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Warnock's Rangers get Blackwell the sack - History
Thursday, 10th Jan 2019 21:26 by Clive Whittingham

Back to 2010 for the History column this week as we recall Neil Warnock's QPR registering a thumping 3-0 win at Bramall Lane ahead of our visit there on Saturday.

Memorable Match

Sheff Utd 0 QPR 3, Saturday August 11, 2010, Championship

The game we should really do here is a 0-0 draw from late February 1976. QPR were, of course, pipped to the league title at the very final hurdle by Liverpool winning a game in hand after the last day of the season that year. A 3-2 loss at Norwich over Easter three games out from the end, Rangers’ only defeat in the final 15 league games, cited forever more as the moment it slipped away.

Those 15 games included 13 wins, the only other result outstanding being a goalless draw at Bramall Lane in February. QPR had won five in a row in the league leading into it, and that glorious team of Francis, Parkes, Bowles, Clement, Thomas et al would win the following six games after it. Sheff Utd, meanwhile, had won only two of their 32 league games prior to the fixture and would end up finishing bottom with just 22 points from 42 games played. In fact, they were relegated again in 1979 and 1981 to go from the First Division to the Fourth. They were, in short, absolute crap, and had Rangers beaten them even 1-0 (as they had at Loftus Road), that Norwich game wouldn’t have mattered and the R’s would have been champions.

But we’re in an optimistic mood as we head back up to Bramall Lane this weekend, so let’s instead go back eight and a bit years to 2010 when a game brimming with narrative boiled over into a QPR blow out that cost United’s Kevin Blackwell his job.

The Blades had been narrowly beaten in the 2009 play-off final (they do that a lot) by Burnley 1-0, but missed the top six altogether in 2010 and had been declining for a whileby the time the start of the 2010/11 season rolled around – parachute payments from their brief spell in the Premier League squandered by first Bryan Robson and then Blackwell on failed attempts to return. The manager that had got them there, United-stalwart Neil Warnock, was by now in the big chair at Loftus Road. Quite the hot seat it was too – Warnock had arrived in the spring to save Rangers from relegation after the Flavio Briatore ‘boutique football’ ‘project’ had gone south in a storm of terrible signings, multiple dodgy loan deals and more than half a dozen managers in two season. Jim Magilton gave way to Paul Hart for a mercifully brief stint that included three games out of five against the Blades, followed by Mick Harford and then Warnock to sort things out.

Uncle Neil’s recruitment that summer didn’t look to be a lot to write home about. QPR fans had been less than impressed with the additions of Clint Hill and Shaun Derry, who’d both looked well past their best in a struggling Palace team that Rangers easily bested 2-0 at Selhurst Park towards the end of the previous season. Paddy Kenny followed Warnock as usual, but had just sat out for nearly a year with a drugs ban. Jamie Mackie was an unknown quantity from Plymouth, Adel Taarabt was a temperamental sod and Leon Clarke was Leon Clarke.

The opening day went well – a 4-0 home win against Barnsley – but even then Rangers survived a horrendous mistake by Kenny at 0-0 and two great shouts for a penalty when the game was still in the balance before being awarded two of their own in what eventually looked like a comfortable win. Barnsley have a Loftus Road record almost as bad as our City Ground tale of woe, so nobody placed too much stock in the result – particularly when the annual League Cup humiliation duly followed at home to Port Vale on the Tuesday.

Saturday was the first away game. Warnock’s return to Bramall Lane was big news against is one-time assistant, now bitter adversary, and later friend again Blackwell who was under pressure already. The locals were fuming that long-serving Kenny had headed south for a big money deal after they’d stood by him through the drugs ban and pelted him from the off, while cheering his replacement Steve Simonsen from the rafters.

There were storylines wherever you looked and, as we now know, that was a pretty special QPR team. Rangers were 3-0 up after 23 minutes. First Taarabt sent Hogan Ephraim screaming through on goal for the opener. Nine minutes later Ale Faurlin picked out Ephraim unmarked to the left of the goal, and he crossed brilliantly back over to the far post for Mackie to head in from close range. With United reeling and Simonsen all over the shop, it was 3-0 within seconds when the keeper spilled a routine shot and then tripped Hediar Helguson as he chased in on the rebound. Taarabt slipped the spot kick home. Kenny’s flying save to stop Richard Cresswell making it 3-1 in first half stoppage time rubbed salt in Blades wounds.

A week later it looked like all the hype had been for nothing as a below-par Rangers slipped meekly to a 2-0 deficit at Derby County after 90 minutes. Remarkably, goals in injury time from Patrick Agyemang and Mackie once again salvaged a point. With belief coursing through the squad, the R’s would eventually go 19 matches deep into the season without suffering a defeat. They would end up losing just six all campaign, including a dead rubber on the final day when they lifted the trophy. That run included another 3-0 win against Sheff Utd in the return fixture, with Ale Faurlin’s 25 yarder the highlight. United were onto Micky Adams as manager then having sacked Blackwell in the tunnel after the August meeting, and would finish the season dipping into League One. QPR were heading in the opposite direction.

