Wednesday, 29 April 2009

QPR Story: 3rd season: Predictable ending!

Hello everyone, welcome to the last post of the 3rd season. Now at the end of my last post, I was 14th in the league, and hoping to maybe have a strong finish to clinch 12th. I am sorry to say that that has failed, but instead I have still done quite well! Here are the final results for the end of the 3rd season:

As you can see, they are pretty decent, a few wins here and there and quite a few draws. Only 4 losses in 13 games which I am pretty pleased with. In particular, the first 3 fixtures against Everton, Ipswich and Hull were terrific, winning by 3 goals or more. Disappointments were few and far between, but I wasn't too happy with the Middlesbrough, West Brom and Blackburn games as we could have so easily won all 3 and propelled us further up the table. Speaking of tables...

Now this was a credible finish, and one which I aim to improve upon next season. A comfortable 4 point lead over Middlesbrough in 15th and 4 points away from Everton in 13th, means we have basically made 14th spot our own! We haven't moved from there I believe since February or so which is quite interesting. A very very interesting fact which this table does NOT tell you is that we have made it into the UEFA Cup due to our fair play!! We play minnows Port Talbot in the first qualifying round, and we should record a very easy win there. Nevertheless, I shall field a strong side for every game (except if we take an unassailable lead in the first leg) and will not devalue the UEFA Cup. Despite this, due to our weak squad, I doubt that we will even make it into the group stages but oh well. We will do better when we qualify for it through the league position.
Anyway, quickly onto player ratings, and I have a lot to cover. Top scorers are Mike Aram (15), Peter Crouch (13) and Kevin Doyle (12). Special mention goes out to January signing Marius Niculae who grabbed 5 goals in 12 games since coming here. Assists are a little more one sided, Chris Burke grabbing an amazing 21 assists to come first. A long way back, Hobbit Bermudez is second with 10, and Kevin Doyle rounds off the top 3 with 8. Special mention goes out to another January signing Antonio Barragan, who grabbed 3 assists and a goal in 15 appearances. Top stuff. Now, highest rated players. Top is another January signing Francisco Guillhermo Ochoa, who got a terrific 7.26 in just 17 games, with Etienne Didot and Chris Burke completing the top 3 with scores of 7.24 and 7.22 respectively.
Anyways, I shall hopefully be quite busy in the transfer market preparing my squad for the UEFA Cup campaign as well as trying to make us a good Premier League side. My aim for next season is a solid 10th place finish, and hopefully an appearance in the group stages of the UEFA Cup. Until next time, good bye!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Results of my poll

Hey everyone, this is just a recap of my poll results. The poll question was "What team should I manage at the start of the 4th season?" and the options were:

Stay at QPR
Go to a different Premier League team
Go to a La Liga team
Go to a Serie A team

and here are the results:

Stay at QPR: 12 votes - 52%
Premier League team - 9 votes - 39%
Serie A team: 1 vote - 4%
La Liga team: 1 vote - 4%

So I shall stay on at QPR for another 1 or 2 seasons at least, then I shall release the poll again. Until then, I shall strive to progress with QPR and keep my best players (see previous post). New post coming up soon!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

QPR Story: 3rd season: Very consistant!

Hello readers, hope you are well. Now in my last post, we were 13th in the league, and facing a tough run of fixtures, that I thought could put us back in a relegation place. Fast forward to 14 games later (13 in the Premier League) and here are our results:

These are not very good to be perfectly honest, only 2 wins being picked up in 13 Premier League games, away to West Brom and Reading at home. The draws with West Ham and Wigan were the only other collected points, and they should have both been 3, as we destroyed them for the 90 minutes. Now you might be thinking that we are now deep in the relegation places, with just 22 points from 25 games, but you would be wrong. Take a look:

Surprisingly, we are still 6 points clear of the relegation places! We are just 3 points off of 13th, and just a couple of wins away from 12th. Last season, 22 points would have been enough to put us 19th, and with 13 games to go, and no cup competitions to worry about, I am confident that relegation is the least of our worries. Moving on now, here are my January ins and outs:



As you can see, I did not do that much business, as Gerson and Danny Wilson are good young players that I bought for the future. Antonio Barragan is a solid and reliable right back, Francisco Ochoa is a fantastic goalkeeper who many of you know of. He was brought in as a replacement for Steve Harper, and to push Bogdan Lobont to the bench, as he has been making some very high profile errors lately. As Ochoa is still young, Lobont will have a chance to get back in the team, but at 33, I see him just as very very very good back up! Marius Niculae was originally brought in as a replacement for Mike Aram (I'll explain later) but seeing as that move did not materialise, I can now just use him as extra cover for Peter Crouch and Kevin Doyle, while using Mike Aram as an AMC as Steed Malbranque and Jack Wilshere are not playing well at this moment in time. Edu and Steve Harper were let go mainly because of their age, and because they just weren't cutting it any more. Gerson and Matthew Connolly were loaned out to get some first team experience, but I may let Connolly go at the end of this season.

Now, I mentioned before that relegation was the least of my worries, and now I shall explain what is at the forefront of my worries. This also ties in with the replacement for Mike Aram thing. You all know that QPR is not a very big or attractive club. We can offer Premier League football for the moment, but as we are near to the relegation places, and only narrowly avoided the drop last season, we cannot offer it for a sustained period of time. Due to this, if a team like Newcastle or Sunderland, or Everton comes along and tries to buy one of our players, we can do little to stop it other than reject the bid, and having to face unhappy players. Now due to some good transfers in the past, and a relatively successful season, my players have become hot property, with no less than 15 out of 21 of my first team squad being wanted by other, bigger, clubs. Kevin Doyle, Joe Mattock, Peter Crouch, Mike Aram, Etienne Didot, Jack Wilshere, Chris Burke, Hobbit Bermudez, Steed Malbranque, and Bogdan Lobont have all had offers rejected, with the exception of Mike Aram who just rejected a contract from Chelsea after our chairman had accepted a £20m bid for him. This resulted in very unhappy players at not being allowed to move clubs. Mike Aram's contract runs out at the end of the season, and as he is not accepting even our greatest offers, there is a great danger that we will lose him for free at the end of the season. All of the unhappy players have had a dip in form, and will not sign new contracts. I am left with a dilemma, try and sell them to the highest bidder and use that money to rebuild the squad, or keep my best players here, but risk losing them on frees at the end of their contracts. I am going to need help on this!

