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

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Rangers Shine at St Mary's

Southampton 1-2 QPR

Southampton has always been one of my favourite awaydays. It's an absolute breeze to get to and there is never a lack of pre-match entertainment on offer. Most of the pubs are 'away fan' friendly and today's is to be highly recommended to anyone visiting St Mary's stadium. 'Coopers' is about a 5 minute walk from the away end - it welcomes visiting fans with open arms - the food is varied and good - the staff are both friendly and chatty - and they also have matchday promotions, which today, was bottles of Becks at just £1 a go. Needless to say, at these prices, we felt no need to move elsewhere too quickly!

It is also a favourite away day as Rangers have always seemed to get favourable results here. But even with the new Management structure, shortly followed by the good result and performance against Hull last week - even the most optimistic of Rangers fans could not have predicted today's outcome...

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... and must have feared the worst when the Saints went ahead through Jermaine Wright on just 3 minutes. But as mentioned last week, John Gregory has got Rangers fighting and working hard, and after weathering the early storm, were level through ex-Saint, Dexter Blackstock - superbly heading home Cook's cross on 34 minutes.

Six minutes later, and the huge Rangers following were celebrating taking the lead - Ray Jones chased what seemed a lost cause, intercepted the ball from the keeper and slotted home from the tightest of angles.

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A different Rangers took the field in the second half. When I say different, I mean they went looking for the 3rd goal, rather than sit back and protect what they have - which has been so costly so many times already this season. But despite some late pressure from the home side, and an incredible 5 minutes of stoppage time, Rangers held on for a precious and thoroughly deserved victory!

QPR: P Jones, Bignot, Rehman, Stewart, Rose (Kanyuka 21), Rowlands, Bircham (Lomas 62), Bailey (Smith 62), Cook, R Jones, Blackstock. Subs: Royce, Gallen.

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Lofty's Man of the Match - so many to choose from this week. The back line all had a superb game, especially Marcus Bignot who had to act as an emergency left back for the second match running. Martin Rowlands and Lee Cook were both outstanding in midfield and Jimmy Smith looked very promising when he came on. Ray Jones had another fine match, but today's winner almost run himself into the ground against his old club and took his goal superbly - Dexter Blackstock

Awayday Moments - The superb Coopers Pub, the massive and noisy Rangers following, the 'Harry Redknapp' chant at the Southampton fans, a possible new career suggestion for Lofty and finally, a FANTASTIC performance from the R's!!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gregory gets a Loan Ranger...

John Gregory has made his first signing as Rangers boss by capturing Chelsea starlet, Jimmy Smith on loan.

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The highly rated 19 year old, attacking midfielder is an England under-19 International and is expected to go straight into the sqaud for Saturday's game at Southampton.

Welcome and Good Luck Jimmy!


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What's That Coming Over The Hill??

Over to guest reporter 'DJ' for a review of the Dog Chewed The Handle gig last Saturday:

The Dogs B******s

The regular Dog Chewed The Handle groupies spent Saturday night at the Crown and Treaty in Uxbridge – fully expecting and a banging night out with the reappearance of DCTH – and we were NOT disappointed.

Arriving at the Crown early to avoid the expected queues meant that we were more than ready to party when the band took the stage. DCTH went through a classic set list, covering everything from The Black Crowe’s to Black Sabbath and The Kaiser Chiefs to The Killers.

After many gigs now, the band are tighter than ever as a unit and Gareth on vocals (who seems to be getting better and better) is the perfect rock and roll front man – energy, attitude and performance!

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The highlight for me was the rocking version of ‘I Predict a riot’ (which always threatens to give me a heart attack) and watching Bignot and Cook strut their stuff to the Arctic Monkeys!

Cheers for a great night Gaz and the Boys - see you at the next gig!


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gregory Chews The Tigers...

QPR 2-0 Hull

For the second week running, the report is delayed until Sunday morning. Last week, Rangers literally drove us to go out and have a drink. But this week, it was a celebratory drink combined with a trip to Uxbridge to see Dog Chewed The Handle - in which along with frontman Gareth Ainsworth - Lee Cook, Marcus Bignot and Scott Donnelly were out to celebrate and also show us their moves on the dancefloor - enough said about that one!

The day started a bit more upbeat than of late, along with the hope that the 'new Manager syndrome' would guide us to 3 desperately needed points.

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In fact, with all due respect, Hull were probably the best opponents for John Gregory's opening game. The return of Martin Rowlands was also a huge boost. But the first half sadly had the look of two teams at the bottom of the table. Rangers had the edge, but were finding it hard to come to terms with Hull's physical approach.

Rangers stepped up a gear in the second half and finally broke the deadlock on 60 minutes through Ray Jones - heading home Blackstock's knockdown from close range and you could just feel the relief around the stadium. Ten minutes later, and the game was safe - Blackstock heading home Cook's cross - a fine goal which even had John Gregory dancing along the touchline.