Sheffield United: Simonsen 5, Ertl 5, Morgan 4, Bartley 4, Taylor 5 (Kozluk 76, 5), Britton 6, Taylor (Kozluk 76), Ward 5, Montgomery 5, Quinn 4 (Yeates 76, 6) Cresswell 5, Evans 5 (Bogdanovic 68, 5),

Subs not used: Aksalu, James, Chapell

Bookings: Montgomery 14 (foul), Bartley 47 (foul)

QPR: Kenny 7, Orr 7, Hall 7 (Ramage 50, 6) Gorkss 8, Hill 7, Derry 7, Faurlin 7, Taarabt 8 (Clarke 69, 6) Mackie 7, Ephraim 8 (Leigertwood 82, -) Helguson 7

Subs not used: Cerny, Connolly, German, Parker

Bookings: Faurlin 45 (foul), Helguson 45 (foul), Ephraim 75 (foul)

Goals: Ephraim 11 (assisted Taarabt), Mackie 20 (assisted Ephraim), Taarabt 23 (penalty won Helguson)

Recent Meetings

QPR 1 Sheffield United 2, Saturday August 11, 2018, Championship

Queens Park Rangers made their worst start to a league season in the history of the club this year, losing the first four league games for the first time ever and conceding 13 goals in the process. Part of that run was a controversial 2-1 loss to Sheff Utd in the first home game of the campaign. After a narrow 1-0 loss at Preston on day one, Rangers looked on the road to recovery against the Blades when Ebere Eze opened the scoring on the half hour but Billy Sharp equalised from an offside position before half time. Referee Scott Duncan angered the home fans further with a very harsh penalty decision midway through the second half, won and converted by David McGoldrick for the 2-1 away win.

QPR: Ingram 5; Kakay 6, Leistner 8, Lynch 4, Bidwell 5; Scowen 6, Luongo 5, Freeman 6; Smyth 5 (Osayi Samuel 46, 6), Eze 7, Sylla 5 (Smith 69 , 5)

Subs not used: Lumley, Cousins, Manning, Baptiste.

Goals: Eze 29 (unassisted)

Yellow Cards: Lynch (foul)

Sheffield United: Henderson, Stevens, Egan, Stearman, O'Connell, Freeman, Duffy (Woodburn 70), Basham, Fleck, Clarke, Sharp (McGoldrick 64 (Leonard 83))

Subs not used: Lumstrum, Lafferty, Moore, Norrington-Davies.

Goals: Sharp 43, McGoldrick 68 (penalty)

Yellow Cards: Woodburn (kicked ball away)

Sheff Utd 2 QPR 1, Tuesday February 20, 2018, Championship

Rangers’ chronic lack of ability to win away from home during Ian Holloway’s second spell in charge reared its ugly head yet again when the R’s were beaten 2-1 at Bramall Lane in February. United hadn’t been in particularly great form, falling back below the play-off spots having led the table briefly before they played at Loftus Road in October. But they cruised into a two goal lead through goals from Stearman and Lundstram either side of half time before Rangers even got started. As usual, once out of the game, QPR started to play, pulling a fine Luke Freeman goal back and missing another sitter off the goalkeeper through Conor Washington.

QPR: Smithies 6; Baptiste 5 (Smyth 66, 6), Onuoha 5, Lynch 5; Wszolek 5, Bidwell 4; Scowen 5, Freeman 6, Luongo 5 (Eze 87, -); Washington 5 (Osayi-Samuel 80, -) Smith 5

Subs not used: Ingram, Perch, Chair, Furlong

Goals: Freeman 63 (unassisted)

Sheff Utd: Blackman 5; Basham 6, Stearman 7, O’Connell 7, Baldock 7; Evans 6, Duffy 6 (Leonard 75, 6), Lundstram 7 (Lafferty 84, -), Stevens 7; Clarke 7 Sharp 5 (Donaldson 74, 5)

Subs not used: Wright, Eastwood, Evans, Brooks

Goals: Stearman 27 (assisted Clarke), Lundstram 50 (assisted Sharp)

Bookings: Evans 77 (foul)

QPR 1 Sheff Utd 0, Tuesday October 31, 2017, Championship

A vintage Idrissa Sylla goal after four minutes settled the first meeting between the two sides last season. Rangers had already beaten table topping Wolves 2-1 at Loftus Road on the Saturday prior to United’s arrival as the new leaders on the Tuesday, and took the lead with the first action of the game when Chelsea loanee Jamal Blackman fell over the top of his own defender and dropped the ball for Sylla to roll into an empty net from seven yards. Just as he likes them. Blackman had to be replaced by Simon Moore, and Leon Clarke missed two sitters for the visitors, but QPR were able to hang on and make it six points in four days from the Championship’s top two.

