Date:Saturday February 28 2009
Kevin Gallen has played at a few different Clubs in his long, successful career, including Plymouth, Huddersfield and MK Dons. He is currently signed up at Luton, whom he joined in January 09 after having played for them for a couple of months on loan.
But whoever he has played for, there has only ever been one Club in his heart - Queens Park Rangers. His family have all been Rs fans for decades. Kevin`s father, Jim, has sat a couple of rows behind me in the (now) Platinum section for years and we`ve had many a pleasant conversation over the seasons. Even when Kevin wasn`t playing for us - Jim could always be found in his seat, watching his beloved team, as he still does. Jim is passionate about the Rs and, although he is clearly proud of his son`s achievements, he won`t miss a QPR game just to watch his son! And the family connection with QPR doesn`t stop with Jim. Kevin`s brothers, Joe and Steve, have been involved at coaching level with QPR, too. (Jim used to scout for us, by the way - back in the day!)
At the start of the 2001/02 season, having left Huddersfield, Kevin Gallen was without a Club. He was training with Rangers, but they hadn`t expressed a desire to take him back permanently. So, when (ex-Ranger) Nigel Spackman offered Gallen a chance to train with Barnsley, the ex-Hoop jumped at the chance. By the start of the 2001 season, Gallen had signed for the Tykes.
Gallen`s Barnsley career got off to a mixed start. Having scored his first goal for them in only his second game, against Nottingham Forest, he then went off with a hamstring injury later in that game. He was out for about 6 weeks. By the time he returned to full fitness, the Tykes were struggling, Spackman was sacked, and the new man in charge, Steve Parkin, didn`t really see Gallen as part of his plans.
At around that time, QPR came back in for Kevin and in November 2001, Gallen returned to his beloved Loftus Road, where he stayed until July 2007. Kevin has the best of memories of his 6 years at QPR which included our magnificent promotion-winning season (with the Number 9 scoring one of our goals in the final game at Hillsborough which secured our promotion).
"I had the best five or six years of my career at QPR after that and we did a lot of good things there," he told the Barnsley Official Website in an interview he gave ahead of our clash today.
"We won promotion and it will always be my club. I have been going to watch games since before I can remember," he added.
However, things did not continue to go so well at Loftus Road for Gallen and, in July 2007, he left to join up with his former Rs` manager, Ian Holloway, who had by now installed himself as manager at Plymouth Argyle. Gallen believes that it was because he did not feature in John Gregory`s plans for the Club that he was forced to leave.
"I never, ever wanted to leave QPR. I was forced out really by John Gregory.
"It was the same old thing again about a new manager coming in and wanting to change things. That`s football but I was very, very disappointed to leave like that," he explained.
At the time of his, and Marc Bircham`s, departure there were rumours flying around that perhaps he and Bircham had been a little too much of a clique and that they had too much power around the dressing room, making the manager`s life somewhat difficult. That, of course, remains merely a rumour.
But if anyone doubts Gallen`s passion for the Rs, they need only remember that he, along with Bircham and Lee Cook, were among the fans who made the trek to Stamford Bridge in January 08 for our 3rd Round FA Cup clash with our local, and age-old, rivals.
Nowadays, the former Number 9 is plying his trade with Luton Town, trying to help them out of their current league difficulties. However, he confesses that: "The QPR result is always the first one I look for after our match."
This apparently doesn`t always sit too well with the Hatter`s manager, as Gallen explains: "Sometimes the gaffer tells me to shut up about QPR and remember I am playing for Luton!"
You can just picture the scene this evening, can`t you? Gallen coming in from having helped Luton Town secure three valuable points against Port Vale; running to the nearest radio or tv and tuning into the Sports programme; holding his breath as he waits to see if QPR have taken three points off Barnsley this afternoon - or not . . .!!
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Date:Saturday February 28 2009
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