Lofty Heights... 'Ohhh Bobby Zamooooora!!!'

A look at Queens Park Rangers F.C. through the eyes of the fans - follow us on twitter @loftyheights70, @LoftyQPR and @qprleeroy

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Caulker of a Performance Un-Dunne by Lucky Liverpool....

We were the subject of more Sky camera attention as Liverpool made the trip from the North West to Loftus Road in the early Super Sunday kick off.

Jess, Sam and myself left early in order to get some lunch in before meeting Lofty and PK in the usual place outside the ground for a pre-match catch up after the two week break. Jenson chose to not come to the game today after winning tickets to see Al Murray in Bath tonight, no-one could could blame him for not wanting to attend.
We were all dreading the game as any team out of sorts, like Liverpool, always relish playing against us as we've often been an easy target. A terrible performance against West Ham before the International break has left many of the fans dreading what could potentially happen, however what was going to be more important from my perspective was the performance regardless of the result, if a decent performance was on show today then we could all start to believe more in the team and the manager going forward as the passion, belief and determination from last years 'Band of Brothers' has not been present in recent weeks.

When the team has came out at 12.30 there were a few surprises initially until we found out the reasons why they were made.
Alex McCarthy came in for Rob Green who was suffering from flu/tonsillitis. Rio Ferdinand missed out after nursing a groin injury/wrist injury from his numerous book signings this week. We also saw Karl Henry, Bobby Zamora and Yun come in as the R's looked to freshen things up after a slow start to the season.

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What was evident from the kick off that we were not playing the 3-5-2 in the image above, instead Onuoha in at right back as Isla played more advanced on the right wing and attempting to pin Enrique back and stop him charging down the left wing as he likes to do. Fer played on the left of the midfield four.
Within two minutes the R's created the first half chance as Zamora nodded the ball back to Austin before the R's number 9 blasted well over.
A Liverpool of old start the game very quickly, however they allowed us to maintain possession very easily and put very little pressure on the midfield and instead opted to rely on the pace of the counter attack with Sterling, Lallana and Ballotelli and this helped the R's settle into their stride and win the battle in the middle of the pitch.
What shocked us even more was that from the first minute we saw Redknapp on the touchline barking out orders throughout the half.
Rangers' had a huge chance to open the scoring on the ten minute mark after Austin closed down Johnson before getting a lucky ricochet off Skrtel to put him one on one with Mignolet and his finish was parried back to Austin and his follow up was put in the side netting after being off balance.
The confidence was clearly growing as the R's continued to look like the only team likely to scoreand they nearly did when another glorious chance went begging.
Isla done well to keep the ball in play on the halfway line before releasing Zamora down the right hand side who drove into the penalty area before pulling the ball back to Fer, who from 8 yards out and the whole of the left of the goal to place the ball, fired the ball onto the top of the crossbar and over! A glaring miss!!
Five minutes later that man Zamora exquisitely turned on the edge of the box before crossing to Fer, who beat Mignolet to the ball only to see his header hit the bar once again and Austin's follow up was blocked by Johnson. How were we not at least a goal or two up I never know!!
Just before the break Gerrard had a small breakaway as Caulker insisted on backing off the Liverpool captain despite not having the ball in any sort of control before sidefooting the ball just wide of McCarthy's far post.
Liverpool had one shot on target throughout the first half and McCarthy could've popped to McDonald's during the opening 45 minutes and no-one would've noticed! However we had only hit the target once but hit the bar twice!

A fantastic first half performance from the R's, the passion and determination that has been missing had come back and gave the home crowd a massive lift! It was a relief to see that effort and heart back on the pitch once again, however would we be made to pay for missing the chances we had. It was also good to see Caulker and Dunne looking like an organised unit and Dunne having Ballotelli well and truly in his back pocket.

