Sunday, 31 May 2009

QPR Story: 4th season: Terrible results

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well. Now when I posted last, we were 9th in the Premier League and closing in on 8th. We were in the 1st knockout round of the UEFA Cup, practically in the League Cup final and in the 4th round of the FA Cup. Things were looking rosy! Unfortunately, a catastrophic run of results followed, and for 11 games it looked like we were in freefall. Take a look:

2 wins in 13, none of which were in the Premier League. We may have won the League Cup (after extra time it has to be said) and won the second leg against Bordeaux, but apart from those games we were absolutely appalling. My January signings were not performing that well (but the 4 youngsters had an excuse; being inexperienced). Rafael Van der Vaart was playing terribly, and had contributed no assists or goals in his 12 appearances, which is frankly pathetic for a man whose position is AMC and is supposedly one of the best Dutch players. Will I ever find a decent AMC to contest Jack Wilshere?? Moving on now, here is the Premier League table, which is actually not as bad as I thought it would be! Take a look:

11th, and 1 game in hand on 10th (but look how well that turned out last time!) which puts us in mid table obscurity. I think if our form picks up in the last 11 games (plus we have no distractions from the UEFA/League/FA Cup) then we can easily achieve a top 10 finish but if things go on the way they are....

Now to give you some player ratings. Top scorer goes to Kevin Doyle with 20 goals, with Marius Niculae on 10 and Ashley Young on 9. Top assister is Young, with an amazing 21, with Hobbit Bermudez and Chris Burke trailing way behind on 13 and 10 respectively. Best rating goes to Ashley Young (again!) with 7.35, Joe Mattock and Chris Burke completing the top 3 with 7.29 and 7.27. Worst 3 players are January signing Rafael Van der Vaart (6.35), Mourad Meghni (6.44) and fellow January signing Christos Oikonomou (6.53). I think I shall have to sell Van der Vaart and Meghni in the summer for as much money as I can, because these guys are seriously bad! Coupled with the arranged sale of back-up keeper Bogdan Lobont for £3m, I should be able to get around £10m, which would bring my total remaining budget to £32m. If the board give me some more money I will think about buying a big name player for AMC, seeing as that is the problem area. Hopefully qualifying for the UEFA Cup again through the League Cup will attract the big names!

Speaking of the League Cup, congratulations to my team for winning it, QPR's first trophy for over 30 years! It was 0-0 after 90 minutes, but Viktor Boudianski and Kevin Doyle struck late in extra time to give us this amazing win. It caused me to look at what I have achieved with QPR so far, and I feel I have done a great job! Got us promoted, kept us in the Premier League, on course for a mid table finish, got into Europe, bought some excellent players and finally, won the League Cup. Couple that with getting Cameroon to the World Cup final and Bosnia Herzegovina to the brink of Euro 2012 qualification, and you have a pretty decent record there don't you!

On that note, I am proud to say that I have taken over as manager of Ivory Coast, a very good African team with very very very good players, much better than Cameroon or Bosnia. I shall try to lead this team to World Cup qualification, and to go one step better than I did with Cameroon. Wish me luck! That is it for this post, next one coming very soon!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

QPR Story: 4th season: Winter Results + Transfers

Hello all, sorry for not posting for a while! I have  been on holiday in Sweden, so was unable to play or post. But i'm back now, and with a new post of the next 15 games of my QPR career, plus winter transfers! Without further ado, here is my results for the midway point of the 4th season:

 As you can see, it was a very successful 15 games, with 10 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses; top 4 form! Highlights were a fantastic 5-1 derby win over Chelsea (away from home no less!), a 4-1 crushing of top Turkish side Fernebahce, a 3-0 pounding of Wigan away, and a suberb comeback against West Brom in the League Cup semi final 1st leg. Disappointing results were few and far between, but the loss against Osasuna hurt, because we had beaten them 3-0 at home and we had taken the lead. Tottenham wasn't the best either, but we managed to keep the score respectable; 3-1 isn't that bad!

