The Chapman Report from QPR: watching SAFC needs a government health warning

Bob gets his very own graphic, courtesy of Jake
Jake asks Bob: a day to remember?

Bob Chapman once again fills Sixer’s outsized shoes to report on a game the master chose to miss. It started as a day when Bob and a friend would impress two young Aussie women with a scintillating show by Sunderland preceded by the delights of a west London gastro-pub. Something went wrong; they endured takeaway KFCs in a foodless boozer near the Bush and the poor Aussies may never set foot in another football ground. Meanwhile, Bob was left feeling there’s something damaging to the health in watching SAFC at this stage of a season …

Naturally I replied that this posed no problem. However, it does become a real problem for me when Sunderland play so poorly and lose. What can you say? As a teacher I write numerous reports all of which usually have to have a positive slant.

All the same, I will try my best even though my fellow supporters at Loftus Road suggested I should just send in “rubbish, could well go down” and leave it at that.

I was greeted by some unusual faces when I arrived at Bedford station.

Kevin Spencer had brought along two female Australian gap year colleagues for the experience. Being Aussies they preferred Rugby Union but were quite willing to give “soccer” a go. They told me they went down to London most weekends.

Choice of pre-match pub was my brother Tim’s. He selected the Coningham Arms on Uxbridge Road, a traditional boozer only 10 minutes from Loftus Road. To come through the door at midday to find it virtually deserted, apart from a man with a strange haircut standing at the bar seemed bizarre and a little unsettling. Closer, rather intermittent examination of this haircut revealed a blue and white close crop with a QPR razor cut into it. Was this a sensible choice?

Anyway he turned out to be a really friendly chap and it soon became clear we had similar opinions. He, like me, couldn’t understand why we were in such a desperate situation with the squad we have. The beer was OK but definitely no food was on offer. Food came from the local KFC two doors along. The two rather charming pint-sized landladies didn’t seem to mind, although our Australian friends certainly seemed bemused.

See also:

Pete on his travels
Pete on his travels

* Sunderland not at the races as Sixer sees a Shildon canter to keep Wembley dream alive:

me* ‘It’s hard being teetotal AND a Sunderland supporter!’ –

I like days out in London, but resent having to pay exorbitant ticket prices for matches. The fact that 91 p[er cent of QPR’s income is spent on players’ wages suggests they will have problems should they go down. I dislike clubs like that, although to their credit they do produce a quality programme.

In an article headed “The numbers game”, Sunderland apparently per game have 11 shots against an average of 17. Our average possession is only 44 per cent and we complete one through pass per game. I think this last point is at the crux of our problems, in that we currently don’t have an adequate midfield.

Unlike other recent matches I felt we deserved nothing from this game. We only showed one glimpse of quality in the whole 90 minutes. A Sessegnon break down the right allowed him to get to the bye line and deliver a quality cross to Johnson at the back post. His drive in was converted by Fletcher for the opening goal. Once they equalised, rather fortunately following a deflection off O’Shea, there was only going to be one winner.

Although we are now playing with Graham and Fletcher up front we seem unable to get up and support them with any conviction. Sessegnon and Johnston are always double marked when they are on the ball, so we need to use an alternative strategy. Sadly we don’t seem to have one. Tricky wingers are always double marked and I couldn’t understand why we didn’t do it yesterday as Colback and Gardner were continually exposed.

We are definitely a much better side when Cattermole is playing. He drives the team on from the midfield and I feel this is the area that is causing most concern.

If Cattermole had been fit for the season then we wouldn’t be in this mess. Danny Graham had a season in the Premier League with Swansea and then got found out by defenders. If you do not have pace then ultimately you will struggle. Consequently he spent most of his time on the bench. I believe we have bought a Championship player and the sooner we recall Wickham the better.

Jake says it all
Jake says it all

Alternatively we should revert back to 4-5-1. You could never predict a Roy Keane side and MON is the complete opposite. I think you need something between the two and you don’t play players out of position. Although we were beaten by two wonder strikes with which Mignolet had no chance, you have to question why those players were able to shoot from outside the box.

