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Sunday, May 29, 2011

QPR and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week


- Throughout the day, updates, comments and perspectives re QPR and football in general are posted and discussed on the QPR Report Messageboard...Also Follow: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER

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This was not a particularly good week for QPR Fans. In fact, to paraphrase Judith Viorst great book, it was a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week."

For quite a few QPR fans, the euphoria from winning promotion is already starting to deflate - before the Third Championship Promotion spot is even resolved and the month of May is still with us.

Even before this week, QPR fans had started to return to earth. First came the announcement that there would be no victory parade, for reasons which remain rather unclear - especially given the victory parades up and down the country by other clubs - just winning promotion, forget winning the Championship.

Added to this, there have been a slew of reports in various newspapers that Neil Warnock's job was endangered, with various other managers linked. The club has denied it. First Mittal and Bhatia expressed their full confidence in Warnock. Later Briatore and Ecclestone did likewise. Of course QPR have earned a certain reputation with their managerial changes over the last few years. And there's always the sneaking suspicion on the part of at least one fan that someone was pushing these stories.

To add insult to injury, Neil Warnock despite winning the Championship was deprived of the (fully-deserved) honour of being Awarded the Manager of the Year Award. Something he himself was very disappointed about.

Rumours of ticket price increases became confirmed this week, with large, large season ticket price increases - and even larger individual ticket price increases. To add insult injury was the way the club announced it and spun it.

And then two other big items also came out at the same time. The FA report on QPR and QPR FC Chairman Gianni Paladini was released along with a club statement in response

Meanwhile after several days of promising to make a bid, the proposed Mittal takeover of QPR was apparently quashed by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore. Vice Chairman Amit Bhatia resigned and QPR Chairman Irshan Saksena was axed. Club Statement. Amit Bhatia issued a statement. And that was followed by a joint statement by Briatore and Ecclestone.

Meanwhile at this time of club "Crisis" the Club Phones were strangely experiencing difficulty.

Looking to next season, (Schedule released, June 17), a couple more pre-season games were announced, including Plymouth (Away). There are rumours about the new Shirt, but nothing has yet been released.

Finally as the club continues to be linked to numerous players, one player, Mikele Leigertwood has officially left, joining Reading on a permanent deal.

Onwards and Upwards!

Monday, May 23, 2011

QPR Report Flashback Q&As: Rodney Marsh

Originally posted on the QPR Report site in May 2009: Some Questions and Responses by "The Greatest," Rodney Marsh

A: Best QPR manager..Alec Stock....best QPR player I played with Gerry Francis, when he was 18/19 and green...he was brilliant ! Just had a cheddar cheese roll and cup tea, watching the French Open by the pool in Tampa.... forgot the last one :) oh ye, would be nice to be a Global Ambassador for the club, especially with my USA contacts. And yes, I remember that Fulham game with great fondess. Playing with Besty and Mooro, sad they're both' brown bread' now !!

Q: Good afternoon Rodney, may I ask who you feel in the game at the moment is most like you when you were a pro?
A: Closest would be Cantona but with more goals and running more with the ball !

Q:If he had stayed at QPR and not moved to Manchester City, does he think that staying with QPR, might have made the difference between 2nd and 1st place in 75-76 season?
A: No because QPR had an ample replacement in Stan Bowles, who was a magnificent footballer who never got anywhere near the credit he deserved. He was brilliant !

Q:When you were playing Rodney, the game was full of colourful charactors, These days it's all about nutrition, workrate and dosh. Do you feel the charactor aspect has been driven out of the game and replaced with sterile cardboard cut outs? I honestly wont mention Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney or any Arsenal players.
For positive examples: you chatting to fans, Lazurus shaking fans hands after scoring, Stanley hiding the ball up his shirt, Francis Lee, Best tackling you etc.
Lastly, just curious, with your expertise, who do you think would make a good manager for the current QPR??
A: My philosophy is to hire the man to get you to the next level then replace him , and give him a golden handshake . Someone like Alan Curbishley would be my choice...

Q: I know there's been a history of over who was the better player, but could you imagine how it might have been if we had had both Rodney and Stan in our starting line up?
Like watching that Best/Rodney Fulham clip all over again!
A: In 2007 there was a opinion poll about the greatest Man Utd player ever. Eric Cantona was voted No !. 80% of the voters had never seen George Best play. So I always thought those type of comparisons are totally redundant. I saw them both many times and Besty was better IMO.
Stan and me would have been a disaster together. I was a ball player, whlie Stan was a ball holder. Huge difference in styles.

Q: If you had become QPR Manager - Either at the time of Richard Thompson, or at some other time, how do you think would have done? The old great players don't often make great managers. And great forwards often don't make great managers...
A: Very true...I was never offered the manager's job at QPR. Gerry Francis was the manager and doing very well. I was recruited to be Chief Executive as that had been my role in Tampa for ten years.

Q: Rodney's overhead kicks.. Does he remember the wonder goal he scored with an overhead kick in the Div 3 game at Loftus Rd against Bristol Rovers(won 4-1) circa Mar/April 1966. One journalist/pundit said to the effect...Rodney Marsh's position was such that he would have needed radar just to determine where the goal was located never mind score.
A: I think you always remember great goals. Like the 'offside' bicycle kick goal in the 1967 final. I remember the overhead kick goal for Man City. Tony Hazell had been kicking lumps off me all day so it was great to score such a brilliant winning goal. Don't think Stan played that day.

Q: And what about that late winning goal for Man City against us 1974/75?(1-0) How did he feel about that!.....from my own seat in the North Stand at Maine Rd judging by his celebrations he seemed pretty pleased with himself!
A: :To summarize a couple of questions I received: What was your impression of the QPR Player of the Year event you recently mcd/ A lot of fans who attended were very unhappy by the way that the players acted/rushed out?
Which fits into the broader question of "your" generation versus the current generation of footballers...Obviously massive more money. Agents involved, etc.
Forget the money aspects for a moment, but do you'd have developed into a totally different kind of player, if you'd been a player coming into the game today: On the one hand, more physical development, better nutrition, etc. On the other, more control, less willing to leave to flair, etc. A rather broad topic!
A: I was very disappointed at that too. I thought they coud have stayed for 30 mins for photos. But it's a different breed of player today. No one puts the club first anymore !!! Many players used to in fact I probably could have signed for a bigger club three years before I eventually joine dMan City !

Q: Rodney, A pleasure being able to ask you questions and you takin g the time to respond. A big thanks to you and also QPRreport for making this happen.
Who would you say is your favourite and who is the best QPR player or players over the last 13 years?
A: Roy Wegerle was the last Rangers player I really enjoyed watching and Les Ferdinand was the last truly top class player IMO.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement in the game?
Who was the most difficult defender to play against?
A: Winning the League Cup Final in such a dramatic way !. It put Rangers on the map, got me my first England cap and took the club to a level not known previously and incredibly into the highest league the following season.

Q: What was the name of that Glasgow Rangers full back?
A: Kai Johansson from Denmark. He'd been kicking me all game but I actually got sent off for butting Jock Watson the centre half ! Got fined by the FA and by the club. Great game though 3-3 in a humdinger.

Q: What was your single biggest disappointment in football? : Losing out on Championship with Man City? Leaving Fulham? Relegation with QPR? Not gaining promotion again with QPR?
Not winning more England caps?
A: Being pulled off with four minutes to go by Gordon Jago in the USA Cup Final , we were losing and lost 1-2. putz !! It was the final game of my career. Very similar to Graham Taylor pulling off Gary Linekar for England !!

Q: People often comment that a lot of players in the past couldn't make it in todays game because it;s a lot faster and the players are a lot fitter.
Football was a lot more physical when you were playing. These days you can't tackle from behind and get penalised for the slightest thing. Do you think the likes of the Wayne Rooney, Jermaine Defoe, Didier Drogba etc etc would have been as effective if they went back in time and came up against physical players like Dave McKay, Tommy Smith, Norman Hunter etc.
A: There are many players today who couldn't live in the game back then. Drogba is one of them although I think Rooney would have loved having a 'row' every week !

Q: Another question. What's your view on technology to help out referees, i,e Goal line cameras. An official viewing a monitor to help out the referee with decisions.
A: Yes, I said this five years ago on Soccer Saturday. But only for over the line incidents and only if the ref asks for it ...

Q: Thanks Rodney,It seems as if Jim Magilton is due to be announced the next QPR manager. Personally, I feel that shows a real lack of ambition. What are your thoughts and what type of Manager would you have gone for?
A: Anyone can stoop and pick up nothing ! Now is the time for Rangers to make a statemnet of intent !My sources tell me, there is a brilliant young manager/coach for the Paraquay under 21's , I believe. Don't know his name but if it were me , I would do due diligence and get someone like that.

Q actually rodders i thought tony hazell was quite elequently spoken at the mike keen funeral
when he was talking to you and me and mark lazarus perhaps tony could have made it as a manager
you really made me laugh rod when tony said lets make the goal posts further apart to create more goals
and you come up with a typical rod marsh comment HEY TONY LETS PUT DWARFS IN THE GOALS AS WELL
mark lazarus looked fantastic for his age he was such a great charactor
if only roger morgan had shown up we could have had all the goalscorers from the leauge cup final
A: Indeed !


