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The view from the Pu - March
Wednesday, 31st Mar 2021 12:52 by Steve Hardy

Steve Hardy's monthly review looks back on a March of mostly positive results and further league progress, improvements from much maligned Lee Wallace, and an ill-advised interview from Todd Kane.

As another month ticks by and we have now gone a full year without fans being in the stadiums with no restrictions, it appears that our season is now petering out into a mid-table finish. With that in mind let’s dive into a comfortable month that provided us with three wins, two defeats and ending with a draw from the six games played.

The Good

We’ve hit the magical 50-point mark, and to be honest after the Swansea match on Boxing Day if anyone had been offered the current point’s total by March 20 then there would have been a few people missing arms.

After that Swansea defeat we had played 21 games and amassed a total of 20 points so for us to be sitting in twelfth place with an extra 30 points to our total from just sixteen more games played is some achievement and something that everyone involved deserves credit for. Talking of that Swansea game I can remember remarking at the time that when Jake Bidwell is nearly scoring with headers then you know your luck isn’t in, and you can tell our luck has changed when we have all 5ft odd of Ilias Chair burying headers like he did at Bristol City earlier in the month.

With this dramatic turnaround pretty much guaranteeing our status as a Championship team attention is turning to next season and quite what progress can be made. For my money, irrelevant of whether we make the loan signings permanent, I just hope that we hit the ground running when the season starts. When you look at how we are performing now I feel like those first three months of the season were a wasted opportunity especially when you consider some of the teams we lost to. So my wish for next season will be that we get the summer arrivals sorted early, the team bedded in nice and early too and hit the ground running with us all there to watch. There’s that demon hope encroaching again.

Looking toward next season and the potential squad let’s talk about our flying left wing back for a moment. First of all I need to hold my hands up and say I was wrong, back in January I lamented the club for not dealing with the issue on the left side of defence in the transfer window. Clearly it shows how little I know as Lee Wallace has been an absolute revelation in our recent revival, flying up and down the left wing providing assists like a young Ryan Giggs as opposed to the Paul Bruce impressionist I had him down as. Clearly it goes to show how affective he can be given regular football and staying injury free and I suppose with his contract expiring in June I suppose the big question is do we keep him for next season. On current form he has done more than enough to earn another year and at the ripe old age of 33 if he can maintain his fitness then he is definitely an answer for that position next season whilst we try and work out if Niko Hämäläinen is a Championship player.

I want to finish the positive stuff by talking about the goal Dykes scored at Reading, well not just the goal but the performance in general. First of all it was great for the surfing Scot to finally end his drought but the players reaction to him scoring said it all for me, he’s clearly valued within the squad and it was great to see. Hopefully this can give him a bit of confidence and he can bag a few more goals before the end of the season, personally if he can get into double figures I think that represents a good return for his first season despite what people on Twitter would have you believe. The second point I wanted to say about that Reading game was that if that game was played in November we’d be losing it 3-1. The first 15-20 minutes of the second half was pretty relentless and I know they got the equaliser but earlier in the season we would have conceded again so it was good to see the grit to hang in there and then ultimately turn the tide back our way resulting in us being disappointed with a point. It all seems rather too rosy at the minute, I’m not used to it.

The Bad

It feels strange that in a month that felt relatively comfortable there is still plenty to moan about, I suppose that’s just the QPR way. Let’s start with the topic that, rightly or wrongly, had everyone talking earlier this month, that Todd Kane interview. First of all, I will say that I do think it was all a bit over the top, although with his ‘academy education’ you would really have expected the interview to be full of bland and monotonous responses so I was a bit surprised he was as honest as he was. One thing that did wind me up though was how he mentioned Kakay going on loan to Scotland in a negative manner, almost looking down his nose at it. Now a lot of people have their opinions of the quality of Scottish Football but for me the fact that he was willing to move the length of the country to play men’s football and help develop his game deserves praise and shouldn’t be judged the way Kane did. It reminded me of when Joey Barton was coating off people of Twitter for working at Sainsbury’s like their opinion doesn’t count, it comes across as extremely arrogant, disrespectful and ultimately leads to attitudes where you get Man City youth team players boasting about how much money they earn when playing teams like Scunthorpe. Although, with all that said, if he genuinely believes that Sheffield United were willing to pay £13 million for a player with six months remaining on his contract then I don’t think he’s living in the real world.

So that just leaves me to talk about the second season in a row that we end the campaign with an alternative sponsor taped onto our shirts, quite a good professional look. I could go on and point out the obvious about how it doesn’t reflect particularly well on the club and how it was ultimately a Ponzi scheme but I would just be going over what Clive has already written (far better than I ever could). What I will ask though is what kind of due diligence do we carry out when looking at who our sponsors will be? I completely get that whoever offers the most money ultimately wins the sponsorship, but that theory dies on its arse when the company collapses halfway through the season presumably unfulfilling the agreed contract. So surely some form of research must be carried out in advance to see if obligations can be fulfilled, even a basic look on companies house and you will be able to see the company’s most recent set of accounts which would give a clear indication of how they are performing. Even in my job, when dealing with potential new suppliers and monitoring competitors these type of processes just seem to be standard practice. I get that gambling companies will usually offer the most sponsorship revenue but surely for what I imagine would only be a couple of hundred thousand pounds less we could get a sponsor next season that doesn’t seem shady and ultimately won’t go out of business. I mean even for all the bad press Millwall get they are sponsored by a confectionary manufacturer, it can’t be hard.

March Grade - B

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 >>> April 20 >>> May 20 >>> June 20 >>> July 20 >>> September 20 >>> October 20 >>> November 20 >>> December 20 >>> January 21

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gazza1 added 16:27 - Mar 31
1 - We was always too good to get relegated, never entered my mind. We have a very good set of players and could be a force next season if we can keep and perhaps add a couple.
2 - Wallace was never as bad as many suggested, people wanted Niko in the Team - they got it what they wanted but it highlighted his deficiencies. I think he will get a new contract and rightly so.
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