Friday, June 30, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
As we take a short break from the World Cup, it gives me time to update on the latest news from our beloved club...
The long running Management saga is finally over, as Ian Holloway was today announced as the New Boss of Plymouth Argyle.
I am thrilled for Olly to have landed such a good job and look forward to seeing him again when the 2 sides meet this coming season.
May I now take this opportunity to Congratulate Olly and wish him well in his new position, and to say a 'BIG' THANK YOU for 5 great years!!
This news has also led to another appointment, and probably the worst kept secret in football - Gary Waddock is Officially QPR's Manager!
Congratulations and Good Luck Gary!!
In other news, it looks like Rangers are finally going to sign highly rated Aussie, Nick Ward from Perth Glory. The attacking midfielder is flying in to cross the t's and dot the i's on a 2 year deal... call me pesimistic, but I will delay his official Lofty Heights welcome until I see him on the Official Website, in his QPR shirt/scarf!
And finally, and not so positive... our home game against Ipswich Town is surely now a certain defeat, as Sky have chosen it for live transmission. The game is now on Friday 25th August 2006 at 7.45pm. Thanks Sky...
Sunday, June 25, 2006
England 1-0 Ecuador
David Beckham fired England into the World Cup Quarter Finals with a fantastic 30 yard free kick on 60 minutes.
Beckham became the first ever England player to score at 3 seperate World Cup Finals, as his free kick bent over the wall, into the bottom right hand corner of the Ecuador net.
This was a professional, patient and at times, tense performance from England, who were playing a new 4-1-4-1 formation - with Carrick coming in playing a holding role in midfield, leaving Wayne Rooney as the lone striker.
Overall, England were comfortable, but survived a few scares along the way. One of great note, was after a rare mistake from John Terry. His mis-timed header, left Tenorio clean through. His shot would have surely hit the net, but from a sensational tackle from Ashley Cole, deflecting the shot onto the bar.
After the goal, the tension was lifted from Englnad, who went on to create a hatful of chances. But in the end, one goal was enough against a team, in all fairness, who were here for the draw and penalties... and not to play football.
England: Robinson, Hargreaves, Terry, Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Beckham (Lennon 87), Carrick, Gerrard (Downing 90), Lampard, Joe Cole (Carragher 77), Rooney.
Now, I have had many discussions with both friends and colleagues about David Beckham in this World Cup and I for one, am fully behind the England Captain. Okay, he has not been at his best by eany means, but all it takes is one sheer moment of quality, for which he has delivered! In the games against Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and now Ecuador, that killer ball, or in today's game, the goal, have been match winners!
Performances of note also came from Ashley Cole and Michael Carrick. Carrick would have been my man of the match choice, but for one man, who never stopped running all afternoon, and was at the heart of most of the creative stuff from England...
Lofty's Man of the Match: Wayne Rooney
Stop Press - World Cup Quarter Final - ENGLAND v PORTUGAL!!
Friday, June 23, 2006
It's A Knockout...
The 2006 World Cup has been fantastic so far, I think you will all agree? But now, the serious stuff begins as we reach the knockout stages.
There hasn't been any real upsets as such, except possibly that Croatia and Czech Republic have fallen at the first hurdle. But on the other hand, it is great to see the likes of Ghana and Australia through. I would have mentioned Ecuador, but for the fact they are England's next opponents.
The 2nd Round Fixtures:
Germany v Sweden
Argentina v Mexico
Engalnd v Ecuador
Portugal v Holland
Italy v Australia
Switzerland v Ukraine
Brazil v Ghana
Spain v France
A Great Line Up!!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
A Tough Start...
So, the eagerly awaited fixtures for the new season are out today, and Rangers are to start with a tough away game at Burnley - not only tough on the players, but on the fans too!!
In fact, looking further down the list, it certainly seems a lot tougher on the supporters this time, with untold amounts of difficult midweek games for fans to get too - Barnsley, Leeds, Derby for example. But it's not just tough for us, with Leeds and Sunderland coming to Loftus Road for midweek games!
