Roundheads v Cavaliers at QPR
The recent, highly unedifying events at QPR have brought to light another instance of one of the oldest battles for football’s soul: Artisan versus Artist. Some weeks ago, I eulogised over Rangers’ effervescence and élan as they romped to victory over Reading with a forward line so rich as to be almost cloyingly sickly. A quintet of Routledge, Buzsáky, Simpson, Taarabt and Faurlin purred as Hoops beat Hoops.
Now, just a few short weeks later, as the heavens open and pitches are furrowed, the west Londoners are in chaos. Uncorroborated events at Vicarage Road on Monday speak of high unrest, but the gory alleged details of the case are perhaps leading us to ignore the tactical element. I can’t help but think that Jim Magilton should have stuck to his guns through this dry spell. Patrick Agyemang may have netted as soon as he arrived against Boro last saturday, but that’s no reason to swap he and another journeyman, Rowan Vine for youngster Jay Simpson, author of a goal more than every other game this term, despite his tender summers. Sometimes, one has to stick to principles. Ulsterman Jim is old school and when discouragement arrives, the kneejerk reaction is to sacrifice the Fancy Dans – but why not keep the ball on the floor, keep an arm round your flock, and trust that modern methods will work eventually?