The QPR Report Interview: Ex-QPR Winger, Mike Ferguson

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Ex-QPR Winger Mike Ferguson Remembers
-From OUR Ex-QPR Mike Ferguson reacting to my recently-created site - http://exqpr.blogspot.com :)

[For those not familiar with Mike Ferguson, a great player at QPR from 19669-1973, a flashback

[Mike Ferguson Comments Reposted with Permission]

I have only just found out there is a web with regard to ex players just reading,what a good site,I hope Frank Sibley,and Chippy Clark are as well as can be expected.
Best Regards
Former Player
Mike Ferguson

Thanks for your return email,I thought your piece about Frank and Clive was excellent,when you think in the early 60s,myself and many others voted in favour of strike action in support of better conditions for players,we never thought for one minute it would get has obscene with money has it is now,players have lost all contact with the rreal supporters,I know when I was at the rangers the supporters were superb with me,and very honest in there opinions.
Mike Ferguson

Of Course you can,and if you need any info I would be only to happy to give a view
Best Regards

I will give you anotherstrange fact,you will remember when Rodney went to city,well nobody would wear the no 10 shirt,because Rod was so popular,I said to to Gordon jago give it to me,I have no problem,the club were afraid there was going to be a reaction to the 10 shirt,I wore it and was proud to,and actually took over as captain because Terry got injured.
Best R

And the answer from Mike Ferguson... :D

"...It is quite true,wages were not good and in the summer I used to help a real die hard Rangers supporter Dennis Sergeant,him and is Brother Barry never missed a game home and away,they were great friends to me and my family,and it was a way of making extra money,another funny,we were delivering to a house in Harrow,I was black as the ace of spades,this man said to me 'your Ferguson arent you'I answered yes,he said no your not,brilliant."


And then Mike Ferguson added:
"Imagine that story coming out after 40yrs,nobody at the Rangers ever new,even in them days I started with Dennis at 5-30am.


The QPR Report Interview - Long-Term QPR Club Secretary, Ron Perspective

ong-time QPR Club Secretary, Ron Phillips having solved the "Missing Apostrophe" Question re Queen's Park Rangers http://qprreport.proboards.com/index.cgi....ad=21264&page=2

More from Ron Phillips

From Imperium
Another anecdote from Ron Phillips, as follows :

AS Secretary of Queens Park Rangers Club during the turbulent years of 1966 - 1989, it fell to me to save the Club from going out of existence on three separate occasions. One of these incidents is better kept permanently secret; one will provide an interesting story
in due course - although now is not the best time to relate this; but I can see no reason why the third occasion should be kept hidden.

In 1987, the very talented Les Ferdinand joined the Club. His skills may not have been totally appreciated because only a year later, it was agreed that he would be loaned to the Turkish Club, Besots, for 12 months.

On the day he was due to fly out to Turkey, the Club Chairman, Jim Gregory was at a health farm, and the manager was away with the team. I was therefore given the job of getting Les to sign the loan forms, and sending him of to Heathrow.

Les arrived at my office in the morning, and immediately informed me he had no intention of going to Turkey. I was surprised, and asked him why ? He said he was certain Rangers would turn the loan into a permanent transfer and he wanted to spend his playing career in England.

I gulped and went off to phone Jim Gregory that Les refused to go to Turkey. Mr .Gregory gave me a short order. "Get him on that plane." I went back to Les and found him adamant about staying at QPR. Time was running out - the plane was leaving in a few hours. What to do ? Eventually I found a solution. I told Les I was certain that QPR would not want to lose a player of his ability, and I was prepared to sign a letter guaranteeing that his loan to Besiktas , would terminate in one year's time and, after that,he would return to Rangers ! Les liked the idea; I prepared the letter for him ; he gave me a big smile ; and off he went to Turkey.

One year later, Les Ferdinand's fears were proved correct. He prepared to return to England but was immediately informed that his loan was being transferred into a permanent transfer for a fee of £100,000 (!) and he was to remain at Besiktas. Transfer papers were drawn up for him to sign, but Les stunned everybody b producing the letter I had given him the previous year. A Club Secretary's signature on such a document made it a cast-iron contract - so, Les came back to Rangers.

All hell broke loose over the head of that Club Secretary. The Manager did not speak to me for months. Unfortunately the Chairman did.............

Jim Gregory had just moved his private office to Rangers Stadium and now operated from the floor above the Secretary's office.

Several times a day, for many weeks I was summoned upstairs to appear before the Chairman and receive a substantial rocket.
Eventually all went quiet, but I was never forgiven for what I had done. To be honest, the Chairman and the manager were correct - A Club Secretary should never interfere in a transfer deal.

I should have been fired.

The years passed by. Jim Gregory's health deteriorated and he sold the Club.

I had a terrifying experience with one of the new directors and quickly followed in Jim Gregory's footsteps.

Les Ferdinand meanwhile went fron strength to strength displaying talents which marked him out as one of Ranger's best ever players, with a goal-scoring ability which made him a targer for several of the League's major Clubs.

Deprived of Jim Gregory's careful financial control, Rangers fell on hard times and it became clear that the Club might have to be placed in administration.

In the nick of time, Newcastle United offered a £6,000,000 transfer fee for Les Ferdinand. The bid was accepted with alacrity, and the windfall this avoided Ranger's probable disappearance from the Football League.
I was delighted that my "mistake" 6 years earlier had produced such beneficial consequences for the Club and I sent them a joking letter, asking if they would consider apologising for the reprimands I had
received or, failing that, 10% of the transfer fee would be quite acceptable.......

I received a formal legal reply to the effect that Club Secretaries were not entitled to any share of transfer fees.

football Clubs have no sense of humour.

As told to Imperium by Ron Phillips"

And many thanks to Imperium and Ron Phillips for this.

QPR Report Interview: The Derby County Perspective

April 18, 2011


Ian Hayes of Derby County Mad - www.Derbycounty-mad.co.uk has very kindly offered this interesting perspective of Derby County on and off the field

Starting simply: How long have you supported Derby County?

Have supported the Rams for over 40 years

How long have you been involved with the DerbyMd Website? How did you get to be there?

Been the editor of Derby County mad for over ten years. This is my second spell as editor

How do you get on with the other Derby fan sites: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

No real conflicts with other Derby County unofficial websites but it does annoy me when someone from a rival site places a link to that website without asking permission or actually letting us know they have left the link.

Who is (or are) Derby biggest Rival (or Rivals)? I presume it's Nottingham Forest - and that teams such as Notts County and Mansfield really don't factor in?

The Rams biggest rivals is Nottingham Forest. The link with Brian Clough and all the success he had with a lot of former Rams players still rankles to this day with Derby County fans, it should have been ours. The link with the Clough family is still very fresh with our present manager Nigel Clough.

Even the section of the A52 which links the two Cities has been named after Brian Clough, but Derby are the only club to have honoured Brian Clough and Peter Taylor with a large statue which stands outside Pride Park. Taylor being an important part of the League Championship (now Premiership) Title the Rams won in 1971-72 season and the European Cup success' at Forest, but sadly forgotten at the City Ground.

Are you happy with your Clough Junior and team and how things are? - Can you explain/do you understand how things got to this point? Were you happy when Clough became manager? What did you think of John Gregory!

At present I am not too happy with Nigel Clough as manager. He has made some surprising and puzzling decisions lately, although injury and sales of key players, without replacement, by the owners has had a devestating effect on the team Clough has been able to turn out.

Like everyone, I was pleased to welcome Nigel to Pride Park, given his family conections to the club. However he appears to be a puppet manager for the American and Canadian owner of the club, having to work to their wills and financial restrictions.

What do you think of the current - and previous- Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

The current owners are very good businessmen, getting our debt down to manageable levels, but may have gone too far trying to reduce the wage bill, selling or letting go seasoned and quality players, Rob Hulse being a prime example and the failure to negotiate a new contract with Kris Commons, both being the clubs leading scorers when sold.
They tried to replace these players with loan signings but have not managed to get either a settled or gelled side since.

I have no idea why these people bought the club, as most don't have a clue when it comes to English football and it is begining to show as the club yet again looks set to be just outside the relegation area, rather than challenging for the top six places. A promised £50m investment never materialised when they took over the club but have agreed to invest further into the clubs playing staff next season.............I won't be holding my breath for that promise.

Perhaps a special focus on the ABC Loan - We were both recipients of the shadowy loaners...Just as we've both had "interesting" off-the-field events happening at our two clubs!

The ABC (Panamerican) loan would have finished the club if it wasn't for a local businessman and his colleagues taking over the club and sorting this sorry affair a few years ago. Legal action was taken against the then owners and directors at the club resulting in three of them getting prison sentences. The reult of the 'Three Amigo's' as we called them plunged the club into sever debt. Thankfully the owners who took over managed to get us promoted to the Premiership and the riches it provides, or the financial situation could have been even worse when the present owners took over.

How do you think Derby treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

Not sure about this but I think you could say the owners have treated the supporters like mugs, realing out the same speal for the last couple of seasons. It's designed to keep the crowd numbers up and I have to say has worked well. However fans are now beging to wise up to their tactics and has resulted in a charm offensive in the last couple of months, promising to bring in players to get us competative and up into the top six next season, or you can ask for your season ticket money back before the season starts.
I am still not sure I can believe them and who can say what amount of money and players will bring that sort of success?

So maybe the owners are screwing the fans, time will tell early next season I suppose.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Not sure we have dangermen since the sale of several of our players over the season but players to watch are Daniel Ayala, on loan from Liverpool, a very good Spanish defender. I am sure all QPR fans will appreciate Robbie Savage, take time to boo him roundly as it may be your last chance, as he retires at the end of the season. :-)

Who would you say was the greatest Derby player that you yourself personally saw? (You can name more than one if it's that close!)

