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Wednesday, 19th Oct 2022 11:02 by Clive Whittingham

For the first time since the Triassic period, another team is showing an interest in appointing QPR’s manager — an unwelcome distraction ahead of two home games in four days against Cardiff and Wigan.

QPR (7-3-4 WDWWWL 4th) v Cardiff (5-3-6 WLDWWL 18th)

Lancashire and District Senior League >>> Wednesday October 19, 2022 >>> Kick off 19.45 >>> Weather — Damp, mild, windy >>> Loftus Road, London, W12

Managers of Queens Park Rangers leave Queens Park Rangers frequently, through a variety of convoluted mediums.

Sometimes they go on gardening leave. Sometimes they headbutt their star player in the dressing room. Sometimes they walk out of the ground and tell a passer-by about the non-existent medical examinations of frequently injured players he didn’t want in the first place, for him to post on a message board. Sometimes they get their car vandalised outside The Manor Ground after a capitulation at old school Oxford United. Sometimes they get involved in some Far Eastern shenanigans and end up splashed across the front of The Daily Telegraph — still, makes a nice change from Allison Pearson’s latest hot take rotting the nation’s collective intelligence. Sometimes they walk across the pitch at Kenilworth Road in front of an away end that used to adore them, or at Griffin Park in front of an away end that never took to them, and the writing is laid bare across the wall waiting for them on the other side. Sometimes they hang their hat on Jose Bosingwa, and pay a hefty price.

We have, in our time, been known to devour four in a season, and that sort of trigger finger is always worth bearing in mind as context when we start bleating about anybody else’s lack of loyalty. But, in truth, it’s never really come up because, of all the ejector seat protocols at QPR, the one that hasn’t been used for so long now is that somebody else might want our manager to be theirs.

I did the obligatory tourist round of the Nou Camp a few years back, with a QPR shirt ready for on-the-pitch pictures. A security guard intervened immediately, to discuss, at ridiculous length, Terry Venables. A few years after that Jim Smith got nicked from us, with Kevin Brock, on a lost cause mission to save Newcastle from relegation. These were the days when QPR did top half, top division finishes; promotions and cup finals; European campaigns. Since then, only Tottenham’s dalliance with Gerry Francis, and his occasional half-hearted links with the England job, counts, and most of that was tabloid crap and a product of his broken relationship with Richard Thompson.

We can get into the pedantics of whether Leicester wanted Ian Holloway circa 2005/06 (given they appointed him eventually via Plymouth it’s likely they did) or Wolves did slightly before (less likely) or whether that was all a figment of Gianni Paladini’s fervent imagination. But the general point stands: Paul Hart, Jim Magilton, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink are not people in high demand.

Which makes the sudden speculation about Mick Beale’s potentially moving to Wolves (oh it’s you again) very unsettling. Not only because he’s only just got here, and we’re just starting to like what we see about his team, but also because it’s new — you, you, want our manager, our manager? Oh my God, it’s happening. What’s the procedure?

I’d be surprised if Mick Beale is going to Wolves. I’ll give my reasons shortly, but this should worry you greatly, because given my record (I thought Boro were going to win the Championship this season) me saying this won’t happen increases its probability to the power ten. Some much better connected journos than I are now saying it’s happening.

I’d be surprised because they’re Jorge Mendes FC, and all of their signings and managerial appointments come from that stable. Of all the Premier League clubs outside the big six, I’d make them least likely to appoint an unproven Championship manager, unless he was Portuguese. Next point: Premier League clubs don’t shop in our league for managers anymore. If you want to manage in the Prem, from our level, you have to promote a team there yourself. Palace had a bit of a nibble at Steve Cooper before going for Patrick Viera, but before that and since it’s basically Brighton nicking generational talent Graham Potter from Swansea and that’s it. For Jorge Mendes FC to appoint Mick Beale from QPR, 14 games into his managerial career, would be a stark departure for both clubs, and from the norm.

Of more concern to me, however, is how he ends up being linked with the job in the first place, because for the reasons above it makes little sense, however highly rated a coach he is. Whether he goes to Wolves or not my general feeling is don’t get too attached to this guy. He’s unashamedly ambitious, which he’s restated this week in his pre-match press duties, and we knew that when we took him on. It’s good for us if he’s attracting other interest because it means he, and therefore we, are doing well. But to be getting linked to jobs of that calibre, 14 games into his first senior position as a Championship manager, with the way football works, suggests to me it’s him and his representatives putting him about for the positions, rather than the clubs necessarily having interest of their own accord. I don’t think Wolves is the first one this season either. “QPR have had no contact, and I’ve had no direct contact,” is about as subtle as a house brick. Not so much reading between the lines on that one as reading the top line of Specsavers’ sight test.

