QPR v Sunderland ‘Who are you?’: no repeat of 1966-67

Jake wants answers ...
Jake wants answers …

John McCormick writes: David Moyes said he will be putting out a strong team on Wednesday and I’ll give you a chance to guess the score shortly. Firstly, to help you apply your intellect, here’s one of Colin’s former colleagues, John Crowley, to tell us what’s happening now to the club we all liked way back in the seventies.

Over to John:

So is this going to be a repeat of 1966-67, promotion and the League Cup just as you did half a century ago? 
qprawayGiven our recent form, that’s a pretty firm ‘no’. Last week we took a 6-0 tonking at home by that team up the A19 from yourselves. We followed that up with a 2-1 away defeat to early Championship frontrunners Huddersfield Town on Saturday. The cup is that perfect tonic for us to forget about our dire league form, except playing against a premier league side will probably underline our frailties.
In honour of the anniversary, ticket prices have been capped at £6.50 if bought in advance – will that ensure a bumper crowd or will you still struggle, as we do, to attract people to League Cup games?
It’s a smart move from the club. I have bought an early-bird ticket and am going with my season ticket-holding friends around where I sit. There has been a bump in numbers for this game because of the price drop (though a booking fee of around £3 takes it to £10.20…) Attendance for our second game against Rochdale was 3,928 which is a low for a quite a while.
You’ve made a reasonable start to the season, fifth as I write just behind the Mags. Is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink the man to lead you back to the Premier and keep you there?
With time, perhaps. Though there is no patience these days. (We’ve since fallen to 16th in the league.) The high-pressing style JFH has insisted upon has not been seen in evidence recently. And the reputation he’s built as a defensive manager at Burton Albion has clearly taken a battering in recent games. The club has undergone a massive overhaul, getting rid of overpaid premier-league prima donnas. What we’ve brought – largely from the Continent – are untested in the championship. They need time to bed in but the owners clearly want to return to the premier league as quickly as possible.
Is there confidence in the ownership pairing of Fernandes and Gnanalingam?
Fernandes, the mouthpiece for the club, has stepped back from the unending stream of announcements on Twitter. A welcome move. Gnanalingam is way below the radar, letting our director of football, Les Ferdinand, and the impressive chief executive, Lee Hoos, speak on behalf of the club. They’ve been tasked with reducing the wage bill and somehow dodge the FPP issue that is still hanging over the club following our wild days of abandon as the biggest spenders in town. Our owners have sunk a huge amount of money into the club, but the way we’ve frittered the premier league dosh irks many.
You probably love Loftus road but how limiting is to have such a small ground? Bring us up to date on the Old Oak Common 40,000-seater project.
I’ve lost track myself to be honest, and so have many fans. It feels a long way off, which is mired in planning hell as we argue with rival developers. This link probably sums up where we are right now http://www.westlondonsport.com/qpr/qpr-step-up-pursuit-of-40000-capacity-stadium-by-revealing-old-oak-consultation-plans-wls-football. Suffice to say, we’ll watching the Rrrs down Loftus Road in cramped conditions for the foreseeable future.
What is the key difference you note between Premier and Championship football.
Time on the ball. It feels more like kick and rush in the Championship. In the premier league, the pace is slower and then ‘bam’ – there are a few quick passes and the ball is in the (our) net.
What will be the top six in your division and, if not Newcastle, who is going down?
I fear for QPR at the moment. I’d be worried too if I was a Cardiff, Wigan or Rotherham fan.
What about the Premier League – top four and bottom three?
Hard to see past Citeh at the moment. Arsenal will always be thereabouts as will Man Utd and Tottenham. Though Liverpool could gatecrash. You’re going to finish 17th again, right? So that puts Burnley, Boro and Bournemouth down for me.
Give us your highlights and lowest points as a QPR supporter.
Bobby ‘Dazzler’ Zamora scoring the 89thminute winner at Wembley against Derby to send us up to the premier league in May 2014. Our two recent relegations from the premier league would be the lowest points.
Who have been the greatest players you’ve seen – or maybe wish you’d been around to see –  in Rangers’ hoops?
Adel Taarabt was a genius for us – what a wasted talent. Never got to see Stan Bowles, Gerry Francis and Rodney Marsh.
And who should never have been allowed inside the ground?
Too many to mention. To be topical, I’d say Sandro, who is still on our books. He’s a good player but his injuries have carried over since we signed him from Spurs. We’re still playing him premier league wages and he wants out. But a deal could not be done in the transfer window. He last played for us against Rochdale in the second round of this competition so who knows? We might see him on Wednesday.
Any stand-out memories of people associated with both clubs – Peter Reid, Djibril Cisse and Anton Ferdinand spring to mind you will think of others?
no time to make an impact at another club wearing hoops
no time to make an impact
at another club wearing hoops

Peter Reid wasn’t with us long enough to make an impact. I remember Cisse scoring a late goal against Stoke in 2012 – but he was a disappointment for me.

Anton Ferdinand was a late buy in the August transfer window when we first went up – and though he gave his all, wasn’t quite good enough. Unfortunately, he is more remembered for being racially abused by John Terry – and the fallout from that had an impact on Chelsea and ourselves.  https://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/sep/14/rio-ferdinand-john-terry-idiot-racial-row
Your thoughts on the never-ending clubs vs country conflict – Republic of Ireland is your country, I presume, so which do you put first and why?
With thanks to Jake for adapting Kartun Malaysia's caricature*
With thanks to Jake for adapting Kartun Malaysia’s caricature*

Certainly with England, I feel people are now ‘bored’ when the international weeks are being played. So it’s club first for many, right now. It’s hard to get excited about the national team here after disappointment at another major tournament. ROI fans are buoyant. It just shows what a man-manager like Martin O’Neill can do with a team of players. Over to you Sam.

Cheating: are diving and other forms now so commonplace we should give up and accept them as part of the modern game – or if not, how do we tackle the problem?
I’ve never seen a player given a second yellow for diving. Think if that happened, that might concentrate some players’ minds.
Your general thoughts on Sunderland – club, supporters, city and region, David Moyes?
Moyes has got a massive job on his hands. He needs the players to gel quickly. I do fear for you but again I think you’ll pull it off – just. There’s no bad feelings between our clubs – and I’m looking forward to a good game under the lights. We both need a diversion from our respective leagues, don’t we?
Will you be at our game and what will be the score?
2-1 to Sunderland. Yes I will.
Finally: update who you are, what you do and your history of supporting Rangers
John Crowley: dreams of fourth bottom
John Crowley

Season ticket holder. Blame my Irish father who started following Rangers when he came over to London in the 1970s. They played sexy football then. I’m a journalist and worked for Colin at a newspaper. He very graciously took pity on me when I told him what team I supported.

Interview: Colin Randall

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