Eye Witness Assessment: Yet More Short-Termism From Redknapp and QPR

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Uncategorized | 10 Comments
Eye Witness Assessment: Yet More Short-Termism From Redknapp and QPR
Image available under Creative Commons (c) Flierfy

Lucky Charlie Austin. Youthful rejection at the hands of Saturday’s opponents and Hull City medicals aside, he was the one Queen’s Park Rangers player yet to be labelled with a question mark as to his reputation at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

For this is a flawed squad that Harry Redknapp has assembled and while there is far more backbone than that displayed by the miscreant class of 2012-3, doubts surround the team nonetheless — queries that have hastened in volume in recent weeks.

Rangers had until recently disproved many pre-season commentators who saw the up and coming likes of Watford and Derby County as safer bets to do well this Championship season as well as the fellow relegated but, on the surface of things, more stable Wigan Athletic and Reading. A tough-minded, gnarled approach has won the team points while the paucity of effort we saw in the Premier League season is now a memory.

But the Championship has a habit of dragging a team down to its level and a run of one win in five has reminded us of the shortcomings of some of this squad even if there is no need to panic just yet.

Take Robert Green — excellent so far but surely still bristling from the meltdown moment to end all meltdown moments in Rustenberg three and a half years ago. Confidence jolted, the goalkeeper suffered a series of follow up errors for West ham before finding himself a weekly number two to Jàºlio Cà©sar.

Take Joey Barton — probably the best player on the pitch on Saturday, keeping deep but as vigorous in the tackle as we remember him and the author of a glorious free kick that bent away excruciatingly from the fingertips of the otherwise marvellous Alex McCarthy, a fellow contender for an England recall along with Green. Not so much ‘well documented’ as emblazoned on billboards and subject to a protracted worldwide marketing campaign, Barton’s travails are known to all of us.

Take Richard Dunne — a defender whose sheer poise and nous surprised me when I first saw him play in the flesh a few years ago, but still beset by oil tanker comparisons and likened to Eric the Eel when pace is the matter being discussed.

Take Benoà®t Assou-Ekotto, often the first name mentioned when it has come to discussion of underrated Premier League players down the years but avowedly indifferent to the sport and now deemed surplus to requirements by Andrà© Villas-Boas.

Take Niko Kranjčar, a languid presence capable of rapid bursts of devastation and yet perhaps overly fattened by the milk and honey of Portsmouth before making way for Gareth Bale too often at Spurs and suffering a false start amid the Champions League climes of Kyiv’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium. Both of Redknapp’s former Tottenham charges are but 29 years of age — no age at all to be slumming it in the lower divisions — the Croat didn’t even start here.

Nedum Onuoha? An intelligent centre back who uses the ball well but too often a substitute in his Manchester City days — as he was here before an injury put paid to Dunne’s afternoon early on. Danny Simpson? A slow slide down the leagues is the fate of many a Manchester United youngster — remember Grant Brebner, Giuliano Maiorana, Ben Thornley, Chris Casper and Terry Cooke?

Shaun Wright-Phillips? Once seen setting up Didier Drogba with a peach of a cross on this ground but now struggling to recover from an ankle injury sustained last April and deemed unworthy of a place on the bench against the Royals? Take Matt Phillips, struggling to recapture the form of his early Blackpool days after a year blighted by injury and an oddly unimpressive loan stint at Sheffield United back in the day.

Gary O’Neil? A thinking man’s footballer who is perhaps one of the tidiest players you can imagine but one who has never really pushed on from his involvement in Portsmouth’s tainted glory years and who is associated with Middlesbrough’s decline and the offences to football of the as yet unfinished Sam Allardyce era at West Ham.

The whole still works of course and Clint Hill has stuck with the club through the zaniness of recent times, Junior Hoilett showed more than a few glimpses of what he can on Saturday (an early rasper will have showered McCarthy in splinters) and as for Jermaine Jenas — has there ever been a less exciting player? No — solidity was needed and ‘Arry has shaped the unit exactly as it should have been after the disrespect shown by your Bosingwas and Rà©mys.

