Booed off after a win – History
Friday, 17th Sep 2021 14:29 by Clive Whittingham
With Bristol City in W12 on Saturday we’re heading back to 2009/10 for today’s memorable match, as Paul Hart gets his one and only win as QPR manager, but not in crowd-pleasing circumstances.
Flavio Briatore was best known during his time as QPR owner for the regular firing of managers and his desire to influence the team selection, but one of the many oddities of his reign was how the managers were chosen in the first place.
The sacking of John Gregory, who he’d inherited, after a winless run of nine matches to start the 2007/08 season came as no surprise. Nor the initial pursuit of Francesco Guidolin and eventual appointment of Luigi De Canio. Both were veterans of Italy’s Serie B league, and seen as something of specialists at getting teams out of that division and into the top flight, which is exactly what Briatore wanted for QPR in double quick time. So far, so predictable.
The appointments that followed De Canio, however, much less so. Paolo Sousa, perhaps, but I’d be amazed if Briatore had ever even heard of Iain Dowie or Jim Magilton. While his tolerance and patience levels with managers was ridiculously, farcically, short, his faith in Gianni Paladini as sporting director seemed unbreakable. This resulted in vast sums in transfer fees and wages being wasted on mediocre Championship players from the right agencies, and a series of failed appointments of bog standard managers at this level who were never going to mesh with the owners and the delusions of grandeur they had for the club. And yet Paladini remained, bumbling from one crisis to the next, until his shambolic handling of the Ale Faurlin transfer almost cost QPR that long desired promotion at the eleventh hour.
Until the Faurlin case, the nadir of this arrangement had been the five game managerial reign of Paul Hart. Magilton’s electric autumn, that at one point yielded a 4-0 win against Preston, 4-1 against Reading and 4-2 at Derby within the same week, had collapsed into a 5-1 loss to Middlesbrough, 3-1 defeat at Watford and sacking for gross misconduct after an alleged headbutt on midfielder Akos Buszaky in the Vicarage Road dressing room. A season that promised so much was, once again, disintegrating as Rangers won one of nine, losing to Leicester, Boro, Watford and Doncaster along the way. Hart was a dismal, uninspiring choice to try and arrest that slide. Undoubtedly an academy manager of decent standing within the game, and still part of a Luton coaching set up that continues to punch above its weight in this division, but with a first team record that showed failures at Barnsley, Rushden and most recently Portsmouth since a play-off campaign with Nottingham Forest almost a decade prior.
No surprise whatsoever that his time at Loftus Road lasted just five matches, with three of those against Sheff Utd because of an FA Cup tie and replay. His only win came in the second of those games, at home to Bristol City, but it will always be remembered as one of the strangest days we’ve had at our famous old home. Things started well initially, with Arsenal loanee Jay Simpson finishing sharply from close range on the half hour to open the scoring, and Mikele Leigertwood quickly doubling that lead with a trademark long range strike into the bottom corner.
Two nil up at half time, so far so good, and Simpson should have made that three with the first attack of the second half only to snatch at a one on one chance against Dean Gerken and blaze the ball wide of the post. The goal that followed at the other end, flicked up and over the shoulder and caught on the other side on its way down with a perfect 20-yard volley into the top corner by Nicky Maynard, was one fit to grace any game, anywhere in the world and I believe took the divisional goal of the season award for 2009/10.
That left in excess of half an hour for Gary Johnson’s men to find an equaliser, and Hart’s response to this threat has gone down in Rangers’ folklore. Ambition, such as it was in any case, was abandoned entirely. The creative heart of the team – Akos Buszaky and Ale Faurlin – were substituted along with goalscorer Simpson, in favour of centre back Matt Connolly, full back Gary Borrowdale, and lumbering target man Patrick Agyemang. By the end QPR had Peter Ramage, Fit Hall, Matt Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss, Gary Borrowdale and Tommy Williams playing across a flat back six, with Mikele Leigertwood, Ben Watson and Wayne Routledge parked directly in front of them. It wasn’t a million miles away from two right backs, two left backs, four centre halves and a defensive central midfielder. They held hands together in front of the QPR goal and prayed for rain. On the rare occasions possession was retaken, it was immediately launched high and long down the field for the totally isolated Agyemang to chase after. Quite what he’d be able to do with those levels of support were he ever to get the ball under control up there never came up because, well… Agyemang.