Unfortunately Onuoha had to come off during the half time interval with what looked like a groin/hamstring injury. Matt Phillips replaced him as Isla slotting back into the familiar right back position.
Rangers' lost some of the intensity of the first half during the opening exchanges of the second half as the opening fifteen minutes were more of a stalemate, however with Gerrard dropping to a more familiar deeper role in the Liverpool midfield they did begin to get more of a foothold on the game and got more possession whilst looking more of a threat in the attacking third despite having to carry Ballotelli throughout.
On the hour mark Sandro made his customary exit through injury as he was replaced by Armand Traore.
Shortly after the change Liverpool broke away through Sterling before Lallana forced McCarthy to make a fantastic save before Ballotelli picked up the rebound with an open goal in front of him...... only to blast the ball over the bar! Let off!!
Minutes later Liverpool took the lead.
Sterling won a very cheap free kick after falling over after little contact by Traore. Liverpool were smart enough to take the free kick quickly as the R's defence fell asleep and Johnson's quick run saw him receive the pass from Sterling before John then squared it only for Dunne to turn it into his own net! This was the only way Liverpool looked like scoring in the game and just about sums our luck up!
On 77 minutes Bobby Zamora made way for Vargas after a brilliant performance leading the line and being a true leader as captain throughout the game.
Within six minutes Vargas made his impact.
Isla's free kick was cleared to Vargas who crossed for Austin, who headed the ball back across goal for Vargas who continued his run and slotted home from close range to get his first goal since joining on loan from Napoli.
Loftus Road lifted and the belief was there once again as the players again took it up a notch as they looked for the winner.
Rangers' were inches from getting that second goal after Austin and Vargas combined before Austin's cross was headed across goal by Caulker towards Vargas and if Skrtel had not got his toe on it then the Chilean would've headed home from close range.
From the resulting corner Liverpool broke away with Sterling, Henry could and should've fouled Sterling to break the play up, however with him already being on a yellow card he opted to allowed Sterling to run by before passing to Gerrard and then Coutinho, who took aim from just inside the penalty area and the shot took a deflection off Caulker, which ultimately beat McCarthy to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
Despite the set back come in the 90th minute no-one stopped believing and Rangers' almost immediately won a corner on the left side.
Fer's centre was met at the near post by Vargas and his header somehow found it's way in at the near post! What a finish to the game!!!

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Straight from the kick off Liverpool hit the attack and Ballotelli tried to cleverly back flick the ball over McCarthy but saw his effort go just wide.
The R's then won a free kick that was easily cleared by Liverpool as they broke away through Coutinho and then Sterling and as Sterling tried to square to Ballotelli, Caulker caught his feet in a tangle and saw the ball fly into the back of the net...... how's your luck??!

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A great game for the neutral to watch, however the ending is an absolute sickener! Two own goals and a deflected goal, Liverpool must feel like they've won the lottery this evening, a complete mugging!
This was easily the R's best performance of the season yet could not take the first half chance created and instead were left ruing what utter bad luck we have seen today.
There were some brilliant performances out there today with Isla having his best game by far in the first half on the right wing and Phillips just could not produce anything like that committed performance in the second half as we lost the edge on that right hand side. The midfield pair of Sandro and Henry won the midfield battle for 60 minutes and were the driving force behind a hard working performance. Austin and Zamora were immense against Lovren and Skrtel and even when Zamora departed little Edu Vargas continued that hard work and picked up his two goals in brilliant fashion.

Onto our Man of the Match. It has been quite an easy one for us today despite so many good performances out there today. Luke picked out Isla as the rest of the gang voted for our inspirational captain Bobby Zamora. He was fantastic today and lead from the front extremely well whilst also being a clear leader on the pitch, talking to the players throughout and motivating them, who'd of thought we would seen that 12 months ago?

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Next Monday we host Aston Villa in front of the Sky cameras once again! I will return with the report on Tuesday.
Here's to hoping we see a similar performance but a better result next time out!!

Keep the Faith!

Sunday, October 05, 2014


Today the R's 'enjoyed' their second London derby of the season as they took to the short trip across to East London as we visit Upton Park to take on Sam Allardyce's West Ham.

There was an early start for many of the R's faithful as they walked the 14 miles from Loftus Road to Upton Park in a support of the Tiger Cubs, a fantastic project that the QPR in the Community Trust support extremely well. A great showing and well done to all those involved in taking part for this fantastic cause.

