August 13, 2012
Queens Park Rangers' 2011/12 campaign was a roller coaster ride from hell, that saw the scrappy West Londoners nearly throw away their promotion success before killing one giant after another to hang on to survival by the slimmest of margins. After a busy summer reloading the squad with Premier League veterans and talented young players, their 2012/13 season will be a far different story.
The up and down year was quintessential QPR; a heartbreaking loss one week followed by a gritty performance the next. The squad's inconsistencies squandered countless chances to secure mid-table safety, and doomed manager Neil Warnock's tenure with the club. Defensive woes and an inability to score goals created problems at both ends, and the team sputtered under new boss Mark Hughes. With relegation nearly upon them and a schedule against some of the league's best clubs, doom seemed a certainty. Against all odds, QPR engineered a series of improbable emotional wins to battle back and escape the drop.
July 17, 2012
Queens Park Rangers supporters find themselves in unfamiliar territory this summer. The club has a management team in place with an ambitious vision for the future, a competent strategy to accomplish it and the money to see it through.
Who are you, and what have you done with QPR?
Following the additions of Ryan Nelsen, Robert Green, Andrew Johnson and Fabio da Silva, QPR signed Park Ji-Sung this week for the modest sum of £2 million, and continued the work of locating a site for a new stadium. The owner and board are saying and doing the right things and the team's landscape is unrecognisable from a few years ago. QPR are steeling themselves for a run at mid-table security and bringing in the players to get there this season.
June 22, 2012
That grumbling sound emanating from W12 is the muffled discontent of a certain faction of the footballing world, concerned over the dangerous trend they've spotted in their club's transfer activity.
QPR have signed...players over thirty! More than one! And re-signed octogenarian (Player of the Year) Clint Hill! Oh, the humanity!
In this mixed up world where youth is the most valuable asset, clearly manager Mark Hughes must be sacked and Tony Fernandes must sell in favour of an owner with the foresight to understand that only twenty-one year olds on £90,000 a week can bring you success.
Reality check: QPR are exactly where they need to be and are making quality additions to the squad.
Andy Johnson celebrates scoring against QPR last year
May 23, 2012
Should Joey Barton ever play for Queens Park Rangers again?
The Football Association announced today that Joey Barton has been banned for the first twelve matches of the 2012/13 season for the violent outburst that saw him red carded and dragged off the pitch against Manchester City. The controversial player's actions elicited condemnation from his critics and forced even the most stout supporter to question his fitness to remain with the club.
Barton has had his fair share of chances at redemption, and QPR's management now must decide whether his contributions outweigh his misdeeds, or if he's done enough harm to be drummed out of the club.
May 14, 2012
The script was supposed to be simple - mega-rich Manchester City would march onto the pitch against relegation strugglers QPR and blast their way to their first title in forty-four years. In the end City did win silverware, but not in a manner anyone would have believed.
Coming into the match with the odds stacked against them and needing a series of results to ensure another year in the league, Queens Park Rangers summoned the utmost courage and resiliency to stymie a fantastic side that looked ready to roll to victory. QPR will be etched in history as the team that lost seal Manchester City's incredible 2011-12 Championship title, but they can be proud of the effort they put forth on the most incredible final day of the season in Premier League history.
May 7, 2012
When they needed it most, QPR's leaders emerged with a crucial performance that may have saved their season.
Playing under the weight of a live-or-die game in front of their boisterous supporters, the team's key players delivered top drawer efforts to see through to victory. Adel Taraabt cut aggressive lanes through the Stoke defence; Joey Barton hustled after balls and harried the midfield; Jamie Mackie was a constant thorn in Robert Huth's giant side. The pressure continued to mount throughout what looked to be a scoreless draw until a well placed Djibril Cisse connected with a corner just before full time - sending Loftus Road and the QPR world in ecstasy as they snatched three vital points at the death.
The club is not safe yet, with Bolton only two points behind and a worst-case-scenario trip to Manchester City on the season's final day looming. But they have earned what may be enough to survive and will not go down without a fight.
April 29, 2012
Queens Park Rangers abysmal performance kept them on the brink of relegation as they were battered 6-1 by Chelsea.
After dispatching Spurs with a gritty and ambitious performance, there were high hopes for the struggling R's to repeat that spirit at Stamford Bridge. With Chelsea's busy workload, injuries and their sights set on loftier targets, there was some hope that QPR might have an opportunity to force a positive result. Instead the Derby was over before it started as QPR showed up without an ounce of fight in them, and played one of their worst games this season. The result is a continued bit of slow torture for the supporters as the club makes its way down the table and back to the Championship.
April 25, 2012
With so much attention being paid to other teams results and where it will leave the club, Queens Park Rangers have to focus on the only thing they can control - how they play for the next three matches.
The final stages of the Premier League marathon will be no easy sprint; QPR have to secure enough points to survive against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Stoke at Loftus Road and Manchester City at the Ethiad Stadium. If you told supporters a month ago that their club would dispatch Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham during the run-in after losing to Wolves, Blackburn and Bolton, they'd have called for the jackets that fasten in the back and a comfortably padded room. But here they sit, precariously close to the drop but with a legitimate chance to survive against the odds.
The work is by no means done, but with the form they've displayed of late, this team cannot be counted out.
April 18, 2012
The only way through for QPR now is the hard way. After failing to earn points on the road trip to West Brom and Wigan's upset over Arsenal, the R's remain in the relegation fight. Fellow cellar dwellers Bolton have two games in hand and QPR face three of the top six teams in their remaining four games.
Despite the difficulties and the gloom hanging in the air, this is the time to get behind the squad and push through to another year in the top flight. Tottenham are coming to Loftus Road Saturday, and it will need to be a fortress once again if the Hoops are to stay up. Here's a quick preview of the match this weekend.
April 12, 2012
Queens Park Rangers breathed new life into their survival campaign with a dominant three - nil victory over Swansea Wednesday night. With tough clashes looming, the improved form of late has buoyed supporter's hopes that relegation can still be avoided this season.
Captain Joey Barton scored just before half time, silencing his critics (including yours truly) with a curling shot that put the Super Hoops ahead to a roaring cheer from the Loftus Road faithful. January signings Samba Diakite and Taye Taiwo turned in their best work to date, and Championship vets Jamie Mackie and Akos Buzsaky added two more goals to seal a convincing win.
The competition to remain in the Premier League remains fierce after Wigan pulled off an upset against Manchester United, and QPR will have to make the most of their weekend trip to The Hawthorns. With the level the R's raised their game to last night, this looks like a team that can beat the drop amid the tight battle at the bottom of the table.
Brian Mahon is a writer and football fan who has been a QPR supporter for many years. Thus heartbreak and wandering in the wilderness of English football are all he's ever known - until now. Recognizing his most valuable contribution to a football pitch was staying off it, he is focused on armchair managing, heckling at the television and writing about the beautiful game. You can follow him on twitter at @BrianTMahon