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Radio silence - Preview
Tuesday, 24th Oct 2023 09:17 by Clive Whittingham

As QPR prepare to head to The Hawthorns tonight we've decided to help the media team with a handy cut-out-and-keep guide to which players are best suited to the now weekly "we've got to put it right" We're So Sowweee pre-match interview.

West Brom (4-5-3 DDWWLD 9th) v QPR (2-2-8 DDLLLL 22nd)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Tuesday October 24, 2023 >>> Kick Off 20.00 >>> Weather – Damp and grey >>> The Hawthorns, West Bromwich

In journalism, when a colleague decides they fancy being paid properly for their day’s work and takes a job in PR instead we say they’ve “gone to the dark side”.

Because, sure, regular hours, four or five times as much money (actually, probably ten or 11 times as much money), the detached house in Esher, the company credit card, the “entertainment allowance”… must be nice. But then, there’s the client. The ever-demanding, ever-unreasonable, client. They’ve paid their money, and for that they expect exactly the result they want. It can end up with you being harangued into phoning those back on the journalism side to dress things like “my client would like to be included in the headline” as a “correction request”… and then sit and listen to them laugh down the phone at you. It can lead to you, in all seriousness and sincerity, not only writing lines like “Siobhan is an internationally renowned powerhouse in the business, a true one off and force of nature, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic, enthused and overjoyed to have her joining us as our junior VP of marketing for EMEA and Benelux on this nine month maternity cover placement” but then ringing the journalists up to ask why they’ve cut that quote out and demanding it be put back in because “Siobhan is dreadfully upset”… and then sit and listen to them laugh down the phone at you. Again.

All fun and games, of course, until the client is Imperial Tobacco, and you’re having to peddle lines about “doing all we can” to stop 11-year-old’s dragging your tar-laden cloud of benzine and arsenic down into their virginal pink lungs at break time. Or Shell, who at any moment might leave you defending some incompetent sea captain for running his 550,000-tonne supertanker aground after one too many portions of table wine at dinner, spilling 11 million gallons of crude into the Puget Sound to give the local endangered whale population a nice, thick coating. An old mate at mine worked for BP in the late 1970s and liked to claim credit for coming up with the advertising slogan “everybody’s an environmentalist at heart”.

The dark side indeed. You are occasionally – perhaps more than occasionally – going to be left promoting, defending, or peddling something that, at best, you know is complete bollocks and, at worst, might be pure evil. Once you’ve mastered all that there are vacancies at Conservative Party HQ for you – great parties I hear, and a wine fridge on site.

I wouldn’t ordinarily spare much of a care for these people who made their bed and now have to lie in it. Shana, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into, I say… lettum crash. Let’s, for this brief moment though, to offer thoughts and prayers for the QPR media team. Several long termers, several born and bred staunch QPR fans, among their number. Don’t think they’re sitting there thinking everything’s wonderful. They probably know better than most exactly how fucked we are this season, and yet it’s their job to diligently put out the highlights, the pre-match interviews, the post-match interviews, with each crushing defeat neutrally headlined “a bad day at the office” or “another tough trip to the north” followed swiftly by all the trite “we go again” bullshit that’s expected in this modern, media-driven, PR-dictated sport of ours. They’re pushing piss uphill, and they know it. They could, of course, just shut up and say nothing, and between Blackburn and Huddersfield that’s basically what they did. Even then, things as mundane as “Rotherham tickets go on sale tomorrow” can leave the guy whose job it is to send out the Tweets wading through a pile of sexually aggressive suggestions about what exactly he can do with those tickets.

So, cos we’re nice like that, and weren’t overly enthused by Steve Cook’s efforts in the run to Huddersfield away, which looked and sounded an awful lot like the tape that daft bint recorded on 13 Reasons Why, we’ve decided to help out. If we are going to persist with these “we’re so sowwy” player interviews after each of what’s sure to be an ever-increasing collection of abject 4-0 embarrassments, let’s have a proper pros and cons assessment of who they should pick to do them.