We also got into the semi finals of the League Cup, and we are looking on course for a place in the final after beating West Brom 3-1. We will face either Man City or Newcastle, which will be a difficult game no matter which team goes through. But I am very happy as we are at Wembley for the second time in my career (Championship play-off Final) and we have a great chance of winning a trophy! Moving on now, here are the tables for the Premier League and the UEFA Cup:

It's fair to say things were looking very good for us at this point. 9th in the Premier League with a game in hand, and 1st in our UEFA Cup group with 11 points and a good goal difference. We are in the League Cup final and still in the FA Cup, which could be a tough ask for my threadbare squad. I have made some transfers, mostly hot youngsters that can be very good in a few years. Take a look:


Peter Crouch was really underperforming so I sold him off quickly while he still had a good value. In his place, I brought in 4 promising youngsters and Rafael Van der Vaart, a dutch maestro from Chelsea. Mourad Meghni was doing terrible, so he is there to replace him and teach Jack Wilshere a few tricks! Out of the youngsters, I rate Jose Luis the highest, being a top quality left winger at the age of 17. He already has great physical stats, and decent technical ones, which will only improve over time. I am pretty happy with the transfer window, and hopefully it will work out for me during the course of the season! For now, I shall go, but a new post is coming very soon!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

QPR Story: Bosnia Herzegovina: Euro 2012 Qualification

Hello everyone. Now I mentioned some time ago that I became manager of Bosnia Herzegovina as well as QPR. When I took over we were 6th in qualifying and needed some wins to achieve the Bosnian FA's unrealistic ambition to qualify. I was in charge of 6 games, all qualifying games as I cancelled the friendlies. Here are my results:

Quite frankly, I think I have done an excellent job, with particular results against France, Ireland and Serbia (second game) pleasing me to no end. Unfortunately, after all this we only finished 3rd in our qualification table, on head to head results against Greece (2 losses when I wasn't there). Take a look:

Better goal difference, same points, and more goals scored. Greece still pipped us to it, getting an undeserved win over Serbia the week before, with a last gasp winner. If they had drewn, I would still be in a job. Yes, thats right, they fired me. They need to calm their ambitions, as nobody is going to take THAT team to a major tournament (best player worth £4m). I took them as far as they would go, and they sacked me for it. Oh well, now I can find another national team to manage!

Anyway, that's it for now, next QPR post coming up soon!

QPR Story: 4th season: Inconsistant start

Hello everyone, hope you are well. Now when I wrote my last post, I had just enjoyed a fantastic pre-season, getting into the group stages of the UEFA Cup. I had just one bad result, a loss to Aston Villa in the opening game of the Premier League. Confidence was still at a maximum, and although we had lost a few key players, our ins were decent, and showed this in the pre-season. Little did I know that the start of the season would be the most inconsistent I have had in any Football Manager. Take a look at our results:

As you can see, our UEFA Cup form and our Premier League form contrasted massively, and although we picked up in the last 2 games, it still does not make happy reading. Fellow relegation battlers Wolves, Hull and Everton were not dispatched, and the draw against Sunderland coupled with the crushing defeat at Manchester City proved a little hard to take, considering our near perfect pre-season. On the other hand, we demolished Osasuna (4th in La Liga!) 3-0, dominated Cardiff 4-2, and beat Le Mans Union Club 1-0, all in Cup competitions. Our draw with Fenerbahce was a little odd, with us being dominated up until the 80th minute, where we got a goal. Then we started dominating, and conceded against the run of play in the 94th minute! Odd match, but I am more than happy with a point against them. Our last 4 games look very impressive, 1-1 against table-toppers Arsenal, the win against Le Mans, and our first 2 Premier League victories over Reading and Middlesbrough. Speaking of, here are the tables for the Premier League and the UEFA Cup group stage:

As you can see, the inconsistency is summed up here with the 2 tables. If we had hung on against Fenerbahce we would have been almost certain to qualify for the knockout stages! The Premier League tells a different story, and before the Arsenal game we were a lowly 18th, 1 point away from safety. Thankfully we have picked up and now we are 12th with 12 points. We have Birmingham and West Brom next in the Premier League and if we win those 2, then I believe we can be somewhere around 10th place, which would be good considering where we were a few games ago.

Now, onto player ratings. Kevin Doyle is top scorer, with 8 goals, Ashley Young has grabbed second with an impressive 6 to his name, and Marius Niculae completes the top 3 with 6 as well. Top assister goes to Ashley Young, with an incredible 12. Way behind are the injured pair of Hobbit Bermudez (6) and Chris Burke (5). Best player ratings are Ashley Young (again) with 7.51, Chris Burke second with 7.40 and Joe Mattock third with 7.39. Worst players are Mourad Meghni (6.33), Gerson (6.55) and amazingly Jack Wilshere (6.77).

