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Could Gabbidon signing mark a change in tack at Loftus Road?
Could Gabbidon signing mark a change in tack at Loftus Road?
Monday, 25th Jul 2011 21:59 by Clive Whittingham

QPR have signed former West Ham centre back Danny Gabbidon on a free transfer and one year contract.

 

Facts

 

The announcement today that Gabbidon would be part of Neil Warnock’s squad for the 2011/12 season came as little surprise as the Welsh international defender has been on trial with Rangers for the last fortnight.

The 32-year-old centre back made 113 appearances in all competitions for West Ham after signing from Cardiff in 2005. He has 44 full Welsh caps and was named the Hammers’ Player of the Year in 2005/2006 in his first full season at the club. Prior to that he graduated from West Brom’s youth set up as a junior and went on to play well over 200 times for Cardiff City, including against Rangers at the Millennium Stadium in the 2003 Second Division play off final. With contracts coming to an end Alan Pardew, then West Ham manager, managed to pinch Gabbidon and his club and country team-mate James Collins from the Bluebirds for a fee of just under £4m which turned out to be shrewd business.

Since winning the Hammer of the Year award at Upton Park however his career has nosedived. In 2006/07 he lost his place in the team to Matthew Upson and Anton Ferdinand and spent the majority of the campaign in the physio room or under the surgeon’s knife as a succession of hamstring and groin injuries rendered him unfit for action. In August 2007 he signed a new two year deal saying he was determined to prove his worth to the club but injuries again destroyed his prospects – he didn’t play a single game from December 2007 for 18 months until the start of the 2009/10 season. His rumoured wage packet, coupled with lack of action and poor performances when he did get on the pitch, drew criticism from West Ham fans and Gabbidon was fined £6,000 by the FA last season for posting: “U know what, fuck the lot of you, u will never get another tweet from me again, you just don't get it do you. Bye bye” on his Twitter account.

 

Reaction

 

It's a good club. Hopefully I can learn more about it in the coming weeks. I had a good week with the lads in Cornwall and I'm pleased to have signed. My agent spoke to the manager and he said to come down and train for a week. It went from there. He was a big part in me joining the club. I've been quite impressed by him. "He's straight talking, which I like. If you're doing something right I think he'll be the first to tell you and, if you're not, he'll be the first to tell you again. As a player, that's what you want. I was impressed with what he had to say about the Club and what he wants to do this season. I think we can do well. The lads showed last season that they're already confident and hungry to do well in the Premier League." - Danny Gabbidon

"He's impressed me in the last 10 days or so that he's been training with us. I think he's just the type of player we need - a quality defender with plenty of experience. I hope I can reinvigorate his career, because a couple of years ago I thought he was one of the best defenders in the country." - Neil Warnock

By all accounts, Sam wanted to keep him on at West Ham and it was his choice to leave. Don't understand the immediate negativity over players with premiership experience we are linked with. We're not going to be signing the Roger Johnsons of this world for 7 million quid, so why be so negative over players like Upson and Gabbidon? - Fakerby

A 32 year old centre back who has played 15 games a season due to injury does not bode well for anyone other than Derby fans who are looking forward to seeing their name removed from Premier league history books. - OakwoodR

He's got the two things that NW seems to be prioritizing - versatility and PL experience. Add to that the fact that Warnock is confident in his ability to keep players with ongoing niggles playing games and you can see why he'd be having a look. - BklynRanger

Opinion

The most controversial element of the statement put out by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore at the weekend was the suggestion that Neil Warnock had been reprimanded over his comments to the media. Now it’s hard to imagine Neil Warnock sitting through any such rebuke, head bowed and feet shuffling, muttering his apologies and promising never to do it again. The hope for QPR fans everywhere is that the events of recent weeks, Warnock’s cleverly judged comments in the press and the growing media and supporter criticism of our club’s owners has brought matters to a head and while Warnock has agreed to rein in his criticism of Bernie and Flavio, he’s only done so in return for a loosening of the club’s purse strings.

