Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Done And Done

As far as I'm concerned anyway. Rangers, by all accounts, ambled their way to a 0-0 against Plymouth. There was also a report this morning that they've been training twice a week since the play-offs became unreachable. Well they have got a tough trip to Bahrain coming up, so screw the people who actually pay at the gate, I mean what kind of corporate branding can they give for the club ? We'll see what happens after a summer off but if I were you I wouldn't exactly check this blog every morning.

For now I'll leave you with another look into the mind of the football fan. Port Vale fans vented their wrath yesterday by throwing their season tickets onto the pitch. In their last home game of the season. Take That indeed. Which is an amusing witticism, because Robbie Williams is a Port Vale fan and shareholder. How we laughed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Hypocrites' Hypocrite

Ferguson Fears Ref Was Pressured

Dammit. I'll be picking up the bits of my irony detector for a week, and the smoke is still in the air even though the windows have been open for an hour. If anyone can top this for bare-faced hypocrisy, in any field, in the history of the world ever, I'll tip my hat to them.

Update 26/4 : But how can you blame him, when it so obviously works. I'm certainly lost for any other explanation for the most ludicrous penalty decision I've seen in many a year. On the plus side, it was against Tottenham.

Update 25/5 : A late entry, but still from the Champion of course :

29/4 : "Arsenal's big advantage is that they can play Pat Rice at right-back and Arsene himself at centre-forward on Saturday ... We have to play a team to win the game. We have a lunchtime kick-off at Middlesbrough and I do not think it is right."

24/5 : Manchester United team v Hull : Kuszczak, Rafael Da Silva (Eckersley 60), Neville, Brown, De Laet (Possebon 79), Nani, Fletcher, Gibson, Welbeck (Tosic 87), Martin, Macheda.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here

I've just been watching the highlights from yesterday's game against Sheffield Wednesday (I was in Dublin). With Di Carmine safely off the pitch, and playing 4-4-2 for the last half hour, Rangers scored three, had two disallowed for offside (one of which looked on), hit the post twice and missed about four more great chances. There is a lot of talent in the side and you really have to wonder why sometimes we have looked so awful this season.

Maybe the catalyst is Gareth Ainsworth taking the team again, he was great on the club website after the game, talking about getting the players to enjoy and express themselves and trying to play exciting and attractive football "because that's what the fans want". And it is. 100%. I'd rather see Ainsworth get the job than some tosser like Wise or Ince, and obviously no good, established, employed manager is going to touch the gig with a barge pole so why the fuck not IMO. Just bring in a very experienced man as number two and let Ainsworth go at it.

That's what I'd do anyway. I'm definitely going to pass on a season ticket for next year anyway though, and just show up as and when I feel like it, which is much more in keeping with how I'm trying to live my life, moving on from here.

Update : In the interests of fairness, Briatore makes his case here. I'm still a lot less than convinced, but there it is. I am glad to hear they're re-laying the pitch in the summer.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Enough Is Enough

Alright, that's it. I've given Briatore & co the benefit of the doubt for far too long. With all the conflicting reports that come out of the club, there's little you can do but try to make your own judgement based on gut feeling. The pattern has now repeated itself often enough to look at the common factors - it can't always be the manager. Every time. It's the people running the club and, by every indicator that I have, it's Briatore.

The F1 consortium may well have "saved" QPR, but at what cost ? The club is now a joke. Official reports about Paulo Sousa's departure smack of a pretext to remove him without paying off his contract. While the team has been below par for a couple of months, extenuating circumstances like injuries, the state of the home pitch and, most of all, the interference from above are enough for me to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Ah, what's the point in focussing on the particular details this time around. It's still the same story. Now, no manager worth his salt will touch the job and frankly the best practical option is Gareth Ainsworth, despite his inexperience. Because who else would take it ? It tells you all you need to know that the betting favourite is Dennis Wise.

QPR will always be my club but it's time for me to become much more detached, emotionally. There's now no way I'm buying a season ticket for next year and I will come and go as I please. In the meantime I can only offer up a heartfelt appeal for the Mittals to please, please, please make Briatore an offer he can't refuse (take that any way you like :-)), because until then the club is fucked.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

QPR 0 Crystal Palace 0

Where to start. Well let's start with Rangers. For the umpteenth time this season, we didn't pass the ball well enough and had no cutting edge up front whatsoever. In a way I feel sorry for Di Carmine, he's a trier and it's not his fault better strikers are being loaned out to other clubs for no apparent reason. On the other hand, I'm sure he's paid a handsome wedge and he just isn't good enough. Not even close. The crowd's frustration with him kind of boiled over today but you can see why ; (relative) fortunes have been spent on players and wages but we scored more goals when Marc Nygaard was up front.