Hart would say they got the result they needed from the game. QPR did, indeed, hang on to win. The reaction at full time, though, spoke volumes. QPR fans increasingly aggy about the direction of travel under their minted but clueless owners booed their team, or more to the point their manager, from the field after a win – something I can never recall happening before or since in my time following the club. Over the coming week they were soundly beaten 3-0 at Ipswich, and went out of the FA Cup in that replay against Sheff Utd. It was as close as I’ve ever come to no longer attending Rangers games, and Hart was sacked before a weekend draw under Mick Harford up at Blackpool.
QPR, now with more loan players than they could select in the team, went into a five-game losing death spiral that included a 5-0 at Forest, a 1-0 at home to Scunthorpe, a 1-0 at Peterborough with Priskin and Bent paired up front in which I left the ground at half time because I couldn’t stand it any more, and a 2-1 at home to Ipswich the first half of which Harford described as “inept” and “not befitting a professional football club”.
Change for the better was on the horizon, with Flavio moving into the background, Amit Bhatia taking over the running of the club, and a Neil Warnock managerial appointment the club had been crying out for. That resulted in promotion just the following season in fine style, an unbelievable turnaround, but more importantly it kept QPR in the Championship in the first place. Without him, this team would have been relegated.
Hogan Ephraim told LFW recently: “It was an absolute shambles. I went back and Paul Hart was manager for another ten days or so. Nice guy to be fair, but his football was poor. It was really bad. I’m sure if I spoke to him now and asked him about it he’d say that’s what he had to work with, but the football was bad. I remember we had training at the stadium and it was first team against the rest. His thing was if we get a throw the nearest player to it had to run, don’t even look, just throw it as far and as long down the line as you possibly can. Free kicks, whoever gets fouled spots it, nearest one behind them immediately launch it. I’m thinking this can’t be right. We’re playing this training game, there was a young lad playing, Joe, and the ball goes out for a throw in, he picks it up and Paul Hart is just screaming “throw it, throw it, fucking throw it”, he throws it straight to our team and we go and score. Paul Hart says “brilliant”. I couldn’t believe it, he’s thrown it straight to us and we’ve scored within two passes. Joe didn’t know if he was coming or going. The football was terrible. He didn’t last long. He wasn’t enjoying it. That was tough.
“It was strange because he’s known for good work in the academy at Charlton and elsewhere. I remember playing their academy teams when I was young and they were always good footballing side. Maybe he’d blame it on the players and we just weren’t a good footballing side. The football was horrendous. I was worried coming back from Leeds because QPR had actually won at the weekend against Bristol City and I was talking to my agent, a new agent at this point, and he said it was the first time I’ve ever seen QPR booed off after winning a home game. It was that bad.”
Ale Faurlin told us: “Paul Hart. I don’t know what to say. I was 22-years-old, not even 23, but, hmmmmmmmmm, I couldn’t believe. I couldn’t believe. It wasn’t football. It was something else. We got very deep into the trouble.”
QPR: R Cerny, F Hall, P Ramage, K Gorkss, T Williams, M Leigertwood, W Routledge, B Watson, A Buzsaky (G Borrowdale, 83), A Faurlin (P Agyemang, 62), J Simpson (M Connolly, 83)
Subs not used: A Pellicori, A Taarabt, A Balanta, R Taylor
Goals: Simpson 31, Leigertwood 40
Bristol City: D Gerken, B Orr, L Fontaine, J McAllister, L Carey, G Williams (D Clarkson, 70), C Skuse, P Hartley, N Maynard, D Haynes (I Sproule, 82), A Saborio (E Sno, 70)
Subs not used: J Edwards, M Elliott, L Nyatanga, S Henderson
Goals: Maynard 57
LFW regular and AKUTR’s columnist Dave Barton has set up a QPR Memories YouTube channel, with a mixture of clips, classic games, and old highlights packages. His Bristol City packages are embedded below, give him a subscribe on YouTube or follow @QPR_Memories on Twitter.
