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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Welcome Buzsaky...

Hungarian midfielder Akos Buzsaky is Luigi De Canio's first signing as QPR manager. The Plymouth midfielder has arrived initially on loan with a view to a permanent £500k deal in January.

The 25 year old midfielder will go straight into the squad for Saturday's game agaisnt Hull and will be wearing the legendary Number 10 shirt.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Benvenuto De Canio...

Luigi De Canio has been confirmed as the new QPR manager with first choice Francesco Guidilon returning to Italy and caretaker manager Mick Harford leaving the club with immediate effect.

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The 50-year-old, who has led Udinese, Napoli, Reggina, Genoa and more recently Siena, has signed a three-year contract at Loftus Road.

Sadly, De Canio's arrival has meant the departure of Mick Harford from the club. Harford was offered a position with the new regime but unfortunately turned it down. Mick had steadied the ship since John Gregory's departure and the results have been great, the defending fantastic and the players all seemed to like and get on with him.

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So, I would like to say welcome and good luck to Luigi and also wish Mick Harford all the very best for the future. Goodbye Mick and thank you!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bolder Rocks Charlton...

Charlton 0-1 QPR

Rangers clinched their first away win of season and their first win at The Valley for 25 years to climb off the bottom of the table. A second half goal from Adam Bolder was enough, but in truth, it could have been so much more as Rangers impressed in front of the dreaded Sky Cameras.

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With the game being televised, it was an early start for myself and PK, an earlier start for Corp and California Hoop who joined the Prawn Sandwich brigade for the day... and an even earlier start for the Leeds contingent. The journey was surprisingly good and the M25 surprisingly quiet as we heard reports from the box of champagne and steak being dished up from Charlton's corporate offerings. But it didn't bother us too much as the sat nav, making it's debut today, took us to the Woolwich Ferry for a very pleasant litte jaunt across the water. We arrived in plenty of time before kick off and was very impressed with the developments made to The Valley since my last visit. The same could not have been said for the away end though as many, not just someone who stands at 6ft 5, struggled to get both cheeks of their arse fully on the seat.

Onto the game, and Rangers more than held their own against their high flying opponents. On chances created, Charlton had slighlty the better of the first half, the best falling to Luke Varney who blazed over when put under pressure from Stewart. Rangers however, had a good shout for a penalty following what looked like a blatant handball from Chris Iwelumo. But our old friend, referee Lee Probert wasn't at all interested.

Onto the second half and it was all Rangers and we had a great chance to take the lead on 50 minutes. Rowan Vine was tripped by Fortune in the box and Probert pointed at the spot. Martin Rowlands confidently stepped up, oblivious to Danny Mills best attempts to distract him - and although the penalty was struck well enough, it smacked the post and rebounded to safety.

Despite the setback, the Rangers following got fully behind the team and Stewart, Vine and Liegertwood all had decent chances. But the lead was finally ours on 72 minutes - Ephraims shot was charged down to Barker, who crossed high into the box. Weaver and Nygaard both challenged and the ball fell loose to Bolder who stabbed the ball home to send the away end beserk.

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As you would expect, the home side put us under some pressure in the final minutes, but were frustrated time and time again by the excellent QPR back four... did I just say that??

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QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Mancienne, Bolder, Rowlands, Ephraim, Vine, Nygaard, Leigertwood, Cranie. Subs: Cole, Bignot, Ainsworth, Sahar, Moore.

Lofty's Man of the Match - a good few contenders today with Sky giving it to the excellent Rowan Vine. Damion Stewart was immense for us at the back, Ephraim and Rowlands were a constant threat on the flanks and Nygaard was impressive again and was a headache for the Charlton defenders all afternoon. But my award today, goes to Martin Cranie for a performance that was a class above.

