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Making it up as we go along – history
Making it up as we go along – history
Thursday, 6th Dec 2012 23:12 by Clive Whittingham

There may not be a lot of history between QPR and Wigan, but the two sides appear to enjoy meeting in important circumstances and this Saturday’s trip to the north is no exception.

Recent Meetings

QPR 3 Wigan 1, Saturday January 21, 2012, Premier League

QPR recorded their first win since November, and first maximum point haul under new manager Mark Hughes, with a 3-1 win against Wigan at Loftus Road in January. Things were looking pretty straightforward at half time after James McCarthy's inexplicable handball gave Heidar Helguson a chance to score what would turn out to be his last competitive goal for the club from the penalty spot, and then right on the stroke of the break Akos Buzsaky smacked a delicious free kick in off the base of the post. Wigan were indebted to goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi for keeping them in contention at this stage but the second half became a fraught, nervous affair once Hugo Rodallega had halved the deficit with a free kick of his own from similar range to Buzsaky's. A second penalty award from referee Jon Moss – against Gary Caldwell for climbing over Helguson in the box – should have put the game to bed by Al Habsi saved from Helguson at the second attempt which meant Tommy Smith's late 25 yard screamer was a blessed relief to the QPR fans who'd waited three months for a league win.

QPR: Kenny 7, Hill 6, Ferdinand 7, Hall 7, Young 7, Wright-Phillips 6, Barton 6, Buzsaky 8 (Derry 82 6), Mackie 6, Helguson 7, Campbell 5 (Smith 45, 6)

Subs Not Used: Czerny, Orr, Ramage, Bothroyd, Macheda

Booked: Barton (foul), Young (foul)

Goals: Helguson 33 (penalty, McCarthy handball), Buzsaky 45 (freekick), Smith (assisted Wright-Phillips)

Wigan : Al Habsi 8, Gohouri 6, Caldwell 6, Boyce 6 (Stam 69 6), Figueroa 6, McCarthy 5, Watson 7, Moses 7, Gomez 6 (Crusat 61 6), McArthur 6 (Sammon 45 6), Rodallega 7

Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Lopez, Di Santo, McManaman

Booked: Gohouri (foul), McCarthy (handball)

Goals: Rodallega 66 (free kick)

Wigan 2 QPR 0, Saturday August 27, 2011, Premiership

Tony Fernandes’ takeover of QPR had been ratified in the days leading up to the August Bank Holiday fixture at Wigan and Joey Barton was perched high in the main stand after completing his move to Loftus Road from Newcastle the day before. The QPR starting 11 wasn’t even as strong as the one they’d won the Championship with the season before with Bruno Perone given a full league debut at centre back and the lumbering Patrick Agyemang selected in attack. Agyemang missed the chance of the match, firing horribly wide after Adel Taarabt had struck the post from distance, and Perone thumped the cross bar with a header in the second half. But Rangers were poor overall and Wigan deserved the win they achieved, albeit through two deflected goals from striker Franco Di Santo who has only scored twice more in 15 appearances since that day.

Wigan: Al Habsi 8, Boyce 6, Caldwell 6, Lopez 6, Figueroa 6, Diame 8, Watson 7, Moses 7 (McArthur 69, 6), Rodallega 8, Gomez 7 (Stam 85, -), Di Santo 6 (Sammon 69, 6)

Subs Not Used: Kirkland , McCarthy, Thomas, Jones

Booked: Lopez (foul), Caldwell (foul)

Goals: Di Santo 41 (unassisted), 66 (unassisted)

QPR: Kenny 7, Gabbidon 7, Hall 5 (Harriman 61, 7), Perone 6, Connolly 6, Faurlin 6, Derry 6, Taarabt 7, Buzsaky 6 (Bothroyd 72, 7), Smith 6 (Andrade 80, -), Agyemang 4

Subs Not Used: Murphy, Helguson, Ephraim, Hewitt

Previous Results

Head to Head >>> QPR wins 2 >>> Draws 3 >>> Wigan wins 2

2011/12 QPR 3 Wigan 1 (Helguson, Buzsaky, Smith)

2011/12 Wigan 2 QPR 0

2004/05 Wigan 0 QPR 0

2004/05 QPR 1 Wigan 0 (Furlong)

2002/03 QPR 0 Wigan 1

2002/03 Wigan 1 QPR 1 (Thomson)