QPR: P Jones,Bignot, Rehman, Stewart, Rose (Kanyuka 46), Rowlands, Bailey (Lomas 64), Bircham (Ward 64), Cook, R Jones, Blackstock. Subs: Royce, Baidoo.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Martin Rowlands

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So, a decent second half performance gave Rangers the win they deserved and a fantastic start to the Gregory era. The return of Rowlands was a huge plus, but it was great to see the heart and passion return and to see how much scoring the goals meant to Jones and Blackstock.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Welcome Back...

Earlier today, Lofty Heights had all but closed. But then, in true QPR style, all hell breaks lose and makes it practically impossible to do so!!

Firstly, if you see the previous post, I have had an overwhelming response to the site closing down and to be honest, had me racked with guilt. But then, why does it take something like that to recieve such great comments? Well, along with all the comments and, let's just say a kick up the backside from a very close friend of mine, something else happened today that has prompted me to continue...

At 2pm today, John Gregory has been appointed as Manager of Queens Park Rangers - which then led to me charging around at work like a mad thing to get to a PC, plus dealing with a red hot mobile phone which was now continually ringing or recieving text messages.

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Although a surprise, it wasn't entirely unexpected news and on a personal note, I am delighted. Not only was Gregory another of my boyhood QPR idols, the news that Gary Waddock will remain as his No 2 has also made me happy. Despite everything, there was no way I would like to see the reputation of a Rangers Legend ruined. So hopefully, the pair can re create the successful partnership they formed in the Rangers midfield in the 80's.

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Thanks again to all who commented earlier, and Welcome Back and Good Luck John Gregory!!

Come on you R'sssssss


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No Surprise that Rangers Fail at Vale...

Port Vale 3-2 QPR

The performance at Colchester last Saturday, made my decision not to travel to Vale Park tonight and I have to be truthful and say, that I haven't felt like this at all in the last two seasons. In fact, it was no surprise at all that none of the gang made the journey. Never have I been so convinced of a Rangers defeat than tonight and sadly, I was proved right.

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I started watching Soccer Special on Sky Sports to start with. But with no Jeff Stelling tonight, I decided to listen to the commentary on the radio, by which time, we were 2-1 down - Marc Nygaard scored for the R's.

I have to say, listening to the commentary was almost as bad as being there and with the commentators saying things like - QPR have lost there way - QPR are like a tortoise that has gone back into it's shell - more shambolic defending - Rangers are commiting footballing suicide - it seemed that normal service had been resumed.

It took Port Vale to score their third on 61 minutes for Rangers to finally wake up. But despite some late pressure and Damion Stewart's first goal for the Club, yet again it was too little, too late.

QPR: Cole, Bignot, Stewart, Kanyuka, Milanese (Rose 46), Ward (Baidoo 71), Bircham, Bailey, Cook, Czerkas, Nygaard (Jones 44). Subs: Rehman, Donnelly.

I can't really add a lot more as I wasn't at the game, but to say I am deeply disappointed, yet again, is an understatement.

Serious question, how long has Waddock got now?


Monday, September 18, 2006

Wad Do You Do??

I grew up in the era when Gary Waddock was strutting his stuff in the Rangers midfield. He is a hero of mine and a Rangers legend without a doubt. I was also delighted when he took over our beloved Club last season and have given him my full support. I have read the message boards, argued with mates etc in support of our Manager.

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But after the Colchester debacle, I really am in two minds. I mean, the stats speak for themselves:

Under Waddock - Played 23, Won 4, Drawn 9, Lost 10

There you go, we escaped relegation by the skin of our teeth last season and we are now sitting at the bottom of the Championship with just 8 games gone.

Fair enough, he publically wanted to be judged on 'his' team. His team are now bottom off the league. The pre season schedule was a joke, along with the shambles that was the Italian tour. Wholesale changes have been made throughout the Club, along with transfer listed players currently playing in the first team squad.

Anyway, just a few thoughts I thought I would share. Basically, it is obvious that something is not right at QPR and it needs sorting out, and soon!!

For those who didn't know, this is our worst league start to the season since 1998 when Ray Harford lasted just 9 games. Bryan Robson went today and his record isn't nearly as bad.

Personally, I don't think Waddock will be around much longer either and the reputation of a Rangers legend will be ruined forever. But are matters on the pitch all that is wrong at QPR at the moment...

Comments appreciated.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Only Way is Up... I hope...

Colchester 2-1 QPR

Today's short trip up the A12 was a breath of fresh air compared to the long journeys we have encountered on our travels so far. Three of the gang travelled to Layer Road as Rangers went into the game now bottom of the Championship.