Sam Field
+ Softly spoken, soothing tones for a stressed viewer, subconsciously reminds you there are more important things in the world.
+ Doe eyes that know pain and convey great suffering, get lost within them and discover a man at war with his own self-doubt.
+ Gives the very strong impression he's been laying awake at night thinking about all this as well
+ The viewer immediately likes him better than the waste their daughter actually brought home.
+ Fashionable cardigan.

Lyndon Dykes
+ Still got credit in the bank with the viewer for “climbing off his deathbed” last season to try and force through that summer move to Millwall, while Taylor and Tyler were busy tossing it off.
- Unlikely to show a great deal of interest in the interview unless Paul Morrissey starts putting on a Scottish accent.

Jake Clarke-Salter
+ Best interviewee at the club.
- Only available for one interview every three or four months.
- Fragile vocal chords.

Jordan Archer
- Likely to drop the microphone during the interview.
- Likely to pop his shoulder out picking the microphone up.

Asmir Begovic
+ Culture guardian. See and hear how he guards that culture. Ainsworth can scarcely believe he’s here. Neither can he.
+ North American accent and positivity, which always comes over well on camera. These people were brought up in a media driven society, they’re born to be on television.
+ Excellent opportunity to promote a new branch of his Soccer School empire to the people of West Bromwich.
- Chelsea are on a bad run of results, and don't have a midweek game, so he may already be booked up lending the wisdom accrued through three years of sitting on his arse at “The Bridge” to one of their podcasts detailing everything they’re getting wrong over there.

Steve Cook
+ The ponderous, pregnant pauses of a man well media trained. A safe pair of hands.
- Keeps asking Paul Morrissey how he'd bloody improve things then, with "all his years of experience as a pro footballer".

Andre Dozzell
+ Relative to what he’s produced before, and what’s going on around him, he’s playing moderately ok. Two and half years after he arrived we’ve realised he takes a nice corner. A real feather in the cap of our elite coaching staff and something well worth shouting about.
- Likely to absolutely nail one question with an incredible answer, and then not say anything else for the next 18 months.

Chrissy Willock
+ Well he’s not doing anything else with his fucking time is he? May as well come and talk to us for a bit.
- Dad will probably insist on answering most of the questions for him.

Kenneth Paal
+ An excellent opportunity for somebody in a position of knowledge and authority to explain to our strikers what that metal rectangle is at the end of the pitch with the net hanging off the back.
- Strong possibility he may take the opportunity to stare straight down the camera lens and repeatedly shout “what the fuck have you done to my career?” at his agent.
+ Hearing somebody with a Dutch accent giving it the full Liam Neeson treatment could be a laugh. “If yoush let me go now zhhat'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not purshoo you. But if you don't, I will look for you. I will find you and I will kill you."

Taylor Richards #T-Richstarrr
- Media department is a bit skint, have they got a lens wide enough to fit this guy in the picture?

Charlie Kelman
+ Hasn’t managed to answer in a full sentence yet but everybody says he gives the best answers in training.

Don’t say we don’t do anything for you lads. Payment can be made in Peroni form.

Links >>> A manager conquering difficult circumstances – Interview >>> Allen the master poacher – History >>> Bell in charge – Referee >>> Official Website >>> Independent West Brom forum — Message Board >>> Boing — Blog >>> Express and Star — Local Paper >>> Birmingham Mail — Local Paper

90’s Football Conspiracy Theories No.11 In The Series - Despite evidence to the contrary, former Charlton keeper Mike Salmon continues to accuse Peter Reid of operating a goblin sex ring from under a Pizza Hut in Thamesmead.

Below the fold

Team News: Steve Cook was nearly fit for Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield, so one would presume he’s nearlier still for this one. Morgan Fox was far away and probably remains the same. Jake Clarke-Salter limped about a bit in the first half so we’ll wait and see if he backs up. Sinclair Armstrong continues to tread the tightrope of one more yellow card for a one match ban. Reggie Cannon must be pushing for a start after a decent cameo following a development squad outing, and with Osman Kakay now tanking from an already low base. Big Lyndon might have recovered from his latest Scotland exertions if we're really lucky. We’re offering two spots in hospitality for the Leicester game as this week’s prize for a sighting of Taylor Richards. Second prize is four tickets.