Finally, a screenshot which relates to my poll. I was offered a job at Palermo (Serie A side) which I rejected, seeing as staying at QPR was the choice of you, my readers. I was very tempted though, and the £20m transfer budget had me purring! Take a look:

I decided against it, and now I am more committed to QPR than ever. I also passed up opportunities to manage Championship side Portsmouth, and fellow Premier League side Middlesbrough. I am not against managing a country as well as QPR like I did with Cameroon, but no jobs are available as of yet unfortunately. Anyway, as this was a very long post, I will skip the player ratings for now, and give you the overall ratings at the end of the season. Take care!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

QPR Story: 3rd season: Good start!

Hello everyone, hope you are well. As you know, I am considering whether to stay at QPR beyond this season, but as the poll shows, you want me to stay. That is fine, as hopefully the board will give me more money if I do. Anyway, i'll move swiftly on to the start of the 3rd seasons results:

As you can see, a big improvement on last seasons start, but still improvements to be made. Terrible last minute losses against Arsenal, Sunderland and Stoke undermined the brilliant wins against West Ham, Everton and Middlesbrough. Wigan, Hull and Ipswich were all disappointing results, because we consider all those teams our equal, and could only gain 2 points from the 3 games. Ipswich at home was particularly demoralising. But it still left us with 8 points more than last season at the same stage, with 14 points from 12 (last season it was 6 from 12) and we were sitting proudly in 13th. Take a look:

1 point away from 11th, and things are looking rosy so far. The only problem is that we have faced every team below us already, and we have some hard games coming up. We have yet to play Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Blackburn (in the league), Newcastle and West Brom. For those we will have to up our game, with only Newcastle and West Brom being truly winnable games in my opinion. We had a good win over Blackburn last season, but this season's 4-0 crushing in the League Cup tells me that we will lose that game. A good result over Tottenham could happen, but it is unlikely to say the least, and I don't think we have any chance of winning the other games. So we could face an alarming slide down the table from now until January (it is the 20th of November). And with Reading, Ipswich and Stoke all being played at home, it is going to be tough to pick up many points from now until the end of the season. I just have to hope that my players play to their best...
Anyway, onto player ratings. Kevin Doyle is the top goalscorer, with 8 from 10 games, Peter Crouch not far behind with 7 from 12. Mike Aram is coming strongly though, with 4 goals from 4 games (he was injured in pre-season). Top assisters are Hobbit Bermudez with 6, Chris Burke with 5 and Doyle again with 4. Hobbit is really turning into a fantastic winger, and a key part of my team. Now the best rated player is obviously the in-form Kevin Doyle, with a great 7.50, Mike Aram second on 7.35, and Chris Burke on 7.27. A special mention goes out to young wonderkid Franco Zuculini, collecting a great 7.21, which shows that he is starting to realise his potential. With star DMC Etienne Didot wanting to leave, could Franco be a suitable replacement for him immediately? We shall see, I shall have to play him some more.
On that note, I say good bye for now, don't forget to vote in the poll, and until next time, adios!

A New Poll: Which team to manage?

Hello all. I have set up a new poll asking "What team should I manage at the start of my 4th season?" The choices are QPR, a Premier League team, a La Liga team, or a Serie A team. I shall keep it going until I have at least 5 votes, or when the deadline comes (12th May)

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to vote!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

QPR Story: 3rd season: Summer transfers!

Hello all, hope you are well. Now, in my last QPR post, I had just fought off relegation by a single point, and I was looking to strengthen my squad a bit for the next season. Unfortunately, the board only gave me £10m to spend for "Avoid Relegation." I chose this because last time I picked "Mid Table Finish" I ended up disappointing my board by only finishing 17th and almost got sacked. I set an aim to get 1 classy striker in (Sebastian Abreu is too old and contract ran out), a top class goalkeeper (Lee Camp to be sold and Steve Harper getting too old and not good enough), and possibly a D RC, for cover. Here are my ins for the summer of 2010:

After fiddling around with the budgets, I got myself an extra £9m through depleting our wage budget. It was still fully in control, £128k under budget. Coupling this with player sales, we had £20.3m to spend, and I tried to spend them as well as possible. Viktor Boudianski is a good midfielder, and he has decent stats which his price tag doesn't show. At 26, he still has a good few years left in him, and hopefully he can be a good squad player for us. Peter Crouch is an excellent striker, bought from recently relegated Portsmouth for £9.75m. He has very good attributes, and I am sure that he can become a great player for us. Bogdan Lobont is a lot better than our next best goalkeeper Steve Harper, but at 32, he is a short term solution to the goalkeeping problem. Still, he is a very very good keeper, and hopefully he can continue his best form for 2-3 years. And at £2.6m he is a bargain signing! Finally, Gary Caldwell is my last signing of this window, a reliable D RC who can displace either Jonas Olsson (bad first season), Glauber (still great but Caldwell is better) or our right back Peter Ramage. I think I shall use him as a right back who can fill in for CB and DMC if necessary. Ramage shall be a rotation player. Moving on, here are my outs for the summer of 2010:

I didn't make any whole sale changes, I was happy with my squad mostly, and only needed a few top quality players to improve it. I got rid of Michel Salgado, because he was too old, Martin Taylor, because he wanted to leave, Romone Rose, because he is an awful player, Lee Camp, because he wanted to leave, and Sebastian Abreu, because he was too old, and not good enough. Our squad's average age is now just 23, and after January, I aim to make it even less by selling off Steve Harper (35) and Edu (32). These players are good, but I aim to cash in on them before their value drops too much.
Anyway, that's it for now, check back soon to see the start of my 3rd season. Can I stay up with games to spare this time? Or will I have to go through that rollercoaster of staying up on the last day again? Or even will I get relegated? Come back soon to find out!