Most Rams fans of an age will tell you it was striker Kevin (the King) Hector, but respect has to be given to Winger Alan Hinton and defenders Colin Todd and Roy MacFarland. A more modern day hero was Igor Stimac, who almost single handedly took the Rams up into the Premiership for the first time.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction? In your heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season forDerby?

Promotion: QPR, Norwich and Reading...... Relegation Sheffield United, Sc**thorpe Crystal Palace

Pre-season we were promised improvement on last season, which looked a good shout when we reached third spot earlier in the season but poor management and ownership have seen the team alter with loan players coming and going and the team nose dived.

To be completely honest I couldn't see there being improvement in the squad with the limited, or non existant, budget we had to sign players. We continued to sign lower league hopefuls and sell seasoned internationals, so we had a poor season, which I expected

What is your view and the general Derby view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness) or of Neil Warnock? (Any Derby Fan view of our Club Chairman (and former Sporting Director and Agent, Gianni Paladini)

Not sure we have a collective view of QPR. Personally you have to have respect for Mr Warnock and the side he has assembled there. Always happy to see the passion and commitment Neil has on matchdays, he is a true charactor of the game and good luck to him and the club when you go up to the Premiership

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past Derby-QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? We share managers Tommy Docherty and Jim Smith and John Gregory and players such as Leighton James and Don Masson and Dean Sturridge, John Gregory, Gary Micklewhite, Gordon Hill, Steve Wicks. And several others.

My most vivid memory of playing QPR was the 4-2 defeat at Pride Park last season. It marked the unveiling of the Steve Bloomer Bust at the ground, something I had been working on for many years. A great day, shame about the result :-)

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

Very much, the Rams always tend to play well against the better teams in the division and hope we can give you good game on Monday evening.



Where, realistically, do you think Derby will be in five years time?

Simply no idea, having trouble predicting what type of Rams side will turn out on a game to game basis. Hopefully we will be able to get a settled and competative side and maybe re-visit the Premiership for the eighth season.

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

You need a settled team who play together well and for each other. If you then build slowly, adding better players in areas you are weak then with luck you will survive in the Premiership. Derby County were ill prepared for life in the Premiership when we last went up. Spending practically nothing and paying the price with the lowest points total the Premiership ever saw.

Above all enjoy the Premiership, it can, as we proved, be a nightmare place to be with the wrong team, manager, or ownership but it can be magical to see the Worlds top players at your ground week after week.

What one or two questions do you wish I had asked you (and how would you have responded?!)

Question: Do you think Nigel Clough is the manger to take you forward?

No, he shows little of his fathers fire and ability to command the board-room. He has been placed in a very difficult position this season, with lack of money for transfers and constantly having to loan players, or sell those who are comfortable and competent in the side. Any other manager would have walked away given the circumstances and kept their self respect but Nigel apparently never said a word preferring to toe the line whilst his squad was reduced and not replaced.

And that's it!!

Very Many thanks to Ian Hayes of Derby County Mad - www.Derbycounty-mad.co.uk . Very best of luck for the season (after today)

Read more: http://qprreport.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=inteveiws&action=display&thread=21829#ixzz1NA3ncmTF

QPR Report Interview: The Barnsley Perspective

April 11 2011

QPR REPORT Q&A - The Barnsley Fan Perspective

This week, Owen from Barnsley Supporters Trust bfcst.org.uk has very kindly (and very swiftly) offered his perspective of Barnsley on and off the field. Very many thanks to Owen.

Starting simply: How long have you supported Barnsley?

I have been supporting Barnsley for over 35 years and a season ticket holder for most of those

How long have you been involved with your Website? How did you get to your site?

I have been involved with the Supporters Trust since our dark days of administration, initially via the Supporters Club, but then when we merged the Supporters Society and Supporters Club

How do you get on with the other Barnsley fan sites: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

There are a couple of fan sites, the tykes mad site and the barnsleyfc.org.uk site. There is occasionally banter with opposition supporters but I only tend to fleetingly visit them these days

Who's Barnsley's biggest Rival (or Rivals)?
Any of the south Yorkshire teams, such as the two so called "big clubs" in Sheffield, soon to be in the lower leagues, where they belong We also see Leeds, Huddersfield and Doncaster as rivals

Are you happy with your Robbins and team and how things are? - Can you explain/do you understand how things got to this point?

Mark Robins has done a great job of stabilising the ship and moving us up the table We really though on a lot of loan players, which is always a concern, but we have some potential players in the academy that will be coming through over the next few years

What do you think of the current - and previous- Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

Our current owner is Patrick Cryne, who has done a magnificent job at Oakwell. He bought the club to save us from disaster after the previous owner had put the club in debt. Patrick has backed our managers and the club and is highly respected and appreciated by the vast majority of Barnsley Supporters. He is supported by Don Rowing and Barry Taylor, our directors. They have helped to stabilise the club, following the potentially disasterous reign of Peter Ridsdale and Mr Doyle before him.

How do you think Barnsley treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

On the whole the club listen and appreciate the supporters. AS a Trust we hold regular monthly meetings with the board of directors at Oakwell, and we often speak with the other staff at Oakwell on regular basis as well. We hope that this dialogue helps to ensure that this relationship continues, which can only benefit all parties

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Our current key players are goalkeeper Luke Steele, as well as Marvin Harewood up front. In midfield Nathan Doyle is cruscial, whilst Jacob Mellis and Jacob Butterfield link up well

Who would you say was the greatest Barnsley player that you yourself personally saw? (You can name more than one if it's that close!)

That is difficult, Ronnie GLavin was superb, but then there is also Neil Redfearn, John Hendrie and Mick McCarthey, so difficult to choose, but I would have to go with Ronnie Glavin from the 1980's a real star player

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction? In your heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season for Barnsley?

I wanted a mid table finish this year, but had hoped for a top 10 place. It looks like we are on trtack with a mid table finish, even though we have gone off the boil recently.

What is your view and the general Barnsley view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness) or of Neil Warnock?

QPR are champions elect, although I must say I have slight concerns over their ownership set up. Neil Warnock is a good manager, a former Barnsley player as well. We have always had a love hate relationship with him due to his Sheffield United links, but he is a good manager

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? We share Nigel Spackman and Paul Hart, Ian Evans and a few others.

I do not take much notice of QPR players to be honest, but that said I have never had many good trips to QPR, we never win is the reason!!!. I remember that over head kick in the cup one year, what a goal but it broke our haearts again. As to Paul Hart and Nigel Spackman, enough said, dull managers, no personalities and thought they were better than supporters. Ian Evans is different a legend, especially in his links with Mickk McCarthey

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

Yes, hopefully should be a good game, although any Neil Warnock team will not appreciate a drubbing by Sc**thorpe and will want to put it right. I predict a tight game with the odd goal or two to boot.


2-2 score draw, but I am a hopeless pundit

Where, realistically, do you think Barnsley will be in five years time?

We will still be a championship club, hovering around mid table

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

Don't expect too much, enjoy the experience and have fun, as well as deep pockets to pay those over inflated ticket prices you will encounter

What one or two questions do you wish I had asked you (and how would you have responded?!)

Cannot think of any at the minute

Very Many thanks again to Owen of Barnsley Supporters Trust bfcst.org.uk . Best of luck (after Tuesday)

QPR Report Interview: The Sheffield United Perspective

April 3, 2011

QPR Report Q&A: The Sheffield United Perspective

This week, Vital Football Sheffield United's http://www.sheffutd.vitalfootball.co.uk/ Ben Shepherd has very kindly provided his perspective of Sheffield United and QPR

Starting simply: How long have you supported Sheffield United?

I went to my first game just before my seventh birthday, and I've never looked back since. My passion doesn't necessarily come out in the obvious ways; I don't stand and shout, but even when we've been near the bottom or even languishing in mnd-table I've never not enjoyed a matchday.

How long have you been involved with your Website? How did you get to your site?

I've been doing it now since May 2008. United have one or two big forums elsewhere so it's not particularly big, but it's certainly grown. When I started we had around 60 members, and we now have close to 500.

How do you get on with the other Sheffield United fan sites: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

Basically, we think those on the Blades Mad site are rather moronic, and often comment when things are getting emotional on ours we don't want to come across like they do; but there's no real rivalry.

What do Sheffield United fans think of Sheffield Wednesday? Is it rivalry? Is it hatred? Is it an equal two-way rivalry? (Any other rivals besides them?)

The "Wendys" as you often hear is a great rivalry. I personally really enjoy it. It's like a sibling rivalry to me. It's about getting one up on them, rather than an out and out hatred for me. Others might disagree, but I see it as a true footballing rivalry where it doesn't matter what's going on in the grand scheme of things, but come the week of a derby and the week after, work places are split, and even families, but at the end of the day, you'd still stick up for Sheffield football if need be. After all, we invented it.

- How do you feel about Sheffield Wednesday suffering in the Third Division?

For the times they were on top for so long, it's nice to be the best team in the city, it's just a shame when they've suffered so much we've not pulled away from them, and instead look like joining them. However, it's a sorry state of affairs if both sides are in the third division next season.

Are you happy with your manager and team and how things are? - Can you explain/do you understand how things got to this point? What did you think of Blackwell - Maybe at least in hindsight, a mistake not to keep him? (I remember we were linked to him a couple of years ago)

Somebody summed it up perfectly a week or so ago. "If we'd got Blackwell we wouldn't be in this mess, but I still enjoy it more now." He just sapped the life out of the club, there was no spirit, it was awful - but on the other hand, he got results and has one of the best records at the club in terms of win percentage.

