By Guy P.
Cast your mind back to the summer and you will no doubt remember QPR’s numerous press conferences, when the club unveiled a host of new players – eleven in fact – making them the most active of all the Premier League clubs.
Hughes, smiling contentedly throughout, must have been tempted to pinch himself to check that he was not in the midst of a wet dream, as the steam, sorry stream of talent into Loftus Road became a torrent.
There was Park Ji Sung, the former Manchester United star. Then came the combative and in demand Cameroon and Marseille midfield enforcer Stephan Mbia. Proven Premier League goal scorer Andrew Johnson arrived, as did the imposing Senegalese midfielder Samba Diakite. Other players to come through the QPR gates were Canadian forward Junior Hoilett, Brazilian left back Fabio, experienced New Zealand stalwart Ryan Nelsen, defensive veteran Jose Bosingwa and, from Real Madrid, Esteban Granero – a player adored by the Spanish press last season.
But, unbelievably, it didn’t end there. There were of course two new goalkeepers aswell – Brazilian Julio Cesar and England international Rob Green. Perennial absentee Kieran ‘sicknote’ Dyer and the much maligned Joey Barton, who had been farmed out to Marseille, would surely not be missed, would they? Last season’s 17th place finish seemed but a distant memory to the excited QPR faithful, who had reason to believe that they could not only finish in the top half of the league, but perhaps even qualify for Europe.
Fast forward to late November and bottom of the league QPR currently look like the worst Premiership team this side of Derby County – winless and with a paltry four points to show for their efforts. A loss on Saturday at home against fellow strugglers Southampton, in the match dubbed ‘el sackico’, has left the manager on the brink. The Hoops faithful vented their fury both during and after the game and there was even a banner emblazoned with the words ‘Harry come save us’, referring to the fact Harry Redknapp is currently without an employer.
More ominously for Hughes, the usually magnanimous benefactor Tony Fernandes has ceased smiling and one wonders what action will be taken as a result of the widely reported showdown talks which have been scheduled for this week.
To date, Hughes has insisted on patience, as he attempts to gel his new side. But the leafless trees and dropping temperature tell us that we are no longer in the early season. The bedding-in period is over and results need to change quickly. Saturday’s performance was abject and the tactics employed appeared about as scientific as a game of pin the tail on the donkey. Surely now is the time for ‘Sparky’ to ignite the QPR team before it’s too late.
Guy Portman, soccersweep