Now, fair enough, Beale is already the Championship’s eleventh longest serving manager. When clubs are binning blokes off at that rate of knots, who are they to start talking about loyalty? And we all know that if - through a combination of poor performances, bad refereeing, bad luck and Championship gonna Championship — we back the Luton loss up with another few bad results this week there will be calls for a sacking and replacement. You can’t blame managers for taking up opportunities when they present, because QPR will absolutely sack Beale if he loses the next six games and then where is he? Lose tonight and on Saturday, fans will be actively asking if he’s all that anyway. That’s just how modern football has gone, sadly.

In addition, my suspicion is the financial situation is a lot tighter here than Beale perhaps realised/appreciated/was told. He spent the whole summer demanding/promising/tipping three/four/five more signings, often by the end of the next week, and in the end they did what little budget we had on Jake Clarke-Salter and Kenneth Paal, and then had to make do with loans to cover the other cracks after he’d previously said he didn’t want to rely on loans at all — as any of us who both to read and interpret the accounts called from the start of the summer. Given his interviews and what he ended up with, I think that was a bit of an awakening for him. Might be wrong.

If I’m right, and he is indeed already touting himself around, at least through his reps, then that risks all sorts of undermining of his ethos and message to a young group of players, who he demands buy in from every day. Even if he's not, the speculation alone runs a similar risk. Two winnable home games suddenly loom large on the horizon as a very typical QPR moment in very untypical circumstances. Do the players buy into the stories, or the manager’s ethos? Home games against Cardiff and Wigan inside four days mean we’ll find out pretty damn quick.

Links >>> Bowles and Givens on target — History >>> Linington back in the saddle — Referee >>> Cardiff Official Website >>> Three Little Birds — Blog >>> CCMB — Message Board >>> Wales Online — Local Paper >>> Mauve and Yellow — Blog >>> View From The Ninian — Website and Podcast

Below the fold

Team News: Plenty of ins and outs at the QPR treatment room this week. Jimmy Dunne’s clash with Seny Dieng which resulted in Luton’s killer second goal at the weekend will likely sideline the Irish centre back for two weeks. Leon Balogun, however, is fine despite leaving the game early at Kenilworth Road having taken a jab to the kidneys in the first minute. Pick two from three of him, Jake Clarke-Salter and Rob Dickie for the centre back spots tonight then, with Ethan Laird fit to return at right back after sitting out the weekend with a tight hammy. Sinclair Armstrong is also back in training and fit for the bench after his injury sustained in the reserves against Colchester. Chris Willock remains the big miss, but is back in training and may feature at Birmingham next Friday.

Elsewhere: Perhaps Flavio Briatore was right all along about draws. Difference between a lose and a draw, only one point, so they’re basically meaningless. Blackburn have no draws so far, and are therefore now top of the league after last night’s 2-0 home victory against Sunderland, despite losing seven games, which is the same as third bottom Middlesbrough and more than bottom of the table Coventry. Preston Knob End, meanwhile, climbed back up towards the play-off picture with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield — they have still scored and conceded the fewest goals of any team in the division. Mercifully now sliding the opposite way after three straight defeats are Reading, who turned a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 loss at Swanselona on Tuesday night.

The rest of last night was dominated by three fairly surprising away wins. Luton, so impressive against us at the weekend, knocking over a stuttering Norwich 1-0 perhaps, but I don’t think many would have had Rotherham down for a 1-0 at Stoke, nor Bristol City to win at West Brom with the narrative being that it’s all sunshine and rainbows at The Hawthorns now they’re finally rid of Steve Bruce.

Six games tonight including our own. Two teams we thought would do well but haven’t — Boro and Coventry — have Wigan away and Sheffield Red Stripe at home respectively. Birmingham, who we thought would struggle but aren’t, have a tough home game with Burnley, but another chance to further the reputation of our former assistant John Eustace who seems to be doing very nicely at St Andrew’s indeed, with all manner of restrictions on him too. Blackpool v Hull and Millwall v Watford rounds out the midweek slate.