QPR Story: Cameroon World Cup 2010

Hello all! After my brilliant escape from relegation on the last day of the season, it is now time to switch over to my World Cup with Cameroon. I mentioned being appointed as manager of them back in April, and now I have to guide them successfully to the second round of the World Cup. With the low quality players that they have, this shall not be easy, but I will persevere! Here are the results for Cameroon's 2010 World Cup campaign:

A fantastic run to the final of the World Cup, where we lost against Italy 2-0. We rode our luck for most of the campaign, and realistically should not have even got out of our group, with Poland and England destroying us for most of the game. Some good goals from Eyong Enoh (4) and Samuel Eto'o (3) helped us to the final, and a sturdy defence after the Poland game assisted us massively. The best game in our campaign was the Brazil match, with flowing end to end football being the order of the day, and some brilliant goals were scored. Czech Republic was much harder, and only a 117th minute penalty by Andre Bikey got us through to the Semi Final. Spain was undeserved, Enoh scoring an offside goal and Eto'o slotting a penalty, with Fernando Torres scoring, and hitting the post 4 times. They also had 2 (!) offside goals, one of them which was a very dubious decision. But I wasn't complaining; we were in the Final! Against Italy, our luck ran out and 2 brilliant long range goals from Antonio Cassano knocked us out, and left us with a runners up medal. This was perfectly fine for me, and I resigned as manager of Cameroon the next day. We had a great campaign and now it was time to end it; I simply could not do both jobs, especially with a very weak Cameroon team.

Anyway, season 3 of my QPR story coming up, if I consolidate my position in the Premier League, maybe I shall resign and go abroad? Villareal, Valencia, Athletico Madrid, Roma or Florentina would be my favoured picks, but I shall mull over this decision until the end of the season. Who knows, maybe it will backfire on me and I shall have to manage a Championship team again? I sure hope not! See you soon.

QPR Story: 2nd season: The Finishing Line

Hello hello! After my last post we are 19th in the table, 5 points adrift of safety. Now we had some better players, form was improving, and injuries were mostly absent. Could we do it? Could we beat relegation? Here are our final results for the season:

As you can see, a big improvement followed, with 18 points being won over these 13 games. In particular, wins over Portsmouth, Wigan and Blackburn were most impressive, and the draws with Man Utd, Man City and Sunderland being great too. But was this enough to keep us up? We shall see:

Answer? Yes. Our good form took us to 18th with a game to go against Blackburn, at home. Fulham were playing 9th place (then) Everton away, which they lost 4-1, which put Everton 8th. We were playing the Sunday game, and we knew that we had to win to be safe. Angelo Balanta returned to haunt us again, scoring in the first 10 minutes, and they were all over us until half time. I threw on Jack Wilshere and Steed Malbranque in a bid to win the game, and made our tactics a lot more attacking. It backfired on us for the first 20 minutes, with Blackburn playing keepball in our half. This all changed when I put on injured Mike Aram (Brian Harrison) for Sebastian Abreu. This was my last throw of the dice, and boy did it work! Aram scored 2 in the last 15 minutes, and on 93 minutes, he set up Jack Wilshere to score his 1st goal of the season. I was jubilant, and I was literally jumping up and down when the 3rd goal flew in. But seeing as I selected finish in mid table last season, I was unsure whether I would be in a job next week or not.

Anyway, on to this seasons statistics. Mike Aram finished top scorer for us, grabbing 20 goals, and 2nd in the Premier League top scorers, again scoring 20 goals. Kevin Doyle was 2nd for us, scoring 14. Top assister was Hobbit Bermudez, his many crosses and corners getting him 15 assists. 2nd and 3rd went to Chris Burke and Mike Aram, getting 12 each. Hobbit also finished 3rd in the Premier League assist charts, with 12. Highest rating was Mike Aram, getting 7.17 overall, with Glauber Berti close behind on 7.11.

Finally, mid way through my last matches (after Sunderland) I was appointed manager of Cameroon (juggling both club and country) and lost my first game away to Portugal 3-0. The only good players are Samuel Eto'o and Carlos Kameni! The world cup is coming soon, so I shall try and get into the 2nd round at least. I am in a group with England, Iran and Poland. Wish me luck!

Anyway, second season over, 3rd season coming soon! *Next post will be a world cup post*

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

QPR Story: 2nd season: Improving + winter transfers

Hello everyone. Hope you all are well. Now after a terrible start to the season which left me 20th in the league, I knew that my team needed to improve a lot to avoid relegation. I had already given up on my pre-season expectation of mid table, so I just focused on avoiding the drop. Firstly, let me show you my results after the Wigan game from my "Disaster Start" post.

As you can see, it is a lot better than before, with 14 points being collected from 14 Premier League games, taking us to 19 points. We have even moved up to 19th in the league table (shown below)! But going out to Championship side Cardiff in the FA Cup was hard to swallow, and other disappointing results were Sunderland, Middlesbrough, West Brom, Blackburn, Reading, Liverpool and Wolves. But great wins over Fulham, Tottenham and Hull really filled me with confidence, and looking at our next few fixtures it could not have come at a better time, as very soon we have Wigan, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and West Brom in quick succession - all key games.

It is unsatisfactory for the board (obviously) but if we can put more points on the board soon, I am confident we can avoid relegation. And this is helped by 2 new signings in January:

Steed Malbranque - £5m - from Sunderland - AM R/L/C

Very very good player, I will probably use him in centre midfield, but if one of the wingers get injured he can do a great job on the wings. He was brought as cover but he could be a key player for us.