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We had no-one in East London representing Lofty Heights this afternoon as Jenson was still sunning himself in Cyprus and the remainder of us unwilling to pay the £43 for a Sunday 4:15 kick off with a crap view, especially with the away performances we've seen this season!

Redknapp made three changes to the side that narrowly lost at Southampton last week with Onuoha, Henry and Hoilett coming in for Isla, Phillips and Vargas.

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Within four minutes the play for a 0-0 tactic was thrown out the window as the hosts opened the scoring from the first corner of the game.
Valencia seemingly handballed the cross, whilst he was being tugged by Austin, as the ball made it's way through to Sahko at the back post who was pressuring Onuoha before the Chief inadvertently bundled the ball past a static Green in the R's goal. Only Green appealed for the infringement as the rest of the team dropped their heads with a further 86 minutes of spineless effort lay in front of us.
Austin had the only shot on target mid way through the half as he done superbly well to turn Tomkins before shooting straight at Adrian.

West Ham comfortably went into half time a goal up with the R's looking clueless as to what the game plan actually was once we were a goal down, one can only assume that it was to keep the score down because that's exactly how we played.

Zamora came on for Hoilett as the second half resumed, leaving us with only Traore who can show any pace going forward as the rest casually jogged around earning their 'hard earned' weekly salary.
Zamora did make an impact in the opening ten minutes of the half, crossing for Austin who had beaten the two centre backs to the cross, only to see last seasons top scorer side foot it wide.
The spineless display continued as the R's lacked any ambition, any passion and any enthusiasm in all areas of the pitch, totally draining those who made the effort to attend of everything they had before sending us on our merry way.
West Ham did add to their tally with Sahko heading home from a yard after Tomkins mopped up a West Ham free kick, beating Ferdinand to the ball before finding Sahko totally unmarked at the far post as Caulker just stopped and watched him just nod into the empty net.

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The rest of the game was dull as West Ham cruised to a deserved victory and left us firmly at the bottom of the Premier League, the same position as Mark Hughes put us in during our last term in the Premier League and the same desire that was on show...... all too similar for us Rangers' fans.

The performance was dire and I can only pick out Traore for putting a half decent effort in today. It also says a lot when our makeshift right back has the most amount of shots for the team and actually looked the most threatening player during the final 20 minutes of the second half.
These away performances are all too similar at present, there's no ambition to take a game to a team that would struggle with the amount of pace our attacking players possess, yet we seem all too content to just sit back and allow teams to attack our fragile midfield and defence, we need to score at least two if we are going to win a game at the moment as we always look like conceding.
I think we are approaching that time when we have to question those that are in charge and whether the current management team is the right one to take us forward as the players clearly are not fighting for the manager right now and do not have a clear understanding as to what is expected of them for the 90+ minutes.
Redknapp out?? It might be the right time for it as we do not look like we could beat a sack of sh!te right now.

None of those players deserve the Man of the Match award today, instead those that completed the 14 mile walk from Loftus Road to West Ham deserve all the plaudits! It's a shame they were rewarded with such a spineless showing from Redknapp's men today.

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I will return after the International break as we have the un-enviable task of sitting through the visit of Liverpool, we all know what happened last time!!

Until then enjoy the two weeks off and having a weekend where we cannot be defeated!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

One 'Pelle' of a Winner..

Southampton 2-1 QPR

QPR's away day woes continued, however it was a much improved performance against a very much inform Southampton at St Marys this afternoon..

The trip to Southampton is certainly one of the easier ones of the season and just Jenson was missing today, still holidaying in sunny Cyprus. I was the first on the road and picked up PK, Sam and Luke in Burnham and had a trouble free journey to Winchester Services to meet up with Lee and Jess - and after arriving back in the Country in the early hours from their own holiday in Cyprus, arrived looking extremely well refreshed and extremely tanned, making the rest of us look like we had all been ill...

After a spot on lunch, the ease of the journey continued until we hit Southampton itself and along with PK's navigational skills, crawled towards the ground through the heavy traffic and arrived at around 2.15pm. We then joined the massive 3000 plus R's contingent in the Stadium and it was safe to say, we were all a bit concerned with how Rangers would set up for the game, following the previous disastrous away encounters.

