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Standing on the platform, watching you go – Report
Sunday, 1st May 2022 01:08 by Clive Whittingham

One of the strangest final home games I’ve been to in 30 years of following QPR saw a departing manager thunderously applauded from the field after another demolition of his team, this time by Sheffield United.

A team with so much promise, a season with so much potential, and in the end nothing but dust.

From top two hopes and top six certainties, Queens Park Rangers will now be singularly fortunate to finish in the top half of the table. Sixteenth remains a possibility, which would be hilarious if we weren’t all so emotionally invested. A footballing meme, more than a football club.

Loftus Road at night used to gleam and sparkle and hum. So largely unchanged for so much of our time it is a canvas against which so many of our happiest memories have been played out. Through the back streets of people’s lives and routines to our weird blue box Mecca, lights on stalks guiding us home. You don’t even have to close your eyes to see Roy Wegerle torturing Arsenal in the pouring rain of an FA Cup fourth round replay. “And I suspect, in the middle of all that, may be Kenny Sansom.” Gerald Sinstadt, rest in peace my man, we've all had moments in cinemas. “Lukic has lost it a mommmmmeeeennnnt, Bradley Allen” scoring against Leeds at the Loft End from an angle so acute the boy could open a tin of tuna with his right foot. Brian Moore, also best off out of it, so startled he mistook him for Clive on the commentary and before he could regather himself Wilkins had put Sinton in for another from the kick off. “My goodness, there was nearly another break for him, and now Sinton with the shoottttttttttttttt. ANDY SINTON.” How different our world might have been if Richard Pacquette hadn’t intelligently continued to retreat from his offside position. “Carlisle, through the middle, for Paul Furlong. Away from Hall…”

Now unforgivably tatty and neglected - more candlelit than floodlit, more Antiques Roadshow than ESPN Sports Centre - it is a hall of ghosts. We came here with our grandads, and our dads, for last minute Clive Wilson penalties to take us to FA Cup quarter finals, and Devon White punching the ball past Neville Southall. The good times were seldom, the potential unfilled, but they existed and felt so good, and it lingered to keep us coming back. Now we convince ourselves we’re lucky to be able to compete with Huddersfield Town, and the ground itself is a millstone dragging us beneath an incessant tide. So bleak was the football for so long under no-marks like Steve McClaren and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp, that an actual drowning can at times feel like a preferable option. We crave the sweet release as Jordan Hugill leans back on a shot you’d score yourself. I'm onside more than Andre Gray, and I sit 18 yards off the Loft End byline.

As the local youth retreat to PlayStations and Arsenal shirts and stabbing each other, and neighbours we used to treat to a pat-on-the-head pre-season friendly establish Premier League credentials and bank balances, those that retain the hooped faith plod back here weekly hoping for a new hero or moment or memory. Sand drains through our fingers. A club, and a ground, and a people from a bygone era, left behind by the unpleasantness of the modern world and sport. I watch you all across from me, standing en masse down the Ellerslie Road side of the ground, from where we once marvelled at Trevor Sinclair scoring the greatest goal of all time, now desperately hoping Ariel Borysiuk might somehow turn out to be the bastard love child of Akos Buszaky. We watched Ale Faurlin here, print it out for Andre Dozzell. Tony Currie comes out during the half time break to wave at us sometimes, and we wave back surrounded by empty spaces where our lost loved ones have been replaced by fox and pigeon shit. It’s a shame. Quite literally a shame.

All we have is hope. The flame burns so dimly here now we can barely see the far corner of the field from our seats. The coal is on ration – we’re allowed a very occasional, random 4-2 midweek win at home to Sheffield Wednesday inspired by Paul Smyth, but it must immediately be followed by a gob bumming by Preston Knob End, and Smyth is now turning summersaults for Leyton Orient. We’re playing a par three that is 95% water hazard. It requires immaculate perfection just not to fuck up massively against Rotherham United. It is long, and drawn out, and soul destroying. I don’t know what’s in my bank account, I daren’t look because it’s not a lot, but I’d pay it all for one Europa Conference League group campaign. Instead, I sit here and try to do 2,000 words on why a draw at Burton Albion isn’t the worst result in the world.