Joe Mattock - £2.6m - from Leicester - D/WB/M L

Well known wonderkid from Leicester. Cheap price and good signing because I needed cover in my defence. I am very happy with getting him.

Michel Salgado - Free - unattached - D/WB R

Legendary right back, formerly of Real Madrid. He was released at the end of last season so I got him on a free. He is 35 years old, but he still has decent stats so I got him on a deal until the end of the season. He shall be used in rotation.

These 3 signings hopefully will get me a lot of points over the next 4 months. Happiest with Malbranque, but other 2 are brilliant players. Anyway, see you in the next post! Take care.

Friday, 17 April 2009

QPR Story: 2nd season: Disaster start!

Hello all, hope you are well. Well after achieving promotion to the Premier League, I had high hopes for the season after some good buys (I thought), but I also knew that we would not finish mid table as I put on the board expectation. Little did I know it would be so, so much worse than not being in mid table. Take a look at our results:

Disgraceful, I know. With 5 points on the board from 11 games, it certainly isnt shaping up to be a wonderous season. Good win over Hull, but the other results were all rubbish. We destroyed Fulham and Wolves so should have had 9 points instead of 5, which would have taken us out of the relegation places, but its our own fault that we didnt take our chances. Key injuries to Mike Aram (Brian Harrison), Jonas Olsson, Matthew Connolly and Edu didnt help much either, but hey. We just have to deal with it. Now on to the league table, and unsurprisingly, we are bottom:

It is not all bad, a couple of wins on the bounce and we are out of the drop zone, but the question is actually getting those wins. Where are they going to come from? Our players have lost confidence in me, they are definately not playing to their potential, strikers arent scoring, signings have been bad, players are injured. The bad news never stops. Well, I guess I shall give you some statistics. Top scorer has been Kevin Doyle, with 6 goals in 11 games, with 4 players on 2. Top assists goes to 5 players, tied on 2 and highest rating goes to Doyle with 7.01, and only 4 players out of 18 actually getting 7 or over (3 on 7.00). I just hope my injuries cease soon, otherwise we could be going down very soon. I do not want to get sacked this time! (other games)

Well, I guess wish me luck for the rest of the season. I hope to God I can turn this around!

QPR Story: Season 2 transfers

Hello hello, and welcome to the second season of my QPR story. After a brilliant first season, clinching promotion as well as the semi final of the League Cup, I was ready to make my squad Premier League standard. This was a problem, as we did not have a very good squad and only got promotion via the play offs. I knew that I needed a mass clearout to get some cash to spend, and also free up our wage budget. These are the players that I sold:

As you can see, 9 of my first team squad were sold to the highest bidder, these were the players who just wern't up to Premier League standard. I kept players like Lee Camp, Martin Taylor, Peter Ramage and Sebastian Abreu even though they were all Championship standard (according to my coaches). This is because I think that they'll be good back up. The board gave me £18m to spend on new transfers for finishing in mid table. The only reason I chose this option was because avoid relegation gave me only £11m which I couldn't accept. Anyway, coupled with the £4.6m that I got from outs, I had a healthy £22.6m to spend on at least 8 players. Now this player of Southamptons, Brian Harrison, was so good that I decided to buy him. But for the first time ever, I used FM Modifier to change his name. Now he is my namesake! Here are my ins for season 2:

As I said, Brian Harrison is now Mike Aram, purely because I am quite egotistic ;) Other bargain buys include Jonas Olsson, the left back from West Brom, Edu, the midfielder from Valencia, and Jack Wilshere from Arsenal. He is going to be one of the best in the game! Steve Harper is a good solid goalkeeper, Etienne Didot is a great defensive midfielder, Nacer Barazite is an awesome attacking midfielder and Chris Burke is a solid AMR. I am happy with my buys for our season in the Premier League, because they all are Premier League standard. The only worry I have is how threadbare my squad is. I only have 18 first team players, so I shall try and get some on loan in January. Or for free right now, but that would be hard to find good free players fit for the Premier League. Anyway, wish me luck with the results, and the injuries!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Queens Park Rangers Story: May

The last month of this season, and boy was I excited! One game to go against Cardiff, we are definately in the playoffs even if we lose, and we have a slim chance to go 2nd in the table and get promoted to the Premier League! In this post, I shall not be posting my fixtures all at the same time to add some suspense, although that sentence obviously gave away some of what happened!

Cardiff 1-4 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)

Our last game of the season was very nerve wracking, with me constantly checking Wolves and Southampton's scores to see if we had a promotion chance or not. Wolves were against Ipswich while Southampton were up against Crystal Palace. Cardiff took the lead on 20 minutes, but in an extraordinary show of character, we hit back with 2 goals just before half time, Kevin Doyle getting both. Then in the 60th minute, a contraversial decision was given; the referee awarded us a penalty, with Martin Taylor confidently sending the keeper the wrong way. 3-1. Finally, on 90 minutes, Daniel Parejo hit one from 40 yards which whistled in the back of the net. What a finish! Now after the game ended, I immediately checked the other scores. Southampton had drawn 1-1 with Crystal Palace, Brian Harrison getting his 34th Championship goal! But when I saw Wolves's result, I was to be disappointed. They had drawn 0-0 with Ipswich but that result put them 2nd on goal difference. This crushed me as I really wanted to avoid the play-off battle, but never mind! We got Birmingham in the play-off semi final, and boy was I looking forward to it!