What do you think of the current - and previous- Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

Propaganda merchants, businessmen, ruthless. Very split opinions on the board. Kevin McCabe took over and pretty much saved the club, he put money in, we went up and is now gradually taking his money back. Our debts at the club are owed to Mr McCabe, not the bank which in a sense is a good position to be in (as long as he stays). He appointed Trevor Birch (ex-Chelsea, saw the arrival of Abramovich) as Chief Exec and Chris Steer as Chairman of the football club, but he's the puppeteer, he still makes the calls and pulls the strings, they're there to basically get the stick.

How do you think Sheffield Uited treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

We get positive PR pushed down our throat all the time, they patronise the fans no end. I know the official site has to be positive but there's limits, and they expect you to take it all in. As an example, this was the opening line of the match report when we lost to Sheffield Wednesday a couple of years ago. United may hold the city advantage in terms of league position and average attendance but Saturday's victory gave Wednesday bragging rights. Have you ever seen anything like that?

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

The dangerman is hard to say. We're a team who just look to get the ball in the right areas and feed off scraps, so the quickest reactions I suppose. Daniel Bogdanovic is dangerous, but the return of Darius Henderson is a big thing (providing he stays on the pitch).

Who would you say was the greatest Sheffield United player that you yourself personally saw? (You can name more than one if it's that close!)

For me it's Dane Whitehouse. He epitomised everything about the Blades. He was Sheffield born and bred, and he lived for the club, turning down big offers elsewhere before his career was cut short by that (insert expletive) Gareth Ainsworth.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction? In your heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season for Sheffield United - I imagine a promotion challenge?

I expected comfortable midtable this season. Basically, consolidate and start to build again. Not really worked out though has it. I think we'll go down with Preston and Sc**thorpe, with QPR, Leeds (pains me to say that) and Cardiff going up. However, if Leeds finish in the play-offs I don't think they'll do it.

What is your view and the general Sheffield United view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)?.
I imagine with Warnock and now Paddy Kenny you probably do have a view.

I like our Neil, so I want him to do well. My personal view of QPR is that they're a good old fashioned London club, and so I don't mind them going up at all. As for Kenny, I'm a big fan, and unlike the majority of the fans I understood why he left. The club did pay him when he was suspended, and did "stand by him" in that sense but I feel we sold him down the river. He got no public support from the club (see the PRimage previously).

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? We of course have Tony Currie in common.. And Kenny, as noted above. And Leigertwood. And a number of others.

My favourite player is probably Kenny but that won't be a popular choice. I do like Shaun Derry though, he's a different player to when he was with United but a typical Warnock type. He'll run through a brick wall for you , and is one of those you love to have, but hate when he's on another team (see: Chris Morgan).

Regarding Neil Warnock: What did you think of his time at Sheffield United? What did you think of his departure? What do you think of him now?

It was inevitable I think he was going to leave when he did, but it's still a shame. With the team we had, I believe he'd have taken us straight back to the the Premier League, but McCabe had bigger ideas for his global empire. We bought Ferencvaros, Chengdu Blades and Central Coast Marriners, and the chairman wanted a global name to go with it. Didn't work.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

No, but we've nothing to lose.

SCORE PREDICTION for QPR-Sheffield United?

Either 4-0 QPR, or 1-0 Blades

Where, realistically, do you think Sheffield United will be in five years time?
(I imagine even if you do go down, you'll bounce bank within a year or two, and be at least challenging for Premiership)

The Summer's huge. If we stay up we'll be in a similar position to what we are now. If we go down, we can rebuild and hopefully be pushing the play-offs.

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

Attack. We were ten points clear of relegation and started playing one up front. Needless to say it didn't work. Wigan, Blackpool and others have got promoted and attacked. It's vital

Very many thanks to Vital Football Sheffield United's http://www.sheffutd.vitalfootball.co.uk/ Ben Shepherd

QPR Report Interview: The Doncaster Rovers Perspective

March 18, 2011


This week, Glen Wilson of Viva Rovers http://vivarovers.wordpress.com has very kindly agreed to provide a look at Doncaster Rovers on and off the field - along with views of QPR and Neil Warnock. Many thanks to Glen.


How long have you supported Doncasterr? And how long have you been involved with your Website? How did you get to your site?

Growing up in Doncaster I've always looked out for Rovers results, but I didn't start going regularly until I was 15;that was the back end of the 97/98 season and things were much different. I started doing the site in June/July 2006 when the Rivals Network were looking for a supporter to do the Rovers section of that site. I renamed it Viva Rovers and went from there. In July 2009 Sky unceremoniously shutdown the Rivals network so I resurrected Viva Rovers as an independent site within a week or so and it's thankfully still living on now.

How do you get on with the other Doncaster fan sites: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

There are not that many other Rovers' fan-sites to be honest and of those exist the support is generally mutual I think. I'm not aware of inter-board conflicts, but then I generally avoid messageboards where possible.

Do Doncaster have one (or two) special local (or further away) rivals? Is it an equal two-way rivalry?

With the Yorkshire and Humber region peppered with football clubs we're somewhat spoiled for choice when it comes to folk to hate. The traditional main rivals are Rotherham and Scun.thorpe and perhaps to a lesser extent Barnsley. We've had fleeting periods of mutual dislike with Hull and the Sheffield clubs, and whilst a lot of the newer supporters attain to a rivalry with Leeds there's really nowt in that compared to Scunny and Rotherham, for which the rivalry is very much mutual, particularly for the Millers.

Are you happy with your manager and team and how things are? (To be honest, I'd think you be pretty over the moon!)

Sean O'Driscoll is quite simply the best Rovers manager in my lifetime and has produced the best football I've ever had the joy of watching. I could not be happier.

What do you think of the current - and previous- Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

John Ryan, a Doncaster born, Rovers supporting, self-made millionaire is the man at the helm. He took over in 1998-99 when the club was at its lowest ebb and has steared the club to where it is now. He cannot have done more than that and deserves nothing but praise. At times in the past he has been a little quick to open his mouth and court publicity, which could rub people up the wrong way, but thankfully he's reined himself in on that side in recent years. As for the previous owner, the less said the better really, given that his involvement in the club culminated in it's near death and his appearance in court charged with conspiracy to commit arson on the Main Stand.

How do you think Doncaster treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

On the whole I think the club does OK in terms of fan relations, especially as the man at the top is one, but it remains a long way behind other sides at this level. This is the result of coming a long way up the divisions in a short space of time. Slowly the club is starting to listen to the suggestions of supporters, but in many areas they are often hampered by some employees unwillingness to embrace fresh approaches.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

I don't think Rovers have any over-rated players, but the focus placed on Billy Sharp perhaps sometimes does a disservice to the quality of those around him. Sharp, when fit is an obvious dangerman as his goal tally reflects, whist Jamie Coppinger and James Hayter are enjoying their best seasons for some time. The centre-midfield pairing of John Oster and Brian Stock has been underrated by Welsh national team managers. When the two are fit and on form they're as good and as creative a central midfield duo you'll find in the division.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction? In your heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season for Doncaster?

I said at the start of the season mid-table and we seem to be stumbling toward that finish point. Given that we look likely to achieve this having had a horrendous three months of injury problems speaks volumes of the talent and resolve we have, both on the pitch and in the dugout. With consistent fitness and a steady back four this team would've been capable of challenging for a play-off place.

What is your view and the general Doncaster view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)?

I don't know if Doncaster has a general view of QPR, personally I've always been fairly fond of the club. At University I dated a girl who lived on Loftus Road for a year, and a later girlfriend had a brother in law who was an avid Rs fan so they've often been in my conscience. Sadly though any affection for Rangers as a club has been thrown out the window with their appointment of Neil Warnock.

There are few people, if any, in football that I despise more than Warnock. He is a first class pillock. Happy to take the credit, never one to suffer the criticism. He thrives on the seige mentality, so much so that he often constructs his own when none actually exists. At Palace he often reminded us that "All I know is, I've got a good honest bunch of lads here..." yet the team he put out was far from honest, and the Palace side that played Rovers at the end of the 2008-09 season is the most thuggish I've seen at the Keepmoat. His attitude toward match officials make him a blight on the game.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)?

I've only actually ever witnessed one Rovers v QPR fixture, as the cost of attending a game at Loftus Road is sadly beyond me, so best and worst memories is hardly worth attempting, though Damion Stewart's own goal was a bit special. I began watching football at the back end of QPR's last spell in the top flight so favourite QPR players are probably Roy Wegerle for that solo goal and of course Rufus Brevett for the obvious connection angle.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

I am looking forward to seeing QPR because they are the league leaders and its always interesting to see what sets a team apart from the rest of the division, particularly one as tight as the Championship.


Heart says win, head says defeat. Though we have caught you unawares before I can't see it happening again. 1-2.

Where, realistically, do you think Doncaster will be in five years time?

Hopefully, still in the Championship. If we are then we'll have equalled Rovers previous longest spell at this level and I couldn't ask for more than that.

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

I'd advise you to change the manager, but then I'd advise any team of that if Warnock was their boss. General advice to QPR though would be don't live beyond your means, bring back a black and red hooped away kit and don't cock about with your home hoops.

Profound thanks to Glen Wilson of Viva Rovers http://vivarovers.wordpress.com and very best of luck for the season (after, of course, Saturday!)