QPR: Smithies 7; Baptiste 8, Robinson 8, Bidwell 7; Cousins 5 (Furlong 57, 7), Wheeler 6 (Manning 87, -); Scowen 7, Luongo 7, Freeman 7; Sylla 6 (Mackie 67, 6), Washington 6

Subs not used: Smith, Wszolek, Ngbakoto, Lumley

Goals: Sylla 4 (assisted Baptiste)

Yellows: Cousins 28 (foul), Scowen 90+1 (foul)

Sheff Utd: Blackman – (Moore 10, 5); Basham 6, Carter-Vickers 5, O’Connell 6; Baldock 6 (Duffy 60, 6), Stevens 6; Lundstram 6, Coutts 6, Brooks 7; Clarke 4, Donaldson 5 (Sharp 56, 6)

Subs not used: Hanson, Stearman, Lafferty, Carruthers

Yellows: Clarke 29 (foul), Brooks 90+1 (unsporting)

Previous Results

Head to Head >>> Sheff Utd wins 17 >>> Draws 19 >>> QPR wins 18

2018/19 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 2 (Eze)

2017/18 Sheff Utd 2 QPR 1 (Freeman)

2017/18 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 0 (Sylla)

2014/15 QPR 0 Sheff Utd 3*

2010/11 QPR 3 Sheff Utd 0 (Routledge 2, Faurlin)

2010/11 Sheff Utd 0 QPR 3 (Ephraim, Mackie, Taarabt)

2009/10 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Taarabt)

2009/10 QPR 2 Sheff Utd 3* (Buzsaky, Stewart)

2009/10 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1* (Simpson)

2009/10 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 1 (Leigertwood)

2008/09 QPR 0 Sheff Utd 0

2008/09 Sheff Utd 3 QPR 0

2007/08 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 1 (Balanta)

2007/08 Sheff Utd 2 QPR 1 (Agyemang)

2005/06 Sheff Utd 2 QPR 3 (Nygaard, Morgan og, Furlong)

2005/06 QPR 2 Sheff Utd 1 (Bircham, Moore)

2004/05 Sheff Utd 3 QPR 2 (Rowlands, Gallen)

2004/05 QPR 0 Sheff Utd 1

2003/04 Sheff Utd 0 QPR 2** (Rowlands 2)

2000/01 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 3 (Ngonge)

2000/01 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Koejoe)

1999/00 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Beck)

1999/00 QPR 3 Sheff Utd 1 (Steiner, Wardley, Breacker)

1998/99 Sheff Utd 2 QPR 0

1998/99 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 2 (Peacock)

1997/98 QPR 2 Sheff Utd 2 (Sheron, Ready)

1997/98 Sheff Utd 2 QPR 2 (Murray, Morrow)

1996/97 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 0 (Barker)

1996/97 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Slade)

1993/94 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Barker)

1993/94 QPR 2 Sheff Utd 1 (Sinclair, Wilson)

1992/93 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 2 (Allen, Holloway)

1992/93 QPR 3 Sheff Utd 2 (Ferdinand, Barker, Bailey)

1991/92 Sheff Utd 0 QPR 0

1991/92 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 0 (Wegerle)

1990/91 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 2 (Allen)

1990/91 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 0

1975/76 Sheff Utd 0 QPR 0

1975/76 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 0 (Givens)

1974/75 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 0 (Rogers)

1974/75 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Francis)

1973/74 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Givens)

1973/74 QPR 0 Sheff Utd 0

1970/71 QPR 2 Sheff Utd 2 (Marsh 2)

1970/71 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Hunt)

1969/70 Sheff Utd 2 QPR 0

1969/70 QPR 2 Sheff Utd 1 (Bridges, Clarke)

1951/52 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 2 (Stewart, Smith)

1951/52 QPR 4 Sheff Utd 2 (Addinall 2, Farrow, Muir)

1950/51 Sheff Utd 2 QPR 0

1950/51 QPR 2 Sheff Utd 1 (Hatton, Addinall)

1949/50 QPR 1 Sheff Utd 3 (McKay)

1949/50 Sheff Utd 1 QPR 1 (Ramscar)

1922/23 QPR 0 Sheff Utd 1*

* - FA Cup

** - League Cup

Connections

Tony Currie >>> QPR 1979-1982 >>> Sheff Utd 1968-1976

The debate about great QPR players, and particularly great QPR tens, has taken up many a long night in the Crown and Sceptre. Stan Bowles and Rodney Marsh lead the way of course, Roy Wegerle is a more recent mention, excitable new comers dare to mention Adel Taarabt. Tony Currie, better known for his stint at Sheff Utd where he is now on the club’s board, can often get overlooked – in fact his player profile is omitted from A to Z of QPR stars in the older version of the club’s complete record - but he was a fine, fine player and a genuine entertainer.