What more can be said after a performance and result such as this? It was in my opinion, our best of the season so far and I have no doubt that mine and PK's burger and onions after the game, tasted just as good as Corp and Al's steaks. But with all the talk in recent weeks of new managers, the on/off saga with Francesco Guidolin and the new name in the frame, being Luigi Di Canio, the question has to be asked as have Rangers already got just what we need right under our noses? He has settled the club down, tightened up the back four, has us playing decent football and is getting results - all in the space of just under 4 weeks in charge.

Anyone else think we shoud give the job to Mick Harford??

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kettle Boils Again for QPR

Preston 0-0 QPR

Rangers came away from Deepdale with a deserved point with large thanks to the heroics of keeper Lee Camp, and despite the best efforts to prevent it from referee Trevor Kettle and one of the worst linesmen I have ever seen in this division.

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Although a long journey, it was pretty much painless and I arrived in good time to meet West Yorkshire based fans Paul, Joe, Vickie and on loan 'Arsenal' fan, Dan, who deservedly had had a much shorter midweek journey this time around. It was also good to see that a healthy R's following of around 500 had also made trip on a cold night in Lancashire.

The first half was pretty tight after Rangers had made a bright start. But following some half hearted penalty appeals from the home side, Preston were eventually awarded a ridiculous one on 35 minutes. As the ball was zipping around the Rangers penalty area, the ball indeed bounced onto Cranie's hand, but seeing as he was looking in the completely opposite direction, it could hardly be called intentional. In fact, referee Kettle waved the appeals away, only to change his mind as his linesman started waving his flag like a mad thing. Following some lengthy protests, Paul Gallacher stepped up, only for Lee Camp to dive to his right to make the save. The celebrations in the stand and on the pitch, including an ironic gesture at the linesman from the penalty saving keeper, showed just how much justice had been done!

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Onto the second half and Preston upped the tempo as you would expect a home side to do only to find Rangers in stubborn mood. Rangers broke sporadically, but when doing so, played some neat and tidy football with Vine, Ephraim, Nygaard and Rowlands all having chances. But all in all, the plaudits go to Lee Camp once again, with two further stunning saves to keep out Whaley and Davidson.

QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Mancienne, Bolder, Ainsworth (Nygaard 56), Rowlands, Ephraim, Vine, Leigertwood, Cranie. Subs: Cole, Bignot, Moore, Sahar.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Lee Camp, a stunning display!!

All in all, I was pleased with the result and the performance of the players. They battled hard and at times, played some decent football. Although the front pairing of Vine and Ephraim is obviously not working and as per Saturday, Rangers looked more of a threat attacking wise when Nygaard came on. As already mentioned, the Officials were dreadful and I am amazed that 5 Rangers players were booked in what was by no means a dirty game. However, it did seem that the radio coverage back home was extremely negative, as I was recieving texts from friends saying that things like 'Preston were all over us' and 'Nygaard can't keep on his feet'. Okay, this wasn't the best game of football in the world, but it certainly wasn't how the radio stated...

Before I sign off, I must just mention some of the most discraceful stewarding that I have seen in a football stadium for some time. So much so, has led to me contacting Preston this morning and speaking to the Stadium Manager. To be fair, he was both agreeable and pleasant to talk to, but just to be told the matter will be 'dealt with', I find not acceptable.

After about 10 minutes of the game, both sets of fans were in good spirits and enjoying the normal sort of banter that you would expect. It must be mentioned at this time that both sets of fans were standing - then, enter approximately 6 burley stewards. You could tell by the way they were pounding up the stairs that their manner was somewhat aggresive. It led to some heated debate and a ultimately, a 15 year old lad being held in a headlock, wrestked to the ground and then forceably ejected - and for what, standing up?!?

The behaviour was so bad that even the stewards who were already present in the stand were trying to intervene and when being question by concerned fans, myself included, just what was going, we were given some, let's just say, foul mouthed alternatives to the English language. There were several photos taken and hopefully, better than mine to which in fairness, just looks like a bit of a scuffle. But even so, the question has to be asked as why these so called stewards, who are supposedly required to look after the safety of the public, feel that they can behave in this manner?