Bristol City 0 QPR 2, Saturday March 6, 2021, Championship
The timing of QPR’s March trip to Ashton Gate couldn’t have been any better for the visitors with the R’s running hot through the second half of the season just as Bristol City’s season collapsed around them. Todd Kane’s cross for the first goal was so exceptional even Ilias Chair was able to score with his head, and that quickly because two when Rob Dickie scored for the second time in the season against Bristol City from close range off a corner. The victory was, in truth, much more convincing than the scoreline would suggest.
Bristol City: Bentley 6; Hunt 5, Mariappa 6, Kalas 6, Sessegnon 6; Vyner 5 (Pearson 37, 6); Palmer 5, Bakinson 4 (Semenyo 23, 5), Nagy 5 (Lansbury 31, 5), Wells 5; Diedhiou 5
Subs not used: O’Leary, Bell, Towler, Moore, Conway, Massengo
Bookings: Lansbury 84 (foul), Diedhiou 88 (foul)
QPR: Dieng 6; Dickie 7, De Wijs 7 (Kakay 63, 6), Barbet 7; Kane 7, Johansen 8, Field 8 (Ball 75, 6), Chair 7 (Thomas 82, -), Wallace 7; Willock 8 (Adomah 82, -), Austin 7 (Bonne 75, 6)
Subs not used: Lumley, Dykes, Hämäläinen, Bettache
Goals: Chair 11 (assisted Kane), Dickie 22 (unassisted)
Bookings: Kakay 71 (foul), Dickie 74 (foul), Ball 76 (foul)
QPR 1 Bristol City 2, Tuesday December 1, 2020, Championship
QPR could hardly have played any better in the first half of the first meeting between these sides last season, taking a deserved lead through Rob Dickie and missing countless other chances through Tom Carroll and others. Naturally, defensive slips ended up punishing for them for their profligacy in front of goal with Nahki Wells equalising on his old stomping ground before half time, and Nagi making it two on a counter attack through a broken defence immediately after the restart.
QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 6, Dickie 5, Barbet 6, Wallace 5 (Hämäläinen 74, 6); Ball 6 (Adomah 68, 5), Carroll 7; Osayi-Samuel 7, Chair 7, Willock 7 (Kelman 83, -); Dykes 6 (Bonne 68, 5)
Subs not used: Thomas, Masterson, Bettache, Kelly, De Silva
Goals: Dickie 12 (assisted Willock)
Bookings; Dickie 27 (foul), Carroll 69 (foul)
Bristol City: Bentley 7; Mariappa 6, Vyner 7, Kalas 7, Desilva 4 (Rowe 46, 8); Nagy 7, Brunt 5, O’Dowda 8; Semenyo 6 (Bakinson 83, -), Martin 7 (Diedhiou 90+3, -), Wells 7 (Moore 88, -)
Subs not used: Hunt, O’Leary, Edwards, Towler, Massengo
Goals: Wells 40 (assisted Martin), Nagy 50 (assisted Wells)
Bookings: Wells 57 (kicking ball away)
QPR 0 Bristol City 1, Saturday February 1, 2020, Championship
A slew of late January departures, including star striker Nahki Wells to our opponents Bristol City, had a dark mood around Loftus Road as the Robins came to visit in the old world back in February 2020. When Diedhiou towered over Grant Hall and headed home a spectacular opener after nine minutes… things didn’t improve much. But, actually, QPR rallied well, particularly in the last ten minutes when Jack Clarke emerged from the bench for his one and only good performance for the R’s, and they were perhaps slightly unlucky not to take a point in the end.