QPR Report Interview: The Crystal Palace Perspective


Long-time Crystal Palace fan, Palace_Spence -to us known as magyarangol29 - has very kindly agreed to provide a look at Crystal Palace on and off the field

Starting simply: How long have you supported Crystal Palace?

Most of my life, growing up as a kid in Beckenham I had all the kit and fellow kids at school in those days were all Palace too. Unlike today of course where most of them would be wearing a Chelsea, Arsenal or Man Utd shirt.
In and out of love with football as a whole over the years and going through teenage hood of course there were more “interesting” sports to follow.

What do you think of the Various Palace websites and messageboards? How do they get on with the other?: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

The two main Palace fan sites I frequent are “The BBS” and “The Holmesdale On Line”. Two very good and informative sites for us fans to read, debate, rant and argue on. Yes, there’s healthy rivalry between the sites but it’s all good / healthy banter.

Special Palace Rivalries? Presumably Charlton and Millwall - and maybe Brighton? Think it's evenly held?

The history with Brighton is an odd one. For me, and this is just my opinion, Brighton aren’t one of MY serious rivals. Sure, in the past there’s been bad blood there but I prefer to call the likes of Millwall and Charlton as rivals purely from a geographical point of view. We are “The Pride of South London”.

Again, for ME, I’d see QPR as more of a rival than Brighton. But hey, if they manage promotion who knows, that may change. Ultimate rival for ME would be Charlton. Can’t stand them!

Over the years, you've had quite a bit of managerial and board turnover. And as as QPR fan, I'm speaking as an expert re managerial turnover!

Yes indeed, been fun hasn’t it!!

What do you think of the current Palace "Fan" Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

The current owners, love them! They’ve been a breath of fresh air for myself and most Palace fans would agree. The CPFC 2010 consortium are indeed fans, led by Steve Parish who stepped in when we were facing extinction (again). Whilst in administration we were linked to the likes of Puff Daddy and billionaire Americans which was all very amusing and fantastic to read about of course. However it was the local businessmen/fans who actually stepped up and put their money where their mouths were.

What do I expect from them? Hmmm, initially I was just happy that we still had a club to support and follow but now the honeymoon period is over, I guess, like most, I’m looking for stability and survival in the Championship. I can only say what I do not expect from them and that is quite simply to not go crazy with spending insane vast amounts of money on players and put us in debt.

Going back to that breath of fresh air comment I made. A couple of members from CPFC 2010 regularly log on to our message boards and hold Q&A sessions with the fans. It took a little while to actually sink in for us Palace fans that here, posting on our forums, were our new owners. Engaging and debating with us, who would ever had thought something like this would actually happen??

How do you think Palace treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

Not sure if I’m qualified to answer that one. At the end of the day the club is a business and has to be run correctly or else we’ll yet again end up in the doo doo.
My hopes are that the new regime are putting in place measures that’ll stop that kind of thing happening again. At least in our lifetimes. As above point re: engaging with the fans YES, they do listen to us and appreciate us. Screw us? No, I don’t think so.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Dangermen - N’Daiye , Andrew - most valued – Garvan – overrated – Speroni , underrated -Dorman. Work that one out if you will my friend, my lips are sealed.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction?

Difficult question, as you are more than aware this division throws up some serious oddities at times and this year is no different. In particular there’s been an abundance of quality clubs in the league. Ok, promotion is still somewhat wide open in my opinion. I think QPR will go up automatically this year though as I keep telling my Company Director and life long QPR fan. Of course he is still very cautious and level headed on the subject and rightly so but you can imagine the banter we have shared this last year!
QPR, Forest and a Welsh club!
Relegation wise is also tough. This seems to be changing daily. Currently, as we stand today I see Preston, Sheffield Utd and Sc**thorpe going down. However, Middlesbrough and Derby are looking like getting sucked in too.

In your heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season for Palace?

I was happy to simply complete the season lower - middle table.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

Hell yes, time to right some wrongs.

What is your view and the general Palace views of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)

Most Palace fans dislike QPR and this has been proven even more so after your invitiation to take part here. From my own personal point of view I’m really not that bothered and I do genuinely wish you all the best. The initial knee jerk reaction to Mr Warnocks exit was a bitter pill to swallow as he had been my favourite Palace manager to date. But hey we’ve now got Dougie Freedman.

We obviously share a number of players and managers - Warnock and his coaching team; and the players he bought (and the ones he tried to buy); Terry Venables came over to QPR (and brought his coaching squad and half the Palace team - Francis, Fenwick, Flanagan, Sealy, Burridge, Allen, Wicks). Other players over the years: Don Rogers, Terry Venables, Mark Lazarus, Ian Evans...Wilkins, Silkman, Routledge, Watson, Borrowdale, Hall?

Yes, and I wonder what will happen if indeed Wigan get relegated. Ben Watson and Victor Moses anyone? Watch this space!

Do you have any views about Gary Borrowdale who since he signed for QPR has not exactly set the place on fire?

No views on him. I never felt that he set the world on fire for us but was clearly on good terms with Mr Dowie so got picked a few times when I felt he shouldn’t have.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?

Not many to be honest. The return of the Warnock to Selhurst Park. Seeing Adel Taarabt for the 1st time was entertaining. He’s got skills and a great capture for you guys.

I loved NW at Palace and as stated above he’d been my favourite Manager to date. He left, I hated him and now I admire him again lol. Fickle fan eh.
You cannot take away the passion NW has. He’s a motivator, an entertainer and off pitch a pretty good bloke. But, that’s my view anyway and I can hear Palace fans cursing me for saying it, but like NW, I’ll say it as it is! At the end of the day, he was friends with our previous Chairman Simon Jordan and with us purely because of that friendship and I enjoyed his time with us.

My favourite QPR player, arghhh come on now. Ok, in all seriousness Shaun Derry.
Off the pitch I’ve had personal dealings with Shaun as he was renting his property to a fellow Palace player who is a personal friend of my family.
With Shauns tough “the guvnor” no nonsense style on the pitch you couldn’t be more surprised with such a kind well spoken bloke off the pitch!! Really top bloke, good Dad and family man. So yes, I’ll vote for Shaun Derry “Derry Derry”.


Initially I was thinking a bore draw 0–0 but now after beating Cardiff and with off-pitch distractions with a certain Mr Paladini I’m hoping your boys will indeed be distracted!

Where, realistically, do you think Palace will be in five years time?

Ohhh, it has to be residing in 40,000 all seater stadium at Crystal Palace Park and enjoying life in the Premiership.

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

Not really. I’m sure NW will have a nice war chest available if he secures promotion and I look forward to seeing how he spends it and what he does with them.

Many Thanks again to Crystal Palace fan, Palace_Spence - magyarangol29 for providing this.

QPR Report Interview: The Leicester Perspective

March 2, 2011

A Leicester City Fan Perspective: QPR Report Q&A With Vital Leicester's www.leicester.vitalfootball.co.uk Joe Brewin

Vital Football Leicester's www.leicester.vitalfootball.co.uk Joe Brewin has very kindly responded to some questions about Leicester behind the scenes

Starting simply: How long have you supported Leicester? And how long have you been involved with the Website? How did you get to be the editor?

Given my age, I started getting into it properly at Filbert Street around about 14 years ago now. The late 90s were some of the best years we've ever seen as Leicester fans - four successive top ten Premier League finishes and three League Cup finals in four years. It was a good time to start taking a proper interest in the team. Since then I've never looked back and been hooked ever since. We may have had our share of ill fortune over the past decade but I wouldn't change it for the world.

I started editing the Vital page just over two years ago now during our 08/09 League One campaign. As a Sport Journalism student myself it just seems another useful thing to the CV, and quiet honestly I just enjoy writing about my team.

How do you get on with the other Leicester fan sites: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

That'd be the same here then! My chosen forum is Foxestalk, but it has certainly seen better days. Its rival, Talkingballs, was started at the same time when the official site message board closed down. It doesn't really bother me particularly, I barely post these days in all honesty. As I'm sure is the case for yourself, I've made some lifelong friendships from it.

Do Leicester have one (or two) special local (or further away) rivals? Is it an equal two-way rivalry? Is that Coventry or Wolves or WBA or someone else?

Ask most Leicester fans and they'll tell you Forest is the one for them, but as we know the main rivalry in the East Midlands doesn't really concern us. Derby and Forest will both say they care little about us, but they enjoy telling us that far too much not to bother about us. Technically our main rivalry should probably be Coventry, but again that seems to be a bigger one for them than us. In summary, we have a handful of local games that mean that bit more than others, but nothing I'd call particularly fiesty in terms of a true local derby.

What do you think of Sven-Goran Erikkson? You worried he's going to move on in the summer if don't get promoted What did you think of his Sousa and Holloway and Allen and all the others. Over the years, you've had quite a bit of managerial and board turnover. And as as QPR fan, I'm speaking as an expert re managerial turnover!

Sven's done his job superbly since he's been here, there are few qualms about his management in his short tenure. We've attracted players we probably never would have without him, he's got the side playing good football and we've got the results to put us within distance of the play-offs. Considering when he took over we were rock bottom, it's been quite some turnaround.

Sousa tried to do too much too soon. With essentially the same squad which performed so admirably under Pearson he managed to transform us into hopeless relegation fodder. With Pearson our style had been far more direct and effective, but Sousa tried to install a different mentality which just didn't suit. Unfortunate, but his departure was inevitable. Allen was a walking disaster. He signed some of the worst players we've seen in a Leicester shirt over the last decade, paid too much money for them and ultimately sent us on our way to relegation.

