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, September 30, 2007

TV Nightmares...


Rangers got a severe footballing lesson as goals from Phillips(2), Miller, Koren and Greening gave the Baggies an extremely comfortable afternoon. Gareth Ainsworth gave the travelling faithful some hope, reducing the scoreline to 2-1 on 24 minutes, but that was as good as it got. It is no secret that Rangers save their VERY worst performances for the Sky Cameras, but now it sadly looks like that not only will we lose, but concede 5 goals every time we appear.

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Believe it or not, myself, PK and Phil were quite upbeat as we left for the Hawthorns this morning. Adding to that, the journey was a breeze, we parked without a hitch and were in the ground in plenty of time to catch up with friends and have a beer or two. I was literally, just about to fill in my betting slip and go with my somewhat brave prediction of a 3-1 Rangers win, when the Rangers line up appeared on the TV screens. I then decided not to throw my money away after all, as, (and I think many R's fans will know what and who I am referring too) the team selection again was baffling and we were to take on one of, if not, the best team/s in the Championship with nine men.

Well, as mentioned, the game was on Sky and for this, I assume that most saw it, so I am not going to go through the pain again for everyone. Credit to West Brom, who without a doubt, are an excellent side and playing like that, will beat anyone - and with Miller and Phillips, arguably have the best strike force in the division. But some of Rangers defending was both woeful and shambolic and if you give sides with the quality of West Brom, that sort of time and space, you are going to get punished... and boy, were we pushised!!! At this point, I would just like to put in a quote from my site editor over at Loft for Words/QPR Rivals, Clive Whittingham from his excellent match report and maybe you will see what I am talking about...

'A quarter of an hour in Ishmael Miller picked the ball up wide on the West Brom left and after Rehman backed off and backed off and backed off and backed off and backed off and backed off and backed off and backed off and eventually fell on his arse...'

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QPR: Camp, Barker (Bignot 60), Cullip, Stewart, Bolder, Blackstock, Ainsworth, Rowlands, Sahar (Ephraim 60), Moore, Rehman (Curtis 46). Subs: Cole, Timoska.

Lofty's Man of the Match - well instead of an N/A, will give it to Albion's Robert Koren who controlled this game from start to finish.

Friends of mine and regular LH readers, will know how much I think of John Gregory and that he has had my continued support. But with team selections and sadly, performances like today's, even I will struggle to defend the Rangers boss. We shall see...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Place Your Bets...


We return again, and with only one correct prediction this season, I wouldn't blame you at all for taking no notice whatsoever of this feature. But despite Rangers being the ONLY team in the league without a win, the predictions, albeit only two this week, remain positive.

PK - A 2-2 draw, with Dexter Blackstock scoring first

Lofty - A 3-1 win, Gareth Ainsworth scoring first - And yes, I will be booking my doctors appointment on Monday ;-). I must just explain, I have this hunch about this game, the last time this happened was at Leicester away last year, so...

As always, the bets can be taken as singles or doubles, Happy Punting!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sign of 'The Times'

As the rumours continue regarding John Gregory's future with QPR, I have continually pledged my support to the Rangers boss despite our bad start to the season. Following the Briatore/Ecclestone takeover, instant success seems to be on many fans agendas and calls for JG to be replaced are becoming more and more common. For this reason, I am including an article from todays 'Times'...

Gregory’s hard times over with QPR in fast lane again

The manager can put his credit card away with an affluent new ownership team in place to pick up the bills instead

Kaveh Solhekol

Where do you start? John Gregory has been the manager of Queens Park Rangers for 12 months but he already feels ten years older than he did last September. As a football reporter you get used to asking questions that you already know the answer to, but Gregory has a lot to get off his chest.

QPR nearly went out of business before Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore bought the Coca-Cola Championship club for £14 million three weeks ago, and there have been plenty of mornings during the past year when Gregory has looked in the mirror and wondered whether he could carry on. Last month, one of his star strikers died in a car crash, in February his players hit the headlines for kung-fu fighting with the China Olympic team and the threat of administration and relegation have been haunting him nearly every day.

“We couldn’t pay our hotel bills on away trips so I had to get my credit card card out,” Gregory said. “That’s how bad things were before Bernie and Flavio arrived.”

As well as dipping into his own pocket, Gregory had to dismantle the club’s scouting system - “what’s the point of having scouts when you don’t have the money to buy anyone”, he said – and get rid of half his first-team squad. Just when he thought things could not get any worse, the photocopier in his office broke down last Christmas. When he tried to get it fixed, he was told that it would be impossible because the last repair bill was six months overdue.

“That was scratching the surface of the problems here,” Gregory said. “When I arrived the whole place had relegation written all over it. There was no love. No one cared. The players hated Saturdays. Twenty of them were injured because they didn’t want to play and they didn’t want to be associated with our problems.”