QPR: Kelly 6; Kane 6, Hall 5, Masterson 6, Wallace 7; Ball 7 (Shodipo 88, -), Amos 5 (Pugh 63, 5); Osayi-Samuel 5, Chair 7 (Clarke 81, 7), Eze 6; Hugill 5
Subs not used: Lumley, Manning, Rangel, Barbet
Bristol City: Bentley 6; Hunt 6 (Pereira 63, 6), Williams 7, Baker 7, Dasilva 8; Smith 7; Eliasson 7, Massengo 6 (Rowe 78, 6), Paterson 6 (Wells 63, 5), Weimann 7; Diedhiou 8
Subs not used: Nagy, O’Dowda, Wollacott, Palmer
Goals: Diedhiou 16 (assisted Hunt)
Bristol City 2 QPR 0, Saturday August 17, 2019, Championship
QPR set their stall out as a team capable of looking pretty and dangerous going forwards in games they subsequently lose comfortably to a couple of shambolic defensive goals with an August trip to Bristol City. For the most part QPR gave the hosts a good going over, with Bright Osayi-Samuel annihilating Jack Hunt at full back in particular. But a failure to turn that into goals saw them punished when the excellent Nagy scored off a weak defensive header away and Benick Afobe made it two after half time amidst an absolute shambles caused by an errant QPR throw.
Bristol City: Bentley 6; Kalas 6, Baker 6, Moore 6; Hunt 4 (Pereira 58, 6), Brownhill 6, Nagy 7 (Massengo 46, 7) Rowe 6; Palmer 5 (Eliasson 71, 6), Weimann 6; Afobe 6
Subs not used: Diedhiou, Gilmartin, Szmodics, Semenyo
Goals: Nagy 35 (unassisted), Afobe 59 (assisted Weimann)
Bookings: Hunt 55 (foul), Weimann 79 (deliberate handball)
QPR: Lumley 5; Rangel 5 (Kane 65, 6), Hall 6, Barbet 6, Manning 6; Cameron 6, Amos 6; Osayi-Samuel 7, Smith 5 (Chair 59, 6), Eze 6 (Wells 65, 5); Hugill 5
Subs not used: Pugh, Ball, Kelly, Leistner
Cards: Rangel 34 (kicking ball away), Osayi Samuel 45+3 (retaliation)
QPR 3 Bristol City 3, Tuesday August 13, 2019, League Cup first round
QPR and Bristol City went all the way to a penalty shoot out in the first round of the League Cup earlier that week. In a thrilling encounter littered with brilliant goals and slick, passing football City took an early lead when Diedhiou broke through the offside trap and rounded Kelly for 1-0. Rangers swiftly turned that around thanks to an explosive leveller from Nahki Wells and beautifully worked second from Ilias Chair but it was all square again by half time when full back Jack Hunt found the top corner in spectacular fashion. Laim Walsh got the goal of the night from a direct free kick midway through the second half to seemingly seal City’s progress but a harsh late penalty award against Walsh for an alleged trip on Wells gave Ryan Manning a chance to equalise from the penalty spot. That put us through to a shoot-out and although Matt Smith and Yoann Barbet missed for Rangers, City wasted three and were eliminated in sudden death with Luke Amos scoring the decisive kick.
