Season Review - Where Did It Go Wrong???
The final article of the season is a review which has been written by an anonomus member of the gang as they do not wish to take any credit for their good work.
Please enjoy the season review, a very honest and truthful piece of writing -
Where did it all go so wrong for the R’s?
After undoubtedly being part of the most dramatic last day of the season in Premier League history and retaining our place in the league, albeit by the skin of our teeth, everyone was optimistic ahead of the new season.
Hughes was given funds by Mr Fernandes and brought in many players over the summer. Fans favourite Samba Diakite who impressed on loan was signed permanently, along with the highly sought after Junior Hoilett. These names were joined by the talents of Julio Cesar, Park Ji Sung, Jose Bosingwa, Stephane Mbia and Estaban Granero. To add to the list of new recruits Andy Johnson, Ryan Nelsen and Rob Green all joined on free transfers. The latter raised a few eyebrows, but the high profile names added to the team were enough to make all Rangers fans very excited about the season ahead. Unfortunately however, this meant many players who made significant contributions last season, and to our promotion the season before were pushed out of the exit. Buzsaky, Smith, Kenny and Helguson among those allowed to leave.
The beginning of the season couldn’t come quickly enough for everyone involved and connected with the club. Swansea City, at home, a game we looked at and conceived would could quite easily be our first win of the season to get the ball rolling. Debuts for newly appointed captain Park, highly debated as to whether this was a commercial move, and exciting signing Hoilett. Plus last season’s in form striker Djibril Cisse leading the line, we all were relishing the thought of what he could do in a full season for us. However 7 minutes in the only debutant we had to worry about was in fact Michu, opening his account with the quickest opening day Premier League goal and stunning a packed Loftus Road. The rest can be easily forgotten about and we cemented our place at the bottom of the table. A point against Norwich followed later in the month, and not even a convincing win against Walsall in the League Cup was enough to smokescreen what had been a worrying start to the campaign.
Rangers began September in search of their first win, daunting away days to Man City and Tottenham, despite good battling performances, ended in inevitable defeat. Chelsea were also visitors to Loftus Road, fuelled by the on-going John Terry and Anton Ferdinand saga, this was a match everyone hoped would be a repeat of the season before. Despite a lively crowd the game fizzled out into a 0-0, losing Andy Johnson to a season ending injury after his promising start to the season. No one could say R’s fans wouldn’t have taken a point before the game though! September was topped off by our short lived as ever cup run coming to an end at the hands of Reading, who won the game 3-2.
A loss at the beginning of October to West Ham was extremely concerning to all, a rather unsurprising red card awarded to Diakite and with poor performances all round, a Taarabt wonder substitute appearance wasn’t enough to get anything from the game. Finding ourselves losing to West Brom, drawing at home with Everton and losing albeit rather unfortunately to Arsenal, the winless run needed to end soon.
With us and Reading occupying the bottom two positions in the league come November, a win against them at home was crucial. Former R’s hero Kaspars Gorkss came back to haunt his former club and lacklustre performances from both sides meant the spoils were shared, another point on the board. Losses to Stoke and and Southampton followed and questions were beginning to be asked of the players, and of the manager. The excuses continued to flow from Hughes, but fan pressure eventually appeared to pay off as he was sacked shortly after the Southampton defeat. Most people’s choice Harry Redknapp was placed in charge to try and head the R’s on going relegation battle. Losses to Man United and a hard earned point against Sunderland followed.
Harry was well chuffed with his new job.
Rangers then entered the busy festive period, a real chance for the R’s to gather some momentum and put some points on the board. Single points against relegation candidates Wigan and Aston Villa meant we were record breakers, but for all the wrong reasons as we set the longest winless record ever in a Premier League season. Finally though, at the 17th time of asking we gained our first win of the season against West London rivals Fulham, Taarabt stealing the show, despite limited chances in the team, the Moroccan proved unplayable, scoring two great goals to seal the victory. The feeling was that our luck had changed, that this win would finally give the team some confidence to put a run of results together. Games against Newcastle, West Brom and Liverpool were games Rangers needed to get some points from to keep the momentum going. Instead we decided to go and lose them all. Back to the drawing board it seemed.
January emerged and despite the poor start to the season every faith was placed in Redknapp to sign some players and get us out of the mess we found ourselves in. It was clear some players were simply not pulling their weight thus far. Players like Granero, Park, Bosingwa and Mbia all in particular not impressing Rangers fans with their somewhat lack of effort and commitment to the cause. Redknapp brought in free recruits in former England international Jermaine Jenas and Tal Ben Haim, with a late swoop for Spurs youngster Andros Townsend. Despite doubts over the signings Rangers fans were particularly thrilled about the high profile, big money signings of Chris Samba and Loic Remy. Questions everyone was asking was would they live up to their reputations, or just be more to add to the list of underperforming, unpassionate flops we had seen so far this season. Faurlin, Ferdinand and Cisse were all shipped out on loan after their poor starts to the season and it was clear Redknapp had in his mind exactly who he believed would keep us in the division.