And then this team, and this manager came along. Him speaking as I want to be spoken to, them playing as a QPR team should. First contact, second ball, not in an arrogant way, far from it. Taking care of the football. Lee Wallace, a Scotland international, the captain of Glasgow Rangers. All credit must go to the players. For so long we couldn’t watch them. Locked in our homes by a government too busy sending our pensioners to mass graves in amongst Co-op beer runs and crafty wanks in work hours, we pressed our noses against television screens and relied on Nick London to cue up present-day Sinton screams. “Rangers not even trying to play it out from the back at the moment. Just want to get it forward. It drops for Ball.” *STUNNED SILENCE*

We came to expect wins, and wins we were delivered. Wins against Watford and Bournemouth and Stoke and fuck your budgets and parachute payments. Wins against Forest and West Brom and Brentford and I’ve taken the trouble to roll your print outs up very tightly to make it easier for you to shove up your arse. Down to ten men at Middlesbrough, not a problem mate, if anything it should have been 4-2. Albert Adomah danced on the bar after calling last orders on Leyton Orient and Watford and Luton. “Here’s the winning goal” Nick would say matter of factly, before it had been scored, and with uber stoppage time still to play, because whoever it was wasn’t going to miss, and whoever they were weren’t coming back from it. “These are the good old days” I said. These were the good old days, I genuinely thought. Idiot. Now, once again, we barely score at all. Even Andy Sinton sounds cross again.

Friday night was sliding doors. Somewhere out there a parallel dimension, Loftus Road stuffed to the seams, fizzing as it did in the day, Sheffield United cowed, a new king waiting to be crowned. Technically only two fewer fuck ups – Cardiff and Peterborough at home – away, but in reality a galaxy apart. Albert Adomah’s cut back and cross on the half hour rolled back the weeks. Charlie Austin, comprehensively monstered by John Egan to this point, tried his luck pulling onto Chris Basham and found him woefully under equipped to deal with a vintage header into the far bottom corner. This will be Austin’s last appearance at Loftus Road, and a final goal to sign off with. His underperformance one of the key factors in the collapse of the season. He’ll tell you, with some justification, that crosses like this have been as frequent as factually accurate summations from Nadine Dorries in recent months. Get it over early, get it over with quality, get him a run on a Championship centre back, get a goal. He’s done it to Everton and Everton and West Brom and now Sheff Utd. But he, and we, haven’t done it enough.

It should have been what they call at the front of F Block a “stairs goal”. Friends, way too invested in this, grabbing hold of each other, wrestling bodies down the concrete in celebration, losing ourselves and forgetting our troubled worlds, emotional baggage lifted by a QPR concierge, waiting for us in a hungover Sunday morning, but who cares about that at this moment? SkyBot2.1 spewing mealy mouthed pre-prepared lines about a club and a people and a veteran striker putting their chips on the table for a final throw of the dice and coming up blue and white hoops. Instead, we applauded. Like we’d seen a decent shot on day two of a moderately important golf tournament. Because it was nice to score, and for him to get it. I guess. But it didn’t really matter. And it was never meant to be like this. Austin spent his Saturday shilling Big Racist John's monkey NFTs.

To make matters more unbearable still, the game then played out much like the season. For a while there, hope, expectation, excitement. Joy. Charlie Austin had scored, QPR were winning, and Jack Robinson’s bath robe journeyed around the R Block as it absolutely had to do. Nobody – NOBODY - should be allowed to leave a fucking beach towel lying around for long throws at our ground, these things are a matter of standard and respect. In H Block, the Loftus Road squirrel was back. Close your eyes and see Lee Cook orphaning Danny Butterfield’s children. Come on you R’s. Come on you R’s. Little did we know, that winning betting slip we clutched to our chest bore the name of Devon Loch. Tonight, and for the season. Stupid horse.