QPR: Kelly 6; Ball 5, Leistner 6, Barbet 7; Kane 7 (Mlakar 60, 7), Smith 7, Scowen 5 (Owens 74, 6), Pugh 7 (Amos 60, 6), Manning 8; Chair 8, Wells 7
Subs not used: Lumley, Oteh, Osayi-Samuel, Masterson
Goals: Wells 15 (assisted Smith), Chair 26 (assisted Pugh), Manning 85 (penalty, won Wells)
Bookings: Ball 90+2 (delaying the restart)
Bristol City: Bentley 6; Hunt 7 (Baker 64, 6), Wright 6, Moore 6, Walsh 8; Eliasson 7, Massengo 8, Szmodics 7 (Nagy 72, 6), Rowe 6; Semenyo 6 (O’Dowda 63, 7), Diedhiou 5
Subs not used: Brownhill, Gilmartin, Afobe, Palmer
Goals: Diedhiou 13 (assisted Semenyo), Hunt 41 (assisted Walsh), Walsh 59 (direct free kick, won Diedhiou)
Bristol City 2 QPR 1, Tuesday February 12, 2019, Championship
When these sides met at Ashton Gate in February 2019 it was the clash of the teams in the best and worst form in the league. City had won eight straight in all competitions, and would eventually make it nine with victory over Steve McClaren’s Rangers who were in the midst of a run that would eventually cost the manager his job. Things had gone against the grain for much of the game though, with QPR rewarded for an enterprising first half performance with a half time lead supplied from close range by Matt Smith after Nahki Wells had angled a header against the post. A failure to quell the influence of Eliasson after half time eventually cost the London side an equaliser but they looked all set to escape with a creditable point until, deep into injury time, referee Tony Harrington wrongly judged that Darnell Furlong had fouled Diedhiou at the back post. A ridiculous penalty, a slew of bookings for dissent, and a Diedhiou conversion later and another match had slipped away.
City: Fielding 6; Pisano 6, Kalas 6, Webster 6, Kelly 5 (Dasilva 45, 7); Pack 6 (Taylor 66, 6), Brownhill 7; Paterson 7, Weimann – (Eliasson 18, 8), O’Dowda 6; Diedhiou 6
Subs not used: Wright, Baker, O’Leary, Palmer
Goals: Eliasson 73 (assisted Paterson), Diedhiou 90 (penalty, won Diedhiou)
Bookings: Pack 62 (foul), Pisano 69 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 5; Furlong 6 (Osayi-Samuel 90+4, -), Leistner 6, Hall 6; Wszolek 6, Bidwell 5; Luongo 6, Cousins 7, Freeman 6; Smith 7 (Hemed 72, 4), Wells 5 (Eze 78, 5)
Subs not used: Ingram, Scowen, Manning, Kakay
Goals: Smith 45 (assisted Bidwell/Wells)
Bookings: Furlong 90+2 (alleged foul), Leistner 90+2 (dissent), Hall 90+2 (dissent), Bidwell 90+7 (foul), Wszolek after final whistle (dissent), Lumley after final whistle (dissent)
QPR 0 Bristol City 3, Tuesday August 21, 2018, Championship
QPR were enduring a club-record setting start to the season of four defeats and 13 goals conceded in their first four games when these sides met at Loftus Road in August 2018. The Rs were reasonably competitive in the first half but trailed at the break when Matt Taylor forced an opener under Matt Ingram that the keeper really should have saved. Weimann made it two straight after half time with an unmarked back post header and the rout was complete in the final moment when Josh Scowen’s slip in possession set up a counter and a second for Weimann.
QPR: Ingram 3; Rangel 4 (Sylla 76, 5), Leistner 4, Baptiste 5, Bidwell 3; Scowen 4, Luongo 3 (Cousins 60, 4); Eze 4, Freeman 3, Wszolek 4 (Smith 60, 4); Washington 3
Subs not used: Lumley, Chair, Kakay, Smyth
Bookings: Scowen 56 (foul)
Bristol City: Maenpaa 6; Hunt 7, Pisano 7, Webster 7, Kelly 6; Watkins 6 (O’Dowda 76, 6), Brownhill 7, Pack 7, Eliasson 7; Taylor 8 (Eisa 90+1, -), Weimann 8
Subs not used: Dasilva, Walsh, Paterson, Moore, O’Leary
Goals: Taylor 41 (assisted Brownhill), Weimann 50 (assisted Eliasson), 90 (assisted Brownhill)
Bookings: Pisano 26 (foul), Brownhill 48 (foul), Pack 70 (foul)
Scores and Scorers
Head to Head >>> QPR wins 34 >>> Draws 27 >>> Bristol City wins 32
Tommy Doherty >>> QPR 2005-2008 >>> Bristol City 1996-2005
QPR and Bristol City enjoyed a real saga of storylines between 2001 and 2004 when they were grappling to get out of the Second Division along with Plymouth and Brighton. A big part of that was violent midfielder Tommy Doherty.
