QPR fans preparing for drop

FanZone’s Chris King believes the problems at QPR started long before Harry Redknapp arrived – and that relegation is now a certainty.

Outclassed | Queens Park Rangers defender Clint Hill battles with Javier Hernandez for the ball. (Image | The Sunday Times)
Outclassed | Queens Park Rangers defender Clint Hill battles for the ball with Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez. (Image | The Sunday Times)

In recent weeks, the quality of football at Queens Park Rangers has slumped to such a dismally low level it is almost unwatchable at times.

Coming to Loftus Road has become rather like attending a fortnightly prayer group. Unfortunately, manager Harry Redknapp aside, there are not many believers left.

Once upon a time, people flocked to grounds to be entertained, watch their heroes turn opponents inside out and generally be inspired, in return for the money paid to get in.

At QPR, fans arrive, sit dispiritedly as their side fails to cross the halfway line and show any attacking intent, before leaving knowing that relegation is beckoning.

The performance against Manchester United on Saturday was a dreadful indictment of the malaise in W12, as the runaway leaders sauntered leisurely to victory.

It was made all the more ridiculous by Redknapp pinning his faith on Bobby Zamora in the post-match press conference.

He is right to see the value the former Fulham striker can provide, but to describe a player barely able to last 45 minutes as a potential saviour is the epitome of madness.

| Christopher Samba, signed for £12.5million in January, lets out his fury as Manchester United carve QPR open again. (Image | The Metro)
Rallying cry | Christopher Samba, signed for £12.5million in January, lets out his fury as the Red Devils once again carve QPR open. (Image | The Metro)

While the opener for United was a stunning strike from right-back Rafael, the visitors were so dominant that they deserved to take the lead, however they were able to.

To lose 2-0 against a side that will unquestionably reclaim the Premier League title at a canter was entirely expected and no indictment at all of Redknapp or the players.

However, the performance was so inept it raised serious doubts about the willingness of those on the pitch to back up the relentlessly-positive rhetoric of the manager.

Rangers were utterly listless, and with Adel Taarabt having one of his worst ever games in an Rs shirt, there was no other player to lead an unlikely comeback.

Winger Andros Townsend was the sole bright spot, but Redknapp saw fit to substitute him with 20 minutes remaining as if to actively rub salt into the wounds of fans.

Going down fighting would be difficult enough to bear for any supporter, but at the moment, QPR are set to be relegated by their stubborn, defend-at-all-costs mentality.

When Redknapp arrived it made sense to have seven players geared towards defending, as goals had been raining down for months. The rot had to be stopped.

Pundits lavished praise on Rangers for their stoic heroism against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, but in doing so they were applauding a truly grim spectacle.

Disappointment | Playmaker Adel Taarabt, seen holding off Michael Carrick, had arguably his worst ever game for the Rs. (Image | Football 365)
Disappointment | Playmaker Adel Taarabt, seen holding off Michael Carrick, had arguably his worst ever game for the Rs. (Image | Football365)

Having to sit through 90 minutes of Stephane Mbia passing backwards to Julio Cesar, who sees more of the ball than the Rangers forward, is deeply demoralising.

Spirit is lacking, and even a willingness to get forward. The R’s are perhaps unique in modern football in the sense that attacking appears to have been actively discouraged.

Doubtless this is not the intention, and perhaps against Southampton this weekend a focused, forceful, purposeful Rangers performance will yield a battling 2-1 victory.

This outcome is unlikely, however. Indeed, there is no guarantee that QPR will win another match between now and the end of the season.

So certain is the arrival of Championship football next year that the club, which splashed out £20.5million in the transfer window, must brace itself for the worst.

To build a house you must first create solid foundations. Last summer, Rangers simply threw more storeys onto a skyscraper without thinking of the consequences.

Perhaps someone should have told owner Tony Fernandes this club had been built on sand by previous regimes. His unfortunate naivety has cost him, and QPR, dearly.

Have your say | Tweet the author | @chriskking

Originally published on TEAMtalk on Tuesday February 26 2013.


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