Hollowaytook over a sinking ship, but he didn't help either. His signings left little to be desired (two unknown Hungarian loanees who proved terrible, and the likes of Barry Hayles to save us from the drop). Looking back though, going down was one of the best things to happen to us. And in fairness to Holloway, his exploits at Blackpool are nothing short of miraculous.

What do you think of the current - and previous- Leicester Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

Mandaric played the poor downtrodden owner card on many occasions, but truth is he got us on the cheap in the first place and came out the other side laughing. As for the new owners, I am not ashamed to say I was hugely sceptical at first. They played a huge part in ousting Pearson for no apparent reason, but since then they've got it right throughout. The appointment of Eriksson has proved the catalyst for a hive of transfer activity, for which they have backed Sven to the heavens. Their demands are high, but they're certainly willing to put their money where their mouths are. We'll see how it goes for now.

How do you think Leicester treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

As is the same with most clubs, it swings and roundabouts really. Season ticket prices are fairly reasonable, but match day prices today are unreasonable for me. £30+ to watch Championship football is not right. I hate our goal music too, but that's another issue for another day. Aside from that, I haven't got any huge qualms with the club.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

In terms of danger men, it's difficult to look past Andy King. The lad is undoubtedly one of the best finishers in the entire division, and I can quite happily say that I'd rather a chance fall to him than any other player in our team. That includes the likes of Yakubu, who is obviously known to everybody as a significant threat.

Richie Wellens pulls the strings in midfield, and is arguably our most important player on his day. Combative and competitive, but classy and clever, he has the ability to change games. A little further up, Paul Gallagher is enjoying a useful season in the front three, and his creativity is important to us.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction? In your heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season for Leicester?

At the start of the season I said Forest and Cardiff would take the top two places, which isn't looking too much of a bad prediction! I also tipped Sc**thorpe for the drop (probably like everyone else), which I think is going to happen still. Preston look doomed, while Sheffield United have struggled all season long. The bottom three as it is wouldn't throw up too many surprises for me if it stayed the same.

As for the here and now, I think it's tough to look past yourselves for automatic. While I'm still not certain you'll take top spot, I'll be very surprised to not see you in the Premiership next year. But there are some very good teams in this division waiting to pounce on any kind of slip-up, and there is still a long way to go. But at a push, I'll say yourselves, Cardiff and Forest for promotion.

What is your view and the general Leicester view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)? QPR famously beat then-First Division Leicester on their way to the League Cup Triumph in 1967. Our very-first ever game in the old Division One was against Leicester at Loftus Road (with Alan Clarke scoring on His Leicester Debut 1-1). And in the FA cup, a few years later, QPR lost at home to Leicester in the FA Cup to a debutant Joe Waters scoring both goals.

My 90s memories of QPR currently stand in the way of Les Ferdinand, THAT Trevor Sinclair goal and our very own Andy Impey (who, correct me if I'm wrong, picked up your player of the season three seasons in a row?!). As for today, I see you as an ambitious side who will almost certainly get into the top flight in the next three years.

I know Leeds had to break the British transfer record to take Clarke off us, it's a shame he was with us for such a short period of time. I've definitely seen footage of Waters picking up that brace somewhere too!

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?

Having only been to Loftus Road on the one occasion (a 1-1 draw in the 06/07 season, Kisnorbo for us and Rowlands for yourselves), I can't say I have too many memories. Getting hit 3-1 at our place that same season was a big low point in our season, a game remembered very well for Marc Nygaard's ridiculous goal. Some people around me even stood to applaud.

Taarabt is a joy to watch when he's on it (unless you're on the receiving end), but in terms of all-time it's hard to look past a player like Sir Les. We have fond memories of him from the season he had with us towards the end of his career, and I respect him as a man a great deal.

As for Neil Warnock, what is there to say that hasn't already been said? I actually like the bloke to tell you the truth, his post-match antics are always entertaining. For me it's always refreshing to hear football personalities who speak their mind and don't patronise us with all the usual cliché-ridden rubbish. He's proven himself to get results on the pitch on several occasions, and for that I have respect for him. Sometimes he can be a tool, but on the whole I have few problems with him.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

For the away day it will bring, absolutely. But on the pitch? When you've not won a couple, need a win and have Norwich the following game, hell no. Last season produced two of our best performances of the season (2-1 at Loftus Road, 4-0 at the Walkers), but times have changed so much since.


I'll plump for a 1-1 draw.

Where, realistically, do you think Leicester will be in five years time?

There's absolutely no reason that we can't be in the Premier League, provided things are dealt with efficiently at the top. I don't believe we'll get promoted this year, but things are set up for a cracking season next year if we can continue as we have been going recently. After that, who knows? Football changes so fast.

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

Before this season I would have argued that spending money is imperative, but Blackpool have virtually blown all my preconceptions out of the window. I still have no idea how they're doing it this year, and in truth I expect the bubble to burst at some point. But generally speaking, investment is usually necessary. A good goalkeeper is always hugely important, while experiences heads never go amiss. Keeping Warnock would be the best thing to do even if results don't go as planned - he's been there and done it before.

What one or two questions do you wish I had asked you (and how would you have responded?!)

I think that's everything covered!

Many thanks again to Vital Leicester's www.leicester.vitalfootball.co.uk Joe Brewin

QPR Report Interview: The Middlesbrough Perspective

February 25, 2011

The Middlesbrough Perspective

QPR Report Q&A Interview with Middlesbrough fan Robert Nichols

Robert Nichols runs www.fansonline.net/middlesbrough fmttm.com/fly me to the moon (FMTTM) and is director of fansonline - independent fans site network www.fansonline.net


Starting simply: How long have you supported Middlesbrough? And how long have you been involved with the Website? How did you get to be the editor?

I've supported Boro since I was a young un. My dad got my brother and me season tickets with him back in 1975 when we had just been promoted to the top flight under Jack Charlton. Though would you believe my brother later defected to another team for a while. Guess who? QPR.

I took over Fly Me To The Moon fanzine in 1994 and have been doing it for every league match since then. From that people twisted my arm to start a website and we did that in 1999 with a message board a year later that has really taken off, pardon the pun. Fortunately technically minded people did all the hard work. But Boro has been my hobby and job most of my life now I guess. Well worth it.

How do you get on with the other Middlesbrough fan sites: Are there any serious inter-board conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

There aren't any other paper fanzines anymore but there are one or two other websites. For a time I was working with comeonboro when the Rivals network exploded but mostly I just do my own thing. The more sites the merrier I guess. Hopefully people know I'm at all the games, last missed one in 1999 so I'm speaking from the heart and the head. You might not agree with me but at least I saw the game it with my own eyes.

Do Middlesbrough have one (or two) special rivals? Is it an equal two-way rivalry? (I'm assuming it's Sunderland and Newcastle)? Which ranks higher?

Yes Sunderland and Newcastle are our main rivals though not according
to them. I always feel they protest too loudly about this. It depends who is in our league as to who the biggest rivals are. When I was a kid Leeds were the big rivals, we were in Yorkshire in those days and Leeds were this massive club still. Now we are down in the Championship that Boro v Leeds rivalrly has returned again.

What do you think of your current manager? What did you think of his predecessors such as Southgate. For a while you were very loyal after a fair amount of turmoil!

We couldn't have a better manager than Tony Mowbray - he was our captain colossus when we nearly went into liquidation and led us from the brink to the top flight. But he also a manager with a football philosophy, a deep thinker about the game, a local lad that cares, someone to truly believe in and Fmttm - Fly Me To The Moon is named after a statement made by late 80s Boro boss Bruce Rioch saying if he had to go the moon he wanted Mowbray by his side. Thats the way we all se it now. Mowbray has come back to guide the club through challenging times and hopefully a rebirth again someday soon.

Looking back I don't have much time for Gordon Strachan - I feel I was taken in and hoodwinked by his experience and battle plan. It seemed convincing but was so badly misguided, filling the team with expensively waged players from the SPL it has left us in a real mess. I think he has got off lightly with the fans. By contrast I think Gareth Southgate has had a far rougher ride than he ought to have had.

A rookie manager given no guidance and ordered to cut the wage bill year in year out. He was on a hiding to nothing. As a club captain that lifted our first ever silverware, as a gentleman and someone that thinks and cares deeply I greatly admire Gareth Southgate and wish him well in his career.

What do you think of the current Middlesbrough Owners? WHY are they involved? (Your Chairman Gibson, seems great - especially in comparison to some other clubs)What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

Steve Gibson is getting a rough ride by many fans at the moment but that is the reality of relegation and suddenly having to drastically down size as a club, you are not going to be thanked or praised. At the moment many are screaming at him to back the manager more or come out and make some public statement but I think he realises now is the time to let the manager and the team do the talking and then in the summer we recharge.

I think we are very lucky to still have a local chairman and manager and many local players all still in touch with the community and knowing what it is all about. There are very few football clubs like that these days. We could be unique in fact. I'm very thankful indeed.

How do you think Middlesbrough treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

Personally I think the treatment of the fans by the club has undergone something of a revolution in recent times. I think it is very difficult times because we are struggling on the pitch and off it and that often masks what is actually a pretty close relationship now. We have fan forums that come up with ideas and help make decisions from the food we eat to the music we listen to. Today I've just got back from VIP guided tours for the half term hols. Kids and parents can go round the ground behind the scenes and meet players and ask them questions etc. It was sold out.