Other games of note, are that we are away yet again on Boxing Day, to Birmingham! Our planned weekend to Southend looks like it will be a cold one, being in February - but at least that's a Saturday.
Better news, is the Preston game(which normally means a weekend spent in Blackpool), is in, hopefully sunny, August. And finally, for the first time since Palace in 1999, we are home on the final day... to Stoke!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
News Round Up...
So, our latest Cup defeat has been drawn today.
Carling Cup First Round
Q.P.R. v Northampton Town - week commencing 21st August 2006
So we have been drawn against our 'bogey' side for the second year running! Well, at least we are home this time, but all I can say to this is - OH COBBLERS!!
Also, staying with Club news, our final pre season friendly was announced today. The full line up is as follows:
July 8 - Aldershot v QPR
July 19 - Stevenage v QPR
July 22 - Gillingham v QPR
July 25 - Cavese FC v QPR
July 28 - Sorrento FC v QPR
I'm glad we have some nice 'Glamour' games there to get us in the mood for the season ahead!!
The sad, but let's face it, expected news was that Michael Owen is out of the World Cup.
The knee injury sustained in the Sweden game, was confirmed, after a scan as a ruptured cruciate ligament which means he will be out for about 4-5 months.
Get well soon Michael!
On a lighter note, I spoke with Corporate earlier this evening who has explained the thoery behind Sven Goran Eriksson's decision to take young starlet, Theo Walcott to Germany...
"He has screwed his way around several women in England. He has screwed the F.A. for many millions. He has screwed the England football team in his time in charge... and finally, he is now about to screw the biggest young talent in England since Wayne Rooney"
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The Hoodoo Continues...
Sweden 2-2 England
England finished top of World Cup Group B and will face Ecuador in the last 16 - but yet again, we failed to beat Sweden.
Henrik Larsson grabbed a last minute goal to claim a draw for the Swedes, who again caused England lots of problems. But this was the best game of football out of the three group games without a doubt.
Despite the early setback of Michael Owen's worrying knee injury, England played well, created chances and were deservedly in front on 34 minutes through a superb strike from Joe Cole.
But yet again for England, the second half was a different story. Sweden attacked us from the off and were soon level - Allback's flick on from a corner found it's way into the net, despite Ashley Cole's best efforts to keep it out. England then completely lost their way and set piece after set piece from Sweden, were continually causing problems - hitting the crossbar twice and having one cleared off the line.
But on 84 minutes, Steven Gerrard headed home a superb cross from Joe Cole and it looked like we were finally going to bury the Swedish hoodoo.
But as already mentioned, Larsson stabbed the ball home in the 90th minute after everyone in the England defence had missed the long throw.
England: Robinson, Carragher, Ferdinand (Campbell 56), Terry, Ashley Cole, Beckham, Lampard, Hargreaves, Joe Cole, Rooney (Gerrard 69), Owen (Crouch 4).
Lofty's Man of the Match : Joe Cole
The worrying things for England now, are the injury to Michael Owen, who has a twisted knee scanned tomorrow. The worry being, the lack of attacking options for England. Also, our failure to deal with set pieces. There is no doubt it will be something Ecuador will be focusing on before Sundays match.
It also looks more and more likely that Eriksson is NOT going to play Theo Walcott...
So Sven, why exactly did you take him to Germany??
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The Late Show...
England 2-0 Trinidad and Tobago
Two late goals from Peter Crouch (83) and Steven Gerrard (90) fired England into the knockout stages of the 2006 World Cup.
England struggled for long periods to break down a hard working Trinidad and Tobago side, who for most of the match, played with 9 men behind the ball. They also caused a scare or two, with John Terry coming to England's rescue on more than one occasion.
But just when we thought the game would fizzle out into a goaless draw, a pinpoint cross from Beckham, found Peter Crouch on the far post to power his header home - a good old fashioned English goal if ever I have seen one!