2001/02 QPR 1 Wigan 1 (Gallen)

2001/02 Wigan 1 QPR 2 (Thomson, Brennan og)

Memorable Match

Wigan 1 QPR 2, Saturday September 22, 2001, Second Division

Freshly relegated from Division One and in administration, QPR faced a daunting task in 2001/02 having reported back for pre-season training with just a handful of senior professionals still signed up and two of them, Richard Langley and Clarke Carlisle, only remaining because of nasty long term injuries. A manic pre-season campaign ensued where embattled manager Ian Holloway attempted to wade through a huge amount of trialists and assemble a squad that could prevent the club slipping through into the bottom tier on no budget at all.

Some players who would have been very good were missed – Martin Bullock who went on to star for Blackpool against us being the prime one – but out of the ashes a team was formed. Wigan meanwhile were the division’s big spenders – Tony Dinning cost £750,000 from Wolves, John Filan £600,000 from Blackburn, Nathan Ellington £1.2m from Bristol Rovers, Peter Kennedy £300,000 from Watford, Jason De Vos £500,000 from Dundee Utd, Lee Ashcroft £350,000 from Grimsby, Simon Howarth £600,000 from Coventry and a job lot of Motherwell players Ged Brennan, Lee McCulloch and Steven McMillan for £1m.

One look at the two team line ups below tells you all you need to know about what a remarkable achievement our 2-1 win at the JJB Stadium in September 2001 really was. QPR were up against it to start with against Paul Jewell’s side but with a starting eleven that contained three centre halves and four full backs owing to injury and suspension the task looked nearly impossible.

Wigan predictably took the lead before half time when their midfield talisman Tony Dinning fired home but Rangers stunned their hosts with an equaliser in first half stoppage time from notorious goal hanger Andy Thomson fresh from an 18 minute hat trick against Port Vale at Loftus Road the previous week. And that was the way it stayed despite Wigan sending on Andy Liddell for the second half until deep into stoppage time when, inexplicably, Ged Brennan headed home a bizarre own goal under minimal pressure to present Rangers with an unlikely three points.

Rangers won the following Tuesday as well, another two from Thomson defeating Cardiff at Loftus Road, but they slumped after Christmas and only finished eighth because they won five and drew one of their last six games after Arsenal’s Jerome Thomas arrived on loan. Wigan , astonishingly, finished tenth before walking away with the title in 2002/03 having notched up 100 points.

Wigan : Kerr, Green, Brennan, McGibbon (Mitchell 85), De Zeeuw, Dalglish (Kilford 70), Ashcroft, Kennedy, Dinning, Roberts (Liddell 58), Haworth.

Subs Not Used: Stillie, Sharp

Goals: Dinning 42

Yellows: Ashcroft, Dinning

QPR: Day, Forbes, Palmer, Ben Askar, Warren, Perry, Bignot, Rose, Connolly, Griffiths , Thomson

Subs Not Used: Pacquette, Bull, Barr, Wardley

Goals: Thomson 45, Brennan 90

Yellows: Rose, Warren, Palmer

Played for Both Clubs

Gino Padula >>> Wigan 2000-2001 >>> QPR 2002-2005

Some players just seem to fit well at certain clubs. Ask a Wigan fan about Gino Padula and, if they remember him at all, they probably won’t have many complimentary things to say about his brief time with their club - just another player who didn’t quite cut the mustard as they climbed through the divisions to the Premiership. Ask a QPR fan on the other hand and you’ll probably hear nothing but good things – a likeable and enthusiastic footballer who enjoyed some of the best form of his career at a time when QPR turned round years of decline and restored a feel good factor to the club.

Padula initially came through the youth set up at River Plate before playing for Huracán in his native Argentina . He came to Europe first with Xerez in Spain and then for the first time in England with Ian Holloway at Bristol Rovers. But it was at Walsall where he really caught the eye, a star performer in their 1999/00 First Division campaign that ended in narrow relegation when Gary Megson was appointed late on by their main rivals for the final spot West Brom and led a remarkable recovery. The first sight of Padula for QPR fans came in a 3-2 win for the R’s at the Bescott Stadium with Chris Kiwomya and Stewart Wardley among the goals. Despite the defeat Padula was a clear man of the match in the home ranks with a classy display on the left side of their defence.