We arrived in good time and suprisingly to what seemed a hostile reception. There was a massive police presence and also, on arrival at the recommended pub, we were informed that no away fans were allowed - although they were quite happy to take our money and let us use their car park, to which we declined. With time on our side, we took a drive and found a pub called 'The Mayflower', which friendly atmosphere provided our pre match entertainment - including a few games of pool and some decent grub.

Those who have been to Layer Road will be the first to tell you (with respect) that it is somewhat smaller than most. I was intending to bring back the 'Pie Rating' for today's game. But the catering facilities where I was sitting, consisted of two young lads selling bottles of coke and such like from a cool bag and food from a portable hostess trolley - so I decided to give that one a miss.

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Colchester won the match 2-1 with goals from Iwelumo(9) and Garcia(18). Marc Nygaard's lob was helped on it's way into the net by Brown on 76 minutes to reduce the deficit. But it was no more than a consolation as despite some late pressure, Colchester held on.

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I have often found, that the Official QPR webpage seems to 'sugar coat' Rangers performances at times and I sometimes wonder if I had attended the same game. But todays report and Gary Waddock's quotes in particular, were spot on. So much so, that I will include his post match comments on here - they sum up Rangers performance today perfectly:

"I don't know where to start, where was the pride? Where was the passion?

I wasn't the best player, but in mine and Alan McDonald's day we knew what it meant to wear the shirt.

All I know is, we're bottom of the table and I don't like it one bit.

We didn't improve in the second half in my opinion; we were bad from start to finish.

Myself and Alan McDonald both said the same thing to the players after the game, they need to take a long, hard look at themselves."

I think you get the idea and feel I need go no further...

QPR: Cole, Milanese, Rehman, Stewart, Rose, Cook, Ward, Bircham, Baidoo (Donnelly 79), Nygaard, Jones (Czerkas 46) Subs: Kanyuka, Bignot, Bailey

Gang: Lofty, DJ and PK

Lofty's Man of the Match - Lee Cook - outstanding today!

Awayday Moments - has to be the Mayflower pub and probably, one of the longest games of pool in living history!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

American Life...

As some of you may be aware, one of our happy band, Alan, has started a new life with his new wife in Los Angeles, California. Although he came back for the Burnley game, Alan, with no one to discuss all things Rangers with, very much relies on the internet and now gets up at 'silly o'clock' in the morning to follow the R's on match days.

I have been recently dicussing the R's fortunes with Alan over email, and the one I received this evening contained so many valid issues, that I thought I would post it on here. The email begins after a brief discussion on Egutu Oliseh... Enjoy:

I had a good feeling about him, we could have him and Rowlands dovetailing that would confuse the opposition( and knowing us it would confuse us also)

The shining light through all of this is the youth, I think Gianni and Waddock need to say to the fans that this is a 2-3 year plan to build a proper
team, that way the burden of expectation is lifted and this in-turn would give these you players time to develop without the pressure of instant success.

The nucleus of a good young squad is there it just needs time, also to change a style of play can't be done in one pre-season it will take a whole year of playing in the new style for things to gel, but it will take a lot of guts for the club to come out and make such a statement.

In the long run we could really benefit with a group of young players in they early twenties with 2-3 years experience+ if we then needed to sell 1-2 of them we could do from a position of strength.

If we look at Crewe for instance, they held on to Hulse & Ashton for several years before cashing in, the difference in our case we would be building for a promotion push as opposed to just survival

I truly believe that this is a vital time in the club's history, we need to stop looking for instant success on the field and build with a 1-2-3 year plan in mind, picking up all the premier league youth players that can't get into their first teams and give them a chance to play.

I suspect because of our previous style of play, managers were reluctant to allow young players to be exposed to the kick and run tactic, now we can also take advantage of our new style of play and attract young players on loan.

As I said in my earlier post, add a few old heads to this mix I believe we would have a recipe for success.

Just had to get that off my chest, no one here to talk about the hoops, rant over, roll on Saturday.

©LOFTY on behalf of Alan

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Defensive Errors Give Rangers The Blues...

QPR 0-2 Birmingham

Promotion favourites Birmingham, moved to the top of the Championship as yet more bad defending was Rangers downfall.

Rangers started the brighter, with Cook in outstanding form on the left side of midfield. But what is becoming all too familiar this season, the good work was undone by bad defending. On 23 minutes, Bruno N'Gotty arrived unmarked to power home a bullet header to give City the lead.

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Rangers finished the half on top, but despite some nice football, could not deliver in the final third. As was the story of the second half - plenty of possession, plenty of neat and tidy football. But it wasn't until the 74th minute and the introduction of Baidoo, that Rangers really started to look dangerous coming forward. Jones went close to levelling on 86 minutes, and Baidoo's superb cross evaded everyone and drifted to safety a minute later.

Then, the classic sucker punch. Rangers had committed men forward, Birmingham broke, Rose dithered, Jones hesitated and Jerome lobbed the ball home in the final minute.

