Season Preview - Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas of popular fanzine, 'A Kick Up The R`s` shares his thoughts about the coming campaign to Vital QPR
How do you rate Rangers' performance last season?
As with most teams who finish mid-table, it had as many ups and downs as any rollercoaster ride - just none of the excitement. There was the occasional thrill, but it was all pretty average in the main. I saw every game, home and away, but would count the memorable ones on the fingers of one hand. No prizes for identifying what was the single biggest reason for that - the lack of goals. In fact, had it not been for the defence conceding less goals than any other team outside the top six, our 'goals for' tally could have had us involved in a flirt with relegation. That imbalance all added up to where we probably deserved to be - too good to go down, not good enough to go up.
What was your stand out moment?
Martin Rowlands goal that beat Wolves. Even sitting right in front of it, I still can't believe it went in. Henderson was only two yards off his line, perfectly placed to make the save, yet somehow the ball went over his head, and then even more impossibly dipped at the last moment and hit the back of the net. That was the stand-out 'moment' for me, but if I may be allowed to nominate a stand-out match, it wouldn't be that game against Wolves, or the cup win at Villa, or the home wins over Birmingham or Sheffield Wednesday, both high drama, but a midweek away game that finished 0-0, with only about 300 QPR fans watching. That was at Cardiff and came just days after we'd lost at home to Ipswich (and the talking point surrounding the booing of Gavin Mahon). This was almost the perfect response, as we played Cardiff off the park. All that was missing was a finish. All the same, Cardiff fans described us as the best team to visit Ninian Park all season. The irony is that a few months before and a few miles down the road we'd been the worst side in this or any other season to visit Swansea.
How do you feel about the appointment of Jim Magilton?
I was surprised by it. Not outraged, cynical, annoyed, or one step away getting up a petition. Just surprised. He'd not been high in the list of candidates being bandied about. But the more I've had the chance to think about it, the more I'm beginning to think it might be a shrewd move to bring him in. Or at least, a lot shrewder than bringing in someone with no experience of the Championship. I've not seen anything in pre-season that has made me think it won't be a step in the right direction for us. I just hope he is allowed to get on with the job in hand, without interference.
Do you feel Rangers have strengthened adequately?
That's hard to say. If Borrowdale comes good, then that will solve the left-back problem - and if Pellicori scores 20, we'll have forgotten there was ever a concern about a striker. They are big ifs, though - and, on balance, I would say no, we haven't adequately strengthened. As a club, we need to be bold and pay the market rate to bring in the extra quality we'll need. Right now, I have no idea if Faurlin will be another Parejo or the next Rowlands. The latter, hopefully.
Who will be the key player(s) for the R`s this season?
A fit Buzsaky and Rowlands will be key to our promotion prospects, and I will be more than happy if Kaspars Gorkss is only 85 per cent of what he was last season. But I feel Rowan Vine is the single most important player we have at the club. He brings a movement and a supply to the side that simply isn't there when he's missing.
Where do you expect the R`s to finish this season?
I feel we are perfectly capable of finishing in the play-offs, and I have us down to finish... fifth.
Championship - Who will be…
Champions: West Brom
Young Player to Watch: I'll be interested to see if Simon Cox can step up from League One and score goals for West Brom. That we wouldn't pay Swindon's valuation might prove to have been a big mistake.
Top Goalscorer: Michael Chopra
Many thanks to Dave for taking the time to contribute
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Mike - QPR Report
Clive Whittingham - Loft For Words
Scott Jones - We are the Rangers Boys
Bill Power - Former Chairman
Longegunmen - QPR Fanz
Ben Kosky - Kilburn Times
Dave Barton - queensparkrangersfc.com
Liam Osborne - QPR MAD
Paul Finney- Independent R`s
Drew Garro - qprdot.org
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