Alternatively it’s possible that having tried to sell the club this summer and failed our owners will now turn their attention to making sure they still have a Premiership club to try and flog again this time next summer by strengthening the team. Whether it’s either of these or another reason it seems things are finally moving a little bit. Danny Gabbidon has signed today, goalkeeper Brian Murphy will pen a two year deal when the boys return from Italy next week and it seems the impasse over DJ Campbell’s move from Blackpool is about to come to a positive conclusion from our point of view.

The announcement that Gabbidon was coming to the club on trial was met with widespread rolling of eyes among the online QPR support base. West Ham were relegated last season despite having a team that looked a long way from the worst in the league on paper. Rather than moving for the likes of Noble and Parker who fought so valiantly to keep them up we’re instead picking off the players who most at Upton Park felt were part of the problem – the ones with the huge pay packets, long injury records and questionable attitudes. At West Ham both Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer ticked all three boxes.

However Neil Warnock’s time at QPR has been punctuated by one signing after another that hasn’t met with anywhere close to universal approval. Ok Leon Clarke is an embarrassment and Rob Hulse hasn’t exactly set the world alight but people like Shaun Derry, Clint Hill, Jamie Mackie and even Adel Taarabt all arrived to question marks over their ability, attitude, age and/or fitness. Warnock likes players with experience, and players with something to prove, and Dyer and Gabbidon have both in spades. Neither has been given the typical QPR four year contract which they can sit back, relax and build up their pensions from – they will have to work hard for their place in the team in the knowledge that if they don’t make a go of this they’re unlikely to find another Premiership club willing to take a chance on them ever again.

The budget Warnock is working to is quite clear. If he had money to spend would he be looking at Danny Gabbidon? No, I don’t think so. But he doesn’t, and therefore with sights adjusted this isn’t a bad signing. It’s an experienced Premiership defender with a point to prove and no transfer fee required. If he is fit he’s substantially better than the centre halves we already have here and like Dyer he’s only signed a one year contract so our risk here is minimal. If we’re not spending money then the players we are going to be bringing in will be flawed – with Bothroyd, Gabbidon and Dyer there are question marks over fitness and attitude. Warnock has shown since arriving at Loftus Road that he’s capable of game-managing players like Heidar Helguson who have struggled with injuries before, and man-managing people like Adel Taarabt, and he’ll certainly need to repeat that this season.

I keep harking back to my technique of assessing what QPR do in an attempt to see a news story without the blue and white glasses we all wear. I always try and imagine what I’d be writing and reading on the message board if this were happening to one of our rivals. If Norwich were putting out statements like the one we were treated to at the weekend, if Paul Lambert was saying the things Neil Warnock is saying, if Norwich were signing Kieron Dyer and Danny Gabbidon we would all, rightly or wrongly, be laughing and talking about Derby’s points record being smashed. That’s a fact. But then Norwich have spent £9m this summer on seven players and apart from Kyle Naughton I wouldn’t be that keen on having any of them at Loftus Road.

If you’ve been reading LFW at all this summer you’ll already know what I think. If the board truly does want to secure us in the Premiership I don’t believe it can be done with this sort of signing alone. I don’t want us spending £6m on Carlton Cole, but I would quite like to see us in for the likes of Kevin Nolan and Matt Taylor who have moved for reasonable money this summer and would improve our team no end. Who knows, maybe there’s a deal or two like that to come, starting later this week with Campbell?

In the meantime I can’t help but feel that at the moment our chances of staying up rest largely on the shoulders of physio Nigel Cox.