Referee: A quickfire return to QPR action for James Linington, who was in charge of our win at Sheff Utd earlier this month. While QPR do have a winning record with this official, it’s nothing like the 16-2-5 record Cardiff boast with him. Details.


QPR: The weekend defeat at Luton snapped a run of just one defeat from nine games for QPR, with six wins included in that. It also spoiled a run of three straight away wins, and four wins from the last five road trips for Mick Beale’s team. Three of the four defeats for the R’s this season have come without Chris Willock in the team. Willock has six goals in nine appearances this term and QPR are still yet to lose in any game he’s scored for them since he joined — W13 D3. Rangers are unbeaten in four at home since being beaten here by Blackpool, with two wins and two draws since.

Cardiff: Cardiff surprisingly parted company with manager Steve Morison, after letting him sign 14 players over the summer, following a recent 1-0 loss at Huddersfield. Praise be from the QPR press boys, who now stand a chance of getting home the right side of midnight rather than sitting there and listening to Morison run through where he gets all his brilliant ideas from in the post match, and indeed for City fans it seemed as a draw with Burnley and victories against Blackburn and Wigan seemed to justify the decision. However, a 1-0 loss at home to Coventry at the weekend, albeit with a very dodgy offside decision on a potential equaliser, stunts that run and leaves them 18th. The Bluebirds are 2-1-4 away from home so far, with the victories coming in two of the last three road trips at Boro and Wigan. City have scored seven times on their travels this season, three of those at The Riverside, with only five Championship sides less prolific away from home so far. Four players with two goals each share the top scorer mantle in this squad currently. Cardiff’s 2-1 win in this fixture in March not only hammered another nail in QPR’s promotion coffin, but also spoiled a run of four successive Rangers wins against the Welsh side home and away, and six unbeaten against them at Loftus Road — including five wins.

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…

“This will be an interesting one. Cardiff are not going too well, but are only four points off the play-off places and if they beat us, three points behind us. Its going to be a crazy season this one. I understand why Beale is not looking at the table till March. I don't know why I am not confident going into this match. Probably the injury situation and not knowing who will be fit. It’s still early, but I feel it’s important for this team to bounce back straight away after a loss. My head tells me a draw, but instead I will go for…”

Cheesy’s Prediction: QPR 2-1 Cardiff. Scorer — Lyndon Dykes

LFW’s Prediction: QPR 1-1 Cardiff. Scorer — Ilias Chair

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Sakura added 12:08 - Oct 19
You say arguably Mendes would go for him if Beale was Portuguese. Don’t forget that Beale does speak Portuguese after his time in Brazil so I see it the reverse.

If Wolves want to wean themselves off their need for any manager to be Portuguese I would see Beale’s language as making him an ideal transition candidate (inexperience his only drawback for them)

Northernr added 13:02 - Oct 19
He did actually say at the forum last week that his Portuguese wasn’t that good, although on reflection maybe he meant when he first went out there. It’s not just that though, Wolves appoint and buy not only from that country but also from Mendes’ clients and associates. It would be a fairly radical departure for them to go for a British, Championship manager from outside that stable.

thehat added 14:32 - Oct 19

Thanks Clive - I will be gutted if he leaves. However a big decision for him probably treble his wages on a long contract with big bonuses and a fat compensation cheque if he fails.

I think his family still live in the Midlands too.

This could go 50/50 but your right its come much sooner than any of us expected.

simmo added 15:40 - Oct 19
Everybody looking for that next Graham Potter, and young forward thinking managers like Vieira doing well only strengthens the profile of people like Beale.

Gerrard going has also made people think that Mick was the ingredient for PL success there, adding another line of rhetoric...

Such a shame, not least because I think he could have done something special here and still fulfilled his own ambitions once he'd raised us up.

gazza1 added 15:58 - Oct 19
My view is that MB will not leave QPR.......I think he believes that he has gotten something here that are near ready for Premiership, maybe not this season but soon and I think that the signs that he gives means that he wants to be here to build a 'proper' team for the Premier league. I also think that he has a decent relationship with the players, Les & Hoos & has an affiliation with them. I think also he is looking forward to seeing the new training ground finished and 'up & running'. Just my view and the way I see it by seeing him talk at many different times. I hope that I am right because if he goes he will leave a large hole to be filled.

TacticalR added 19:34 - Oct 19
Thanks for your preview.

This feels like the last thing we need. Hopefully the team won't be affected too badly either way.

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