2013 had started with a bang as Rangers recorded their second win, at the unlikely venue of Stamford Bridge, ex Chelsea ‘footballer’ Shaun Wright Phillips scoring the winner late on. As if the Wright Phillips goal wasn’t shocking enough, Rangers held on to claim the win. The rest of the month continued winless, despite a miraculous FA cup win at West Brom, we were brought back down to earth with an embarrassing defeat at the hands of MK Dons. The league was the focus though, we had to try and pull some results out of the bag before those in front proved uncatchable. Remy and Townsend were both proving to be inspired signings thus far.
February brought a home test against Norwich City, a game R’s fans saw as a pivotal must win game. A 55th minute penalty save from Bunn to deny Adel Taarabt was a massive blow and so typical of the season so far and for many fans, cast massive doubts as to whether we had enough to stay in the division. A heavy defeat at the hands of Swansea, once again, and an expected defeat to Manchester United kept Rangers well and truly in the thick of it.
March and April were months that despite the rubbish we’d witnessed this season, the Rangers faithful still harboured hopes of survival on, with a number of ‘on paper’ winnable games. Unfortunately for us, the game isn’t played on paper, it’s played on grass, and we aren’t very good on that. What we needed was two or three wins on the bounce to turn things around, something which had seemed unable to do since our return the top flight. Thankfully this soon changed as back to back wins against Sunderland and Southampton reignited hope. Aston Villa were our next opponents, a team also struggling at the bottom of the league, a win would have taken Rangers to within a point of their rivals. With the hard work already done in winning back to back games, the one thing we needed to do was not to lose this game. Which we did. Having reduced the gap from safety, we were then back to square one.
April brought important, and winnable fixtures against Fulham, Reading, Stoke, Everton and Wigan. From the possible 15 points available, R’s fans earmarking 9 points as a realistic return, we managed only two, Wigan breaking R’s hearts in the last minute at Loftus Road. For even the most optimistic QPR fan, this was indeed the final nail in the coffin. Everton away followed in what I can say was probably the most uninspiring performance I’ve ever witnessed from a QPR side. No pride, no passion, no desire, and once again, no points. A disappointing result at home to struggling Stoke City was not enough to entice many to the Madjeski Stadium, a match that only a draw would send both teams down. Even a win would have only prolonged the misery for either side, both of which had had woeful campaigns. It was no surprise to see the game end 0-0, two poor sides who fully deserve their positions in the league, and their status as a Championship team next season.
The last three games finished as expected, in defeat, the season finally over for the suffering Rangers fans. I, for one, have never been so happy for a season to end. Relegation hurts for any club, but for the R's fans I don't believe it was the relegation that hurt, but the manner in which the team went about it. The lack of effort shown by certain individuals, especially those who arrived in the summer was disgusting. Throughout the season it became more and more clear that some players were only at the club for the money, not even a ridiculous pay packet every week appeared enough for some to pull on a shirt and pretend to try. It became more evident as the season went on that far too much money was thrown around, with very little to show for it, and this began to continuously frustrate the Rangers fans. Exemplified when Jose Bosingwa was booed at every touch of the ball against Newcastle. After his antics refusing to sit on the bench, his sniggering after our relegation and overall lack of commitment everyone had finally had enough. I never usually agree with the booing of one player, but even if you're not the most gifted of players, if you give 100% (Jamie Mackie), fans will love you, but strolling around like you don't give a $h!t earning 65k a week, fans are going to be less forgiving. It's difficult to pin point exactly where everything went wrong, it's easy to make Hughes the scapegoat, but when the likes of Granero, Park, Hoilett, Mbia and Cesar walked through the door nobody was complaining. Redknapp however seems to have been a saint throughout, and continued to tell the press every week about the lack of quality in the team, however he wasn't forced to play the players that he did. A fully fit Fabio, Derry and Bothroyd not getting chances, whilst Zamora, despite being touted as the key to our survival was totally ineffective especially towards the latter part of the season. The blame has to be shared amongst everyone at the club, the owners, who put their total faith in both managers, very naively it appears, and backed them financially, had their pants well and truly pulled down. The players did themselves no favours either, highlights were few and far between and it's a sad reflection that the most notable performers were either loan players (Townsend), and players in the twilight of their careers like Derry, Hill and Nelsen, who many percieved to not be good enough for the Premier League. The summer will be an interesting one, with many as expected eager to leave, as they feel they're too good for the Championship, fact is if they were, they wouldn't be championship players. We finished exactly where we deserved to be.
I hope lessons are learnt, and that next season we have a team we can be proud to watch in the Hoops, hopefully seeing plenty of wins along the way. We must try to build a TEAM who want to wear the shirt and play for the club. I remember growing up and enjoying watching the likes of Gallen, Ainsworth and Bircham all running around giving their all. If we can offload the mercenaries, get in some hungry players and push on then I can't see it being too long before we return to the Premier League, and I hope when we do, we'll do it the right way!