We’ve been in touch with www.loftforwords.co.uk – a QPR fans network site to ask a few questions before the game this coming weekend.
15 years out of the top flight. How do QPR fans feel being back in the Premier League?
On the whole, absolutely fantastic.
Just 18 months ago it was starting to look like we may be about to drop back to League One again with Paul Hart and then Mick Harford in charge of an awful team on a long losing run but Neil Warnock arrived and turned it round the second he walked through the door. We beat West Brom 3-1 in his first match and we won the league with something to spare last season.
It’s such shame that our board seems to specialise in fostering bad feeling around W12 because Saturday should be a fabulous day.
We don’t want to jinx your season talking about relegation before the season has even started, but do you think you’ll avoid relegation?
Personally, no I don’t. I wouldn’t want to see QPR going out and picking up the Carlton Coles of this world for £6m on £40,000 a week because in reality we have a tiny ground and it would bankrupt us very quickly. But there have been some very good players available this summer for reasonable transfer fees – Chris Eagles going to Bolton and Matt Taylor coming away are two examples of players who would have slotted in nicely at Rangers while not breaking the bank.
Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton, Wayne Routledge, Kyle Naughton just a few other examples. Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell are good signings for us considering our miniscule budget but we lack sufficient squad depth, pace and quality to stay up in my opinion.
Who are QPR’s key men this season?
Neil Warnock. The biggest thing we have going for us is the manager.
He’s done absolutely magnificently since he arrived and the team seems completely united behind him and totally committed to the cause. With his experience, the team’s commitment and the Loftus Road factor maybe we’ll scrape together enough points.
On the pitch Adel Taarabt, Alejandro Faurlin and Paddy Kenny were stars last season and will be important again. Shaun Derry was a surprise hit last season and much will depend on whether he can cut it at the higher level, or whether we have an adequate replacement for him if he can’t (my opinion is he can’t and we don’t).
There has been some talk about Adel Taarabt looking to move on – do you think your season would be hampered if Taarabt left?
There is talk every summer about Taarabt moving on. He’s a unique individual in many ways. There isn’t another player like him, some of the skills he has and the tantrums he throws have to be seen to be believed.
There also can’t be many people in the world with such a high opinion of themselves – Adel and his agent always seem to think a bid from Real Madrid is just around the corner. This summer he seemed to get closer to leaving than previously, because Paris SG are throwing silly money around, but I can’t see anybody paying the money our board would want for a player who is totally unproven at any level other than the Championship.
It would seriously hamper us if he left – he scored 19 and got 23 assists last season which tells its own story. There was an incident in a game at Hull City last season where he got fed up or not having the ball and being kicked by their defenders so went on strike in the middle of the match, standing in the centre circle and refusing to take part in the match while gesturing at Warnock that he wanted to come off.
But then there was a goal against Swansea that featured a back flick, a nutmeg and a 25 yard shot into the bottom corner in the same fluid movement. He’s worth the admission fee.
Who’s the unsung hero or rising star we may not have heard about?
I fancy Alejandro Faurlin to be the player the bigger clubs are looking to pick off at the end of the season.
He’s an Argentinean midfielder best known in this country for our FA hearing at the end of last season where we really should have been docked points. Basically he was owned by a company in Argentina, rather than a club, which isn’t allowed here post Tevez.
This all came to light midway through last season and the hearing went right down to the last day of the season. According to the report the club realised the third party ownership may be an issue, so agreed with the company to suspend it. We managed to conveniently produce a letter that our nightmare chairman Gianni Paladini had kept safely in his desk drawer and failed to show anybody, even the club lawyer, forgoing the third party involvement and they let us off with a big fine.
By the end of this season I’m confident Faurlin will be known for the right reasons, he’s an excellent all round midfield player.
Which Bolton players do you think QPR should keep a close eye on in the forthcoming game?
Chris Eagles usually causes us problems, although he may get some stick after his appearance at Loftus Road last season where he twice dived trying to win a penalty at the Loft End, got booked for one and lost his temper after the second much to the crowd’s delight.
Kevin Davies obviously, although I’ve spotted a question further down where he will be my answer too. Klasnic looked useful last season when I saw him and obviously Cahill is playing well. It’s generally perceived that we’re weakest in the full back areas so we’ll be fearing all wingers this season – Martin Petrov could have a nice cushy start to his season.
Which fixture are you most looking forward to?
Wigan at home, we’ve got half a chance of winning that.
Obviously it will be great to have all the big sides back at Loftus Road this season but given the prices our board will charge for tickets at those games, the number of Korean tourists they seem to want to attract and the glory hunting scum that comes along for one Chelsea/Man Utd/Arsenal game a season I can see me doing my very best Victor Meldrew impressions on those days.
Arsenal away on New Year’s Eve is probably the stand out game for me at the moment.
If you could have any Bolton player on your team who would it be?
Kevin Davies or Gary Cahill.
A lot of our success last year was built around your old boy Heidar Helguson in the lone striker role. With the best will in the world he’s too old and injury prone to be relied upon to do that in the Premiership and Davies is the nearest thing to a Premiership version of him, leading the line and brining people like Taarabt into play.
Having said that, we hope Jay Bothroyd may be able to do that at the moment so our prime concern seems to be at the back now. Our full backs look a little one paced (and it’s not a quick pace) for the Premiership and Warnock seems to be leaning towards starting the season with Danny Gabbidon and Fitz Hall at the back.
I give it half an hour before one or both of them is injured so a quality centre half wouldn’t go amiss either.
What is your perception of Bolton? How do you think we’ll do this season and what is your impression of us as a club?
When Megson was in charge Bolton looked to me like a club on the slide – dire football, poor results, declining crowds.
It wouldn’t have been long before you were relegated with that odious git in charge I don’t think. With Coyle in charge the football has improved, and the mood, and the results so things seem to be looking up. A club that once upon of time might have been dreaming of top five or six finishes but will now struggle to achieve that because of the money available to the four sides who regularly qualify for the “Champions” League.
Sadly I fear you may now become that club that spends all year “aiming for Europe” and then having qualified for the Europa League can’t wait to get out of it because of the fixture backlog it creates.
Who do you think is going to win the league this year?
Man Utd. Spit. Hate them.
Heart says 1-1 or maybe even QPR nicking a win. In reality I suspect we might lose 2-0 and get a very rude awakening.