Birmingham City 1-1 Queens Park Rangers (Play-Off 1/2 Final)
Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Birmingham City (Play-Off 1/2 Final)

After a rollercoaster first leg, with former Birmingham man Martin Taylor getting us a 88th minute equaliser, we were well up for the second leg. I really wanted to come away with a positive result, as Southampton had crushed Watford 7-1 on aggregate to put them in the Play-Off Final. I set our team up as very attacking, which surprised Birmingham, as we got our goal, the eventual winner, in the first 5 minutes, young winger Hobbit Bermudez grabbing the goal. We held out for 60 minutes, until the referee gave Birmingham a penalty, which James McFadden crashed against the post. They hit the woodwork 2 times more before the match was over, but the damage was done. QPR had reached the play off final! We were due to play Southampton on the 25th of May at Wembley, in what promised to be a mouth-watering game. I would have one last chance to see Brian Harrison in action personally, as either us or Southampton would be promoted after this match. I figured that if I wanted to sign him, we had to get promoted and them not to, so I again chose a very attacking formation. Will it work?

Queens Park Rangers 3-1 Southampton (Play-Off Final)

Yes it worked, as you can see! 3 first half goals, aided by a red card to Adam Lallana, effectively ended the game as a contest. Daniel Parejo, Glauber Berti and Sebastian Abreu all getting great goals, Glauber's being most spectacular. After this, I put in a few younger, more defensive minded players in to ride it out until the final whistle. I did not want to compromise getting promoted, so this was an unusual turn for me, usually a very attacking minded manager. It obviously worked, with Southampton's consolation coming in the 76th minute; a brilliant solo goal by Brian Harrison. He took on 5 of our players, beat them, got round the keeper and slotted home with his weaker left foot. A magnificent goal, and one which made up my mind about signing him!

Now the first season is over, the board is happy, the fans are happy, I myself am happy, and I hope you are happy! In season 2, I will not do a month to month posting, as in game months pass quickly, but I will do a 2 month posting, and trim some of the unneccessary things I put in. Hope you enjoyed the first season of my QPR story, and thank you very much for reading!

Queens Park Rangers Story: April

As April descended upon us, we were 5th place in the league, and hoping to make a late charge for 3rd place. You may ask why, as 3-6 is all playoffs anyway so why bother going all out for 3rd place? The answer, money. You recieve quite a bit more cash for finishing 3rd than 4-6th. Anyway, April had 5 fixtures in store for us, so I shall get cracking and give you our results:

Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Blackpool (Championship)
Derby County 2-3 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Queens Park Rangers 0-0 Reading (Championship)
Plymouth Argyle 1-2 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Wolverhampton (Championship)

Now this is a much better month than it looks, even though we picked up the same amount of points in March. Great draws with Champions Reading and 2nd place Wolves (they overtook Southampton after the Derby County game), coupled with impressive wins over Blackpool, Derby and Plymouth not only extended our unbeaten run to 17, it pushed us up to 4th place in the league, only 1 point away from 3rd place Southampton, and only 2 points away from 2nd place (automatic promotion) Wolves! We had played 45 games, and now if results came our way, not only could we finish 3rd, we could even clinch automatic promotion! This worried me slightly, as I knew our squad was not cut out for the Premier League, but of course I am going to try and get us promoted.

Anyway, onto our performers. Sebastian Abreu was top scorer (again), but with only 2 goals in 5 appearances! So we had 7 players on 1 goal, which was good if slightly worrying; we cant get goals from all over in the Premier League! Top assister was Daniel Parejo, setting up 5 out of our 9 goals. The other 4 were shared for 3 players, Hobbit Bermudez getting 2. Glauber Berti was top performer overall, an impressive 7.47 for April, with Abreu grabbing 7.24. And as we are close to the end of the season, I can say that Abreu and Kevin Doyle are in the Championship top scorers chart, Abreu 2nd with 22 goals, and Kevin Doyle 9th with 15. There is still one game to change this but a fact is that Abreu cannot get to 1st, Brian Harrison topping the leaderboard with 33! It would obviously take something special for Abreu to catch up!

That's it for April, an exciting May coming up soon!

Queens Park Rangers Story: March

After a successful February, we had another 5 games in March, all difficult ones. Despite this, I set us a target to be unbeaten, which would be no easy task. Thankfully, no injury problems occured, and all my players were fit and ready to go. Lets move on to the results:

Birmingham City 1-1 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Charlton Athletic (Championship)
Watford 0-2 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Queens Park Rangers 0-0 Doncaster Rovers (Championship)

Slightly worse than February, but still an impressive month, a good draw against fellow play-0ff challengers Birmingham, plus 2 away wins over Watford and Sheffield Wednesday. The only disappointment was the 0-0 draw with Doncaster, but we could afford a blip seeing as we were in 5th place, 7 points above 7th and only 3 points away from 4th placed Cardiff. We also had survived the month unbeaten, which stretches our run to 12 in all compititions; 13 in the Championship. Now quickly on to top performers. Top scorer for March was Sebastian Abreu with 3 out of 5, with second place being tied for 4 players, all on 1. A little disappointing how Kevin Doyle couldn't translate his February form into March, but oh well. Top assister was Franco Zuculini, with 4 out of 5 games, and 3 players tied on 1. It is good that we have a variety of scorers and assisters, but it would be nice to have that one player that can be relied on to score/assist. Currently, only Sebastian Abreu has scored in each month, and he is pushing 32, so he cannot be kept around much longer. Hopefully Doyle/Vine can step up to the plate in the coming months.

Anyway, thanks for reading, April coming up soon!