Showing demoralised players the door was the least of his problems. When he tried to sign replacements – on free transfers – he discovered that word had spread about the club’s financial problems and that players were reluctant to sign on the dotted line when their contracts might not be worth the paper that they were written on. “It was bloody hard,” Gregory, who played for QPR from 1981 to 1985, said. “I had to tell the players that we signed that everything was wonderful here. They kept telling me that they had heard that we were close to administration but I’d say no, no, no, where did you hear that? That was three years ago, everything is fine now, of course you’ll get paid next month.”

While Gregory demonstrated his ability to be economical with the truth, Gianni Paladini, the chairman, rang up everyone he could think of to try to raise funds to keep the club going. When Paladini rang Gregory and told him that Ecclestone, the Formula One ringmaster and one of the richest men in Britain, and Briatore, the managing director of the Renault Formula One team, wanted to buy the club, he could hardly believe what he was hearing. “I told Gianni he was living in a fantasy world when he mentioned their names,” Gregory said. “I told him to ring me back when he had sobered up. He was trying to convince me that they were coming but I refused to believe it until the deal was signed, sealed and delivered – what has happened is beyond our wildest dreams.”

At a meeting with Gregory last week, the new owners explained what was expected of him. He would be given money to spend in the transfer window in January, but in the meantime QPR had to start winning games. Unfortunately for Gregory, his team have not won this season, leading to speculation that he would be replaced by somebody with a higher profile, such as Gianluca Vialli, the former Chelsea manager. “I’ve been given no guarantees about my future,” Gregory said. “I was just told to carry on doing my job and to prepare the team as best as I can.”

Even if the worst comes to the worst and the club’s new owners opt for a quick fix and show him the door, Gregory has at least repaired some of the damage done to his reputation after his acrimonious departure from Derby County in March 2003. “The allegations against my role in transfers started when I left Aston Villa five years ago,” Gregory said. “Then Derby threw allegations at me which I proved were totally false and I won my case against them for unfair dismissal. I got paid a seven-figure sum in compensation. You don’t get that if you are guilty of anything.”

The photocopier in his office is fixed now and new scouts are being employed, but one thing Gregory cannot change is what happened on August 25, when Ray Jones, the club’s highly rated 18-year-old striker, died in a car crash in East London. “I’ve lost a few friends in the past but to lose one of your players was unbelievably difficult,” he said. “We had to go and bury one of our teammates – that was really tough.”

As his voice trails off, Gregory glances at the tape machine recording our conversation. “I’m sure you’ve got enough in there,” he said. More than enough, John. More than enough.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Moore of the Same Please...

QPR 1-1 Watford

Rangers fans were treated to a collectors item as a rare Stefan Moore goal gave the R's a more than deserved point, in what was a much improved performance in a very entertaining match at Loftus Road.

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Many Rangers fans, myself included, were predicting a comfortable win for the League Leaders, but the news that Gareth Ainsworth was to start his first game since breaking his leg back in April, seemed to give everyone a massive lift. The same could be said of Sami Timoska, who took the place of Rehman at right back. After the dire performance against Plymouth, a response was needed and I am glad to say, we got one.

The first half started very lively and both sides were beginning to carve out chances. But when called upon, the Hornets found Lee Camp in tremedous form in the Rangers goal, notibly keeping out the returning Dan Shittu's header. The main talk amongst the fans at half time, is that if Rangers could hold Watford for the first 10 second half minutes, then the game would be there for the taking. But as the teams appeared, Ainsworth had been replaced by Stefan Moore, after as always, giving his absolute all. This along with Hogan Ephraim replacing Nardiello upfront before the break.

Watford then took the lead on 49 minutes when Middlesborough loanee, Johnson, who had been diving around Loftus Road all afternoon, managed to stay on his feet to head home after Williamson knocked back the impressive Marlon King's cross. But instead of the dropping heads we had seen a few days previous, we saw the same sort of spirit and fight that we had seen at Bristol City and the latter part of last season - it wasn't long before we were level.

On 58 minutes, Blackstock's header came back off the bar to Stefan Moore and after fearing the worst, we were instead, celebrating as he hammered the ball into the roof of the net.

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The game then could have gone either way as both sides continued to create chances, but Watford again found Lee Camp in great form. The win we all craved probably slipped from Rangers grasp after Mikele Leigertwood was, perhaps unlucky to be sent off for his second yellow card. However, Stefan Moore very nearly won it for the R's in the final minute, but his clean striker was sadly deflected over with Poom all but beaten in the Watford goal.

