Ben Kosky from the Kilburn Times gives an informative Q&A to Vital QPR concerning last season in the Championship and what he expects for the coming season.
Did QPR fare how you expected last term?
Roughly, yes. You always aim to move a few places up the table from the previous year and the squad that started last season should probably have been capable of doing that, never mind after the serious spending began. Going out of both cup competitions at the first hurdle came as little surprise, although at least heads could be held high after the FA Cup defeat this time.
What is your opinion of the Dawn of a new era at Loftus Road?
In a nutshell, all style and no substance. Of course, there was no alternative to the takeover apart from administration at best. But posturing and publicity stunts are the currency Flavio Briatore seems to deal in and I`ve yet to hear anything that suggests the new owners are interested in preserving the soul of the club. There have been no signs of continuity – three managers and three sets of backroom staff too, an absurdly high turnover of players and no moves to help Rangers begin developing home-grown talent again, eg: upgrading the youth team facilities to regain Academy status. Worst of all, the steep rise in ticket prices for next season – why should QPR fans fork out that much more money to watch what is still, let`s remember, a mid-table Championship team? Surely better to maintain lower prices and fill the stadium every time.
What did you think of the job Luigi De Canio did at Rangers?
A myth has been established that De Canio took over with Rangers at rock bottom when, in fact, the seeds of recovery had already been sown by Mick Harford. With that said, De Canio`s legacy will be that he moulded a team who produced the most attractive, flowing football seen at Loftus Road for many years. He always came across as a gentleman who seemed to command the respect of the players and I would certainly have liked to see him try to continue the progress this season.
What did you feel about the appointment of Iain Dowie?
Relieved, because it wouldn`t have surprised me to see the owners opt for a ‘glamour` manager who matched their plans for the ‘brand` but had no coaching experience, eg: Zinedine Zidane. Dowie did an impressive stint as number two to Gerry Francis and resumes the trend of appointing managers with previous knowledge of the club. Although he might have a couple of recent blips on his CV, the job he did in transforming Crystal Palace from an average Championship side to promotion winners is exactly what Rangers want him to reproduce.
How do you think QPR have performed in the transfer market so far?
Poorly. Since the takeover, QPR`s transfer policy has favoured quantity over quality. Don`t get me wrong, many of the players signed last season have made a hugely positive impact on the team – Rowan Vine, Akos Buzsaky, Fitz Hall, Matthew Connolly and Hogan Ephraim in particular spring to mind. But there are others who haven`t improved the squad because they are no better than the players they replaced and I fear that trend will continue. Radek Cerny seems a decent goalkeeper, for instance, but is he really better than Lee Camp – who`s also ten years his junior? Maybe the players who have come in from Italy will turn out to be inspired signings, but surely the priorities this summer should have been to sign Lee Cook or a similar out and out winger, plus a 20-a-season goal poacher?
Who do you feel will be QPR`s most influential player this season?
Once he returns to fitness, Rowan Vine. In terms of clever running, bringing team-mates into play and setting up chances, he is invaluable to Rangers. Another injury free season for Martin Rowlands would also be a big boost.
Where do you expect QPR to finish come the end of the season?
Eighth, possibly taking over the division`s mantle of inconsistency from Wolves.
Who will be?
Champions: Sheffield United look solid all over the park and they`d probably have gone up last year but for Bryan Robson`s inability to manage. Kevin Blackwell will do much better.
Overachievers: Derby County won`t be fancied by many to bounce back, but they`ve made some shrewd additions this summer and, if they can shake off their losing mentality from last season, may surprise a few people.
Underachievers: Plymouth seemed to be losing key players at a steady rate last season and have the whiff of a side sliding towards the relegation zone.
Young Player to Watch: Sheffield Wednesday defender Mark Beevers looks a good prospect in a fairly average side.
Top Goalscorer: Rob Earnshaw to rediscover his scoring touch in his new home at the City Ground.
Vital QPR would like to personally thank Ben for his contribution
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