As we climbed Mount Everest to get to our seats, much entertainment was provided by a female supporter sitting just in front of us with her husband, who was extremely vocal and expressive in her support for the team.. in honesty, it was sometimes annoying, but mainly entertaining, but you just couldn't knock the passion of her support.. good on you Girl!!!

Onto the game and it was no surprise that it was the Saints making all the early running, creating 3 good chances in the opening 5 minutes, included a deflected effort that struck the Rangers upright.

After losing Sandro to a head injury, Southampton continued to pile the pressure on but were finding Rob Green in fine form in the R's goal. It wasn't until the 36th minute for the R;s first effort on goal, but Phillips sadly shot high and wide. But Rangers confidence was growing after surviving the Saints onslaught and some good work from Vargas, found Austin who dinked an effort just wide just before the break.

It's safe to say that we were all much more encouraged by the fact that at half time, the game was far from over as we had a drink on the concourse.

Onto the 2nd half and on 54 minutes, Southampton took the lead - Tadic's wayward cross from the right evaded everyone, but Mane kept chasing. he then completely wrong footed Isla and Phillips with a cheeky back heel for the oncoming Bertrand who found the net from a tight angle. I am sure the excellent Rob Green would feel he could have done better.

It was almost 2 minutes later when Tadic was denied by Green from close range but by now, Redknapp had made a change bringing on Hoilett for the again, ineffective, Phillips.. and it was Hoilett who was instrumental in bringing the R's level on 66 minutes - dribbling across the box before finding Vargas on the right, who found Charlie Austin with his back to goal - the R's number 9 took one touch, swivelled 180 degress before firing home!! A superb goal which saw over 3000 R's fans go beserk and give the Saints fans to the left of us, plenty of stick!! Sam and Jess took the chance also to celebrate with the young lady in front of us!

But just two minutes later, they were giving it straight back - and what a goal it was too! Pelle controlled a knock down and then sent an acrobatic volley past Rob Green for the Saints to regain the lead.

The game was now going to from end to end with Rangers looking so much more threatening coming forward with Junior Hoilett on the pitch. Davis and Long went close for the home side with Austin and Fer having chances at the other end, before Niko Kranjcar's 30 yard free kick smacked the Southampton cross bar.

Queens Park Rangers

  • 01 Green
  • 03 Traore
  • 04 Caulker
  • 05 Ferdinand
  • 14 Isla
  • 07 Phillips (Hoilett - 58' )
  • 30 Sandro (Henry - 11' Booked )
  • 10 Fer
  • 24 Vargas (Zamora - 77' )
  • 09 Austin
  • 19 Kranjcar


  • 06 Hill
  • 12 McCarthy
  • 15 Onuoha
  • 20 Henry
  • 22 Dunne
  • 23 Hoilett
  • 25 Zamora
Man of the Match

The gang were certainly divided on this one but we do have an outright winner - myself singled out Armand Traore, with Sam and Luke picking out Leroy Fer. But with 3 votes from Lee, Jess and PK, for the second week running and with a bit of luck, would have been on the scoresheet again, todays winner is Niko Kranjcar.

Away Day Pie Rating

With being full up from lunch earlier, Lee took one for the team with this one and chose a Chicken Balti from the Pukka range - the feedback was that with Pukka you can't really go wrong but there were no thrills added, giving the Southampton Pies a rating of 7/10.

Well, despite defeat, I think many were encouraged with the R's performance, especially in the second half and after his showing, I think Hoilett has to be considered for a start next time out in place of Matt Phillips. Also, I singled out Isla for some criticism last week, but Lee pointed out yesterday something that I also went on to look at very closely. A lot of the criticism has also been pointed at Rio Ferdinand, but on several occasions yesterday, Steven Caulker was caught out going forward, leaving Isla to come back on cover him in central defence and the more we watched it, the more it was becoming a concern. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Nedum Onouha returns next week and it may well cause uproar of the place he may well take... we shall have to see..

We shall return next week to review another tough away trip, this time across London to West Ham..

Keep the Faith and Come on you R'ssssssssss!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Late Show from Niko...