Queens Park Rangers Story: February

The January window was over, we were 7th in the league, and surely things could only get better from here. Players were rushing back from injury, strikers were starting to score, and the defence was starting to shore up with the signings of Paul Stalteri and Franco Zuculini (defensive midfielder). We were out of both cups, so we only had one compitition to focus on; the league. We aimed to get into the play off places as quickly as possible, so without any further ado here are February's results:

Southampton 2-2 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Swansea City 1-2 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Queens Park Rangers 3-0 Ipswich Town (Championship)
Burnley 2-3 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Queens Park Rangers 4-0 Sheffield United (Championship)

Overall, a good month. 4 wins out of 5 and a solid 2-2 draw against 2nd in the table Southampton. As you can see, the strikers have continued their goalscoring form, with QPR scoring 14 goals in those 5 matches. This included fantastic home results against Ipswich and Sheffield United, who have been a bit of an enigma for us this season. I hope that we can continue our purple patch into March and hopefully April, as we have now achieved 5th place in the standings, and I really do not want to give it up this time (see November). Now, a player that I promised I would give updates on, the 16 year old wonderkid from Southampton, Brian Harrison. He scored a brace against us in the 2-2 draw and has now scored a brilliant 22 goals in all compititions, 21 in the Championship. He has made a whopping 11 assists and is second in the assists chart, obviously being top in the scoring charts. I shall definately be looking to sign him in the summer if Southampton do not get promoted.

Anyway, onto individual performances. Top scorer for February was Kevin Doyle for 5 goals in 5 games, closely followed by Sebastian Abreu with 4. Daniel Parejo was top assister, with 5 to his name, second being Abreu with 3 and third surprisingly being our goalkeeper Lee Camp, whose long balls frequently get in Doyle, Abreu and our other striker Rowan Vine. The top player of February was Daniel Parejo, with 7.51 over the 5 games, with Kevin Doyle closely following with 7.45. I have high hopes for March with these performances, and speaking of, March is up next so thank you for reading!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Queens Park Rangers Story: January

January already? God this game has gone so fast! To start off with, I need to point out a slight error I made in the December blog. New signing Franco Zuculini is NOT a central defender as I had thought, but rather a DM/MR/MC, which is good! I have 4 of them though, Damiano Tomassi, Gavin Mahon, Matteo Alberti, and Zuculini himself. I decided to ship out Alberti on loan, and bring in a reliable defender on loan. Tottenham offered me Ben Alnwick midway through, another young keeper, but I refused their offer, as he was only good for league 1 sides. I ended up bringing Paul Stalteri on loan (from Tottenham), a solid, reliable right back. This concluded my transfer window dealings, so lets get on to the fixtures:

Queens Park Rangers 3-3 Southampton (FA Cup 3rd Round)
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Bolton Wanderers (League Cup 1/2 Final)
Nottm Forest 2-0 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Southampton 3-3 Queens Park Rangers (FA Cup 3rd Round) *4-5 on penalties*
Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Preston North End (Championship)
Boltom Wanderers 1-1 Queens Park Rangers (League Cup 1/2 Final)
Portsmouth 4-1 Queens Park Rangers (FA Cup 4th Round)
Barnsley 1-1 Queens Park Rangers (Championship)
Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Norwich City (Championship)

All in all, a quite disappointing month, we went out of both the FA Cup and the League Cup, but with pride (the Portsmouth game was closer that it seems), and now we focuse only on the Championship. We thankfully remain unbeaten for January, but 3 draws and 1 win has dropped us down to 7th, 1 point away from 5th and 4 points above 8th. This is still very good, and I am hopeful that Zuculini and Stalteri can push us onto greater things. Unfortunately, there was an injury crisis in January, one which surpassed September by a country mile. No less than 8 first teamers were injured for over 2 weeks, and they all missed every January game until Preston, with 4 players returning for that game. What made it worse is that all 3 of our strikers were on the injury list, so I had to have a very attacking formation to make up for it. This resulted in both of the Southampton games, and backfired against Bolton and Nottingham Forest.

Now onto individual player performances, and top of the list was Glauber Berti, who amassed a grand total of 7.42 in the last 5 matches of this month, despite the bad results. I think that this shows a classy player the most, the ability to perform even when the team is losing or even drawing. This is highlighted by his 7.4 rating in the 4-1 loss against Portsmouth. 2nd in my list is Franco Zuculini, the bargain signing from the end of December. He was on international duty (Argentina U20's) for the first 3 games, but has made 3 appearances since his return and has gotten 7.40 for 2 assists and lots of good shots and passes. If I remember correctly, he has hit the woodwork a grand 4 times, and all from long range! I shall keep an eye on his performances, as he is my very own super-sub/wonderkid! Bottom of the pops goes to Martin Rowlands, for his 6.12 rating over the last 5 games. He started 4, and came off the bench in the last game, but he had as little impact as you can imagine from a commanding centre midfielder. Hopefully he will pick up his form in February. Finally, top scorer in January goes to Sebastian Abreu (again), for collecting 3 goals in 3 games. Make-shift striker Hobbit Bermudez got 2 goals in 4 appearances as striker, so I shall be considering him if my other strikers are out of form or injured.

Anyway, thats it for January, February coming up soon!

Queens Park Rangers Story: December

December is here! Finally the dreaded November was passed, and I was looking forward to turning over a new leaf. I conteplated resigning from QPR for a while but I saw our fixture list for December, and said to myself that if this month was like November, I would resign. What actually happened, I could never have predicted. These are the 7 results from the month of December:

Bristol City 1-2 Queens Park Rangers (LC 1/4 Final)
Queens Park Rangers 4-1 Plymouth (CCC)
Wolverhampton 3-1 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Cardiff City (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Crystal Palace (CCC)
Coventry City 2-3 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Bristol City (CCC)

1 defeat away from home to Wolves, but 6 out of 7 wins! We won in the League Cup quarter final to set up a Semi Final clash with Bolton Wanderers over 2 legs, which has far surpassed the boards expectations for the league cup, with them wanting us to reach the 3rd round! A Sheffield United-esque performance (see November) followed at home to Plymouth, with Kevin Doyle scoring a brace to get him back on form. He went on to score 2 goals in 5, pretty disappointing but 4 in 7 isn't that bad considering his woeful form in November. Sebastian Abreu took over the top scorer role in the squad though, scoring an impressive 6 in 7 to get his tally for all compititions to 12, 1 ahead of Kevin Doyle. He scored 11 of those in the Championship, while Doyle scored only 9 of his in the Championship. The best thing was that Abreu got into the Championship top-scorers list, as well as topping our own. He is now joint 5th with Bradley Wright Phillips of Southampton, 9 goals behind top marksman Brian Harrison. I have now got high hopes for the rest of the season!