West Brom’s firepower has been significantly dented by injuries. Josh Maja, the former Sunderland striker who arrived here on a free from Bordeaux in the summer, failed to score in his first five and hasn’t played since September 16. Daryl Dike’s nightmare spell at The Hawthorns continues – he hasn’t played at all this season and as we approach the second anniversary of his big money move here has still only started 15 league games. John Swift, who has four career goals against QPR, is third top scorer in the division so far with six but has been out since the start of the month. Jeremy Sarimento, one of the few summer arrivals, on loan from Brighton, also hasn’t featured since September. It leaves Carlos Corberan with few options to try and solve a relative drought of one goal in three home games – basically keep faith with Brandon Thomas-Asante who scored in this fixture last year, or move Jed Wallace more central as he did for a recent 4-0 win at Preston.

Elsewhere: So dark is the mood around Shepherd’s Bush it’s difficult to even look at the other fixtures involving teams around us with any great gusto or interest. Plymouth have dropped to fourth bottom despite a draw at West Brom at the weekend, and their game at winless Sheff Wed (who have failed to score in seven of their last eight after a weekend 1-0 set back at Watford) is probably the game of the round from a QPR interest point of view. That’s on Wednesday night alongside second bottom Rotherham’s home game with Coventry, but unless we beat somebody – anybody – then even the four point gap up one place up to Argyle looks like a steep hill.

Tuesday night’s fixtures are headlined by Borussia Norwich at home to Middlesbrough, who are repeating last year’s trick of beginning in relegation form before launching an insane run of victories – now five in a row for Michael Carrick’s side after a last minute winner at home to Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham City at the weekend. Their North East rivals Sunderland are away to Champions Leicester in another eye-catching fixture at the top end of the table. Huddersfield at home to Cardiff, managerless Millwall hosting Blackburn and Swanselona at home to Watford make up the Tuesday list alongside our game.

Having started with defeat at the weekend, Mr Potato Head returns to St Andrew’s keen to dispel the notion Liam Rosenior was actually the brains behind what little good happened in his reign at Derby with a game against his former assistant’s Hull City. There are long midweek trips for Ipswich to Bristol City and Southampton to Preston. Stoke are at home to the Champions of Europe – the former had a much needed 2-1 win against Alex Neil’s former club Sunderland on Saturday while Leeds roared back from two down to win at Norwich in the Daniel Farke derby.

Referee: It’s a second QPR game in the fledgling career of Sheffield’s James Bell and, well, let’s just hope he does a bit better than he did in the first. Details.


West Brom: Four wins, four defeats, five draws – it’s been an inconsistent start to 23/24 for a West Brom side hamstrung by financial and ownership issues and only able to strengthen their team in the summer through freebies and loans, while also selling or loaning out their high earners for whatever they can get for them. When they’re good they can be really good, and they’ve already scored four goals on two occasions at home to Boro and away to early pace setters Preston. When they’re bad, however, they’ve lost to Blackburn (15th), Huddersfield (18th) and Stoke (20th) with home draws against Millwall (14th) and Plymouth (21st). Leading 3-0 at home to Swansea and ending up clinging onto a 3-2 is a nice microcosm of where they’ve been at over the first three months.

Where they are much more consistent is with their home form. QPR’s comeback from two goals down to draw on this ground last Easter Monday is one of only two points Rangers have gained from a losing position since Gareth Ainsworth took over 26 games ago, but it wasn’t just an unusual occurrence for us. At that point the Baggies were on an unbeaten run of 12 games at The Hawthorns since Carlos Corberan was appointed at the end of October, in which they’d kept 11 clean sheets including the four immediately prior to our visit. That run has since expanded out to just two defeats in 21 home matches under this manager and 14 clean sheets. Sunderland at the end of last season and Huddersfield at the beginning of this (both 2-1) are the only visiting teams to win on this ground in a year. The Baggies are, once again, on a run of clean sheets as we prepare to make the trip – they haven’t conceded a goal in three home matches, although two of those have finished 0-0 (Millwall, Plymouth) and the other was a narrow 1-0 victory over hapless basement dwellers Sheff Wed.