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I must also add, that the majority of the stewards in the away end were both friendly and helpful and I have no wish to tar them all with the same brush. I also felt this had to mentioned after the match, to whom I must say, was a very attractive female police officer, who again, said that the matter will be 'dealt with', but also said that these 'stewards', and I use the term loosely as they were nothing more than thugs, were NOT regular Preston North End stewards. My work means that I occasionally deal with a security company and the officers now have to be publically licensed - AND, have no right whatsover to use physical contact on members of the public, let alone what many witnessed last night!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nygaard Makes His Marc..

QPR 1-1 Ipswich

After a fortnight and an overall, disappointing International break, proper football returned and a late equaliser from Marc Nygaard, silenced the boo boys and more importantly, earned Rangers what could be a very valuable point in an entertaining affair at Loftus Road.

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Well before I go on, I must just apologise for the lateness of this report. But after the game, it was off to watch England's brave performance in the Rugby World Cup final, followed by what was an excellent Paul Weller tribute band. Then of course, today, after a lazy and recovering morning, there was more sporting disappointment with Lewis Hamilton in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Anyway...

Onto the game and Rangers had slightly the better of the first half but failed to turn several chances into what would have been a deserved lead.But Ipswich started the second period much the brighter and on 53 minutes, they were ahead. The ball was fed to Sylvain Legwinski who took the ball on his chest and looped a superb volley over Camp from 25 yards. As good a goal as this was, it was also disappointing to see the former Fulham midfielder being given the time to do it.

The game then went a bit quiet, but on 73 minutes and just as the home fans starting to become a tad restless, Ephraim fed Rowan Vine who somehow poked the ball through to substitute Marc Nygaard to ram the ball home and level the scores.

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There followed chances for both sides, notably to Rowan Vine who volleyed wide from Ephraim's cross. But with time almost up, Lee Camp produced a quite stunning save to keep out Danny Haynes close range header.

QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Mancienne (Nygaard 55), Bolder, Ainsworth (Moore 68), Rowlands, Ephraim, Vine, Leigertwood, Cranie. Subs: Cole, Bignot, Jarrett.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Mikele Leigertwood - a decent midfield performance of good tacking, decent passing and good support work going forward.

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As mentioned, this was an entertaining enough game, but was slightly disapppointed with the overall result. It was nice to see the fight return also, especially having to come from behind. Also, I have been critical of Nygaard in the past, but I must say how well he played when he came on yesterday and he took his goal extremely well. With Nardiello and Blackstock injured and the left out Sahar - quite possibly in disgrace after some rather ill-advised comments he and his Mother made to an Israeli newspaper about how hard it is playing for QPR and how much he regrets coming here - I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Big Dane start in what is a crucial game up at Preston on Tuesday, him and Vine together could be an interesting combination.

Finally some exclusive news as myself and the gang became intrepid reporters after the game and managed exclusives with our possible new Manager, Francesco Guidolin and loan star, Hogan Ephraim.

Well, after about 15 minutes of hanging around and whispering things like 'are you sure that's him?' to eachother, myself, PK and Corp approached Mr Guidolin. Although speaking very good English, he seemed to struggle to understand us talking to him, but after a few beers throughout the course of the afternoon, that could well have been our fault. But he basically expressed his desire to manage in England and would like to go to the Premier League one day - but has to sort out the contractual issue with Palermo. When asked the magic question of which you can all guess what it was, his reply was that he was 'thinking about it'.

Onto the impressive Hogan Ephraim who was more than pleased to stop and have a few words with us -

Lofty - 'Good game again Hogan, you MUST come and sign for us!'

Hogan - 'ah nice one, that's nice of you to say, thanks a lot mate, appreciate it!'

We would like to thank Mr Guidolin and Mr Ephraim for giving us their time to be able to talk to us.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Days... at Long Last!!

QPR 1-0 Norwich

Well, it was very much a night of first's for QPR this season at Loftus Road... our first clean sheet, our first penalty, the first time we have taken the lead and of course and more importantly, our first win!!! AND, in front of the dreaded Sky cameras too!!!