Also, just a side note, I have agreed a deal for a wonderkid defender from Argentina, Franco Zuculini, to join us for £450k. My scout report says that he has the potential to become a leading Premier League defender! He is just 18 now but has very good attributes, making it a hard decision for who to pick for my central defence. Glauber Berti has been a revelation since he has joined, Martin Taylor has been a solid, reliable defender, and young defender Matthew Connolly has displaced Taylor due to his fantastic performances. I may send Zuculini out on loan, or maybe move Taylor to right back permenantly? I shall think about this by the end of January. Hopefully I can get a few more bargain signings! Thank you for reading, January coming soon.

Queens Park Rangers Story: November

October was over, we were 5th in the league, and I had high hopes for this month. We had a collosal 7 games in November, including the 4th round of the League Cup, away to Sheffield United. We had lost against them 2-0 last month so I wasn't feeling too confident about progressing, but I wasn't going to try and get a 0-0 draw to take it onto penalties! Now I should warn you, November was frankly a terrible month, with only 1 positive to take out of it. See for yourself:

Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Watford (CCC)
Blackpool 4-0 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Sheffield United 1-5 Queens Park Rangers (LC)
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Derby County (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Sheffield Wednsday (CCC)
Doncaster 1-0 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Reading 3-1 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)

As you can see, it was a disastrous month. Out of 6 league games, 1 draw and 5 losses, worst ones being Blackpool (obvious reasons), Derby (we completly destroyed them!!), and Reading (we didnt do anything of note; our goal was an own goal). But a complete contrast, a magnificent 5-1 win over Sheffield United, and in their ground too! This was the same ground we had lost 2-0 less than 2 weeks before! Kevin Doyle looked brilliant, getting 2 goals and assisting Buzsaki twice too. This only made the next few results worse, seeing how good we can be, and just not living up to our potential in the rest of the month. By the end of November we were 11th, not bad but not good either. This was in the top half of the Championship (24 teams), so my board were satisfied, but I was contemplating resigning because of rubbish performances from most of my players, not least Kevin Doyle. In my other games he is always top scorer in the Championship at the end of the first season, but in this one he has a pathetic 5 in 18 games, 13 less than the brilliant Brian Harrison (mentioned in October post). But a mild reprieve from Doyle's bad performances is the even worse performances from the striker sold to generate money for Doyle, Angelo Balanta. He has scored 1 goal in 11 games, 7 of which he had started. Maybe we can get him back on loan!

Anyway, wish me luck for December! Coming up soon.

Queens Park Rangers Story: October

October was upon us! We were 6th, 2 points off top and flying! Defence looked good if a little short on players, and attack were doing their job and getting a fair amount of goals. There were 5 games in October, all in the Coca Cola Championship, and all tricky encounters. Tottenham (our parent club) were unhelpful in our aim of more defenders, with Chris Gunter, Paul Stalteri and Yuri Berchiche all refusing to come to us on loan. They sent us David Button, a good young goalkeeper, but he didnt get an appearance in October so we sent him back. Eventually, we got in a left back from West Ham (not our parent club so we had to pay wages) by the name of Matthew Briggs. He wasnt anything special, but better cover than we had so I welcomed him with open arms. Anyway, here are my October results:

Ipswich Town 1-3 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Burnley (CCC)
Sheffield United 2-0 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Birmingham City (CCC)
Charlton Athletic 0-1 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)

A good month all in all, with the only loss coming at Bramall Lane. This was mainly due to poor finishing rather than them steam-rolling us, with Kevin Doyle being most wasteful. In fact, our top striker of October was free signing Sebastian Abreu, netting an impressive 4 goals in 5 games. He was keeping Rowan Vine, a Premier League standard striker according to my coaches, out of the team, but seeing as Doyle only scored 1 in 5, I might drop him for Vine in November.

Anyway, these results took us up 1 place to 5th in the league table, just 3 points off the top spot. Reading and Southampton were joint top, with Reading having scored 1 more goal to put them top. Southampton had the top scorer in the league though, a brilliant 16 year old by the name of Brian Harrison. I immediately regretted not knowing about him in the summer, because he looked a hell of a player for 16! 12 goals in just 8 appearances! I will be keeping track of him over the next few months.

Anyway, this post is over, November coming up soon!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Queens Park Rangers Story: September

As September approached, I was in a confident mood. My team had started scoring, and our defence was holding up well. Radek Cerny in goal was doing brilliantly, getting a 7.31 rating out of 10 for the competitive games. My transfers were all done and dusted, and I didn't feel I needed any other players. Until the injuries came...

September had 6 games for us to play, with the first coming on the 13th, almost a fortnight in! So 6 games in 18 days, which is frankly quite ridiculous. Nevertheless, we lumbered on and these were our results for the September matches:

Preston 0-1 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Barnsley (CCC)
Norwich 0-2 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Blackpool (LC)
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Southampton (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Swansea (CCC)

These results took us to 6th place with 17 points, 2 points off of the top spot. Even though it was only 9 games in, the league was looking very tight, with only 6 points seperating 1st and 13th. I took this as a good sign, as a couple of wins on the bounce can propel us to the top.