Trinidad had nothing left in the tank, and the game was made safe on 90 minutes as Steven Gerrard scored what is, a trademark goal for him - firing into the right hand corner.
Okay, yet again, this wasn't by any means a vintage performance, but England were dominant throughout, created chances and their patience paid off in the end.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Jonn Terry
The main positives from the game are the earlier than predicted appearance of Wayne Rooney...
...the performance of Aaron Lennon as substitute, and the fact that after 2 games and 6 points - England have qualified for the second round - and we haven't even started to play anywhere near our best yet!
As for the negatives, well I will leave that to the ITV commentary and pundit team, who were on the players backs from the kick off!!
Saturday, June 10, 2006
A Winning Start...
England 1-0 Paraguay
After all the waiting, build up and anticipation, England kicked off their World Cup campaign with a narrow, but just about deserved victory against Paraguay.
David Beckham's free kick gave England the lead after just four minutes. Okay okay, so it was officially given as an own goal... but the quality of the free kick was such, that one way or the other, it would certainly have gone in anyway.
Despite first half dominance, England couldn't add to their lead. The second half however, was a completely different story. As in Japan 2002, the blistering heat began to take it's toll and we were a mere shadow of the team we were in the previous half. This led to Paraguay coming into the game more, but for all the possession, they rarely threatened the England goal.
England: Robinson, Neville, Ferdinand, Terry, Ashley Cole, Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, Joe Cole (Hargreaves 82), Owen (Downing 56), Crouch.
Lofty's Man of the Match: Steven Gerrard
Okay, not the best game in the World, but a win all the same and a good start to the World Cup for England. I had said before that I thought this would be our toughest group game, so overall, I am more than happy with the result.
The performances can, and will, come later...
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Monday, June 05, 2006
England v Jamaica
The day started early as we had been warned about the traffic. However, there were no problems until we hit Manchester. After parking up, we went and had drink in local club – only £1 to get in and the drinks were cheap. But we gave this up to go and meet SB who was drinking in the Trafford bar - £2 to get in this time and the drinks were not so cheap, but the place was rammed.
As good as the ground and the facilities are, they do not sell pies!! How very strange?? Especially after all the beer that is sold all around, inside and out.
Old Trafford is an impressive sight, and the atmosphere inside was great. But it is little in comparison to Wembley (old one), which was the best stadium for atmosphere I have ever been too. The view I had was pretty damn good too…
The majority of the Jamaican fans did not get into the ground until after the game had started, and I know why…
...their National Anthem - what is that all about??
“Jamaica Oh, Jamaica Oh, Jamaica Oh.”
Before the kick off, it went on for what seemed like hours. But when it finally finished, we got “God Save the Queen”… and what a way to raise the heart of every English Man/Woman.
Onto the game, and what more can you say about the score. In the last warm up game before Germany, England had a comfortable victory.
Final Score England 6-0 Jamaica
Peter Crouch showed all what all Rangers fans had seen the year he was with us (sadly, was unable to keep us up) ,with some nice control and 3 goals - the last one was a great move. It would have been four, but for him chipping his penalty over the bar – I think that’s 3 points…
Lastly, an apology to PK and DJ... I could not get a match programme for love nor money.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
England 6 Jamaica 0
Well, what more can you say about a scoreline like this? In the last warm up game before Germany, goals from Frank Lampard, an own goal,a Peter Crouch hat trick and Michael Owen, gave England what was, a very comfortable victory.
From a Rangers point of view, it was interesting to see our new defender, Damion Stewart in action as he lined up for Jamaica. Despite the scoreline, his touch looks good and he looks like he could be a useful signing.
We were also treated to the now famous, Peter Crouch robot celebrations 3 times!! It would have been four, but for him chipping his penalty over the bar.
Let's hope we see this celebration again when the serious stuff begins for England next Saturday!
Corporate attended the match in Manchester today, and will hopefully be making his Lofty Heights debut as a match reporter when he gets back...