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It seems like a lifetime since I was last sitting here writing about a Rangers win and I must say, what an absolute pleasure it is! The majority of the pre match talk amongst us all, was what is now becoming a bit of a lottery to who QPR's next Manager will be? - and although most of the gang had their own personal do's and don'ts, we are still very much none the wiser.

Onto the game and against an also struggling Norwich side, was a 'must win' game if ever I had seen it. Rangers had the better of a dullish first half, with Liegertwood and Sahar going close. There was also the first of three penalty shouts turned down as Sahar was clearly dragged back by Dublin, but referee Walton didn't want to know.

Rangers started the second half like a train and Martin Rowlands thunderous shot smacked the post on 47 minutes. Three minutes later, and penalty appeal number two was turned down. Rowan Vine was pulled and dragged down by Shackell but yet again, Walton was having none of it and you couldn't help feeling that it wasn't going to be our night.

Rowlands again went close before penalty appeal number three on 67 minutes. The impressive Rowan Vine was bundled over by Murray and this time, Walton finally pointed to the spot.

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Martin Rowlands stepped up to hammer the ball into the bottom right hand corner to give Rangers a deserved lead and Loftus Road went beserk!

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Rangers were totally in control now and Ainsworth, Stewart, Rowlands, Vine and Ephraim all had further chances to make the victory safe. But despite a ridiculous 5 minutes of added time, Rangers held on for a richly deserved three points.

QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Bolder, Ainsworth (Jarrett 86), Rowlands, Sahar (Moore 68), Ephraim (Timoska 90), Vine, Leigertwood, Cranie. Subs: Cole, Bignot.

Lofty's Man of the Match - a good few contenders for this one, with Sky giving it to Rowlands. Leigertwood and Vine also had solid games, but for me it goes to Hogan Ephraim after another superb performance. The night got even better with the news that his loan spell from West Ham has been extended a further month.

To sum up, most QPR fans have almost forgotten what it's like to win again and it was great to see so many smiling faces on leaving the stadium. After weeks of writing about the negatives, there were so many positives to take from tonight. Martin Crainie had a great game at centre back and the back four looked so much more assured with him in there. We looked decent coming forward again with Liegertwood having his best game in a QPR shirt and Vine and Ephraim causing all sorts of problems throughout the night.

It's just a shame now we have an International break, but it feels so much better being a QPR supporter tonight! Happy Days!!

Place Your Bets...

QPR v Norwich

Even in light of SB's comment last week, we are back yet again and in a must win game for Rangers, we are staying positive. Even the Sky cameras haven't put us off, but again, it's just the normal two predictors for this one. As previously mentioned, it seems the other two have given up... probably along with all the punters ;-)

Myself and PK are prediciting a 2-1 QPR win, with Rowan Vine being the first scorer. As always, bets can be individuals or doubles. Good Luck!!

Welcome Martin Cranie...

QPR have moved to sign Portsmouth and England U21 defender, Martin Cranie on a 3 month loan deal.

The 21 year old is highly likely to go straight into the side for tonight's Sky game against Norwich.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

U's Give Mick Some Stick...

Colchester 4-2 QPR

There have been plenty of changes since my last report from Sunday's 5-1 defeat at the Hawthorns. But sadly, the only thing that didn't change was a bad result as Colchester registered their first home win and Rangers remain winless.

Obviously, one of the changes was the Manager as Mick Harford took up the position for his first and possibly last game in charge. Most teams after changing their manager, suddenly turn into AC Milan in their next game and record a handsome victory, but that certainly doesn't apply when it's QPR.

Just myself and PK made the trip, which despite accounting for the lottery that is the M25, was again, an absolute breeze and we arrived in plenty of time to enjoy a burger and a couple of beers before kick off. With the new signings and the hope that the players would want to prove themselves to any prospective new boss, we were in good spirits, as were the surprisingly healthy Rangers following. We also saw Stuart Pearce in a petrol station on route to the game which got us thinking, along with many others that could this be the new Rangers Manager?