Padula’s form attracted Wigan and although he didn’t settle, play regularly or impress there he formed part of QPR’s summer intake for the 2002/03 season when Ian Holloway moved for the player for a second time in his career. Holloway also brought in Marc Bircham, Paul Furlong and Tommy Williams that summer – the latter having ripped the R’s apart the previous season in a 4-1 defeat at his former club Peterborough . A big money move to Birmingham hadn’t worked out so he found himself on loan at Loftus Road, we assumed, to play at left wing where he’d been so effective for the Posh. Padula, we thought, would play behind him at left back.

Not so. Williams was used as the first choice left back by Holloway with Padula, apart from a bizarre early defeat at Barnsley where Williams played left back and Padula left wing, not selected at all. Form soon tailed off that season – the Vauxhall Motors defeat is the one everybody remembers but there was a 4-0 home defeat to Cardiff in there, a 3-0 at Notts County and a 0-0 at Luton when the home side played the majority of the game with ten men and almost half of it with nine. Eventually, probably through plague and pestilence, Padula was given a second chance in his favoured position in a home game with Barnsley.

What happened next was remarkable. Padula was superb, clearly unburdened by the confidence draining results of the previous weeks that he hadn’t been involved with and keen to stake his claim for a regular place. The long suffering QPR fans loved his style, effort and ability and chanted his name from the word go. A new star was born, and Padula would go onto be a well liked regular of the side for the next two and a half years as Rangers first lost in the play off final against Cardiff and then won promotion to the Championship automatically a year later. Padula seemed to enjoy it all as much, if not more, than the died in the wool QPR fans like Gallen and Bircham he played alongside. He even developed a knack of scoring directly from corners – and managed one in a 4-0 home rout of Hartlepool.

What happened next was a shame. With the club promoted but now in the hands of Gianni Paladini after a messy boardroom coup, Ian Holloway, despite everything he’d done over the previous three years, came under pressure after a poor start to life at the higher level. Paladini and fellow director Antonio Caliendo lined up another Argentinean, Ramon Diaz, as a potential replacement for Holloway, bringing him to London and taking him to QPR games. Holloway’s loyal squad of players subsequently upped their respective games and won seven Championship games on the spin to move up to fourth in the league making Holloway unsackable and leaving Diaz to contribute to Oxford United’s fall out of the Football League.

It has since transpired that during this courting of Diaz there was a dinner in Fulham where Paladini, Caliendo, Diaz and others discussed the transitional period and how they would cope with the inevitable hostility from players and fans that would result from removing Holloway. They targeted Padula as a potential Spanish speaking go-between for the squad and the new manager and subsequently offered him a generous extension to his existing contract that expired at the end of the season.

Come May, with Holloway still in position, the club then told a somewhat surprised Padula he would not be retained at the end of his deal at which point he produced the extended contract given to him earlier in the campaign. Paladini said the offer was merely a guideline of what a contract extension might look like offered to the player so he could proceed with a mortgage application. An employment tribunal didn’t believe him and Padula was awarded somewhere in the region of £180,000 compensation which Paladini said he would pay himself, but was eventually settled by the club.

I’ve often thought that Holloway probably got wind of what was going on with Padula and that was why he released him. For me he was easily good enough for the Championship and only suffered because Holloway’s maddening desire to include Matthew Rose in every single match saw the far inferior former Arsenal man selected at left back on the strength of one decent game against West Ham at Loftus Road where he scored the winner.

Padula went on to play for Nottingham Forest , where his first team chances were limited, Montpellier and in the MLS with Columbus where he won the MLS Cup and an audience with the president as a result. He's now running soccer schools in the US.

Others >>> Fitz Hall, Wigan 2006-2008, QPR 2008-2012 >>> >>> Ben Watson, QPR (loan) 2009, Wigan 2009–present >>> Scott Sinclair, QPR (loan) 2007, Wigan (loan) 2009-2010 >>> Jason Jarrett, Wigan 2002-2005, QPR (loan) 2007-2008 >>> Matt Jackson, QPR (loan) 1996, Wigan 2001-2007

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Pictures – Action Images

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QPunkR added 12:44 - Dec 7
What a player Gino was. Absolutely infectious character and I can confirm from numerous email conversations with him a couple of years ago that he still loves QPR, and always hoped to come back after being shoved to Forest
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