With the second half of the game, as with the second half of the season, came a brutal and rude awakening. QPR missed Moses Odubajo, Rob Dickie, Yoann Barbet and Lee Wallace from their first choice back five. Sam Field played left centre back. Keiren Westwood’s latest eye-roll moved us onto goalkeepers five and six of the season – the mischievous adventures of Murphy Mahoney and Harry Halwax, like something from The Beano. Mahoney looks like somebody who might still have a subscription, standing around four foot tall and frantically waving his dad’s gloves high in the air to give the appearance of physical presence in the land of the giants. I thought he was exceptional in the circumstances, a clear man of the match for the home team, an absolute credit to himself and his family. His diving save to keep out Jack Robinson’s flicked header at the School End was a beautiful moment. Not sure whether he got a touch to a flicked header from Morgan Gibbs-White which came back into play off the base of the post and was booted clear in a blind panic by Dion Sanderson but let’s say he did, because let’s say he did.

Sadly, he needed to be brilliant. The game was comprehensively lost in the midfield where John Fleck and Oli Norwood played in dinner suits and the enormous child Sande Berge came to devour us all. Stefan Johansen looked like a dad in a dads and lads match – and not one of the good dads either. Luke Amos was forlorn, naïve, and anonymous. Andre Dozzell needs to learn how to assert himself into physical Championship battles and impact games if he’s not to flop here – frankly his input was so inconsequential I think he should probably have been charged an entry fee. I lost the plot once around 85 minutes and had a bit of a scream and shout, and that’s one more contribution than he made.

You couldn’t take your eyes off it for a minute for fear of missing another moment of catastrophic idiocy as QPR proceeded to concede corner after corner, free kick after free kick, and defend all of them as if they’d never seen a corner or a free kick before in their fucking lives. Put a couple of passes together perhaps? Rangers have gone from conceding from three set pieces in the first 24 games, the league’s best record, to ten from 20, the league’s second worst. Stick another couple on that abject total. Here they barely defended them at all. Sheff Utd went near post and far, on a rotation, like a metronome, and unmarked players jollied around free to live a life of rich religious fulfilment. How do you like them? Back post? Egan nods down, Ndiaye slams home from the scramble. Second phase free kick? Basham nods back across for Jack Robinson to give the visitors the lead. Because of course. Whichever one of you is sinning could you turn it in for a while, vengeful God is vengeful.

Jimmy Dunne did hit the crossbar, diverting a mishit shot from sub Osman Kakay to within an inch of an equaliser. Excellent comedy potential. But Rangers really weren’t at the races. They brought on Lyndon Dykes for the final half hour, Austin waving farewell as he departed thankfully without a contract extension for next year, and I can’t remember him touching the ball or being in the Sheff Utd half at all. I’d drunk a lot of Peroni, granted, but QPR’s threat, possession, and time spent in the opposition red zone was non-existent. More on Austin to come over the next couple of weeks, I’ve said enough and we’ve all got homes to go to. As ever, I can’t help but conclude that a lot of these problems might not occur if Simply The Best was still the run out music.

Frankly given the scale of dominance, particularly through midfield, Sheff Utd should be ashamed and embarrassed that we had to start going through the painful Championship rigmarole of players who aren’t injured sitting down, demanding a stoppage, physios trudging on, player walking slowly off, referee complicit in the whole thing waving the cunt straight back on, and him sprinting back into position. Everybody, everybody – Every. Body. - involved in this knows what’s going on. Grown ups, grown men, adults, going through this pretence, game after game, week after week, month after month, to the point now where the ball is in play for barely 50% of the average Championship match – by miles and miles and miles the worst ratio in European football. Basham knows he’s not injured, Peter Bankes knows Basham isn’t injured, the trained medical professionals who at some point have sworn some sort of oath know Basham isn’t injured, everybody in the ground knows Basham isn’t injured, and yet we go through this fucking scandalous pantomime. It’s disgusting. And everybody involved in it should be flogged until they need some actual medical treatment. I’ll do the flogging for free - certainly a better use of my time than dropping another 200 sheets going to Swansea next week.