QPR: Camp, Barker, Cullip, Stewart, Bolder, Nardiello (Ephraim 40), Blackstock, Ainsworth (Moore 46), Rowlands, Timoska, Leigertwood. Subs: Cole, Bignot, Moore, Curtis.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Lee Camp

The result and performance, may well have bought John Gregory some time and personally, I hope he does get the chance to succeed. But reports and pictures of several out of work managers sitting in the stands, has certainly got me a bit concerned. More so with names such as Martin Allen and Dave Bassett being reported.

But that aside and to sum up, I predicted a 3-0 defeat and obviously, am more than happy to be wrong. But it was also so refreshing to see the fight, togetherness and spirit return to the Rangers side, especially when we went down to 10 men. Long may it continue...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Place Your Bets...

QPR v Watford

Yet again, the R's performance meant that we bombed out yet again on Tuesday night and even following that performance/result, there have been some optimistic selections. Myself however, I am predicting in the knowledge that more often than not, I have got it wrong, I hope I will do so again tomorrow...

PK - QPR to win 3-2 with Rowlands the first R's scorer

Corp - QPR to win 1-0 with Rowlands the first R's scorer

Lofty - Watford to win, 3-0

As ever, the bets can be taken as either singles or double, happy punting!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Couldn't Resist...

It certainly doesn't take long for these things to get around. I saw this on various different message boards and just had to post - huge credit to whoever put together this piccy and I hope they don't mind me using it. It is an advert for the new Jose Mourinho range of aftershave.

After spending the day reading and watching the very extensive Jose Mourinho media coverage today, I am a tad confused as has he left Chelsea, or has he passed away?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Problems on the Home Front...

QPR 0-2 Plymouth

Rangers fell to their fourth consecutive home defeat, their third in the league in what was a relatively comfortable evenings work for former boss, Ian Holloway and his Plymouth side.

The fact that I am sitting here writing this report at 1.30am, is indication enough that I am struggling to do so. The team selection this evening was baffling enough, what with just one change from Saturdays side, Nardiello for Sahar. I am not one for getting on players backs, but could someone please tell me what Stefan Moore did at the Walkers Stadium to warrant his place tonight?!? - the same could be said of Zesh Rehman.

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What was also baffling was tonights match programme, with comments reading the following;

"It's time we made Loftus road a fortress again" - Adam Bolder.

"It's a brilliant all-round squad" - Danny Nardiello.

"Midweek matches under the floodlights at Loftus Road are always very special". - John Gregory

Perhaps tonight, if we had started the game with the team that finished it, this may have been a completely different report I would be writing now. Nardiello hit the bar with a header in the first half, and Rowlands free kick also found the woodwork. But to be honest, there was little else to enthuse about. After Halmosi made Rehman look as ordinary as he is and fired his shot into the corner on 49 minutes, you could see the Rangers heads dropping from a mile away - and on 62 minutes, it was all over as a contest as Norris fired home from close range. I am never one for excuses, but it has to be said that Rangers inept performace was accompanied by probably the worst set of officials I have seen in some time. Also, it has to be mentioned that Barry Hayles gets more annoying and more irritating with every time I see him play.

QPR: Camp, Barker, Cullip, Stewart, Bolder, Nardiello (Sahar 81), Blackstock, Rowlands, Moore (Ephraim 58), Rehman (Bignot 58), Leigertwood. Subs: Cole, Curtis.

Lofty's Man of the Match - N/A

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Many are now saying that John Gregory is now skating on very thin ice. I for one, am a fan of JG's and would like to think that after saving us last season, he deserves a chance. But the team look out of sorts, short of confidence and showing no signs of improvement as the weeks are going by. Also, the midfield, with players playing out of position are looking lightweight and lacking in creativity and are consistantly being overun and let's face it, the abysmal form of Sheffield Wednesday is the only reason that we are not bottom of the table. As I close this evening, the only advice I would offer in light of Saturday's game, is that Hogan Ephraim must start against Watford.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Place You Bets...

QPR v Plymouth

Hopefully, a little faith would have been restored with a correct weekend score prediction, so with have a further two selections for this evenings game;

PK - QPR to win 2-1, Dexter Blackstock to score first

Lofty - a 1-1 draw, Ben Sahar to score first

As always, the bets can be either singles or doubles, happy punting!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mikele's Rocket Denies Foxes

Leicester 1-1 QPR

Those at the Walkers Stadium today saw an early contender for goal of the season from Mikele Leighterwood, as the R's came from behind to clinch a point at the Leicester.

After an already eventful season, and I refer to the events off the pitch, many looked at today's game as a chance for Rangers to restart the season. Gladly, it was a trip to the Walkers Stadium which has become one of my favourite away days. The journey is quick and easy and we get to park five minutes away from the ground and have a pre match pint in the very welcoming 'Counting House' pub. Also must be mentioned that Rangers have had good results here the past couple of seasons, which helps of course.

