Category: Queens Park Rangers

Since taking over Nottingham Forest in July, chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi has had four managers serving under him, and the latest of these for only 40 days and seven games.

"Mac the Knifed" | Nottingham Forest manager Alex McLeish left the club by mutual consent after 40 days in charge. (Image | The Times)

Turmoil | Nottingham Forest manager Alex McLeish left the club by mutual consent after 40 days in charge. (Image | The Times)

When the news that former Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish had departed by mutual consent emerged last week, the footballing world let out a collective groan as it became clear that yet another club was in the throes of what might be called “toxic ownership”.

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As some of you may have heard, former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp replaced Mark Hughes as Queens Park Rangers boss this weekend.

High hopes | Can Harry Redknapp use his legendary motivational ability to spur a new “great escape” at Queens Park Rangers? (Image | BBC)

Harry Houdini, as he is often referred to, faces a huge challenge to keep QPR in the top flight – given that the Rs have a mere four points having won none of their opening 13 games.

Yet the charismatic Redknapp, who takes charge of Rangers for the first time tonight away to Sunderland, has already been tipped to save the Superhoops from the dreaded drop, despite their abysmal record and underperforming players.

Thus, here at The Armchair Pundits, we believe it is time to ask the burning question of the week: Will Harry Redknapp keep QPR in the Premier League? Have your say in our poll, below, on whether the Rs can turn it around.

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Hopefully Sky Sports will appreciate how long this took and won’t try to sue us. Please. (Image | Sky Sports, very graciously)

Deadline day once again produced its usual mix of excitement, hyperbole and confusion yesterday, with a standard assortment of a couple of ‘blockbuster’ moves and many, many loan deals done between Premier League teams and lower-league clubs.

As is our duty, though, we’ve dredged through the rumours, the hopes and the hogwash to bring you the ten most intriguing deals of yesterday’s shopping frenzy…

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Frustrated | Once again Arsenal failed to break down inferior opposition in a pattern drearily reminiscent of previous seasons. (Image | The Guardian)

With one Premier League match played, and football having returned from its slightly shorter than usual summer break, if the season were to abruptly end before tomorrow’s action begins, Fulham would have narrowly lost out on their first ever Premier League title to neighbours Chelsea, while Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers would be heading back to the Championship having failed to find the net in the top flight.

Although, while Cottagers supporters struggle to contain their nosebleeds and Swansea City fans organise an open top bus parade for legendary manager Michael Laudrup, we must remember that there are 37 games remaining (for most sides), and plenty of time for the table to take on a more predictable appearance. However, although it is impossible to assess a side’s ability and probable fortune this early on, it is worth taking a look at what is likely to transpire over the next nine months.

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Why always him: Joey Barton‘s behaviour against Manchester City was undoubtedly unacceptable, however, other players haven’t been so heavily punished for similar examples of ill-discipline. (Image | Herald Sun)

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was yesterday (23 May) handed a 12 match ban for violent conduct during the clash with Manchester City on the final day of the season.

Barton was shown the red card after elbowing Carlos Tevez in the face, and then kicking out at Sergio Aguero and clashing with Vincent Kompany after he’d already been ordered to leave the pitch.

The Football Association (FA) chose to extend the original four match suspension by eight games, and issued a £75,000 fine to the QPR captain.

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Sergio Aguero fires past Paddy Kenny to secure Manchester City‘s first title in 44 years. (Image | The Guardian)

The ultimate round of matches of the 2011-2012 Premier League season had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. In this vein, footballing clichés were wheeled out by the bucket load. At Manchester City, it really was a game of two halves, as the league leaders thoroughly pummelled the Queens Park Rangers defence, peppering shots at Paddy Kenny and any other body the R’s could get in the way. 44 of them, in fact. With Manchester United maintaining a 1-0 lead over Sunderland for the majority of the game at the Stadium of Light, all eyes were on the Etihad Stadium. Pablo Zabaleta set the Citizens on their way just before half-time, at almost exactly the same point as Bolton Wanderers completed their turnaround against Stoke City to take a 2-1 lead. QPR were relegated, Bolton were staying up, and City had a hand on the trophy. Surely this would be it from Mark Hughes’ ultra-defensive side?

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QPR striker Jamie Mackie wheels away in celebration having netted an extraordinary 90th minute winner against the hapless Reds on Wednesday.

What’s the biggest joke in football right now? I’ll give you a clue. It plays in red and is based on Merseyside. Congratulations lucky guessers, it is indeed Liverpool Football Club. The Andy Carroll debate has been, at local, national and international level, covered to the point where no new ground could possibly emerge, so next in the firing line is the team’s massive underachieving this year. Liverpool supporters appear to reside in a state of semi-trance, barely batting an eyelid as their once great club slides further and further down the table, and revels in glories so minor and insignificant you’d imagine the city’s mayor might organise a parade for yet another unplanned teenage pregnancy.

So why does the complacency of those on the Kop annoy so much? Because, quite simply, Roy Hodgson was unfairly hounded out of Liverpool in favour of the incumbent, the returning hero, Kenny Dalglish. Widely revered as a saviour, nay, some sort of god, Dalglish is supposedly the answer to years of underachievement and the “new big four” of Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

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Djibril Cisse scored within 12 minutes against Aston Villa, showing a poacher’s instinct which QPR have sorely lacked all season.

Djibril Cisse could keep Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League. Jonathan Pearce said he could on the BBC, so it must be true. He has the pace, agility, and goal-scoring prowess to be the perfect foil for Bobby Zamora, and the link up play between the two against Wolverhampton Wanderers was, for all its briefness, rather exciting.

Stupidly, Cisse temporarily mislaid his brain, and received his marching orders for reacting violently to Roger Johnson’s “robust” challenge. Indeed, you might say, it was a rather cowardly act from Cisse. But the £4m man is the answer to our collective prayer, like the metaphorical spring in the arid desert, he could revive our emaciated corpse, and lift Rangers to the heady heights of 16th place.

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Djibril Cisse returned to the Premier League with struggling Queens Park Rangers in one of the more intriguing transfer stories of the day

The January transfer window is a dreadful instrument of greed and stupidity. Yet even worse than the window itself, is Sky Sports’ wet dream, also known as Transfer Deadline Day. It is football’s equivalent of a one night stand. You almost always choose wrongly, sacrifice far too much dignity in the process, can rarely justify your decision, and very soon afterwards regret what you’ve done.

Leaving the often incomprehensibly desperate signings made by clubs in pursuit of silverware or, more likely, as part of a desperate scramble to assemble a team capable of reaching the heady heights of 17th in the Premier League, it is the most hyped, monotonous day on the British footballing calendar.

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