QPR 2-2 Stoke

A superb, late free kick from Niko Kranjcar rescued a vital point for QPR in the lunchtime clash with Stoke, where Mark Hughes made his long awaited return to Loftus Road..

Following last weeks thumping at the Manchester United Love In Show, we were all hopeful of a much improved result and indeed, performance against a Stoke team who have got good results away from home so far this season. Myself, Jenson and PK met for a spot of breakfast at the Burger Van before kick off , but were a tad too late to be in time to welcome Hughes back off the coach. In fact, the whole Hughes was a bit low key all in all as the focus was of course, more importantly on the game itself. Let's face it, the Welshman's Ego hardly needs boosting any further. We caught up briefly with Sam, Luke, Zach and later, Lorna. Lee and Jess were absent today, holidaying but watching the game from sunny Cyprus, which is why you have me for this report!

Onto the game and let's be honest, even with a different Manager, a game against Stoke is never going to be one for the purists and so it panned out here. After all, it's still practically Pulis's team that Hughes is now taking the credit for. What is also needed for this fixture is a strong referee, which sadly, was very lacking. Very much so to when Stoke went in front on 11 minutes despite a positive start from Rangers - Moses beat Isla all to easily and crossed the ball in for Peter Crouch who literally planted Rio Ferdinand two foot into the turf before heading across to Diouf who made no mistake. A certain foul which was somehow missed by the referee and his assistant..

Rangers pressed for an equaliser but Stoke were breaking very quickly at times, only the wrong decisions or final ball letting them down. Kranjcar went close from long range later in the half but 3 minutes before the break, Rangers found their way through - Mutch's corner found Caulker who got the better of Shawcross and who's header was helped over the line by former Ranger, Peter Crouch.

With some problems on the work front filtering through to me, I stayed in my seat for the half time break and was becoming confident that now we had made the breakthrough, we could go on and gain another valuable victory.

But we were dealt a second blow shortly after the break, following Joey Barton's departure through injury in the first half, fellow hamstring victim, Jordan Mutch left the field on 50 minutes. A minute later, the bad news continued when Isla was muscled off the ball again, far to easily, by Moses who pulled the ball back to Crouch, leaving Ferdinand wrong footed before blasting home against his old club.

Again, Rangers had it all to do again and despite the setbacks, pushed hard in the second half. A succession of 3 corners at the Loft End had the home fans screaming in anger as at each corner, Shawcross practically molested Steven Caulker on each occasion and on each occasion, went unpunished.

But Rangers got their reward with two minutes left when Kranjcar, who literally got kicked to bits all afternoon, was brought down on the edge of the box by Sidwell, the Croation playmaker stepped up and curled a delicious free kick into the top corner. Truly uinstoppable and a point that was just about deserved by Rangers..

Queens Park Rangers

  • 01 Green
  • 05 Ferdinand
  • 03 Traore Booked
  • 04 Caulker
  • 14 Isla
  • 17 Mutch (Henry - 50' )
  • 19 Kranjcar
  • 08 Barton (Phillips - 34' )
  • 10 Fer Booked
  • 24 Vargas (Zamora - 70' )
  • 09 Austin


  • 07 Phillips
  • 12 McCarthy
  • 15 Onuoha
  • 20 Henry
  • 22 Dunne
  • 23 Hoilett
  • 25 Zamora
 Man of the Match - completely and utterly unanimous from us all, even with the late votes coming in from Cyprus and after mentions for Fer and Traore, todays worthy winner is Niko Kranjcar.

Well, a point was pleasing today after coming back twice from behind to earn it. Pleasing also that Rangers kept battling on to the end and showed plenty of character, that was sadly lacking at Old Trafford last week.

On the downside, I have to express some disappointment in Mauricio Isla who was badly at fault for both goals today. Now, he has shown that he has plenty of pace, but he rarely ventures forward which is baffling, making the decision to sell Danny Simpson just as baffling, as he has no real direct competition for his place. Early days though...

I'm not sure if Lee is going to return the favour next week or not at this stage, but whichever way, we will be back to review Rangers visit to St Marys to take on Southampton for our first of an away double header...