The Bristol-born Northern Irishman, who’d started his career at Ashton Gate, clocked up 225 appearances for the Robins between 1996 and 2005. He grew into the beating heart of the City team that Rangers had their tussles with in the Second Division, a hard nut but classy footballer rolled into one, easily one of the outstanding players at that level and a regular scourge of QPR.
When Rangers pipped Danny Wilson’s side to promotion in 2004 and subsequently consolidated in the Championship the following season, Ian Holloway cheekily returned to his home city to secure Doherty’s signature on a free transfer. A huge coup at the time for Rangers, a controversial move among the City faithful, and another flashpoint to reignite the weird rivalry between the two sides.
Doherty looked tailor made for Holloway’s QPR team at the time – nuggety and nasty, but could also play a bit. The 2005/06 season actually started well, with a 0-0 draw at Hull on day one remembered more for the dodgy chanting in the stands than the game and then a quickfire pair of home wins against Ipswich and Sheff Utd at Loftus Road. Doherty looked a class act, if a little prone to gratuitous acts of violence – referee Barry Knight had to physically intervene between him and Hermann Hreidarsson in a pre-season friendly with Charlton when Doherty tried to stick the nut on the Icelandic defender.
Speaking of which, it was during and after that Sheff Utd game that the infamous ‘guns in the boardroom’ incident occurred behind the scenes at Loftus Road, with director Gianni Paladini accusing another investor Dave Morris of hiring a gang of heavies to rough him up and force a resignation from the club at gunpoint after a summer of wrangling. The incident led to a farcical court case and raft of not guilty verdicts down the track, but in the meantime saw Paladini able to oust Bill Power and Mark Devlin from W12 and seize control of the club himself. It was all downhill on and off the pitch from there, and Doherty’s QPR career trajectory went the same way. He was sent off in a home win against Luton for, not for the first team, throttling an opponent and although he returned to the side for October and November he then picked up a bad injury.
It was during that lay off that not only was Ian Holloway sacked, but also stories started circulating about Doherty’s off-the-pitch activities, which seemed to consist mainly of smoking and playing 6-a-side football with his mates back in Bristol while he was supposed to be recovering to play for us. Or so the story went anyway. Gary Waddock had little time for him after taking over and having been sent to train with the reserves for the summer of 2006 he promptly got himself sent off again in a second string pre-season friendly at Lewes for, again, grabbing an opponent round the throat, and then later abusing the referee. He stormed onto the pitch again at full time to confront the match officials.
His time at QPR was pretty obviously done, so he spent a remarkable 2006/07 on loan at Wycombe, guiding them to a cup semi-final with Chelsea, winning their player of the year award, and maiing the division’s team of the season. Naturally. QPR released him to join the Chairboys permanently in January 2008 and he won promotion with them from League Two the season after, making the team of the year for the league for the second time.
A nomadic career since then has included brief spells with Ferencvárosi TC, Bradford, Newport, Bath and Exeter. He won nine caps for Northern Ireland.