Bankes, to his credit, did add a thick eight minutes for all the obvious bullshit, as opposed to the standard Championship 4/5 regardless of what has happened. That may have given Rangers a chance to push for an equaliser should they work out how to cross the fucking halfway line, but they were immediately overpowered through the middle again and Conor Hourihane slammed in a third with his first touch off the bench, teed up expertly by Berge the game’s outstanding player – as you should be as a £20m midfielder playing against Osman Kakay. You don’t win many football matches by losing the midfield which, along with the defence of set pieces, has been a hallmark of Mark Warburton’s QPR when they’ve been at their worst. He’ll tell you, with plenty of justification in this game, that he’s bringing a toothpick to a gun battle, but we’ve lost midfields and set pieces to worse outfits than this.

Never mistake a manager who's taken you as far as he can for a manager who's taken you as far as you can go. The public relations shambles of the week before forced the club and manager’s hand on Thursday night to confirm the blindingly obvious that Mark Warburton would not be staying for next season. A good, honourable, decent, respectful man, who took on an absolute shambolic basket case of a team from Steve McClaren and restored pride, consistency, structure and results, effectively pushed over the precipice by an interview with “Moose” from TalkSport at a fucking golf day. By Christ Rangers I need you to be better than that. We need you to be better than that. It did, however, mean that instead of being booed from the pitch by a tiny handful of die-hards sticking another comprehensive defeat out to the end – a twelfth loss in 18, a ninth loss in 12, a seventh loss in nine – the whole ground stayed to applaud their manager from the field.

All the reasons he should stay, and all the reasons he has to go, encapsulated right there. This needs to go very well, very quickly, next season for risk of turning toxic. But stick with a manager who presided over such a monumental collapse as this and the same applies. It’s a no-win situation, as QPR have been in for the best part of 30 years.

I just want to wish you both good luck, we’re all counting on you. The club is undoubtedly having another one of its moments. I can rarely recall my DMs being as busy. Literally two dozen people peddling names, and lines, and stories, and stuff they’ve heard, as people seek to shore up positions, and get excuses in early. The Crown was alive with gossip deep into the night. From airtight silence, the club is now leaking like a sieve again. Some of the stories are wild. If your communication dips to the level it now has, and you treat your paying customers with this disdain, don't be surprised when rumour and innuendo fill the vacuum. Mark Warburton deserved, and deserves, a lot better. We do too. The Patreon interviews ten years from now will be tremendous. The Twitterati think Sean Dyche and Daniel Farke are coming. Adjust your sights to the Karl Robinson, Lee Johnson, Darren Moore level kids. And whoever it is now inherits a highly complicated situation, with a lot of egotistical politicking going on overhead. An afternoon board meeting ran so long and so fraught at Loftus Road on Friday that it almost ended up bumping into the kick off. Keep an eye out for American investor Richard Reilly, quietly snuck in earlier this season and only known about because we’ve been burned so many times before a couple of our fans now diligently keep an eye on Companies House. What’s his business? Why is he here? What does he think? How much has he been agitating? One to watch.

Yoann Barbet, 28 years old, durable enough for 97 consecutive appearances, one of the best left sided defenders in the league, now reportedly talking to other Championship clubs as we allow his contract to run down, left to do a lap of the field by himself with his wife and adorable son (can he play in goal?), applauded by 300 shell-shocked punters who’d stuck it out that late into the night. If we were about to sign him on a free transfer from Coventry you’d be creaming your pants, and yet here he is sheepishly waving goodbye having not been spoken to about a deal. Mark Warburton left to face the press on Friday morning and say the thanks for his hard work over the last three years amounted to “well they haven’t spoken to me so I presume I’m off”. Be, better, than, this, Rangers. Be better than this.

We came for new legends, and left with more ghosts.

Links >>> Photo Gallery >>> Ratings and Reports >>> Message Board Match Thread

QPR: Mahoney 7; Adomah 6, Sanderson 5, Dunne 7, Field 6, McCallum 6; Johansen 4, Dozzell 4 (Thomas 72, 5), Amos 5 (Kakay 72, 6); Chair 6, Austin 6 (Dykes 62, 5)

Subs not used: Ball, Gray, Halwax, Hendrick

Goals: Austin 31 (assisted Adomah)

Bookings: McCallum 88 (dissent), Johansen 90+6 (foul)

Sheff Utd: Foderingham 6; Osborn 6, Basham 6, Egan 7, Robinson 7, Stevens 6; Norwood 7, Fleck 7 (Hourihane 90+3, -), Berge 8; Gibbs-White 7, Ndiaye 7 (Osula 75, 6)

Subs not used: Davies, Davies, Uremovic, Norrington-Davies, Jebbison

Goals: Ndiaye 54 (unassisted), Robinson 73 (assisted Basham), Hourihane 90+4 (assisted Berge)

Bookings: Fleck 87 (foul), Robinson 90 (foul)

QPR Star Man – Murphy Mahoney 7 Acquitted himself well under heavy fire from a big, physical team that were potent from set pieces and had beaten us totally through midfield.

