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The view from the Pu - April
Wednesday, 6th May 2020 14:06 by Steve Hardy

With no actual football to report on, Steve Hardy goes retro again for his monthly review column, looking back to the memorable 2010/11 campaign.

As the current pandemic and lockdown continues it results in another unbeaten (by default) month for the Super Hoops, but it also leaves me with nothing to write about. After watching some of the season reviews the club have been putting up and reading Clive’s amazing interview with Ale Faurlin I have decided to take another trip down memory lane back to April 2011. Possibly the best month I have ever had following Rangers and personally one of the best months of my life. So, close your eyes and imagine its April 2011 as I look at the good and the bad from a month that provided three wins, three draws and a weird solitary hammering.

Good

Queens Park Rangers are the champions of the Football League. For the time being at least.

Only at QPR could we go through 45 league matches, win the league and it still not be guaranteed that we are in fact champions. Let this take nothing away from what happened at Vicarage Road on April 30 as the hoops gave a perfect example of why they are currently the best team in the division on a pitch that looked like it had been used to graze cattle. At times a gritty performance but we got there in the end and the relief and joy in the away end when Adel scored was palpable and was only added to when Smith secured the victory in injury time. I don’t think I was the only one with a tear in my eye when the second goal went in, an incredible moment that makes all the Vauxhall Motors, administrations and Tamas Priskin’s worthwhile.

It is also worth saying fair play to Watford for rounding up the QPR fans that were in the home end and moving them to end of their main stand, however this could have been negated if they had just given us the whole of the end behind the goal in the first place. The official attendance was just north of 15,500 and although our official ticket allocation was around 1,800 I would safely say there was around at least another 1,000 hoops in the home end. A shout out as well to Danny Shittu for turning in a centre back performance for the ages, an absolute colossus at the back. A day for us all to cherish, in glorious sunshine on another four day weekend, I think we could get used to this. Now here is hoping to a positive outcome of the FA hearing.

Whilst I’ve mentioned the FA charges I want to take a moment to praise our young Argentinean. The off field charges could prove a massive distraction to most players – especially one so young and in a foreign land – our mercurial midfielder hasn’t let his performance drop one bit and has maintained his place as one of the first names on the team sheet. It was so good to see how much it meant to him at Vicarage Road, especially when the second goal went in, as he has consistently been one of our best players over the last two seasons. If the speculation in regards to the charges has affected him at all then he hasn’t let it show as he has gone about his business as usual, resulting in a well-deserved goal at home to Sheffield United at the start of the month. In most other teams that would be a goal of the season contender but unfortunately for Faurlin he plays in a team with Adel Taarabt. A great few weeks for the midfielder, a real fans favourite and a player who I can only imagine we will still be talking about in say nine years’ time…

It really has been a sensational month to be honest and trying to select which positives to write about is a struggle as I’ve pretty much enjoyed every moment of it, even Robbie Savage allegedly carrying Taarabt around in his pocket all night despite the fact the pony-tailed warrior was quite visibly blowing out of his arse from about the eighth minute. Another fond memory is the now legendary paddling pool which originally surfaced at Scunthorpe and followed us throughout the month to its glorious conclusion at Vicarage Road (Neil SI and I rescued this from outside a pub riot in Watford and he still has it in his living room – Clive).

I will save my final point for Cardiff away though. An away game in Cardiff, against one of our rivals for promotion, on St George’s Day and a win would guarantee us promotion. I genuinely considered wearing all my PPE equipment from work before I boarded the train at Paddington but it actually turned out to be one of the greatest away days I’ve ever had. Early morning beers on the train, scorching sunshine all day, not a sign of trouble once we arrived, a cracking performance and an incredible atmosphere in the away end. The only way it could have been any better would have been if a clearly offside Heidar Helguson had converted in the last minute to send us all to heaven but it wasn’t to be and it just meant that it made the next four day weekend even more enjoyable. I got goose bumps when the players came out for their warm down and a packed away end was chanting ‘we’re proud of you’, it was a special moment and a real sign of the togetherness between players and fans this year. Something that has been criminally lacking since the Holloway days, and I met Kevin Gallen coming out of the ground so all in all a decent day.

An incredible month and hopefully we all get our day to remember at home against Leeds.

Bad

So if ever another reason was needed to not buy The Sun it looks like we have it after the hugely untalented Shaun Custis decided to run with a story detailing an imminent 15 point deduction the day prior to the Watford game. You could tell that this irked Warnock and clearly gave the players that extra bit of motivation to go out and win the game at Vicarage Road, which they ultimately did, but as Clive alluded to in his match preview this is a newspaper that has one use only and that is for mopping up cat’s piss. Hopefully – like the majority of stories in that shit show of a rag – it turns out to be absolute nonsense but only time will tell. I’m guessing that should the article turn out to be complete rubbish that it will just be swept under the rug and never mentioned again such is the quality of tabloid journalism in this country. If only there was some form of subscription based platform that covered football using the fine local and well sourced journalists and would ultimately put these tossers like Custis out of a job, one for the future maybe..?

It all seems fairly irrelevant now that promotion and the title has been secured – mathematically at least – but that performance up at Scunthorpe was a bit of a stinker. The worst thing about it was that for the first 15 minutes we were actually all over them and if we had taken those chances it would have been a completely different story. It was one of those away performances that we are so familiar with following Rangers where they ultimately roll over and give in. I am scraping the barrel here though and despite the horrendous result against a team that will be playing in League 1 next season it was another great away day spent sipping beers in the sunshine and even the atmosphere on the train back was not one of negativity it was still one of enjoyment. I put it down to the debut of the paddling pool to be honest.

Month’s grade – A+

A month I will never forget to be honest, echoed by the fact that I am still waxing lyrical about it 9 years later. Hopefully this has brought some cheer, and fond memories back to people like it has for me and I hope that we are all keeping safe and healthy during this uncertain times.

Links >>> Follow Steve’s match-by-match reviews on Instagram >>> August 18 >>> September 18 >>> October 18 >>> November 18 >>> December 18 >>> January 19 >>> February 19 >>> March 19 >>> April 19 >>> 18/19 Season Review >>> August 19 >>> September 19 >>> October 19 >>> November 19 >>> December 19 >>> January 20 >>> February 20 >>> March 20

The Instagram - @sph_1985

Pictures - Action Images

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