Typically, his career began after QPR’s youth set up had released him after initially picking him up from Hendon Boys. Born in Edgware and a QPR fan, he was signed, after a brief spell in the ranks at Chelsea, by Watford in 1967.

To be fair to the coaches at QPR at the time within a year he was deemed surplus to requirements at Vicarage Road as well and was allowed to join Sheffield United for £26,000. His impact at Bramall Lane was instant, a goal on his debut for the Blades against Tottenham, and he went on to become arguably their best ever – still revered in the city to this day, he was voted Sheff Utd’s Greatest Ever Player in a 2014 poll to mark the 125th anniversary of the club’s formation.

During the next seven seasons Currie would become an instrumental part of the Blades midfield and was key to their promotion back to Division One in the 1970-71 season. He scored 54 goals for United in more than 300 appearances and skippered them in his final season at the club. He gained international recognition too while at Bramall Lane earning the first of his 17 England caps against Northern Ireland in 1972. But when United were relegated once again two years later, Currie stayed in the top flight by joining Leeds for £250,000 which was huge a profit for the Blades even if that was scant consolation to the fans.

In his time at Elland Road TC, as he was known, reached two League Cup semi-finals and helped Leeds qualify for the UEFA Cup. He scored 16 goals in 124 games for the Whites, including the 1979/80 Goal of the Season against Southampton, but disputes with the manager and a desire to return to London saw Currie quickly on the move once again to join Queens Park Rangers.

Tommy Docherty brought him to Loftus Road to aid QPR’s push for promotion but like so many QPR players of that era it would be his successor Terry Venables who get the best out of him despite increasing struggles with injuries. As the experienced head in quite a youthful looking Rangers team he helped the R’s win promotion back to the top flight and captained them to the FA Cup final defeat to Spurs in 1982 - unfortunately it was Currie who gave away Tottenham’s winning penalty.

The following season saw Currie suffer a knee injury and would only go on to play one more game for the R’s before he spent time in Canada playing for the Toronto Nationals. Spells at Southend and Torquay followed but Currie retired from football in 1988. He made 96 starts and two sub appearances for Rangers scoring six times.

Others >>> Conor Washington, Sheff Utd 2018-present, QPR 2016-2018 >>> Leon Clarke, Sheff Utd 2016-present, QPR 2010-2011, 2006 (loan) >>> Martin Cranie, Sheff Utd 2018-present, QPR (loan) 2007 >>> Kyle Walker, QPR (loan) 2010, Sheff Utd 2008-2010 >>> Rob Hulse, QPR 2010-2013, Sheff Utd 2006-2008 >>> Shaun Derry, QPR 2010-2013, Sheff Utd 1998-2000 >>> Neil Warnock, QPR (manager) 2010-2012, Sheff Utd (manager) 1999-2007 >>> Paddy Kenny, QPR 2010-2012, Sheff Utd 2002-2010 >>> Mikele Leigertwood, QPR 2007-2011, Sheff Utd 2006-2007 >>> Simon Walton, Sheff Utd (loan) 2010, QPR 2007-2008 >>> Paul Furlong, QPR 2002-2007, (loan) 2000, Sheff Utd (loan) 2002 >>> Phil Barnes, QPR (loan) 2006, Sheff Utd 2004-2006 >>> Georges Santos, QPR 2004-2006, Sheff Utd 2000-2002 >>> Richard Edghill, QPR 2003-2005, Sheff Utd 2003 >>> Paul Peschisolido, Sheff Utd 2001-2004, QPR (loan) 2000 >>> Steve Yates, Sheff Utd 2002-2003, QPR 1993-1999 >>> Stewart Houston, QPR (manager), 1996-1997, Sheff Utd 1980-1983 >>>Nigel Spackman, Sheff Utd (player manager) 1996-1998, QPR 1989 >>> Graham Bansetad, Sheff Utd 1988-1990, QPR 1981-1985 >>> Simon Stainrod, QPR 1980-1985, Sheff Utd 1975-1979 >>> Derek Richardson, Sheff Utd 1979-1982, QPR 1976-1979 >>> Don Givens, Sheff Utd 1980-1981, QPR 1972-1978 >>> Edward Anderson, QPR 1906-1908, Sheff Utd 1905-1906

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Myke added 22:42 - Jan 10
Sure I've told this story before, but my biggest claim to fame was being told to f**k off by Tony Currie after a friendly against Athlone in 1981! As an enthusiastic 16-year-old, I had the audacity to clap him on the back after the game, thus provoking his equally enthusiastic response.
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