Referee – Peter Bankes (Lancashire) 6 Little to referee, with QPR so uncompetitive at points. I thought he let Jack Robinson get away with a lot of the needless cuntery that’s always been a part of his game, including wrestling and throwing a man to the ground on the far side of the pitch to me in the second half. Sam McCallum ended up with a dissent booking after the most blatant handball you’ll ever see was missed entirely. Also this routine we’re now obliged to go through where a player can sit down, demand treatment, physios get waved on, player trudges to the side of the pitch (in Basham’s case laughing and winding up the people in the Paddocks) and then sprint straight back on when everybody in the ground including the referee knows there’s fuck all wrong with him is pathetic and needs stamping out – some sort of system that allows the referee to make him stay off the pitch for longer would help, though is fraught with problems and difficulty.

Attendance 15,824 (2,800 Sheff Utd approx.) We’ll always have each other.

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distortR added 02:37 - May 1

johnhoop added 02:52 - May 1
Superb piece of writing Clive that perfectly encapsulated the poignancy and sadness of Friday night and where the club is at the moment. The “ghosts” seem very real to a lot of us now.
I think it was so good that you deserve to be excused from having to drag yourself down for more punishment against Swansea as a reward.

ozexile added 03:18 - May 1
Brilliant Clive.

eastside_r added 05:34 - May 1
Deserves more of a comment but owing to 5am insomnia, I‘ll revert to my ‘Brilliant as usual’.

If I could write prose this poetic, I would take up poetry.

LeedsR added 07:25 - May 1
A thoroughly depressing but unsurprising evening. I came to the ground expecting a loss by two or three. Only Charlie’s goal injects you intravenously with a shot of that b@$?@^d hope again, making you throw all logic and rational thought in the in air and think that we might actually get something out of this at the end of the first half. Not that it would affect anything apart from salvage a bit of pride. Alas no.

You’ve described it perfectly (again). I too thought at the time how this match mirrored our season. How it went from getting it so wonderfully and refreshingly right in the first two-thirds of the season to getting it so terribly and timidly wrong in the last third. From never saying die until the fat lady sang to barely getting out of our own penalty area for half’s at a time. We can’t blame Jeff Hendricks for all of that - something has clearly gone wrong or been disrupted behind the scenes.

From having done stuff so well in recent times, there seems to have been an unexpected sea change in approach.

Maybe I’m wrong, and it’ll all be fine. They’ve got a new manager lined up who’ll take us to the next level. But this is QPR. I’m worried that the next level is league 1.

Warbs didn’t deserve this. Barbet didn’t deserve this. I’m not sure we as fans deserve this.

Wtf just happened???

Thanks for your continuously excellent writing Clive, trying make sense of this crazy club of ours that we support. I don’t know how you keep doing it, but I’m glad you do.

Paddyhoops added 07:57 - May 1
Superb report again. Looks like a hugely uncertain future ahead of us.
Spot on with Dozzel. Not remotely good enough.
Barbet ? Sign him up . We won't. It's what we do .
The s**thousery is starting to wear thin. The EFL should sit down and sort it out. They won't. It's what they do.
Mahoney had a fine game but Snow white must have wondered where one of her little helpers had got to.
Dieng dominates his penalty area brilliantly and Christ do we miss him. Positives . Dunne , a steal. Amos will get better. Willock, Dieng, Dickie are big assets who will play a big part in our future whether they stay or not. Badly missed.
Last Question. Where is Luke Freeman?

Philothesuperhoop added 08:11 - May 1
Brilliant and depressing in equal measure Clive. Thank you.