Little 140 character long rays of sunshine are available daily on Twitter @loftforwords

Photo: Action Images



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jo_qpr63 added 22:21 - Jul 25
"THERE'S ONLY ONE NIGEL COX....ONE NIGEL COX..!!"
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Ribenaboy added 22:29 - Jul 25
If I were Matt Connolly I would be fearing the exit door?? Gorkss, Shittu, Hall & now Gabbidon probably already ahead of him for 2 spots with Ramage as further back-up
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Northernr added 22:41 - Jul 25
Ribena- interesting that Shittu and Ramage have been left behind from the Italy trip. Would certainly suggest that Connolly is well ahead of both as it stands.
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derbyhoop added 22:43 - Jul 25
Connolly's versatility will keep him in the squad, if not first choice. Expect him to play fb more than cb.
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Aitch added 23:03 - Jul 25
Connolly wasn't particularly good as a fb at Champ level. Heaven help us in the Prem if we're playing CBs there.
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jamois added 23:49 - Jul 25
Connolly's ball playing abilities may be more of an asset in the Prem than the Champ. I see that, according to that paragon of virtuous reporting The Daily Mail, we are "now weighing up a move for Brazilian centre-back Bruno Perone" who's gone to Italy with the squad. So that would be up to 7 CBs possibly!! Think one size should be fearing his place too. They also report that DJC is due to fly out to recommence negotiations. Perhaps Bernie is opening the kimono after all Clive??
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Spaghetti_Hoops added 00:39 - Jul 26
Thanks for that. A good read.

Interested to hear your views on which defenders should get into the 25 man squad. Or perhaps its too early to say yet as the top clubs shake out their squads, very good players become available, and the ripple effect down the food chain eventually arrives at us.
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jimlav added 01:08 - Jul 26
So this feels a little rich, as despite being a fan since I was 4 and enduring all those many years of disappointment, I didn't get to a single game last season. However, I am going to stick my oar in anyway.

It strikes me from what I've read (not least on this website) and friends I have spoken to that the single best thing about the squad at the moment is Neil Warnock and yet unbelievably his position still remains in doubt. It seems that to have any chance of staying up next season, on whatever meager budget we are given, it is vital he remains our manager.

Is it not time there was a concerted strong campaign of support for him. I am sure he and the board know he is popular with the fans, but if every game we start draping out huge Neil Warnock banners and sing his name continually for 15 minutes before every kickoff and generally go completely over the top, it would be possible to make him more or less unsackable, even to the gruesome twosome.

What do you reckon?
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stonebridgers added 07:59 - Jul 26
So if all our injury prone players have problems this season will we be blaming our physio and does that mean the chant of "Cox out" will be ringing around Loftus Road this year?
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bishom added 09:30 - Jul 26
Reckon Neil Warnocks got his work cut out for him this season. Nursing broken players and man managing sulking divas all without any form of support from the owners.
Could be Neil who ends up on the physio's table!
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ade_qpr added 10:20 - Jul 26
rocking chairs for the subs bench any one? On a positive note look at last years signings Derry, Hill plus Helguson all older/injury worries but they got thro the season. Now if most of this years don't do a Hall then NW may be heading down the same track of success for this year. Campbell aside is there a Mackie/Smith signing to come to balance the ledger?
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headhoops added 10:46 - Jul 26
Gabbidon came as part of the bogof deal with Dyer! With Gorkks, Shittu, Connolly, Damage, One Size etc, etc we don't need any more CB's. We are also covered on the strikers, (Hulse exempted) Heidar and Tommy, Boothroyd, Adel, Buzz, Hulk.

We need a Henri Lansbury on loan to help out Derry & Ali. In fact we need any recognised midfielder - Bullard even.
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Northernr added 11:01 - Jul 26
headhoops - we have a high quantity of centre backs, do we have sufficient quality?
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headhoops added 11:08 - Jul 26
good point northern - I would happily swop one size, connolly, damage and gabbidon for Roger johnston but it aint gonna happen.

interested on your views for a midfielder whre we really are light?
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Northernr added 11:40 - Jul 26
Htzlsperger seems absolutely ideal for what we need in that deep lying position, and he's available for free. Bad injury record but that doesn't seem to be concerning us much this summer!
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RangerKIK added 11:40 - Jul 26
I think your right Clive re the selling of the club. T and C were holding out for another 40 million from family Mittal. However you do not become one of the richest families in the world without being able to play 'hardball' at the negotiating table. I believe (hope) that they are playing it softly softly and will eventually own the club outright. ANYWAY T and C have now realised that the clubs value might drop to 30 million by Xmas, when we have no wins and 2 draws to our name, and so suddenly a small amount of investment and positive spin has appeared.

