by Adam Boxer
DRESSING room bust-ups, squad discontent and a lack of organisation – what a difference a few weeks make in football.
In recent years Queens Park Rangers have been a tumultuous club built on sand, that rocks at its very foundations at an undesirable performance or result.
In the main it has been the board that has been quick to press the panic button after set-backs, but last night it was the supporters that were guilty of turning on their manager and their team.
For the first time in a while QPR supporters got greedy and nasty at Vicarage Road last night, with several players singled out for abuse from the word go.
I must stress that the silent majority remained silent, more out of disappointment at another in a string of lacklustre displays, while some vocalised their discontent either as individuals or in chants.
From a personal perspective, I have never left a game early, but against Watford was the lowest ebb I have felt as a supporter, not because of the performance, but because of feeling very disenfranchised with those around me.
Not only were sections of supporters chanting deliriously for Ákos Buzsáky throughout the fixture, but abused the manager Jim Magilton for taking off a relatively ineffectual player in Wayne Routledge.
The manager that was the toast of the month after a succession of outstanding displays, suddenly became cannon fodder for many supporters, who evidently wanted to see Magilton gone.
Obviously this is not a verbal attack on individuals, as football is a game of opinions, and one man’s genius is another man’s lunacy – but the outpouring of abuse last night has to come under as much scrutiny as Magilton’s decision-making.
Last season QPR reached breaking-point when Paulo Sousa was booed for not withdrawing Gavin Mahon, the very same person that had been the lynch-pin prior to his injury, and whose presence is sorely missed.
Any manager or director who listened to fan opinion explicitly would have ousted Mahon to Scunthorpe United in the summer – the very player who supporters have craved in recent games.
While it was an undoubtedly disappointing performance and result, and a set-back to Rangers’ goals, it cannot be judged in isolation.
Against the back-drop of the season so far, Rangers have seen the arcs and troths of being a modern day football supporter – but it seems that this must be viewed in the overall picture rather than game to game, or against Watford, pass to pass.
The ingredients remain for Rangers to be successful, a team built on attacking flair and excellent passing football, can be tempered by a defence that was truly outstanding last season.
It seems that while the defence has suffered as a result of some ‘total-football’ tactics, they have unquestionably underperformed with Fitz Hall, Kaspars Gorkss and Damion Stewart all forming useful partnerships last season.
Those who continue to barrack Hall must note that he was crucial to Rangers in the first part of last season under Iain Dowie and indeed a fantastic rearguard action against Aston Villa.
At present Rangers are going through a tough patch, but no-one is promoted or relegated in December, and the club will require the full vocal offerings that everyone knows Loftus Road can create.
If Rangers are to achieve promotion, supporters will need to stick with the club, and the club in turn will need to do what they’ve done well this season – win football matches and play to the standards they’ve set thus far.
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