The view from the Pu - December
Thursday, 3rd Jan 2019 16:15 by Steve Hardy
A first ever win at Nottingham Forest, an unbeaten Christmas, and a Joel Lynch appearance on Boxing Day - Steve Hardy was full of admiration (and shock) at QPR's breakout December.
I feel like this month has gone on forever (a bit like a standard season in the Championship), so much has happened since I last wrote. Overall though a very good month, especially by our standards, with six games played giving us three wins, two defeats and a draw. Let’s start with the positives:
Let me start with Pav. Honestly does this guy ever stop running? I have a firm belief that he doesn’t even have a car, I just reckon he runs everywhere like some sort of Polish Forrest Gump. I feel with some people the jury is still out with Pav but for me I have always felt that he needs a decent run in the team being played in the same position and we would finally start to see the best of him and I feel that this season especially this has happened. He’s currently our joint top goal scorer and despite the copious amounts of games that the festive season cooks up he still looks very fresh. A real positive for us this season and full credit to Steve McClaren for getting the best out of him, long may it continue.
Moving on I want to talk about the position that we are ending the year in. Who would have thought after that Bristol City game that come the end of the year we would be sitting in eighth position with 38 points to our name just four points shy of a play off place (I write this pre Villa)? I’m sticking to my guns with my theory that when you lose the first four games of a season your primary objective is safety and I will be more than delighted with a mid-table finish given our turgid start to the campaign. However, if I take the blue and white spectacles off lets look at this realistically. We are in eighth position so you would have to consider us in with a chance of the play offs, if it was any other team in our position I would be saying they have a chance of finishing in the top six. So (I think) what I’m trying to say is enjoy it (that’s if you aren’t already), the second half of this season does have the opportunity to get genuinely exciting and again credit to McClaren for turning this season into what it currently is. Having experienced the Premier League though I’d just be happy with a cup run.
Now I’ve got the short bits out of the way let’s talk about the best thing to happen this month, and while I think of it probably this season. Saturday December 22, after 34 failed attempts stretching all the way back to 1934, Queens Park Rangers Football Club finally won a game at the City Ground, Nottingham. Like Clive mentioned in his match report at the time and on reflection it does seem so incredibly small time to be celebrating what is ultimately a victory in a run of the mill league game like a Champions League final but I don’t care, the feeling in that away end at full time was exceptional and something that I will remember for the rest of my days. The chap in the row in front of me was telling me that he has lived in Nottingham all his life and I could genuinely see how much it meant to him, he was in his 50’s so I can only imagine what it must have been like constantly having the piss taken out of him by his Forest supporting mates every time we played there. Ironically I actually have a rather decent record at the City Ground, this was my fifth visit and in that time I’ve only seen us lose once so with that victory my record there isn’t too shabby, don’t get me started on Deepdale though, one for next season maybe?
Talking of things happening that you would never have even dreamed of at the start of August, how many people had Joel Lynch down as a Boxing Day goal scorer? I know he missed the game at Forest with those most threatening of injuries - dead leg - but who honestly thought he would be playing on December 26 and 29 this year, let alone scoring a goal. Without blowing too much smoke up McClaren’s arse another thing that he has managed to get out of the R’s this season is Lynch playing over the festive period, maybe his passport has expired or it has something to do with that contract expiring in June or is it because a winter break will be in force in the Premier League from next season?
All in all one of the best December’s I can remember, a win at Forest and a Joel Lynch Boxing Day goal - Christmas miracles do happen.
If you haven’t guessed I’ve been thoroughly impressed with our December efforts so there’s nothing too drastic from my point of view in this section, which is a good thing I suppose. What a time to be alive.
That rumour about Adel Taarabt, what was that all about? I know it’s clearly his agent peddling a load of nonsense but did anybody for a second take that seriously? If you did then you need to have a serious word with yourself. I suppose what I’m moaning about here is more the quality of journalism more than anything else and I know it’s a sign of the clickbait times that we currently live in but in all honesty it would take about ten minutes of research to find out that with the current set up at the Hoops we wouldn’t entertain a signing a like this, coupled with the fact that we are under a transfer embargo for January. Very entertaining though watching my Old Man think that we were re-signing him.
Although the month has finished better than any of us imagined, it didn’t start well. That Hull game had all the feelings - performance and atmosphere wise - of a testimonial, and I was as guilty as anyone of turning up expecting us to win easy. It was a strange game and a real reminder that in the Championship anyone can beat anyone on their day but my word that was an anti-climax, a lesson for us all I suppose. One thing I will say though is how on earth were Hull as low as they were, I thought that looked pretty decent and their form since has them top of the form table, I suppose it’s just another example of how tight the division is this season.
Although it was way back at the beginning of the month my final ‘bad’ point for the month was that cup draw. I always say that the only thing worse than all Premier League ties is all Championship ties and we seem to be the masters of getting these. Two out of the last three seasons we have ended up with all Championship ties and they always seem to be at home, it really doesn’t appear to be that random does it. All we want is an away game to a new ground or a game that actually have a chance of winning - although I don’t think they exist. Hopefully with the progress we have shown this season a cup victory could be on the cards, I’m not holding my breath though.
Touch wood we seem to have been behaving ourselves over the last few months so I reserve my final words for Mr McClaren. Obviously we all know his history in relation to umbrellas and the weather but I feel like the poor bloke can’t seem to catch a break, I can’t remember it raining so much in half a season before. The games that spring to for me are Derby (h), Brentford (h), Blackburn (a) and Middlesbrough (h) and I’m sure I have missed some off there but what I seem to recall from these games is that it didn’t just rain, it hammered it down. You’ve gotta feel for the man standing down there, soaked to the skin for another time and all he wants is a poxy umbrella but we all know that he can’t have one. Here’s hoping for a drier second half to the season.
Happy New Year everyone!
December grade – B+
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