even though this is a football message board.

Let’s hope Rangers can distract us all from this sorry world or add more doom and gloom to our lives?!

kernowhoop added 10:45 - Aug 20
As I become even older and the testosterone falls, I find it much easier to take a gloomy view of the world than an optimistic one. Even though a youngster, I fear that you may have fallen into the same trap, Clive.
The socio/economic/political gloom is all abosultely correct - as headlines. But, beneath those gloomy headlines is the story that - despite everything - most things, for most people, are actually working. If we want to end up in a scoio/economic/political disaster, then let's all keep feeding the bad news stories. How does rejection of our politics, in favour of a properly authoritarian regime (as opposed to the 'practice' one during Covid) sound?
And at QPR, the situation is the same. You remind us, quite correctly, that when we have our best team on the pitch, we have a very good QPR out there. Agreed, but when that team is not at 100% strength, it nevertheless ought to be better - we have few, if any, poor players. If Michael Beale is under pressure, the pressure comes from making the best of the resources that we have. He is supposed to be just the man to do that sort of thing. He probably is, but he will need a little bit of time. I think he recognised that when he said that he would rather start slowly and then improve than start well and collapse when it mattered, as in 2021-2022.
Keep up the wonderful work, Clive, but don't get too negative. Negativity is rather like a drug that will drag the user down.

TacticalR added 10:57 - Aug 20
Thanks for your preview.

Matters arising:

1. I saw your posts on the forum about the Blackpool defeat and I couldn't help wondering about one factor that you didn't mention. Everyone was raving about Beale before he arrived, so I think there was a great deal of hope that he was a new broom who would be able to defy footballing gravity. But so far it looks like once again objective factors are weighing down a manager (do you remember all the discussions about whether Warburton's ups and downs were due to subjective or objective factors?). Isn't this hope in Beale making the disappointment all the greater?

2. On the positives, we need to let Beale keep experimenting. He has only just got his feet under the table. He has a lot to contend with, not least that without Willock we haven't got much striking power. It's not the first time we've had non-striking strikers (Washington and Smith come to mind). Let him try and find a solution.

3. Britain is in a state of deep decay. Every day exposes Brexit as a self-defeating mirage. As the decay worsens more people will become aware of the irrationality of the existing social system (this is not simply a crisis of the Conservative Party). The question is, will their questioning lead in a progressive direction, i.e. to the search for a new society, or will their disillusion lead in a destructive, reactionary direction (i.e. to supporting attacks on the rights of others which are driven by attempts to preserve the existing social system)? We have had a taste of the latter in the United States with the attack on women's rights with the rolling back of Roe v. Wade.

Some of the things you describe today remind me of Britain in the 70s (when inflation got up to 25%). It was also a time of mindless violence (at least in South London where I was living). The bleakness of the times was captured in the Specials' 'Do Nothing'. At the time I was a nihilist as there didn't seem to be any way out of the situation. It was only when I located the root of the decay around me in the existing social system that I became a political optimist (which is not to say that I am always optimistic).

4. I know football is an escape, but write it as you see it. I guess the problem is that it's not easy to do that if you're having to say the same thing every week, and there is not even a goal to describe.

Andybrat added 12:05 - Aug 20
Clive, take a deep breath. The thing is you actually have a massive element of responsibility knowing so many are reading your views and opinions with such intent. You are an influencer, probably one of the biggest at the club, with that comes pressure and, as I said responsibility. We get that and know you will be cheering the boys on later. Back to the facts, if everyone is fit we have a challenging team, with the FFP and all that I think that is all we can hope for and some back up in positions bar left back. MB was a great choice as manager, Heston looks amazing. Tuesday night spoilt the rest of my week as we all thought with returning players we would have won, misplaced positivity? Being a QPR fan has nearly always been a tough gig, wing backs today?

KernowQPR added 12:51 - Aug 20
Clive until I moved to Cornwall in 2015 I had been going to matches since the 1967/68 season now that I can’t get to games except on rare visits to London your writing is what I most look forward to so that I can still feel connected to the club that has dominated so much of my life. Even being so far away I felt the pain of last season’s collapse and still do but keep writing how you feel as that is what makes you such a brilliant writer. I think those of us who have been reading your reports for years would know you were not being true to yourself if you suddenly started writing cheery little pieces every week!

HastingsRanger added 13:01 - Aug 20
Clive - why would you apologise for this brilliant piece? Thanks as always, it is so refreshing to get a proper objective view, with a genuine emotion. Hall and Washington likely to score!

Phil_i_P_Daddy added 12:12 - Aug 22
An exceptional piece, even by your own ridiculously high standard 👍🏻👏🏻🙌🏻

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