Those who have been to Layer Road, will no doubt agree that with respect, it isn't the most luxurious of stadiums. But I couldn't help being a bit disappointed with the view from my £23 seat, that ultimately led us to the terraces for the second half.

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Onto the game and a mixture of bad luck and yet more diabolical defending saw Rangers condemned to another heavy defeat. Rangers were all square on 29 minutes when Hogan Ephraim slid in to cancel out Mikele Leigertwood's unfortunate own goal. But Colchester were back in front within a minute when Kemal Izzet headed in Danny Granville's cross unchallenged and Mark Yeates made it 3-1 with a heavily deflected free-kick.

Rowan Vine scored on his debut to give us some brief hope, but Clive Platt headed home, again, unchallenged on 61 minutes to make the result safe for the home side.

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QPR: Camp, Barker, Cullip, Bolder, Blackstock, Ainsworth (Moore 86), Rowlands, Jarrett (Sahar 74), Ephraim, Vine, Leigertwood. Subs: Cole, Bignot, Stewart.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Hogan Ephraim, why oh why didn't JG pick him from the start more often!?

Despite the disappointment, this wasn't actually as bad as Sunday and at times, we played some pretty decent football, albeit in short spells. Hogan Ephraim had a decent game and Rowan Vine certainly looks like a class act. But yet again, the defence was a shambles and although we were perhaps unlucky with two of the goals, we also gifted them two and this just can't continue, whoever is in the back four!?

Place Your Bets...

Colchester v QPR

In true form, we couldn't have got it more wrong if we tried against West Brom. However, saying that I DID actually predict the correct R's scorer. Well, it also seems that half the gang have completely given up with this now, but myself and PK have both come up with selections - and probably due to the new signings and of course, new manager syndrome, albeit caretaker, we are staying positive.

We have both predicted Rangers to get their first win and by the same margin, 2-1.

PK has predicted Adam Bolder as the first scorer and myself, is predicting a debut goal for Rowan Vine. As always, the bets can be either singles or doubles, Happy Punting!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Welcome Rowan Vine...

QPR have secured their second loan signing of the day with Birmingham's Rowan Vine joining on a one month emergency deal.

The 25 year old, former Luton striker, will go straight into the squad for tomorrow's game at Colchester.


Welcome Jason Jarrett...

QPR have moved to sign Preston North End midfielder, Jason Jarrett on a 3 month loan deal.

The 28 year old former Wigan star, goes straight into Mick Harford's squad for tomorrow's game away at Colchester.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Goodbye and Thank You, John Gregory

Following the 5-1 thrashing at West Brom on Sunday John Gregory has been sacked as manager of QPR. Gregory last week, received the dreaded 'vote of confidence' from the new owners and here he is, out of a job a week later. Poor results, bizarre team selections and the fact that we are sitting at the bottom of the table was probably enough to ensure the board had lost faith with their Manager - but it seems that the 5-1 thrasing at the Hawthorns yesterday was the straw that broke the camel's back.

This may not be as much of a surprise to many, but personally, I am sad to see one of my boyhood heroes leave the Club. But, I am also realistic enough to know that there is no room for sentiment in football. Results this season have been poor and the league table doesn't lie. But with new, ambitious owners on board, it was becoming more and more obvious that things just can not go on the way things are.

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JG has been with us for just over a year now and his vast experience saw him save Rangers from what was almost certain relegation. I have been upset with the way some fans have turned on him so quickly, they must have extremely short memories that's all I can say. Yes, we are currently bottom of the Championship, but would NOT even be in this division if not for JG. Personally, I would like to have seen John get a bit more time. However, it is not to be and we must move on now.

I would like to thank John Gregory for everything he has done for Queens Park Rangers Football Club both as a player and a manager!!

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Good Luck for the future, JG!