Keep the Faith and Come on you R'ssssssssss!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another Away Di-saster for QPR..

Man United 4-0 QPR

QPR turned in another away day nightmare, as a new look Man United comfortably claimed their first win of the season at Old Trafford this afternoon.

Unfortunately, there was no LH representation in Manchester this afternoon, as we all collectively, and stuck to our guns by simply refusing to pay a massive £46 for a live TV game, as well as the impending Motorway madness that was predicted a week or so ago, with the M6 pretty much screwed for the majority of the Old Trafford crowd travelling back to the South after the game.

I must say, I have not been looking forward to these notes since the final whistle and now some hours later, I am still absolutely furious! Anyway, so the TV it was today, or should I say a total Man United 'Love Fest'. As far as the TV and media were concerned, their was only one team playing today and their were to be many of their very expensive new recruits on display.

I tuned in at 3.30 and apart from a brief, minute long interview with Harry Redknapp, it was the Manchester United show!

Unusually, Rangers chose to wear their all white 3rd choice kit today instead of the blue and white hoops.. well, we may as well have carried a white flag out with it!! If I was to cut and paste the Spurs report from a few weeks back and just changed a few names, I'm sure not a lot of people would notice the difference.

Well, I assume we all saw the match so I am not going to put everyone through the pain again, but up until Di Maria's cross that went in, we weren't doing that bad at all.. nothing as an attacking threat, but defending well enough. Bu Herrera and Rooney put the game out of sight before half time, before Mata made it four on the hour with embarrassing ease. Thankfully, United took their foot of the gas a little and introduced Falcao to the crowd with just over 20 minutes to go. Only a save close range from Rob Green prevented a debut goal. With Traore on in the second half, it was much improved from Rangers, but we should have got at that suspect defence long before the second half.

In keeping with the weekends Man United 'athon', I will this week post their line up from the day, instead of our own... because as mentioned, the media suggested their was only one team playing today and sadly after today's showing, I think they were right...

Manchester United

  • 01 de Gea
  • 06 Evans
  • 02 Rafael (A Valencia - 67' )
  • 05 Rojo
  • 42 Blackett
  • 08 Mata (Falcao - 67' )
  • 07 Di María (Januzaj - 82' )
  • 17 Blind
  • 21 Herrera
  • 20 van Persie Booked
  • 10 Rooney


  • 03 Shaw
  • 09 Falcao
  • 11 Januzaj
  • 13 Lindegaard
  • 24 Fletcher
  • 25 A Valencia
  • 44 Pereira
Man of the Match

..for the 2nd time this season, I have refused any nominations, but again, keeping with the TOTAL  Man United 'Love In' Weekend theme, todays award goes to Angel Di Maria for a fine home debut.

It was obvious that we have learned nothing from the Spurs defeat. As QPR supporters, we can take defeat and the occasional thumping, but to go away from home and not even have a go makes this extremely frustrating. I only hope this is addressed as more beltings will surely be coming our way..

With Lee and Jess shortly off on their holidays, I will return next weekend following the visit of Stoke and that bloke who manages them now...

As always, Keep the Faith and Come on you R'ssssssssssssss!!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Transfer Deadline Madness Finally Comes To An End.....

Transfer Deadline Day was it's usual manic self at Loftus Road during the course of today with numerous rumours coming out all day but once the window was closed we can be very happy with the business that has been conducted.

With all the rumours around Defoe, Borini failing to agree terms with the club after a few hours of negotiations.

The first signing came at around 9pm as Tottenham defensive midfielder Sandro moved from North to West London in a £6 million fee and signs a three year deal.

Sandro spoke to the Official QPR Website -

He will wear the number 30 shirt.

“I like new challenges and this is one I’m really looking forward to. Working with Harry again, who I share a great relationship with, is very special to me.
“Football is in my heart and I’m very happy at this moment. I’m very pleased to be here and I’m looking forward to meeting my team-mates.
“I had a good relationship with the fans at Tottenham Hotspur and I will try my hardest to get the QPR fans to like me.
“I will give everything on the pitch and fight for every minute. I’m ready and raring to go.”