Others >>> Albert Adomah, QPR 2020-present, Bristol City 2010-2013 >>> Nahki Wells, Bristol City 2020-present, QPR (loan) 2018-2020 >>> Luke Freeman, QPR 2017-2019, Bristol City 2014-2017 >>> Matt Smith, QPR 2017-2019, Bristol City (loan) 2014-2015 >>> Steve McClaren, QPR (manager) 2018-2019, Bristol City 1988-1989 >>> Gary O’Neil, Bristol City 2016-2018, QPR 2013-2014 >>> Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, QPR 2015-2018, Bristol City 2013-2015 >>> Steven Caulker, QPR 2014-2017, Bristol City (loan) 2010-2011 >>> Ben Gladwin, QPR 2015-2017, Bristol City (loan) 2016 >>> Hogan Ephraim, QPR 2007-2014, Bristol City (loan) 2012 >>> Tom Heaton, Bristol City 2012-2013, QPR (loan) 2009 >>> Damion Stewart, Bristol City 2010-2012, QPR 2006-2010 >>> Bradley Orr, QPR 2010-2012, Bristol City 2004-2010 >>> Matt Hill, QPR (loan) 2010, Bristol City 1998-2005 >>> Patrick Agyemang, QPR 2008-2012, Bristol City (loan) 2010 >>> Tommy Doherty, QPR 2005-2008, Bristol City 1996-2005 >>> Aaron Brown, QPR 2004-2006, Bristol City 1998-2004 >>> Tony Thorpe, QPR 2003-2005, Bristol City 1998-2002 >>> Gregory Goodridge, Bristol City 1996-2001, QPR 1995-1996 >>> Sieb Dijkstra, Bristol City (loan) 1994, QPR 1994-1996 >>> Leroy Rosenior, Bristol City 1992-1994, QPR 1985-1987 >>> Brian Williams, Bristol City 1985-1987, QPR 1977-1978
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When Saturday Comes #11 by wessex_exile
This blog is a little earlier than usual, to give me and Alfie time to load up the car and sally forth for our first awayday of the season together, on the road to Vale Park – “He who would valiant be, 'gainst all disaster, let him in constancy follow the Master”. Not quite sure who the master is in that analogy, but let’s hope it’s Hayden Mullins on Saturday. All being well, I’m looking forward to catching up with fellow U’sual boarders (Noah, Durham maybe?, anyone else) when I get there. I won’t be meeting up with Clampin (Covid) or Judge (calf injury) who will miss out on making the trip, nor of course Tchamadeu (see below).
When Saturday Comes #10 by wessex_exile
So here we are again, still looking for that elusive first home league win of the season, only this time against high-flying (and recently non-league) Harrogate Town. That isn’t meant to be in any way disrespectful for Harrogate Town, they should be applauded for what they have achieved so far, but it is nevertheless a measure of how far our stock has fallen in recent years that we find ourselves in this situation. I have no doubt that today will be a difficult game, but it’ll be even more so if Hayden Mullins doesn’t take anything from recent performances and realise that what he’s trying just doesn’t seem to be working – he simply has to change things around. Whether he will or not remains to be seen – maybe he will, maybe won’t and the old guard will finally come good? I guess we’ll know one way or another by 5pm.
When Saturday Comes #9 by wessex_exile
After the complete horror-show that was U’s v Salford last Saturday, we find ourselves desperately clinging on to our away form like a drowning man to a lifebuoy…and I have no doubt Tranmere will be seriously stamping on our fingers in that regard. As a Friday night kick-off, I can look forward to the live match stream, which I was fortunately spared for the Salford game (it sounded bad enough). Swings and roundabouts though, if this hadn’t been rearranged to a Friday night, I may well have joined my Tranmere mate Chris and his family for the weekend – Prenton Park is always a good visit for an awayday, so safe travelling and good luck to Durham and the rest of the U’s faithful who make the trip.
When Saturday Comes #8 by wessex_exile
I’ve gone back through my archive, and the last football match I attended before last Saturday at the County Ground was U’s at Cheltenham on 29th February 2020 (and covered in LfW11) – In other words a 574 day wait. Others have mentioned about finding other things to do, losing their love for live football, things like that, and certainly my bank balance has appreciated the break from costly awaydays for the best (worst) part of 18 months. If I’m honest, I was slightly worried that I would go the same way, that the attraction would fade after so long, but I needn’t have been. As a result, it’ll be a slightly different format to this When Saturday Comes blog.
When Saturday Comes #7 by wessex_exile
Well that didn’t go as planned at all – after a stirring battling performance full of grit, character and togetherness with the small band of travelling supporters at Barrow, the U’s then finally returned back to the JobServe and completely failed to turn up against bogey side Crawley. They weren’t the only ones either, Hayden Mullins was absent as well, and we have since learned he has Covid-19 and will also miss tomorrow’s game at Swindon too – I know we all wish Hayden a speedy recovery. Fortunately, I won’t be missing the match, with tickets arriving last weekend – first live game for best part of 18 months, and I can’t bloody wait!
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