But generally there is a lot of dialogue between fans and the club which has to be good. Nothing is perfect and it becomes twice as hard when the club is struggling but they generally try very hard with supporters. The chairman always describes himself as merely a custodian of the club and looking after it for the fans.

You are presumably a little - more than a little - disappointed with how Middlesbrough are doing this season. But in you heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season?

We were favourites for promotion if you recall. We gambled all the parachute payments on one big push and it failed spectacularly. I think with hindsight we could see the manager's plans had unravelled very early in the season and maybe the game at Loftus Road was a last chance to show if we still had it in us. But the decision to release two left backs and instead play a midfielder in Barry Robson in the role was our undoing in the game and pointed to one of Gordon Strachan's big weaknesses in his year at the club. His decision making was poor and appeared flawed by his personal hunches and grudges. He wasn't a popular man by the time he left, he almost totally failed to connect with fans or media and at a heart of the community club that was fatal.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Well we have lost most of our names now but sadly not the big salaries. Nicky Bailey puts in a mega shift anchoring the midfield and has risen from scapegoat to fans favourite in half a season. Marvin Emnes promises to bring goals to his speed and skillful forward play. New signing Merouane Zemmama looks capable of having the vision to unlock the potential of the forwards. But the two outstanding prospects at the moment are England Under 21 graduates Jason Steele (keeper) and Joe Bennett left back - they could go all the way to the top. Strachan wanted to sell Bennett for £200 000!!!

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction?

I was miles off I thought Pompey would go down and Hull because I thought they would both be crippled financially. Not sure whether it is luck or prudence that has stopped this. I did think Scun.thorpe would struggle and they Preston and Sheff U look likely to go down.

Going up I would have thought QPR and Cardiff are too strong not to I take Swansea to win the play offs because they play superb football and I think they now have more cutting edge. Forest and Leicester could have other ideas though. Both could end up going up.

What is your view and the general Middlesbrough view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)? 25 Years ago, we had the famous come from 0-4 down to draw 5-5 at QPR under Jackie Charlton's Middlesbrough. [sic/update: As has subsequently been pointed out, it was Charlton's Newcastle NOT Middlesbrough that was the 5-5 result!] I remember QPR getting smashed 6-2 at Middlesbrough after being 2-0 in first five minutes. I think a John Hickton hatrick.

My view on QPR is based on years gone by when you had great entertainers - Bowles, Marsh, Thomas, then Currie etc and even Ferdinand. You were great to watch and phenomenal that year you finished 2nd in the league.

Yep that is right we have had some great clashes over the years. I remember you beating us 6-0 on the plastic pitch on Match of the Day - Malcolm Allison was our manager and his total football philosophy saw him play centre forward Dave Shearer at right back and he was taken to the cleaners. Half way through the game he chased the ball into the stand and took a breather sitting on the seats.

With my brother having followed QPR at one time there was a bit ofrivalrly in our house. But we both actually went to Wembley, our first time, to stand behind the goal in the drawn FA Cup final with Spurs. Tony Currie was sublime that day anchoring the midfield.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR- Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?

Sorry I answered some of this above didn't I? But favourite players would be Stan Bowles probably a superb player. I also loved watching Dave Thomas dance down the wing, he later joined Boro and it was a privilege to watch his skills.

Neil Warnock - love to hate him - but actually he is a very good manager indeed. We first came across him when he took Notts County and not us up through the play offs to the top flight many years ago. Not sure I would want to be a 4th official when he comes to town but he knows all about getting out of this league.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

Yep certainly am - it will be great to go up against the top in the league. It seems to bring the best out of us, we beat Cardiff not long ago and were very unlucky v Leeds and Norwich. Looking forward to a good contest.

SCORE PREDICTION for Middlesbrough-QPR?

I think it will be a good game but I take us to win 2-1 - we can draw on the belief from fighting back from behind v Millwall last week.

Where, realistically, do you think Middlesbrough will be in five years time?

I hope we are back in the Premier league and challenging for Europe again. I feel it is possible. Even in these dark times.

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

You should definitely keep the manager and the players - guard against alienating the promotion players by making them feel 2nd class to a new group coming in. Blackpool are doing it the correct way - sticking to their principles and slowly adding ability and strength to the squad. Patience is what it is all about first season up and slowly building. Big change can see you going down as rapidly as you come up - even if you have got masses of financial backing. Oh and the fans need to get used to expensive away trips and to matches being rearranged on a whim for tv. You probably have that already.

What one or two questions do you wish I had asked you (and how would you have responded?!)

You've done well enough I think. We are in a kind of limbo at the moment hoping we can stay up this season before massively pruning the wage bill in summer - then we can try and kick on again. Looking forward to the game and hope we can turn you over.

Many many thanks to Middlesbrough's Robert Nichols of www.fansonline.net/middlesbrough Fly me To the Moon (FMTTM) and director of fansonline - independent fans site network

QPR Report Interview: The Ipswich Perspective

February 21, 2011 - IPSWICH

Darren Campbell, Editor of Vital Ipswich Town, www.ipswich.vitalfootball.co.uk has very kindly agreed to respond to some questions and offer his assessment of Ipswich Town. It is greatly appreciated.

Q&A With VITAL IPSWICH TOWN's www.ipswich.vitalfootball.co.uk DARREN CAMPBELL

Starting simply: How long have you supported Ipswich? And how long have you been involved with the Vital Ipswich Website? How did you get to be the editor?

I'm actually from the Midlands, but I've been an Ipswich Town fan since the summer of 2002. Essentially I was something of a latecomer to football but I found myself drawn into the game by the fantastic underdog story at Town in 2000/01, when they defied all the odds to qualify for the UEFA Cup in their first season after promotion to the Premier League. After they got relegated the following season, I decided to keep following them.

I took over as editor of Vital Ipswich at the start of this season (late July 2010, to be precise). I had written articles for the previous editor a number of times over the past few years, but after he left the position last season, I decided to apply to the network for the role. So here I am!

How do you get on with the other Ipswich fan sites: Are there any serious inter-IpswichPreston Messageboard conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards!)?

Truthfully we don't have a great deal to do with other Town fansites, but there aren't really any serious conflicts either. TWTD is one of the most popular unofficial sites for Blues fans along with the likes of soon-to-be-scrapped BBC 606, but many of our members at Vital Ipswich have complained about becoming disenchanted with the overwhelmingly negative attitudes that a lot of people seem to spread around on other sites. That's often what being a fan is all about though - disagreeing about things!

Do Ipswich have one (or two) special rivals? Is it an equal two-way rivalry? (I'm assuming it's Norwich. And that Colchester don't factor in)

Well Norwich City has always been the big one - the 'Old Farm' Derby, as some like to call it. Many people on the outside don't take it seriously, but a study once rated it as the second-fiercest derby in English football. If you watched the horror of our 4-1 defeat at Carrow Road earlier in the season, you might understand just how much it means to both sides!

Colchester United and Southend United are sometimes referred to as our other 'East Anglian' rivals, but they are nothing compared to the bi-annual battle against the Budgies. Colchester's a funny one actually; geographically they are the closest professional team to Ipswich, and most U's fans are vehement about their rivalry with Town. Blues fans on the other hand generally couldn't care less about Colchester - I think it's because Town have historically spent so many seasons in a higher tier of the league than Colchester, compared to how much time we have spent battling in the same division with Norwich. As for Southend, well... if they keep slipping down the leagues, it'll be a long time before we play them again!!

What do you think of your current manager? What did you think of his predecessors? From Roy Keane all the way back to Bobby Robson? You've had so few compared to QPR!
Especially what did you think of Jim Magilton - who lasted just a short time at QPR (which really proves nothing). But he was accused of fighting with one of our players?

Given my time as a Town fan, I can't really speak for any managers before George Burley, and even then I only saw the tail end of what had been a very successful time for him at Portman Road. I remember the Joe Royle days very well though - he came in with us edging towards a second successive relegation and looking not too far from going out of business, but he more than steadied the ship. He used a shoestring budget and an entertaining brand of attacking football to take us to the playoffs in 2003/04 and the brink of automatic promotion in 2004/05, only to suffer playoff semi-final defeats to West Ham both years. With that, Royle's great team was ripped apart by Premier League vultures - Darren Bent, Shefki Kuqi, Tommy Miller, Kelvin Davis all moving on - and when he was dogged by a terrible injury crisis to see us finish 15th in 2005/06, he left the club.

Frankly, no-one since has matched up to Royle's standards. Jim Magilton cut his managerial teeth with us and did well to rebuild the team over the next two years until we finished a point off the playoffs in 2007/08. Despite being boosted by Marcus Evans' takeover of the club however, he simply couldn't build upon it in a frustrating 2008/09 season and we finished 9th. The fans became heavily divided over whether he was really good enough to take us any further and he was eventually given his marching orders in rather unceremonial fashion over the phone by new chief executive Simon Clegg. Jim might not have been the best manager in the world, but after 7 years as a player and then 3 years doing not half bad in the hotseat at Portman Road, he really didn't deserve that. It looked as though he would have the last laugh when your boys seemed to be doing well under him for a while, but then came that infamous Akos Buszaky incident. Admittedly Jim was always quiet a fiery character, but I don't know about all that.

I think after three years with a fresh-faced manager that lacked much profile in the game, the new guys at the top thought they needed a big name to go with our money. Whatever Town thought of Magilton though, they really picked a turkey in Roy Keane. He sure brought us attention, but he also brought us closer to League One than ever before. I'd never seen us in a relegation battle until Keane showed up, and we scraped out of one last season only to waste a good start and plunge right back into another one this year. So much promise, so little delivered.