Frequent tormenter of QPR John Swift is third top scorer in the league with six, so perhaps little wonder that his absence (on top of existing injuries to Dike, summer signing Maja and Brighton loanee Sarimento) has seen goals dry up a little bit – one in the last three games after 11 in the previous six.

QPR: It’s now four defeats in a row for QPR, and seven without a win. It’s the fifth time since January 2021 Rangers have lost four in a row, and the fifth different sequence of at least six without victory. They have won two and lost nine of their 13 games this season, scoring nine times at a rate of 0.69 goals a game and conceding 23 at a rate of 1.76. The Huddersfield defeat at the weekend was the eleventh time in 13 games the R’s have scored one goal or fewer. They have scored two goals in a game only twice.

You really can just keep adding numbers in all the bad columns. Since we beat Reading 4-0 at Loftus Road at the end of January 2021 to push into the Championship’s automatic promotion picture we have won just 19 out of 84 matches and lost 44. At home we’ve won just eight of 38, losing 21. Since we topped the Championship exactly a year ago by beating Wigan 2-1 at home we’ve won just six times in 44 games, losing 28; at home we’ve lost 16 out of our last 22 and won only once in a calendar year. Since Gareth Ainsworth assumed “control” we’ve won five and lost 17 of 26 games; at home it’s one win and ten defeats from 13. This season it’s two wins from 13 overall, and five defeats and a draw from six at home.

Ainsworth insisted he believed his team could, and should, have come back to draw or even win at Huddersfield on Saturday having trailed 2-0. To win it would have required the team scoring three goals in a game for the first time in 45 games going back a calendar year. A draw would have replicated the 2-2 comeback successfully executed in this fixture on Easter Monday, but that’s one of only two points recovered from losing positions in 26 games under this manager, and one of only five occasions we’ve scored more than one in a game in our last 43 attempts. The last time we came from behind to win was against Reading at home on October 7 last year, 47 games ago. We are since winless in 27 games when conceding the first goal.

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. What’s our reigning champion Aston got for us this week…

“Can't be optimistic about this one after what we have watched the last few games. Corberan is a shrewd tactical manager, he'll have watched us and he'll have multiple plans to exploit us I imagine. Can only see this one going one way.”

Aston’s Prediction: West Brom 3-1 QPR. Scorer – Ken Paal

LFW’s Prediction: West Brom 2-0 QPR. No scorer.

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gazza1 added 09:42 - Oct 24
Hopefully Dykes will be fit to score us a couple of goals!!!!

thehat added 11:27 - Oct 24

Gallows humor at its best Clive - Bloody hilarious.

Best of luck to the hardy souls heading for The Midlands - If it was a Saturday we would be alongside you but only for the Chicken Tikka in The Vine - The football afterwards can do one.

However this is the sort of game we will probably now go and win - Okay I'll get my coat.....


Paddyhoops added 12:56 - Oct 24
The Black Country on a wet Tuesday night to witness a near certain defeat.
You all deserve medals.

francisbowles added 15:50 - Oct 24
Brilliant Clive, you, more than anyone, deserve a performance or two from these players.

TacticalR added 18:28 - Oct 24
Thanks for your preview.

The statistics keep piling up.

Isn't that PR job, no matter how humiliating, beginning to look more tempting than writing the same article about QPR's latest defeat? As for player interviews, the players are (literally) in a no-win situation. What can they say? All they can do is try to convince everyone that they 'really care'.

In recent weeks we haven't been able to muster any sort of performance against our relegation rivals. God knows how we're going to get on against anyone half-decent. At least Swift isn't playing.

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