Date:Monday December 15 2008
Ben Kosky from the Kilburn Times speaks to Vital QPR about the latest developments within the club.
The well-respected journalist runs the rule over the latest developments within Queens Park Rangers, including what he describes as an 'underwhelming appointment` in Paulo Sousa.
After 15 games in charge Rangers boss Iain Dowie was given his marching orders by the Queens Park Rangers board - What is your opinion of this decision?
Absolutely disgraceful, yet entirely predictable. I know many fans were less than convinced Dowie was the right man for the job but, as I wrote at the time of his sacking, that wasn`t the issue. It was a question of whether it should be acceptable for an owner to sack the manager on a whim without even attempting to offer any rational reason for doing so.
Everyone accepts that when results are consistently bad, the manager`s position may come under threat, but Dowie took Rangers to ninth in the table and the last 16 of a major cup competition - neither of which have been regular occurrences for over a decade. So it`s hard to justify on footballing grounds.
Last time you spoke you Vital QPR you described Dowie's appointment as the following:
'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'
Did your opinion change during his brief tenure, or were you impressed with the former Charlton and Crystal Palace boss?
I thought he did a decent job and had quickly organised the team - especially the defence - very efficiently. I couldn`t have imagined Rangers pulling off results like Norwich and Aston Villa last season.
Several players - Damion Stewart, Gavin Mahon and Dexter Blackstock, for instance - had noticeably raised their standards under Dowie and we`ll never know what might have been achieved if he had been allowed to carry on.
Ironically the owners have now done exactly what I feared by appointing Paulo Sousa - and it was quite clear that no British manager of any calibre was interested in the job anyway, given the conditions they knew would be imposed.
Gareth Ainsworth took brief charge of the side steering the R's to some positive results, most the notably the electric evening at Loftus Road against Birmingham City - were you in favour of giving him the job, or did you view it as a temporary measure?
Gareth is hugely popular at QPR and a terrific motivator - and for me, he would certainly have been a better choice than Sousa because he understands English football and he knows this division.
My understanding is that he was in line for the job until the team lost two games in a row (against Ipswich and Burnley) and, at that point, he fell out of favour with Flavio Briatore, who doesn`t appear to understand that sometimes football teams lose games.
In a sense I`m glad Gareth didn`t get the job, because I suspect it would have led to his acrimonious departure before too long.
Several were linked with the vacant post in W12, including Roberto Mancini and Terry Venables, was there a preferred candidate in your mind to take the reigns?
Not really, because the Dowie episode meant a line had been crossed and the position of manager/coach was no longer enormously significant.
By that I mean that the only requirement was to find someone who could take training and devise tactics - transfers and team selection would not be part of his job description.
Despite that, I would have preferred someone with experience of English football and ideally Championship football, but that was never likely to happen.
Much has been made of Rangers continental hierarchy and how it works within the English game - what is your opinion of someone external to the management picking the players, and the brash comments of Briatore being shrewd with 'his club' and 'his money'.
Well, I`ve probably made my opinion clear already, but what I will say is that I think the system could work if the 'external` figure were a football man.
That isn`t the case at QPR, of course, and it must be embarrassingly obvious to everyone who`s seen them this season that certain players are selected - and signed in the first place - for non-footballing reasons such as Briatore`s friendship with the president of Real Madrid.
As for the idea of Briatore being shrewd, that might ring true if Rangers weren`t paying off heaven knows how many managers and coaches and indulging in a makeover of the playing squad every six months.
It had been clear since last season that the team were crying out for an experienced goalscorer and instead the club continued to bring in more and more midfield players who just weren`t needed - Parejo, Tommasi and don`t forget Matteo Alberti.
Being shrewd in transfer terms means signing quality instead of quantity, but QPR seem to opt for the reverse every time.
The most recent development has been the appointment of Portuguese legend Paulo Sousa - what do you make of this appointment?
I can`t remember being so underwhelmed by a QPR appointment since Alan Mullery. Sousa seems a smart cookie and clearly has some good ideas on how the game should be played - but ultimately it is a huge gamble and QPR are the guinea pig for his coaching career.
He came in with no experience of club football, let alone the English game, but let`s hope he gets to grips with it quickly. I think it would be a mistake to make comparisons with Luigi de Canio, who was, let`s not forget, an experienced manager.
Finally, you stated as the start of the season that Rangers could hope to finish eighth, has your view changed for better or for worse on the basis of the campaign thus far?
Give or take a place or two, I`d stick with that prediction. The nature of this division makes it entirely possible for Rangers to make the play-offs, but history shows that very few teams win promotion after changing manager mid-season.
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