Now I was mentioning injuries a few paragraphs back, and this was a real crisis. The results do not show it, because mostly the strikers remained fit, but I now see we need at least 2 more defenders in January. After the win against Norwich, Peter Ramage (DC) and Damien Delaney (DL) were both injured for 2 weeks, and after Blackpool, creative midfielder Daniel Parejo on loan from Real Madrid suffered a stubbed toe and would be out for 3 weeks. Also a day before the Southampton match, steely midfield maestro Martin Rowlands broke his finger and would be out for 2 months. If it was a Premier League side this would be no problem due to the strength in depth, but QPR had no other left backs, and Peter Ramage was playing right back because of no other good ones! We had to call up 2 youth players, and both of Southampton's goals came from the wings, and errors made by the youth players. Without our 2 creative midfielders, we looked short of ideas in the final third, and a penalty from young (not the youth players) defender Matthew Connolly was the only reprieve we had from Southampton's relentless charges. After that, Ramage and Delaney came back and we shored up our defence, giving us more occasion to attack. Kevin Doyle, our top scorer, capitalised on this, scoring and assisting in the Swansea game.

I hope that injuries will not wreck my team too badly until January, so I applied to the board about getting a parent club to get loanees from. They came back with Tottenham and West Ham, with me picking Tottenham after looking at their reserve team. No players have been loaned to us yet, but I hope we will snap up 1 or 2 defenders before the end of October. Speaking of October, it is up next so thanks for reading!

Queens Park Rangers Story: August

As August came upon me, I knew that I needed to get rid of some more deadwood. 5 players were either sold, sent out on loan, or released within a fortnight of the August transfer window. Varying amounts of money were involved, and I was very happy at the end to see who I had shipped out. These were:

Mikele Leigertwood (DMC, MC) - Reading - £575k
Patrick Agyemang (ST) - *Released*
Hogan Ephraim (AMR, AML) - Colchester - *Loan*
Angelo Balanta (ST) - Blackburn - £6.25m
Niki-Lee Bulmer (GK) - *Released*

All in all, pretty good business I think, with Ephraim having a future fee of £750k and Angelo Balanta's transfer fee possibly going up to £8m. I didn't want to sell Balanta as he was a real talent, and could aid me in my push for the playoffs, but the amount of money involved was too good to resist. With that money, and the £2m left over from July, I decided to start looking for some strikers. With my 4-2-2-2 tactics, I obviously could not survive on a single good striker (Rowan Vine), so I set about using my money for a good cause - our strike force! I snapped up Kevin Doyle from Reading for £6.5m, taking out a big chunk of my transfer budget and a bigger one out of my wage budget. I adjusted the budgets so I had enough for wages, but it ended up as only a £1m budget for transfers. After a lot of scout reports and searches, I finally found a good free striker, who was not too old (31). The name? Sebastian Abreu, a skillful Uruguayan. After I bought him, his value was set as a measly £50k, but as soon as he started playing, my doubts vanished as I saw him grab 3 assists in his first 2 games for the club!

While the wheeling and dealing were being finalised, we had some key games coming up - the start of the Championship colliding with the first rounds of the League Cup. Here are the results of the games in August:

Crystal Palace 1-2 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Hereford 1-2 Queens Park Rangers (LC)
Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Coventry (CCC)
Bristol City 2-1 Queens Park Rangers (CCC)
Queens Park Rangers 5-2 Doncaster Rovers (LC)
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Nottingham Forest (CCC)

So far so good for the Rangers, mostly close games ending in a victory for us, but the Coventry and Bristol City games were disappointing, especially as we dominated both games. August buys Kevin Doyle and Sebastian Abreu arrived at the club just before the Doncaster match, with Doyle grabbing a brace in the game. He also scored 1 in the Forest game, with Abreu setting up all 3. Could this be the start of a terrific partnership? God, I hope so! September coming up soon, thanks for reading!

Queens Park Rangers Story: July

Hello and welcome to my second blog of football manager. My previous reign in charge of Halifax was great, but short lived as I went out and bought Football Manager 2009 a few days after my first season. I had a few games on here which weren't that successful (Southampton promoted but then relegated, Stoke relegated, Hull stayed up but then relegated) and now I am going to play with Queens Park Rangers in search of success.

I start in July 2008, and the fans are not happy at a virtual unknown taking charge of one of the richest clubs in the world (richest in Championship by far). Nevertheless, I kept the job and set my start of season expectations to 'Top half finish'. For this I was given £12m to spend on new recruits, which is a good amount for a Championship club. I already had some great players at the club, but I wanted to get rid of the dead wood and bring some top quality players in to improve our squad. I didn't get rid of that many players as we had a relatively small squad, but I did sell 4 fringe players who I didn't want at the club. These were:

Adam Bolder (MC) - Leicester - £160k
Dexter Blackstock (ST) - Cardiff - £725k
Damion Stewart (DC) - *Released*
Fitz Hall (DRC) - Hibernian (loan) £35k

So I collected £920k which boosted my transfer budget to about £13m. I decided that I needed 2 central defenders, a left winger, a striker and possibly a goalkeeper if money allows me to. I acted quickly, and brought in 3 out of hopefully 5 by the end of July. These were:

Martin Taylor (DC) - Birmingham - £3.2m
Glauber Berti (DC) - Manchester City - £1.4m
Hobbit Bermudez (AML) - Atlante - £2.9m

I also tried to capture Gerard (MC) on a free transfer but my wage budget couldn't afford his salary (£40k).

Anyway, while these transfers were going on, I had the small matter of some pre-season matches to contend with. I had 6 matches, with 4 out of 6 coming against lower league opposition, and the other 2 being Scottish clubs. Here are my results:

Rotherham 0-1 Queens Park Rangers
Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Dundee
Notts County 0-2 Queens Park Rangers
Queens Park Rangers 3-1 Celtic (!!!!)
Chester 0-3 Queens Park Rangers
Bury 1-2 Queens Park Rangers (first match of August)

So a great pre-season, with a 3-1 win against Celtic being the highlight. We combined good finishing with a solid defense, a great combination in any team! This bodes well for the start of the season, but we have to remember that these are mostly lower league teams, and not to get complacent. Hopefully in August I can get a good striker to improve our finishing even more and maybe even get a play off place! We will just have to wait and see :)