It's QPR, it's farcical and even the Geordies point and laugh at the way we run things but I am now quietly confident we will do well in the inevitable bottom 8 punch up.

Players with something to prove, a manager who does not tolerate attitude and half arsed performances and the Mittals waiting in the wings us a safety net (er hopefully) makes me feel very positive.

But we have got to keep megolomaniac Briatore's ego from leading to him to sacking Warnock. Over the top singing of Warnock's name jimlav? Let's do it. Our very survival depends on it!!!!!!!!!
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headhoops added 11:49 - Jul 26
Hitzelsperger - decent shout. In fact anyone on a free it seems. Kranscar has a point to prove.

RangerKIK - bottom 8 punch up? Wigan, Swansea, Norwich, Wolves, WBA & US. 6 at most.
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R_in_Sweden added 12:31 - Jul 26
Agree on Hitzelsperger, Kranscar is also interesting. Buzsaky looked sluggish when he came back into the side after injury, it will be interesting to see if he's sharpened up during pre-season.

I'd like to see more attacking options on the flanks whether it be a replacement for Routledge or even an attacking full back like Walker who added an extra dimension last season (praise to Orr who I thought did well when he came back into the side though).
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Monahoop added 12:31 - Jul 26
....add Stoke and Blackburn to the equation that makes up the 8.
I'm keeping an open mind as to how these new acquisitions will do for us in the coming season. Afterall many baulked at NW's choices last season and look what happened. Two or three more signings may help a little more. We should be just about ok provided Neil stays and is allowed to run things on the field his way. Maybe I am asking for a miracle here.
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Ribenaboy added 12:58 - Jul 26
Is anyone else worried wot Orr & Hill vs , for example, Bale & Lennon will b like next year?? All credit to both of those for last year though and they have earned their spot if we don't sign a Narhaniel Clyne or someone like that. I also think we will c Buz come on for Taarabt a fair bit in the latter stages of games and I hope he looks as good as he did before his injuries.
Signing Radek and Ramage on again seems very odd to me given that we must have known we were in the Market for similar types as well??
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Ribenaboy added 13:00 - Jul 26
Is anyone else worried wot Orr & Hill vs , for example, Bale & Lennon will b like next year?? All credit to both of those for last year though and they have earned their spot if we don't sign a Narhaniel Clyne or someone like that. I also think we will c Buz come on for Taarabt a fair bit in the latter stages of games and I hope he looks as good as he did before his injuries.
Signing Radek and Ramage on again seems very odd to me given that we must have known we were in the Market for similar types as well??
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Eltham_Ranger added 13:32 - Jul 26
This talk on signings is all well and good but many of these targets are unlikely. We do need a decent back up team too. Shittu, Ramage and Cerny all signed one year deals but it doesn't mean they'll play. We expect them all to be back up. It's a 25 man squad and we hope that its a decent one. Bottom line is Warnocks transfer record is very good. Excellent signings, Kenny, Orr, Walker, Shittu (at the time we needed him), Hill, Derry, Smith, Taarabt, Routledge and Mackie. Still to prove is Vaagen Moen but has proved useful at times. Lets not focus on the Clarke's and Hulse's of the world. If we were having to pick up 3 free transfers this year willing to have shorter term contracts could we have done any better? I think the answer is no! Well done Warnock and well done Clive on another well researched article.
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adhoc_qpr added 15:59 - Jul 26
Hitzlsperger is a good shout, although may have better options than us available to him.

I think we are going to have to use the loan market to get in some fullbacks. When all of the other clubs have finished up their transfer business it should be clearer who is available for loan/likely to be excluded from peoples 25 man squads.

Liverpool had a couple of promising young fullbacks playing last season didn't they?
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Spiritof67 added 21:23 - Jul 26
If the rumour mill is true, we may be losing one CB - Gorkks in a swop deal for jason Puncheon!
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French_Hoops added 21:27 - Jul 26
I can't help to think we still need another recognised LB (forget about Borrowdale as cover for Hill) and at least 1 more wide player.
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