Rangers Review 2007 - Part 1
Vital QPR co-editor, Boxer aka Adam has kindly written the 2007 Rangers Review. Parts two, three and four will follow in due course.
A month of great transition at Loftus Road, with manager John Gregory making the most of the January transfer window to make changes to his squad.
Sampsa Timoska was brought in from MyPa in Finland, and Adam Bolder arrived from Derby County. These were vastly outweighed by the list of players released, those leaving were, Ian Evatt who later signed for Blackpool, Egutu Oliseh, Kevin Gallen on loan to Plymouth, youngsters Scott Donnelly and Jon Munday, the experienced Matthew Rose, Matthew Hislop and finally Ugo Ukah. Rangers also moved for out of favour Nottingham Forest defender Danny Cullip, after landing the defender John Gregory was delighted stating...
'We needed a player with his kind of character. He's a leader, an organiser and in my opinion he's a winner. He's won play-off finals, promotions and is a real battler. I'm bringing him in not only for his defensive qualities, but also for his leadership skills.'
Rangers managed to persuade young starlet Ray Jones to sign a new three and a half year contract, a great coup for the club after he was expected to sign for Rangers' rivals Fulham. Gregory was beaming at the news...
'He could have moved elsewhere for more money, but he's made the choice to remain at QPR which I think is a massive compliment to everybody at this football club.'
Jones spoke concerning other interested parties
'I think I've got more of a chance here to start games and score goals at QPR that's going to help me better in the long-run than going to another team and sitting on the bench for long periods.'
Rangers also managed to fend off bids for highly rated left-winger Lee Cook.
On the field was grim viewing for Rangers fans, as only one win coming on New Year's Day against Colchester, with losses at home to Southampton, and away at crucial games, Hull and Barnsley. These results saw Barnsley leapfrog Rangers, as the R's slipped into the bottom three.
To compound the misery a Zesh Rehman own goal knocked QPR out of the F.A Cup in a replay at Luton.
January soon came to an end, but going into February, Rangers were in the news, once again for all the wrong reasons. A behind closed doors friends against the Chinese Olympic ended in a mass brawl, with referee Dermot Gallagher abandoning the match.
The mass brawl erupted after Gao Lin aimed a flying kick in the direction of Rangers players, claiming provocation for his actions. The brawl that ensued left Zheng Tao, with a broken jaw in two places, and disastrous PR for both sides involved. Rangers made an official statement at the time...
'QPR can confirm that an incident occurred at our Harlington training ground yesterday, during the game against China's Under-23 squad.'
'The club abhor violence of any sort and do not condone the actions taken by anyone involved.'
In the aftermath of the incident at Harlington, China sent seven players home, apologising for their conduct, perceived somewhat hastily by some sections of the Chinese media. Rangers suspended Assistant Manager Richard Hill for his role in the brawl...
'Following the incident at the training ground on Wednesday 7th February 2007 and the subsequent Police investigation of the matter, Queens Park Rangers Football Club have suspended Assistant Manager Richard Hill from his duties until further notice.'
He was later arrested but released without prosecution.
In other news Rangers sold young prodigy and England Under-16 star Dean Parrett to Tottenham Hotspur for a down payment of £1million, which could rise to £3million.
It was to be another month of departure with Press Manager Jackie Bass reportedly resigning. Goalkeeping coach was then suspended by manager John Gregory with no official reason behind the move, although rumours have suggested several angles.
Youngster Taku Wantabe was also released.
Some bright news in a disastrous month however, Rangers secured the three-month loan signing of Lee Camp from Derby County. The goalkeeper, who helped Rangers to promotion to the division, now had the unenviable task of keeping goal to save Rangers from the drop.
The month ended with rumours about possible investment candidates coming forward in the shape of Ron Noades and Sam Hamman, names that didn't have Rangers fans jumping for joy, more holding their head in their hands and dreaming for an alternative solution.
On the field, the month got off to a good start with a confidence-boosting win over Burnley at Loftus Road. Rangers were then humbled and embarrassed 5-0 away at Southend in front of the Sky Camera's. A truly disastrous outcome to an important encounter. Rangers finally brought their eight match away losing streak to an end at rock bottom Leeds.
There was also a home point against Plymouth and Ian Holloway making his first return to Loftus Road following his departure. Rangers ended the month outside the bottom three on goal difference.
Rangers began the month in a positive mood. They appointed three new board members, all in the legal profession. Jason Kallis, Kevin Steele and Nick De Marco. On these new introductions, Gianni Paladini said...
'These people have been supporting QPR for much longer than me and they are the future of the club,'
'Knowing what the club's been through, I know there's bound to be scepticism whenever anyone joins the board, but myself and Kevin are QPR through and through.'
Meanwhile news turned back to the China incident at Harlington training ground. With Rangers admitting the charge of failing to control its players.
Queens Park Rangers FC have admitted an FA charge relating to a brawl involving their players, officials, and members of the Chinese Olympic team on February 9th, and have requested a personal hearing.
Rangers also received a much-needed financial boost from Watford. Danny Shittu's commanding performances at the back lead Watford to the semi-final of the F.A. Cup, and henceforth as part of the transfer deal, netted Rangers £250k.
The comings and goings continued at Rangers, with youngster Ricky Sappleton being released, and Rangers securing the integral signing of midfielder Inigo Idiakez from Southampton. A move that proved popular amongst the Rangers faithful, after getting that creative midfielder the club has dreamed about since the days of Ray Wilkins.
Warren Neil also returned to give John Gregory a helping hand following the departure of Richard Hill. The former full back had a career at Rangers spanning eight years, and was a popular choice for the fans.
Deadline day saw one in and one out on loan. Rohan Ricketts joined the R's from Wolverhampton Wanderers until the end of the season, whilst Zesh Rehman went back to Brighton for the third time, in a similar deal.
Meanwhile on the pitch things were improving, after losing away at Ipswich, Rangers went three undefeated, with a draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday, but even more impressively a draw away at Derby, who rescued a point in the last minute.
A cracker of a goal from Marc Nygaard meant a joyous St. Patrick's day for QPR with a 3-1 win over Leicester. Moreover, despite impressing against West Brom, Rangers went down 2-1. A mixed bag of results going into the most important month of the season.
Click here to read Part 2.