As for Palace, this is a dilemma. I think I have a responsibility not to be too critical of other clubs who don't have the same financial backing, but I also have a responsibility to report things as I see them, and the truth is that Palace hoofed, hacked and spoiled their way to a point. Now, it is absolutely their fundamental right to play any style they like within the rules and spirit of the game. But it is also my fundamental right to say nuts to this, I'm playing golf next season instead. There are far too many games in Championship and Premiership where one team is basically going out to stop the other from playing and nick a point if they can, and I'm perfectly aware that Rangers have done it when it suited them as well. This is how it's going to be until measures like salary caps and redistribution of TV income come in, which is to say in the real world, never.

Perhaps it was ever thus, and it's only now I'm realising that life's too short to do things you don't enjoy out of a sense of "duty" to an identity (with a football club) that ultimately has nothing to do with who you really are. Which is maybe a topic for another day, but I have a feeling that football isn't going to realise that they charge way too much for the sporadic entertainment on offer until it's far too late, and at that point there will be a lot of clubs packing up and going out of business. I've said it before, but it's now closer than ever. It won't be long before creditors effectively fight back against the kind of financial Three Card Monte that enabled Leeds, as the most prominent example, to stick two fingers up at everyone they owed money to. Once one club goes, many more will follow. House of Cards.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Match Reports

Saved up from my little jaunt up West. I have to say it was pretty sweet just being 5 stops on the tube from LR.

QPR 1 Swansea 0

Writing this a few days after the game, there wasn't really a lot in it ; 0-0 would have been a fair representation but Michele Leigertwood headed in from Jordi Lopez' free kick ftw. For once the ragged Loftus Road pitch probably inhibited the visitors more than the home team, and Rangers held on for a morale-boosting 3 points, a good effort considering the injury list at the time. Adel Tarrabt made a very lively debut on loan from Tottenham and Hogan Ephraim added impetus to the centre of the midfield where he looked surprisingly comfortable.

QPR 2 Bristol City 1

Rangers kept their "faint playoff hopes" alive by winning an entertaining game. Paolo Sousa kept faith with the side and the formation that beat Swansea in the week, but was able to name a very strong bench with Cook, Routledge, Helguson and Vine all substitutes. Rangers started brightly but City came into the game with Adebola a defenders' nightmare as usual, and had two excellent chances, Sproule and Maynard both firing over from less than 10 yards. At the other end, City keeper Basso read Samuel di Carmine's curling shot, and the referee spiced matters up by booking Adel Tarrabt for a dive in the City box.

Wayne Routledge came on at half-time, but City pressed quite strongly until Heidar Helguson also joined the fray to make a 4-4-2 after Matt Connolly limped off. The impressive Jordi Lopez (or is it Gomez ? No, Lopez definitely) curled a free kick to force Basso into a low save, and then five minutes later flighted a beauty into the top corner from the same spot. Helguson skimmed a shot just wide as Rangers looked likely to increase their advantage on the break, but after some careless play in the left-back area, Sproule was allowed to cross for McIndoe to volley in at the far post.

During the Swansea game, you looked at Tarrabt and you would be surprised that he hadn't seen any action for Spurs. Then today, you could suddenly see why - City doubled up on him quite often but he still wanted to try a trick every time instead of playing it simply to someone in space. Nonetheless, there's a lot of ability there, and luckily when Damien Delaney broke down the left and sent over a great low cross, there was no option for Tarrabt to try a backheel or a double stepover, and instead he lifted the ball over Basso for the winner. Routledge could have eased the nerves with an acrobatic volley but even so the game was seen off without too many alarms.

Special credit to Michele Leigertwood today who did really well after having to play the last half hour at centre half. While we have had quite a few injuries lately, we have been lucky that six defenders have been enough up to this point of the season. Kaspars Gorkss also starred and he looks pretty much like the main man at the back now. To be honest we still need a miracle to make the play-offs but at least these two wins have lifted the mood, the players looked a lot more confident and the crowd were quite up for it as well, so it was a good day all round.