I listened with great interest as Matthew Connolly spoke to QPR Player today. Why? Primarily because I like and admire Connolly, having spent sometime chatting with him last year at the Kit Sponsors` Evening, where I found him refreshingly honest. I remember him asking me difficult-to-answer questions, such as whether I thought Ian Dowie should have been sacked! Lovely bit of “turning the tables” that was. I was also most interested to hear his take on his wonder-goal at Blackpool on the weekend – as well as his goal celebrations.
Connolly`s goal was two-years in the making! And did you know that he actually started the move that he personally finished, sending the ball forward to Patrick Agyemang who knocked it to Antonio German; German chested the ball to Connolly and, well I`ll let Connolly explain: ‘Obviously it`s a nice goal to score. I`m not sure why it happened like that!
“I played it in to the front man and just followed it for some reason. It just sat up nicely, I thought. Once I chested it, I thought I`d take the volley on. So that`s why I had the knee to set it up. Thankfully it went in!
‘As soon as I hit it, I caught it well and I thought that that was definitely on target. I saw the goalie scrambling back so I thought maybe he`ll get it; but then I saw it dip in the net. It was a great feeling!” he admitted.
Recently, I have been moaning about the apparent lack of passion shown by the majority of players donning the blue & white hoops. Other than Peter Ramage and, probably in all fairness, Mikele Leigertwood, precious few others have shown a real and genuine desire to play for our Club in recent games. Indeed, I questioned whether anyone would actually “kiss” the QPR badge on their shirt, having scored for us, à la Frank Lampard or Cesc Frabegas.
And then, watching the highlights of our game against Blackpool, I noticed Connolly`s response to his exquisite goal. Putting his finger to his lips, to silence the Blackpool fans, he then planted said finger firmly on the QPR badge, holding it up proudly to show everyone just who he`d scored for – my team, your team, our team – his team.
Again, Connolly explains: ‘I`m very happy at QPR. I love this club (please note, this was said with a big grin on his face and a coy twist of his head). It`s been a frustrating season for me. So I was kinda letting out a lot of steam when I scored and I was happy to get a point as well.
‘The Blackpool fans had been giving us a bit of stick during the game. It was a great point to get and a great goal.’ Connolly concluded. See, told you he was gesturing to the Blackpool fans – silencing them, not us!!
QPR fans around the globe have pondered on Connolly`s absence of late from our team – now that he is injury-free once more – and particularly in light of some woeful defensive displays of late. It seems that Mick Harford, however, has been watching Connolly closely in training and has liked what he has seen.
‘Since he`s been here (Mick Harford, that is), he`s talked to me a lot about how well I`m training and how sharp I look; and I feel sharp now. I feel ready to play games and thankfully he put me in. I`ll look to repay him and do the best I can,” Connolly admitted.
Connolly also admitted his frustration at not being included earlier, noting himself that the team hadn`t really been playing well and not really getting results. ‘You kinda think to yourself that surely you should get a chance soon; but it hasn`t come. But now it`s come. I thought I did ok on Saturday and I just wanna play and get better and better.”
And here`s a little interesting tidbit on Mick “headcase” Harford – he who made Vinnie Jones look tame back in the day!! Connolly`s take on the new manager, say when you are one-nil down away from home at half-time?
‘He`s very calm. He makes sure we`re all relaxed. He says it in a calm tone instead of shouting and getting angry (wonder to whom Connolly is referring?!!). He gets his point across well, and I think that helps all the lads go out there and get the job done.”
Does Harford have the respect of the dressing room then? ‘Yes! Definitely! I think all the lads respect him. He`s a lovely guy on and off the pitch. So we`re all looking to work hard for him.”
So, there you are – another honest interview from an honest bloke (trust me, I know!)
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