The loyal two of just myself and PK made the trip today, but were a bit apprehensive of the possible outcome as, what happened 7 times to us last season, the team we were about to play changed their Manager the previous week - although, new boss Gary Megson insisted on Sky Sports that he was playing a minor part for this game and not picking the team etc. But for someone playing a minor role, I don't think I saw Megson leave the technical area for the whole 90 minutes! Also, the team Rangers team selection baffled many and didn't really install any further confidence.

Onto the game, which overall, was pretty dull, but we were kept entertained by the, let's just say, a rather large, topless Leicester gentleman who played the drum in the home section. You may recall he was featured in the Sky programme, 'Football's Hardest Away Days', yes, that was him. As expected, their was quite a bit of banter, but all good natured and taken well by man in question.

After a dullish first half and in general, a game of few chances, the home side took the lead on 62 minutes. Damion Stewart up ended (the player who has seemed to have made a career after one FA Cup) DJ Campbell and the ref awarded a penalty. Fans favourite, Iain Hume sent Camp the wrong way from spot.

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The original game plan, which I think was to come for a point, then had to change and Rangers brought on the lively, Hogan Ephraim. There was now some urgency from Rangers and on 82 minutes, we were level. In a stadium where Rangers just don't score ordinary goals, Mickele Leighterwood struck a 30 yard rocket into the corner of the net.

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It suddenly was all Rangers and we looked the more likely to steal the 3 points. But we very nearly left with nothing as Clemence struck the Rangers crossbar in stoppage time.

QPR: Camp, Barker, Cullip, Stewart, Bolder (Ephraim 72), Blackstock, Rowlands, Sahar (Nardiello 46), Moore, Rehman, Leigertwood. Subs: Bignot, Cole, Curtis.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Danny Culip - an awesome performance!!

So, to sum up, again it was a disappointing overall performance. But we can take some heart from the game and it was pleasing to see Rangers fight back to gain their point. Nardiello was causing the Foxes defence all sorts of problems in the 2nd half and why Stefan Moore was preferred to Hogan Ephraim is anyones guess? The travelling support was again, outstanding and at this point, may I welcome back our Leeds based friends, Joe, Vickie and Paul.

Finally, those who are following our little betting feature, will notice that I did indeed, predict the correct score today - pity I didn't have any money on it? :-(

Friday, September 14, 2007

Place Your Bets...

Leiecester v QPR

Well, even at this early stage of the season and with our tips so far, I am surprised that this feature is still running and I will be even more surprised if anyone is actually reading it?

Only 3 predictions this week as it looks as if one of the gang has given up already, but the three all suggest that we are confident of getting something to hopefully kick start our season.

Corp - Rangers to win 2-1, Nardiello first scorer

PK - a 2-2 draw, Rowlands first scorer

Lofty - 1-1, Blackstock first scorer

As always, bets can be either doubles or singles.

Good Luck and Happy Punting and please rememeber, the law of averages means we wil get one right one day ;-)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Back to Basics...

England 3-0 Israel

Well, I vowed never to report on England games again, after some of the drivel and over inflated egos we have had to put up with under the McClaren era... and I stand by that!

However, I would just like to comment what a pleasure it was today watching England's win and what a difference it makes when players play in their correct positions. When we have a good, balanced midfield with both an attacking and defensive midfielder and not two similar players not knowing what the other is doing? We have two quick and attack minded wingers and pacey full backs that will support them. A little striker to feed off the big striker... AND, not forgetting, good, simple, on the floor passing! The whole team to a man deserve the chance to keep their place on Wednesday against Russia. Enough said...

But I think we all know, that if Lampard is fit, McClaren will put him straight back in!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Dog Chewed The Handle Tribute to Ray Jones

'a new star shines bright tonight'

Those who know me, know that myself and the gang are keen followers of Dog Chewed the Handle. The band played a gig at the Bell in Ruislip last night and Gaz Ainsworth and Lee Van Sargeant had penned their own song as a tribute and in honour of Ray Jones.
I managed to video the beautiful and very moving song and thought that I would share with you all.

An Emotional Day

QPR 0-3 Southampton

Southampton ran out comfortable winners in what was a very emotional day for everyone involved with Queens Park Rangers Football Club following the tragic death of Ray Jones. In respect, I won't be compiling a normal report but am posting a selection of photos from the day. I would also like to mention and thank Southampton FC and their supporters who respected the day impeccably.

QPR: Camp, Curtis, Stewart, Mancienne (Cullip 84), Barker, Rowlands, Leigertwood, Bolder, Ephraim, Blackstock (Nygaard 69), Sahar (Nardiello 69). Subs Not Used: Cole, Bignot.

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Pictures - DJ, Lofty and QPR