JamieHastings added 10:18 - May 1
Thanks for all your efforts again, Clive. I'm terrified as to where we're going at the moment.

NewYorkRanger added 10:31 - May 1
A really excellent piece Clive. Felt pretty emotional reading that. What could have been. I’d dearly love to know what happened behind the scenes to make this season such a mess after promising so much. I’m not sure Lee Hoos and and Les Ferdinand can feel too good about how they’ve handled this. If next season doesn’t get off to a good start I’d suggest they need to be considering looking for the exit.
Warburton seems like a very decent bloke and a good manager and I’m firmly of the belief he should have stayed. But with that performance on Friday, imagine what the atmosphere would have been like if it hadn’t already been announced that he was leaving (however badly that announcement was handled).

It’s a curse following this bloody club. I blame
my dad. And his dad. Good rest their souls.

nightwish added 11:03 - May 1
This faking injury buisness in the last part of games should immediatly be taken in hand by the football authorities.I went to Eastbourne Borough vs Billericay yesterday.Billericay were 2/1 up at half time in a must win game for them.Eastbourne came out firing in the 2nd half and it was onslaught on the Billericay goal.Half an hour before the end the disruption of the game started.Billericay players collapsing around the pitch every 5 mins with so called injuries.The trouble is it worked and knocked Eastbourne right out of their stride.The first half was brilliant.The last half hour of the match became virtually unwatchable with the play acting.If this is the future of football i will be attending less games.

OldPedro added 11:21 - May 1
For all the failings on the pitch in the last 3 months, the big worry for me is what is going on behind the scenes. In he same 3 months, we seem to have gone from a seemingly, well run club with a plan to a bat-5hit crazy club with no direction and no plan AGAIN!

Marshy added 12:13 - May 1
When it was announced that Mark Warburton’s contract was not bring renewed, I was genuinely gutted, although not totally surprised. He will always remain one of my favourite managers. The perfect fit for Rangers in so many ways, but unfortunately there is no sentiment in business, and QPR is a business as well as our beloved football club. In fact a results driven business. Whatever the reasons for our major collapse in form, from the board’s perspective, I guess Mark’s position became untenable. Naturally there is now a lot of negativity and uncertainty, but it’s happened and we just have to accept it. Will we continue to support the club, yes of course we will. At this point it’s not easy to be optimistic, but hopefully our fortunes will improve, and that’s what I’m now telling myself. In the crazy world of supporting QPR, anything is possible.

Northernr added 12:39 - May 1
NewYork - that’s exactly what we said, they’d have been booed off by 200 ppl and his position would have been untenable. At least this way he got the send off he deserved. Everything about why he should stay and why he has to go weee here because you could just see this run bleeding into next season.

billericaydicky added 13:15 - May 1
Another brilliant piece Clive and as has been said on many occasions, I don't know how you do this week in and out, putting yourself through the emotional wringer. From my perspective, having followed this basket-case of a club for the best part of 50 years, I have that horrible feeling of deja vu that this will go very wrong and we could be next season's Barnsley. Big decisions to be made now as we press again, the reset button. At least the season is almost over and my blood pressure can stabalise during the next few months. Have a good summer and thanks again.

HamptonR added 14:11 - May 1
Never mistake a manager who's taken you as far as he can for a manager who's taken you as far as you can go.

I am definitely going to use those wise words.

thehat added 15:31 - May 1
An absolute masterpiece Clive that somehow captures this strange situation perfectly.

I knew this stability thing was to good to be true. Its just not QPR.

The Kenny Sansom quote had me closing my eyes being transported back to that rainy evening at HQ what a wonderful memory.

I was very much in the Warburton to stay camp until Friday night’s shambles.

If he stayed we would go down next season the players have lost all confidence in him.

Yes we have injuries but good managers adapt thier game to suit what players are available. Our midfield was complete powder puff

So the right decision yes but very poorly communicated

E15Hoop added 15:39 - May 1
Like all of us, I imagine, I can vividly remember my first visit to LR. It was the hard-fought 1-1 draw with reigning league champions Derby County (my how strange those words sound now..) in late 1975 in THAT season. Little did I realise that this was to be the height of my joy, and that it would be downhill all the way from then on, with little glimpses of hope in between (the first Premier League season, Warnock and Tarbs, Secret Agent Keogh doing a sterling job for us at Wembley in 2014 -we all know the script oh so well...)

