“And that, folks, was Grand Larceny”
This is likely to be short and poorly researched. Like the unattributed quote up there. *points*
It’s likely to be both because I’m writing it on the train on my way to work and I’m not important or clever enough to have a wireless dongle (not that I’m quite sure I’d want a wireless dongle anyway, it sounds painful). Thanks to the Amex travel system I got in at 11pm last night. Thanks to my job I have a 9am meeting in London today. I should be sleeping but I need to tell the tale of how we robbed Harry Redknapp. Because it’s funny.
Pre game a friend rushed in to Dick’s Bar and regaled us with a tale of something he’d said to Britain’s second greatest bulldog impersonator (the greatest, of course, being the famous Peter Canning). He’d bumped in to their coach unloading and a group of fans were taking pictures of ‘Arry. Our friend jumped in to get one. “Why didn’t you wait?” the affronted QPR boss asked him. “Why didn’t you pay your tax?” came the retort. Now, of course we ALL know that he did really, oh yes, but still it was an indication of how the evening was going to go for Rosie’s owner.
At Championship level QPR have a star studded squad. We may have looked at Reading on Saturday, easing the famous Royston Drenthe back in, without our beloved Wayne Bridge, and envied their resources but the truth is the money is running out at the Madjeski. It never runs out at Loftus Road. It flows like water in the Somerset Levels and it’s just as obtrusive and ugly. Thus they could play famous names like Joey Barton, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Ravel Morrison and Richard Dunne (48k a week someone told me after though of course I can’t check. No dongle you see). They could afford to have Benayoun and Kranjcar on the bench – not even bring them on – and yet they still lost. Oh how they shouldn’t have.
We started compactly. We always start compactly under Oscar. He may sing of his love of attacking football but you get the impression that he fines the whole team if they concede in the first twenty minutes. Bruno was digging in defensively but didn’t seem to be allowed forward at all. Not only did we barely trouble QPR but we didn’t have a shot. Green was another spectator, though unlike over half the away support he had to watch the whole match. Not only did QPR dominate territory but also possession. And yet they did nothing that was utterly terrifying with either. It was like watching us in reverse.
Rangers looked just as dominant in the second half, PIG forced in to a couple of sharp saves, one a brilliant tip over after Ravel Morrison had found himself in space, Upson and the revitalised Lewis Dunk defended stoutly, backs to the wall. We seemed determined to give QPR’s experienced centre half pairing heading practice. PIG may have been absolutely commanding in his area and with his shot stopping but his distribution was appalling. Following one particular sequence of events I finally lost it with the team. One of our rare attacks broke down. Green rolled it straight in to sixty yards of space that the overcommitted (and again shocking)Keith Andrews had left and QPR sprinted in to the attack. Though it came to nothing we had a similar break on a few minutes later. By now KLL had been belatedly brought on as an impact sub and this looked to be his moment. Instead he and Lingard lingered (yay! I got to use that!) and got in each others’ way. I could take it no longer and berated the side to put some bleeping effort in on the break. A minute later we scored. Don’t thank me. Just send me money.
As the game opened up so Bruno was released and he played a lovely interchange on the right wing before freeing himself to unleash the perfect cross. Ulloa, for once unmarked, couldn’t miss from a few yards. The Amex went mental.
At this point we had had two shots, one on target, and scored one. IT WAS THE ANTI-WIGAN! Naturally I turned to my chum and said how great it would be if we scored a second with our only other shot on target. On 85 minutes we did, KLL’s wicked corner kick brilliantly converted by Stephen Ward’s left foot. The Amex went mental again. The away end emptied. Don’t thank me. Just send me lots of money. Did I mention I was wearing my lucky hat?
Did we deserve it? Not really. Have we played better and not won? Undoubtedly. But for anyone who moans about Oscar and tedious football we have now played 180 minutes against a side of Premier League players on Premier League money with a manager who the tabloids were screaming for to manage England not so long ago and we haven’t conceded a goal to them. Four points is a more than acceptable haul against such a side.
One final mention has to go to Joey Barton. If the pantomime villain that is Adkins played his part on Saturday then Joey, to his credit, played his down. Getting merciless stick for just being Joey Barton he got on with his job professionally, never playing up to the taunts or committing a bad tackle. At the end he shook hands with everyone and trudged off to acknowledge the 25 or so QPR fans who’d stayed to clap off their team. Meanwhile Mr Redknapp was exchanging pleasantries with the West Stand. Two years is an awfully long time in football.