So I am sorry it is not much of a report but I can’t honestly remember seeing very much football and the resounding response at the end of the match was justified.

Will we go down? I don’t think so, as I am sure we will pick up the necessary points of which three against Norwich are essential.

Like Pete Sixsmith against Fulham, I have been offered a hospitality package against Norwich. I have managed to persuade my wife of nearly 23 years to come along for her first match. Let’s hope it’s a win and the first of many for her – unlike our Aussie friends who went straight home after the match. Was it the “soccer” or was it the Coningham Arms experience. I may never know!

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7 thoughts on “The Chapman Report from QPR: watching SAFC needs a government health warning”

  1. i wonder about our training, we dont seem to have any real pace and are often second to the ball

  2. It is said that it is not the defeat but the manner of the defeat.

    Had we lost on Saturday by a freak goal or incorrect refereeing decision , created barrowloads of chances but faced a goalkeeper having a good game then I may accept the defeat as unlucky however this was far from the case.

    It was another spineless and clueless performance and gives me little hope that we can put this downward spiral on hold. On paper these players should have been more than capable of beating the worst team in the league and steering us to mid table safety over the next few weeks.
    In reality we have a host of overpaid wasters who seem to have little appetite for the fight.

    The game itself was heading for a stale and uninspiring draw until lazy defending cost us again. The fact we created absolutely nothing against the bottom of the league team apart from the chance we scored with should send shivers down our spines. It was simply a horrific show and unless something changes with this lot we will be relegated at the end of this season.

    I have been behind MON despite some awful performances recently but my patience with him is gradually wearing thin. Whatever he is trying is clearly not working but the lack of a plan B means our one dimensional approach is easily counteracted by the opposition. And quite what we do at training all week is baffling, our set-pieces are absolutely abysmal.

    The Norwich game is a must win. Defeat does not bear thinking about.

    • John, I think the sad reality is that O’Neill does not possess that flexibilty and adaptability to change his tired, predictable game plan. Nor, I suspect does he have the motivational powers to lift and inspire a group of players who appear to be almost resigned to failure. SAFC at present typify all the classic signs of poor leadership.

  3. Up to a point. The point being how much playing time we can reasonably expect even when he’s fully fit. He’s a useful expedient and it he’d just lost the odd game or two through accumulated yellows, the theory stands up. But some of us see longer suspensions as par for the Catts course. I fear that all the “he’s changed’ , ‘calmed down’, ‘not as rash as he was’ assurances have been so much wishful thinking. And a Catts on edge for 80+ minutes after being booked early is not the Catts commended to us by Goldy, Gareth and Bob

  4. “We are definitely a much better side when Cattermole is playing. He drives the team on from the midfield and I feel this is the area that is causing most concern. If Cattermole had been fit for the season then we wouldn’t be in this mess”

    Finally, one of my Salut co-workers who agrees with me. (Well, Gareth does as well). Word for word.

  5. The report sums it up quite nicely. We scored a breakaway goal, but I can’t recall us making any other serious attempts for the rest of the game. Its one of the most depressing performances I’ve seen. Completely unacceptable against bottom of the table opposition.

    I’ve never been in the “O’Neill out” camp, but I’m now pretty close. The fault for this lies squarely at his door. The same team is picked week-in, week-out, and every week its the same dross (save for a random unexpectedly good performance once in a while – one which may or may not provide points). Do the players fear for their places? I don’t think so. If we’re to believe Martin, we have nothing in reserve. But I refuse to believe that the cupboards are that bare. Surely, in a situation where we desperately need to change the game, it’s better to have a hungry young forward on the bench, desperate to make an impact, than to have a string of generic like-for-like defenders that will make no difference whatsoever. It’s soul-destroying stuff right now.

    I’m making a rare appearance in the UK this weekend, and I was thinking of making a trip to the game. But I can’t help think it would ruin what should be an otherwise great weekend.

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