So that brings us to Jewell. The early signs are good - we're winning games again, and more importantly, we're scoring goals again, like we used to under Royle. If he can keep that up, we're certainly heading in the right direction.

What do you think of the current Ipswich Owners? WHY are they involved with Ipswich? (Ipswich have a strong reputation for board and managerial stability and dignity).
What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

It's hard to know what to make of Marcus Evans and Simon Clegg. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Ipswich Town forever owes Evans for bailing us out of financial difficulty (over £35m of debt, in fact), but money hasn't really improved Town, and we seemed to be so much hungrier in those penny-squeezing days under Royle. That being said, money talks in the modern game, and I'm not sure where we'd be without it now.

We recently ran a poll on Vital Ipswich over whether the fans supported the owners, and they actually came out with a 75% approval rating. That's somewhat surprising considering the lack of return in football terms since they took over. It's also surprising given some considerable ill-feeling towards them when they couldn't agree terms to sign Charlie Austin from Swindon Town, even though Ipswich have desperately needed a proper goalscorer since Bent and Kuqi left. Indeed, Keane often complained that they weren't getting deals done despite his best efforts to bring in quality signings. I don't know all the ins and outs of it but clearly there is quite a strict system in place as far as finances go at Portman Road. That's probably for the best and they presumably know what they're doing, but one still hopes that they'll give Jewell the backing that he deserves when it comes to the crunch. At the minute, I have my doubts.

How do you think Ipswich treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

Ipswich has always been a family and community club, and I wouldn't say the fans are treated badly by any means. Certainly as a non-season ticket holder, I very much appreciate how the club rewards those that do travel to more games with higher ticket priority for the most in-demand fixtures.

I think money has changed things at Portman Road in recent times though, and not for the better. The biggest complaint is ticket prices. One only has to look at how average home attendances have recently slipped to around 19,000 at best to know that Keane's era had a negative effect in many ways. His arrival sparked a rise in ticket prices - upwards of £30 in many cases - but rather than fans being rewarded accordingly with top-class entertainment, the results and the standard of football have gotten so much worse than they were before. When you've got away fans saying "cor, your ticket prices are a ripoff!", frankly it's embarrassing when you simply cannot argue with them. Even more so given that I only had to pay £10 for a nice padded seat at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium to watch our Carling Cup semi-final last month...!

You are presumably a little disappointed with how Ipswich are doing this season. But in you heart of hearts, what were you expecting pre-season?

I'm disappointed, but not overly surprised. Last season was such a disaster that I found it very unlikely that we would be jumping into a promotion push this year. At the start of the season I predicted that we would finish this campaign in 10th place - I thought I might have judged us a little harshly after we started so well, but lo and behold, they couldn't keep it up, and now my prediction is looking like a challenge. Admittedly Jewell has inspired an impressive turnaround, but the playoffs look ridiculously ambitious for us this season. I think really it's a case of drawing a line under the failure that was the Roy Keane era and provided we stay up this year - which I'm much more confident about us doing now than I was at the start of 2011 - we'll hopefully have something more to get excited about next season. One can dream, anyway...

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Well you probably already know about Connor Wickham - he's the one grabbing all the headlines at the moment, particularly after his hat-trick against Doncaster Rovers last week. So far he's scored 11 goals in less than two seasons at Portman Road and he's still only 17 years old, and as he continues to make his way up the ranks with the England youth teams, there's plenty that have tipped him to be 'the next Wayne Rooney'. I think that's pretty fanciful myself at the moment - he's very talented for his age but he has a long way to go before he is the finished product. Though at 6ft 3in tall, perhaps 'the next Peter Crouch' is more fitting...!

In my opinion, I think our best quality player at the moment has to be David Norris. I never used to be that impressed with him, but in the past two seasons, he's proven to be one of the most reliable performers in our team. This year in particular, he's put in a lot of dominant displays, taken over as club captain and netted a surprising 9 goals from midfield in all competitions - our joint-leading scorer as it stands. He's out of contract in the summer though, so we're facing a bit of a fight to keep him. Gareth McAuley has also become a fans' favourite in recent times; he's probably our best defender at the moment, though he's out of contract this summer too.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction?

Your boys have been up there all year and I'd be astonished if you didn't go up at the end of the season. Nottingham Forest are on a great run and I think Cardiff City are well overdue promotion now, though I still think Leicester City are the real dark horses - they're having a season very reminiscent of Crystal Palace in 2003/04, and we all know what happened then...!

I do predictions of the entire Championship table before every season and the top six isn't too far removed from what I thought, particularly where you, Forest and Cardiff are concerned. I did originally tip Middlesbrough to win the title though. (Oops...!)

At the bottom, I find it hard to see a way out for Preston North End and Sc**thorpe United. The other slot is tougher to predict - Sheffield United are a shadow of what they once were and Bristol City have been pretty awful, but after scraping survival last year, I think this might be Crystal Palace's turn to drop. That's not exactly what I saw coming though - Sc**thorpe wouldn't be a shock, but I had Millwall down there at the start of the campaign and they've been a real surprise package, as have all the promoted League One teams. If you want to know who else I originally tipped to go down, I actually said Derby County - it seemed a long shot when they were soaring in the autumn, but now it doesn't seem so far fetched!

What is your view and the general Ipswich view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)? Over the years: a few shared players and coaches (Frank Clarke, Delaney, Priskin,Alan Brazil, David Kerslake, Chris Kiwomya Paul Goddard, Jim Magilton). I remember back to 1967/68 when QPR were promoted as runners up to Ipswich (beating Blackpool on goal difference!) And Ipswich were our first (one of four) wins in the 68/69 season. In the early/mid 1970s, Ipswich and QPR were two of the smaller teams playing great football in the First Division...And basically I always felt it was such a shame when under Robson you just failed to win the Title. Great manager

I can't really speak for other Ipswich fans, or much about our shared history with QPR, but right now I think you're just achieving what you should have done a while ago. All that money didn't seem to be bringing much of an end product (a bit like us, I suppose) but you've found a journeyman manager in Neil Warnock who has the experience and has done it all before, so now it looks like it is finally coming together. If you do go up, you've got the funding to make a success of it in the Premier League, and not a bad squad either. In particular, you seem to have a real tornado of a talent in Adel Taarabt - it always struck me how we signed Giovani Dos Santos on loan from Tottenham at around the same time as you brought Taarabt in, but you showed the ambition to keep your man; we didn't.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past QPR-Ipswich Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?

I've already given some assessment of Warnock as a manager, but I should probably refrain from telling you what I think of him as a personality - I used to like him but I got tired of his constant referee-bashing after a while, and suffice to say there's that rather popular crude anagram of his name that I do find rather amusing...!

Player-wise, my late inception into the world of football fanaticism means that he is a little before my time, but Les Ferdinand is a legend of the game, pure and simple. I'll never forget Trevor Sinclair's bicycle kick either!

I can recall a few memorable encounters between QPR and Ipswich in recent years. One that sticks out was when our new signing Darren Currie was the hero as we won a 4-2 cracker at Loftus Road back in 2005. Your 3-0 win at Portman Road this season will stick in the memory too, though for all the wrong reasons...!

I've only ever been to Loftus Road once myself in February 2009, but I won't forget it in a hurry - we went behind early but came back with two absolutely cracking goals from Pablo Counago and Jon Walters and walked away with a 3-1 win. I had special cause to enjoy it too - it was my 21st Birthday!

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

Yes, albeit with a realistic sense of dread...(!) I'll be travelling to Loftus Road on Tuesday and I am looking forward to it - your boys have shown some real quality this season and it'll be good to see them in action, though I'm also hoping we can give you a good game given how we have improved under Jewell. Having watched us draw against Hull at Portman Road on Saturday though, I'm not particularly optimistic about our chances right now!


Heh! Oh dear... I shouldn't say it, but even in our current form, I don't think we'll be much of a match for you. Pessimist or realist, I'll say QPR 3-0 Ipswich.

Where, realistically, do you think Ipswich will be in five years time?

Right now, given a tumultuous couple of years at the club, it's very hard to make that kind of prediction. I'd like to think that we can eventually get our act together - hopefully under Jewell - and win promotion to the Premier League at some point in the next five years. That seems a realistic enough target, but in truth, I reckon we might have been promoted and relegated again by then - and as such, we'll probably be exactly where we are right now!!

Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)

I think patience is the key. The danger I see with QPR is expectations could get the better of you - if you do get promoted, the focus needs to remain on staying in the Premier League, and that goes beyond just your first season. Too many clubs can stay up the first time and then suffer from 'Difficult Second Season Syndrome'; Wolves seem to be doing it, Reading did it before them, and of course, we did it in 2002 when we overextended ourselves. With the money at your disposal, it could be all too easy to get carried away with one good season in the Premier League and then set overly ambitious targets, or spend money on stadium improvements...!

Above all else, just don't go chopping and changing the manager willy nilly again. I think the past few years has shown the harm that can do and if recent examples are anything to go by, that kind of impatience is a sure fire route to relegation from the Premier League. Consolidate with what you've got and you could go a long way.

Very many thanks to Vital Ipswich's www.ipswich.vitalfootball.co.uk
Darren Campbell for offering this great assessment. And very best of luck to Ipswich Town (after of course, the QPR-Ipswich game!)
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"I would like to thank you for all your time and efforts that you put into QPR. I think you are doing something useful and informative for the club and the supporters." QPR FC Chairman Gianni Paladini to QPR Report