He will wear the number 30 shirt.

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The second signing was the return of Niko Kranjcar as he signed on a season long loan from Russian club Dinamo Kiev.

Kranjcar enjoyed a loan spell with the R's last year as he helped us clinch promotion back to the Premier League despite suffering a hamstring injury in the Play-Off final which consequently meant that he missed out on World Cup duty for his native Croatia.

Kranjcar spoke to the Official QPR Website after signing -

“It’s a great feeling to be back, it feels like home. I felt a special emotion with the club and the fans.
“The fans were phenomenal last season. I had a great relationship with them and hopefully it’s only going to get better. 
“I really feel happy here, at a club where I really want to play, and I play with all my heart. I can’t wait for my season to start with QPR.
“I believe I still have something to prove, for myself and for all the fans. The Premier League is a lot more physical than it was in the past but I’m looking forward to it. I have no doubt this club is going to be in the Premier League for a long time.”

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Kranjcar will wear the number 19 shirt once again for the R's.

Welcome to both Sandro and Niko for what is going to be a very interesting winter period at Loftus Road.

McCarthy Joins the Real Hoops.....

Three pieces of business were conducted over the weekend as one player walked through the door as two left on Saturday and Sunday.

Firstly Alex McCarthy, one of very few Reading players that would be welcomed to the club by myself, joined the R's on a four year deal from the fake hoops for a fee believed to be around the £2-3 million mark.

McCarthy was one of very few players that came out of Reading's relegation season from the Premier League and continued that form last year, solidifying his reputation as one of the best young goalkeepers in England.

McCarthy spoke to the Official QPR Website shortly after signing -

“I spoke to Harry a few times and that was probably the icing on the cake for me.

“I’m only 24 and I want to be playing games – there are goalkeeper’s out there that have sat on the bench and been forgotten about. I don’t want to be one of those. It’s a great challenge for me.”

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It was also announced on Saturday evening following our victory against Sunderland that Danny Simpson had left the club to join Leicester City for a fee believed to be £2 million.

Personally I'm very surprised by this one as Simpson only played one bad game in the opening game of the season and is now getting farmed out.

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I hope the moves turns out well for Simpson as he did do a lot of work behind the scenes in supporting the QPR in the Community and Kiyan Prince Foundation.

The second player to leave was Loic Remy.
Remy leaves the R's to go and warm the bench at our bitter rivals Chelsea for the next four years.
Remy's release fee was supposedly £8.5 million for any club that was in the Champions League, however Chelsea agreed to pay an additional £2 million....

Good Luck Danny Simpson and welcome to Alex McCarthy.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sun-shine R's Back from the Toilett....

After an absolutely shocking week in terms of results for the R's with a tonking being handed by Spurs last Sunday and Burton supplying the customary early League Cup exit on Wednesday evening, it's fair to say we were not entirely looking forward to Saturday afternoon as Sunderland. Things could not get much worse could they???

An easy train journey for Jess, her brother James and I led to us arriving outside HQ just over an hour before kick off as we met Sam and Luke, who were in W12 extremely early, chatting away to Zach on the wall before Lofty and Jenson rocked up with their personalised 'Bestie' and 'Bro' cans of Diet Coke, the bromance they shared in Burton was continuing well into the weekend....
Inside the ground we were finally joined by PK, who was making his first appearance of the season.

 With the news of Loic Remy finalising a move to Chelsea and bids for Danny Simpson courtesy of Leicester for £2 million and Armand Traore from Palace for £2.5 million also being accepted it was down to those players whether they wanted to move or stay at the club and fight for their places. Not so ironically Simpson was not in the match day squad yet Traore was. Hopefully the Senegalese left back will opt to stay at the club, especially as it's just weeks after he signed a new two year deal with the club.