A few thrillion quid helps of course and perhaps we’d be casting less doubt as to the skills of these guys if they were big enough to operate at a level more suited to them than as part of the turkey shoot much of this season will prove to be. Redknapp is an engagingly sporting interviewee and Saturday was no exception and I’m sure he’s a top man to have a pint with but he’d do well as a CEO of a financial management company or investment bank given his obvious preference for the short term. QPR will go close but those flaws might come to trouble them.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. mike
    November 12, 2013

    Krancjar just came back from injury, do you know how injury works?

  2. qprjeff
    November 12, 2013

    ‘Non-partisan’, slightly ill-informed more like. Injuries are the concern not the individual players mentioned, who’ve been excellent. It’s slowing signs of improvement going forward. Part legacy and partly too many oldsters, due to the need to re-fill a squad with mostly free transfers and for some leadership. Given we’ve offloaded/lost to injury approaching 30 players since last season and have over two points per game a bit of credit’s due. Yeovil can moan about us having money but not Reading, we’ve had to slash our wages from last year, only one first teamer left (35 yr old Hill). Reading have plenty of big wages and much of their team from last year, plus the same parachute payments. You outbid us for two old prem players so ‘pots and kettles’…

  3. Pinner Paul
    November 12, 2013

    Onuha was only sub because he has been injured for 6 weeks! QPR’s best player of the season before that. Rob Green “short of confidence” , what, after breaking the club record and getting 8, yes that’s EIGHT clean sheets in a row you mean, could go on……..

  4. JK
    November 12, 2013

    Florid prose masking little more than the received wisdoms of the average pub gobshite. You say QPR may fail but provide no real thoughts as to how. All these shortcomings are generalised and historical – it’s self-evident that had any of these players made the most of their careers then they wouldn’t be featuring in the Championship. The extent to which Redknapp is managing to get something out them now, this season, is the question, and one the article goes no way towards addressing. “Yet more short-termism”? Well yes, they’re trying to get back up at the first attempt, much like Reading with their Drenthes, Bairds and Bridges.

    A few factual inaccuracies also – Onuoha is finally maturing into the best form of his career, is the lynchpin of the side now, and was being rushed back from long-term injury on Saturday, Matt Phillips is also coming back off injury, and the “oddly unimpressive” loan spell at Sheff Utd where he scored 5 in 6 actually reignited his career at Blackpool.

  5. Lanterne Rouge
    November 12, 2013

    cheers gents – some valid points although the point I am making is that although the likes of Green and Onuoha have done very well so far, there is always the potential for them to start to struggle. Indeed, Reading have their own versions – two of the three stand out players thus far in 2013-14 have been Pogrebnyak and Guthrie and yet both were utterly woeful last season and I would 100% agree with you that Reading are in worrying shape financially – I write not from the perspective of a Reading fan but as an attenpted neutral – neither club is setting an example for sustainable development at the moment.

    I do like the phrase ‘Florid prose masking little more than the received wisdoms of the average pub gobshite’ – fair comment, it has to be said!

  6. Neil.S
    November 12, 2013

    This is not an article, but the bitterness of a Reading fan who has simply listed all QPR’s players and put a negative spin on each, utilising facts in similar way to Dan Brown and doing the whole thing under the illusion of impartiality.

  7. Kirk
    November 12, 2013

    Who is this moron who wrote the article !???
    Clearly confused ! We have played 15 games and lost 1 we sit 2nd in the league !! Are last 4 games where all away from home. ?? We went 8 games without letting a goal inn !!
    The only thing flawed !? Is the Wally who didn’t check his facts before , they wrote this lol !! Pathetic … U rs !!!!!!!

  8. John Flanagan
    November 12, 2013

    This is probably the worst bit of journalism I have ever seen. Put the thesaurus away. I’m not even a Qpr fan and this annoys me. Have you looked at the CURRENT table, stats or player bios…I suggest you do before writing such a poor article.


  9. Sanchez_82
    November 14, 2013

    Yikes, some QPR fans are a little sensitive it seems. Quite frankly a club that employs both Harry Redknapp and Joey Barton is not going to win many popularity contests so maybe you should get used to the criticism, whatever the quality of the writing.


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