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Gary O'Neil - the one that got away?
at 17:13 25 Oct 2023

Following the 2014 play-off final, me and my fellow long-suffering QPR mate, Dave, decided to celebrate that rarest of sporting events, a QPR Wembley final victory, with a night out down the Bush. Walking down the Uxbridge Road we ran into Gary O'Neil, who of course 'took one for the team' in the Final. Had he not being wearing his QPR blazer, I am sure we would have walked straight passed him, such an unassuming persona he projected that evening. He was happy to chat, showed no bitterness at the decision to send him off, and posed for a photo. In return we gave him the lowdown on the best place on the street to get chips. He was the complete antithesis of the modern day footballer that evening!
Fast forward to last Monday, and no doubt like many others who caught Sky's Monday night football, I was hugely impressed by O'Neil's breakdown of the tactics employed by Wolves in their recent win over City:

O'Neil is clearly a deep thinking coach, with genuine tactical nous, totally unlike GA. He appears devoid of any ego, unlike Michael Beale, and clearly is a resilient character, having put the disappointing and unjust end to his managerial stint at Bournemouth behind him.

Was ever considered for the head coach role at Rangers after the departure of Warbs? Just imagine where we might be now!
Book recommendation
at 12:35 12 Feb 2023

In order to provide some light relief from all the gloom and doom laden posts on this forum, I thought I'd recommend a book that I've been reading that many of you, particularly those of you that grew up in the 70's and 80's like I did , will absolutely love!

"Get Shirty" is the book follow up to the excellent documentary from 2016 chronicling the rise and fall of Admiral Sportswear. Very much a labour of love by author Andy Wells, the book represents a genuine source of social history, harking back to an age when much of this country's manufacturing output was created locally. It seems hard to believe that a small textiles firm from Wigston in Leicester, previously known for manufacturing underwear, could effectively create the replica kit market through a series of bold and innovative marketing strategies.
Of course, Rangers had a brief flirtation with Admiral, who were kit suppliers for part of 1974-75 season. The book mentions that some of the Rangers players threatened to go on strike if the cash advance provided by Admiral was not distributed amongst the players (as at Leeds and other clubs).
Whilst reading this book a wave of nostalgia has swept over me - Admiral kits were always my favourite growing up, because of their innovative and intricate designs.

Here's a link to the book:

Here's a link to a trailer of the documentary:

The injury curse continues!
at 23:00 9 Aug 2022

Just listened to the post-match interview with Mick Beale, who has confirmed that Willock, Paal and Amos are all unavailable for Saturday's game at Sunderland!
When it rains....!
It's not just Warburton...
at 22:35 27 Dec 2020

Interesting article in today's Sunday Times by Alyson Rudd on the approach adopted by Bielsa in Leeds first season back in the Premiership. Whilst acknowledging that Bielsa has been widely praised for his adventurous spirit and Leeds' attacking, entertaining style, Rudd points out that Leeds "could be easily sucked into a relegation battle" unless Bielsa makes an unlikely deviation from his principles. Rudd also cites a post-match interview with Brendan Rodgers after his Swansea team lost 4-1 to a Chelsea team playing most of the game with ten men. "Rodgers beamed with pride and said how pleased he was his team had not comprised their style."
Warbs is clearly cut from the same cloth, a football purist with very fixed ideas on how the game should be played. Seemingly, adopting such an approach can lead to success?
Winging Bees!
at 22:25 15 Dec 2020

Thomas Frank (I can't help but dislike the guy) moaning about the penalty/red card double whammy given against his team tonight!
I think that's call 'karma' Thomas!
Are we Arsenal in disguise?!
at 22:48 6 Dec 2020

Whilst watching the Spuds vs Gooners derby today, I couldn't help noticing similarities with our game with Huddersfield yesterday, and our play in general (accepting yesterday was not typical of our performances this season)
Son's opener for Spurs was oddly reminiscent of Corona's strike for the Terriers - a fast break down the left, Son allowed to move unchallenged into a dangerous position where he finished with aplomb! Even the second goal from Kane had similarities with Toffolo's goal yesterday - a fast break down the left, again, with an overlap and a powerful shot from an acute angle.
Our defence has justifiably been criticised for awful defending, particularly yesterday, but we see the same basic mistakes being made by better players, commanding far bigger transfer fees and higher wages.
Arsenal's general play during today's game involved some nice passing and movement, high possession stats but no end product, for the fourth time in 10 premiership matches this season.
I guess I'm trying to add a bit of perspective to some of the criticism levelled at Warbs, which I feel is a bit OTT. Yes, his lack of flexibility is frustrating, but we saw it with McClaren (picking the same team every game) and Holloway ( unwilling to use subs or use foreign players). Poor defending is nothing new either - our defence has been crap ever since we last won promotion to the Premiership.
The referee's a .....
at 12:01 17 Jan 2020

I attended a conference yesterday where one of the keynote speakers was Matt Messias, former Premier League, EUFA and FIFA referee. Aside from proving to be a really top bloke (he did, of course, once infamously accidentally elbow Robbie Savage during a game!), what really struck me was the amount of preparation put in by refs and their assistants before each game. This involves meeting up days before the match to identify, amongst other things, which players are nearing suspension, which players have had a confrontation in the past with each other, and formulating all sorts of contingency plans for various 'what if' type scenarios.
Not surprisingly, Matt is not a fan of VAR, or at least the version used in the Premiership, and would like to go back to the days when the vagaries of refereeing decisions, made without the aid of technology, were an accepted, if highly frustrating, part of the game.
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