Simon Skinner of QPRnet.com is the latest in a line of journalists to give their thoughts about QPR, past, present and future.
What inspired you to follow the R`s?
My Dad is an R`s fan, brought up in Harlesden; he took me to my first game when I was 5 or 6 I think. Palace at home. I went on birthday`s and stuff for a few years but then really started going a lot when in the 89/90 season, after that brilliant game in the FA Cup against Liverpool at home I have hardly missed a home game since.
The best moment you`ve seen following QPR?
The promotion day at Hillsborough closely followed by the Play Off Semi winner from Furs against Oldham. The whole day up at Wednesday was superb, a decent display in the first half followed by an excellent showing in the second. Classic Rangers though, whilst most of the fans packed into the Leppings Lane stand were singing “The R`s are going up”, with two minutes to go, I was still sure we would find a way to blow it!
The worst moment you`ve seen following QPR?
I think the play off final against Cardiff, perhaps not the actual game itself but the depressing trudge away from the Millennium Stadium, hearing the fireworks going off and realising that we were stuck in this poxy division for another season at least.
The best era to watch the R`s and how it compares to now?
I think the early 90`s for me, the team was superb and I really think that the Rangers fans, me included, didn`t really appreciate it for what it was. To have players of the calibre of Parker, Bardsley, Wilson, Wilkins, Sinton and Ferdinand seems a world away even now. At the time though, with the club being well established in the top flight it was very much taken for granted, moaning about Les being lazy or Wilkins being too old! What a miserable bunch!
What did you feel about the appointment of Iain Dowie?
To be honest I was pretty happy with the appointment. I am of the opinion that it is horses for courses. Dowie knows this division inside out and he knows what it takes to get a team out of the division too. There was a lot of nonsense written on the boards at the time of the appointment about how we will play the long ball and we won`t pass it but that`s ill informed rubbish for me. Theories based on the man as a player rather than the man as a manager.
Have the R`s fared how you expected in the transfer market?
Things have been a bit on the slow side. I think the board have made it clear that they aren`t just going to wander the clubs of Europe throwing fresh fifties at chairmen and scooping players up as they go. They have shown that they won`t be held to ransom, the Lee Cook saga being a prime example, if a player is good value then we will go for them, if he isn`t then we wont. I don`t mind them bringing the youngsters in as long as they do supplement it with some solid Championship experience in the next few weeks. No panic yet though, plenty of time to go.
Who will be the key player(s) for Rangers this season?
Martin Rowlands is a given obviously. The way he rose up to become a leader of men last season as brilliant to see. It was also great to see him finally nail down that centre mid position as his own. The return of Vine in October time will also be massive I think, he is a destructive runner and although he can be a greedy beggar at times he can tear teams to ribbons. Hopefully we will also bring in some firepower and I think that the mythical 20 goal a season man is desperately needed and if they come they will also be massive for the team.
Where do you expect the R`s to finish this campaign?
I fancy Rangers to sneak into the play offs this season. I don`t think it will be a campaign where we will be up there challenging all season but I think we will slowly motor along, picking up the points and then in January, if we are nicely poised, bring in a couple of players to try and kick on.
Who will be?
Champions: I fancy Birmingham City to bounce back but at the moment I`m not really sure why! They have got rid of a few and haven`t brought many in, although the signing of Kevin Phillips in the last couple of days is a belter.
Overachievers: I think Forest have a decent chance of ruffling a few feathers, they have moved well in the transfer market to bring in Earnshaw and Cole and if they can keep both fit for any length of time then you should get forty odd goals between them. That`s a good platform for any team to build from.
Underachievers: You have to fancy that one of the other relegated teams will have a bit of a culture shock. They have both taken very different approaches this summer, Derby have basically binned everyone and started again whereas Reading haven`t done a thing yet but you would think that a few will be moving on. Another struggler will be Southampton for me, so skint now that they have had to shut bits of the ground for match days, it don`t bode well.
Young Player to Watch: If Giles Barnes at Derby gets back to fitness in anything like his form from their promotion season then some defenders will be taking a serious mugging this season. Victor Moses at Palace showed that he has all the attributes to make it at the top level, including a delightful line in playacting! If Sparky lets him out on loan, then I think Ched Evans, hopefully at Rangers, will also be superb.
Top Goalscorer: I don`t think you can look much further than Rob Earnshaw and Kevin Phillips for this, if Earnie can stay fit then he has every chance of knocking in twenty five no matter what is behind him.
Simon Skinner and Ron Norris run the QPRnet.com website, to visit them simply click here.
Previous Season Previews:
Ben Kosky – Kilburn Times.
Clive Whittingham – Loft For Words.
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