Sadly, our beloved "R"s are not so much a Hollywood blockbuster, as a Shakespearean tragedy in the making. Something is truly rotten in the state of White City, and Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council, Air Asia/Tune Group and Swordfish Investments aren't going to be removing the stench anytime soon.

Alas poor Warbler, I respected you well..

CliveWilsonSaid added 18:48 - May 1
Thanks Clive.

I didn't realise that Barbet and family did a circuit after the other players. Gutted I'd already left as I think he's been brilliant. Top man.

Loft1979 added 19:02 - May 1
MW. I thought the contract issue was handled as well as it could be. My question this morning is whether he was a ‘ lame duck’ and was always going IF a trip to the playoffs was not forthcoming.
#2. Amongst the usual drivel is rumors of recruits from lower leagues and the usual Prem overaged youngsters.. if this is where QPR intend to shop, have QPR decided MW no longer fit as the guide on that path.
#3. I think the Hoos/Les partnership have aims for a bigger name. Just my thoughts. Casting my eye to that Burnley interim manager…

Myke added 23:42 - May 1
So I have now read this three times and just like 'Catch 22' I take something new from it everytime. Some of it I don't fully understand of course as it it is 'local' But tragically much of it is timelessly global as we appear to descend hopelessly and helplessly into another spiral of upheaval, turmoil and most of all, the all too familiar unknown.
Only at QPR could the manager most likely to deliver on the foundation built over the past three years, find his position untenable.
An entire spectrum of emotions conveyed in an outstanding piece of prose Clive - thank you.

PastCaringNW2 added 10:16 - May 2
That's an astonishing and incredibly well-balanced (doubly so in the febrile circumstances) piece of writing, especially turned around in such short order. Bravo! I'd definitely buy a book of the best of these reports from down the years.

On an unrelated topic word of us looking at taking as many as three young Spurs players on loan worries me greatly. Maybe that's just an old(er) fan recalling the recruitment of Slade, Rose and Harper under Houston / Rioch (not to mention Morrow who was effectively a reserve player at Arsenal). Not that Rose ended up being a bad acquisition but was at least a couple of seasons away and a whole load of fan abuse away from being ready for that level. I am getting unpleasant settle-for-being-a-THFC-feeder-club vibe about the whole idea. Next stop on that journey is ground-sharing.

PastCaringNW2 added 10:17 - May 2
Just remembered that Wilkins signed Steve Slade but the same applies.

johngdavis added 11:38 - May 2
What on earth has happened to SJ? His performance last Friday epitomised the steep decline in the team performance over the last few months. His lack of motivation and consequent impact must have its origins in what is going on behind the closed doors of the training ground. Allied to the managers’ effective sacking I think we must be looking at a power struggle with some players or groups of players.

00calben added 11:32 - May 3
Pretty sure I've read almost every article you've posted over the past 14/15 years, and this is right up there with the very best IMO. A really excellent piece.

Thank you Clive

TacticalR added 15:57 - May 3
Thanks for your report.

I missed the game and have only seen the highlights. Personally I have thought we would not get promoted (even if we got into the play-offs) since around the Nottingham Forest away game in March, so I haven't been too concerned about individual results, and this game has fit the pattern of recent results.

Mahoney really does look like a little boy, although he did well under the circumstances. Tall teams like Sheffield United (there are a lot of teams like this in the division) must be delighted seeing him in goal. For the third goal it really looked like we'd fallen apart with Hourihane unmarked and Albert and Kakay puffing to get back. There's a big question over Dozzell and Thomas...remember them having to be yanked before half-time at home to Barnsley? Even with Austin and Johansen playing this feels like our B team, because both players look like a shadow of themselves.

You are right that there have been some awful times recently with the usual managerial suspects, and Warburton slowly blew away the cobwebs, introducing new concepts like away wins. I am still trying to make sense of his departure.

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