Unsurprisingly there was a formation change for today's game with a 4-3-3 being in place -
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It wasn't a surprise that the R's started the game quite tentatively and several early misplaced passes did not help the nerves as Sunderland looked to probe early and in the opening minute former Chelsea defender Van Aarnholt saw his effort brush the side netting, an early escape for the R's!!
Ten minutes later and Sunderland's patient play saw Johnson slide Fletcher through on goal however Green was more than up to the task as he safely palmed the Scottish International's effort aside for Clint Hill to mop up and clear the danger.
In the 18th minute the home crowd rose to give a minutes applause for the unfortunate Ali Faurlin who ruptured his ACL for the third time, albeit a different knee, almost definitely ruling him out for the rest of the season.
The R's slowly began to grow into the game as the midfield three of Barton and Mutch in the holding roles with Fer playing just behind Austin in the supporting role, started to pass in triangles before including the wide man and utilising the pace of Phillips and Hoilett, who were providing some superb service for Austin and the late runners in the danger areas. We were also seeing Isla looking to provide overlapping runs past Phillips as he definitely looks like the box to box full back that we will need this season.
On the half hour mark Leroy Fer unleashed a phenomenal 30 yard effort  that left Mannone helpless as he saw the ball fly past him, only to see it smash against the bar and then scrambled to safety. Definitely one of the first highlights we will see on Match of the Day tonight!
This gave Rangers' the confidence to start playing the kind of passing football that we were used to in the early part of last season and picked apart teams by creating plenty of chances for Austin to feed on.
Hoilett had a volley smothered by Mannone before the Sunderland 'keeper had to be on his toes to deny Austin shortly after.
As we drifted into added time of the first half it looked like we could be left to rue the opportunities that were spurned, however the final Barton corner of the half was headed back into the danger area by Fer and there was Austin to put his foot through the ball and smash it into the roof of the net for the R's first goal on their Premier League return and Austin's first goal in the top flight, the first of many more I'm sure.

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The mood at half time was a very positive one, a complete transformation compared to the gloom that surrounded us before the game. The change back to a more familiar formation that is tried, testing and suits the players we have in the squad definitely gave the team the lift that was so badly needed after last weeks demolition job at White Hart Lane.

Sunderland started the second half the better of the two sides and Rob Green had to be at his best to first deny Rodwell before then saving from Vergini at full stretch.
Rangers' were content to hold the ball in midfield and the majority of the threat was coming from our left side with Hoilett the one that was providing the threat but was often found lacking that final finish.
Zamora entered the fray just after the hour mark as Austin's work for the day was done after only training twice at the end of the week following the hamstring strain that was picked up in training before the Spurs game.
Zamora's introduction saw the R's play deeper and contain from the midfield whilst leaving Zamora on his own to try and hold the ball up and allow Phillips and Hoilett to join up as we looked to hit Sunderland on the counter attack.
This plan was executed perfectly up until the 85th minute and that's were the nerves really started to kick in!! Traore replaced Hoilett for the final five minutes to shore up the defence, however moments after coming on he really should have sealed the victory. Zamora played in Traore, who made a superb run in between two Sunderland defenders to leave himself one on one with Mannone on his unfavoured right foot and dragged the shot wide when he really should of scored.
The final moments saw the R's defend deeper and deeper, creating even more tension for R's fans!
Then the heart in the mouth moment came as Giacharrani let fly with his effort looking to be heading for the back of the net but Green was more than equal to it, beating the ball away to safety to ensure that three points were on the board and the doom and gloomers were not to be out in force tonight.

All in all we deserved the three point against a decent Sunderland team that will be safe in mid table come the end of the season. If Sunderland can sign themselves a decent striker by the end of the transfer window then they will definitely fare a lot better than they did for the majority of last season.
We can be extremely happy with the performance today which was a huge improvement on the Spurs game last week. Our home form is going to be the key to survival this season and with two very good performances against Hull and Sunderland, two very good teams in this division, it can only put us in good stead for the rest of the season.

Onto our Man of the Match. The gang were split three ways today with Lofty, Sam and PK going for Hoilett. Jenson, Luke and Zach voted for Fer as Jess, James and I voted for Phillips. With it being a tie this one goes down to Editors choice.... with my final decision being to give the award to Junior Hoilett.

With the transfer deadline being on Monday we will look to be as up to date as we possibly can before enjoying the International break ahead of the visit to Old Trafford in two weeks time.

In the meantime, Keep The Faith!!!