QPR: P Jones, Rose, Rehman (Baidoo 74), Stewart, Milanese, Oliseh, Ward, Bircham, Cook, Blackstock (R Jones 46), Nygaard. Subs: Cole, Bailey, Kanyuka.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Marc Bircham

Despite defeat, this wasn't the worst performance in the world. The midfield all excelled with Bircham particularly standing out. Again, bad defending cost the R's dearly tonight but what also is worrying now, is that with all the nice football being played and all the possession, we are desperately lacking an end product.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friends Reunited...

Plymouth 1-1 QPR

Those lovely people at the F.A. provided us with yet another mammoth journey, this time down to Devon and this time, to meet up with our old friend, Ian Holloway and his Plymouth Argyle side.

Four of the loyal gang made the trip which was pleasantly broken up with a mini PSP football tournament between myself, DJ and Phil. I won't go on and bore you all with the details and results of the games played, but thanks to young Phil for bringing it along and a note to self: I MUST get one of these PSP things!

Quite suprisingly, little was made about the 'Ian Holloway' connection. What we thought may be an emotional re-union, was little more than some appreciative chanting from the R's fans, and a polite wave from Ollie himself.

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So putting all that aside, the game got underway and overall, it probably wasn't one for the purists and at times got quite scrappy and niggly. Rangers good early work was rewarded with a goal on 16 minutes. Cook's cross found Dexter Blackstock, who poked the ball through the keepers legs to give Rangers the lead.

But as so many other times this season, Rangers then seemed to lose their way after going ahead. A terrible mix up from Jones and Rehman, gifted a chance to the impressive Ebanks-Blake - who cooly slotted home on 31 minutes. More shambloic defending followed from Rangers and Plymouth should have been home and dry at half time.

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The second half was a scrappy affair and if anything, Plymouth were looking the more likely. Rangers best chance of the half fell to Nygaard, who brought a decent save from McCormick.

To sum up, this was a decent away point for Rangers. But not for the first time this season, you just couldn't help feeling just a bit disappointed. Rangers have been ahead in the last 3 league games - and have just 2 points to show for it. It is also a concern just how much we miss Ainsworth and Rowlands when they are not playing.

QPR: P Jones, Rose, Rehman, Stewart, Milanese, Oliseh, Ward, Bircham (Lomas 76), Cook, Nygaard (Gallen 95), Blackstock (R Jones 88). Subs: Cole, Kanyuka.

Gang: Lofty, PK, DJ and Phil

Lofty's Man of the Match - Marc Bircham

Awayday Moments - the PSP tournament, the Porn Star Plymouth Policemen and of course - the famous Plymouth 'Belly Buster'!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Win is a Win...

Macedonia 0-1 England

A goal from Peter Crouch in the first minute of the second half, was enough for England in a battling performance in Macedonia.

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Crouch made it 11 goals in 14 England games, crashing home Lampard's cross via the crossbar. The ball clearly crossed the line but bounced out again, but it was a relief when the referee finally pointed towards the centre circle to award the goal - as previously, he had penalised almost every move Crouch made. He even turned away the most blatant of penalty appeals in the first half as Crouch was practically wrestled to the ground.

Overall, it wasn't the goal festival that we have been treated to under McClaren so far, but it was a solid and battling away performance from England. As expected, Macedonia were tough opponents and in the second half, gave England a few scares - including a late goalmouth scramble that was eventually cleared at the second attempt, by Ashley Cole.

England: Robinson, Neville, Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Gerrard, Hargreaves, Lampard, Downing, Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Foster, Bridge, Brown, Carrick, Lennon, Bent, Johnson.

Lofty's Man of the Match - John Terry

Going back to my previous report on the Andorra game, and stating that there are still indeed some easy International games, the result from San Marino has gone a long way to proving the point - San Marino 0-13 Germany!!


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Almost Embarrassing...

England 5-0 Andorra

England got their Euro 2008 campaign off to a winning start, with a more than comfortable victory at Old Trafford this afternoon.

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Goals from Peter Crouch(2), Jermain Defoe(2) and Steve Gerrard sealed the victory against what was probably the worst International team I have seen for a long time. Okay, so you can only beat what is put in front of you, and England went about their job playing some good football along the way and scoring some good goals...

... BUT this was such an easy game (and yes, there IS such a thing as an easy International), it at times, became extremely boring to watch. Andorra only occasionally got out of England's half and I really can't remember Paul Robinson even touching the ball, let alone having a shot to save!

England: Robinson, Neville, Brown, Terry, Cole, Gerrard, Hargreaves, Lampard, Downing, Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Kirkland, Dawson, Carrick, Richardson, Lennon, Bent, Johnson.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Owen Hargreaves

I really find it hard to believe, that England win 5-0 and I am disappointed. At least Macedonia on Wednesday, are better opposition and it should be a better game of football.