Now thats all for now folks, but an update on my Bosnia Herzegovina story coming very very soon!

Friday, 1 May 2009

QPR Story: 4th season: Transfers + UEFA Cup Qual's

Hello hello, hope you are all well. Now in my last post, I just finished 14th and sneaked into the UEFA Cup (through the fair play league admittedly). I was hoping to have a good transfer window, and hopefully get into the group stages of the UEFA Cup, but I was not optimistic. Anyways, onto transfers. Here are my ins and outs for the summer of 2011:

As you can see, depite my attempts to keep my players, some of my key players went to other clubs. Etienne Didot, Gary Caldwell, and Mike Aram got accepted by the board unfortunately, so I could not do anything about it. Steed Malbranque was doing rubbish throughout his time here, so I thought that I would try and get as much of the £5m I spent on him back. Finally, Matthew Connolly was just out of his depth here, and the other 2 were youth players that were just not good enough. But a massive amount of cash from these transfers, and instead of going crazy, I decided to save most of it, but spend about £10m on some thought out signings. Ashley Young was pre-arranged, and he would give some much needed depth to our wings. Andriy Rusol is a solid defender, a replacement for Caldwell and Connolly, but better quality than both. Finally Mourad Meghni is a good AMC, replacement for Malbranque, and at a cut price too! He shall be back up for the increasingly good Jack Wilshere. Moving on, here are my UEFA Cup results, along with pre season friendly matches and the first Premier League match of the season:

note: The first Port Talbot game was played at the very end of last season, about 2 weeks after my last post. It finished 13-0.

Now these are very interesting results, as we have completly stormed through UEFA Cup qualifying, and made mincemeat of our friendly games. Port Talbot were absolutely dreadful, and a massive 20-0 aggregate win left our fans very pleased. I was expecting Gyor to be around the same quality, so I fielded a weak side against them, and very almost lost in the first leg! Mike Aram (this was before he went) grabbed 2 goals after coming on from the bench. The second leg was easier, and a 4-0 home win was well recieved by the board. Gillingham and Stoke were other big victories, albeit they were friendly matches against lower league opposition. But the other friendly match was against one of the giants of La Liga, Sevilla. A world class performance was put in, and we won an incredible 6-0, to make my expectations for the next season soar. Sevilla had just got to the UEFA Cup semi final, and finished 3rd in La Liga last season, so this was a fantastic win. It also carried onto our other UEFA Cup fixtures. Before that though, we had the relatively easy job of dispatching Milano Kumanovo out of the Cup. The first leg was quite easy, with us winning 3-0 and 4-1 before they got 1 more goal to spare their blushes somewhat. In the second leg, no blushes were spared as we steamrolled them 5-0. In the 4th qualifying round against Stabaek, nobody expected us to win, and our board told me that going out now to a better team wouldn't be the end of the world. Nevertheless, we destroyed them in the first leg 4-0 and a more than adequate 3-0 in the second leg wrapped things up for us. Sandwiched in between those though, was the disappointing 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa. It was a reality check more than anything, as we had got carried away with our glorious pre-season. Next up is Wolves, a must win game against a recently promoted team. Hopefully we can win that.

Anyway, onto player ratings, and boy were we raking in the plaudits after our UEFA Cup run. Despite leaving just before the Aston Villa game, Mike Aram is still our top scorer with 8 goals in 8 games. Second is Jack Wilshere, who had the best pre-season I have ever seen (4 goals against Port Talbot 1st leg too, which is not shown on this seasons stats). He got a fantastic 6 goals in 8 games. And to round off the top 3, Kevin Doyle with 5 goals from 6. Top assister goes to Ashley Young, who got 7 in 5 games, with 1 goal to his name as well! Tied second are Hobbit Bermudez and Chris Burke, on 5 each. But Hobbit got his 5 in 4 appearances (2 starts), plus he got himself a goal and a man of the match. Chris Burke got his 5 in 7 starts, but with 2 goals and a man of the match.

The highest ratings is being partially scrapped this time. Instead, I am going to show you a full list of players above 7.00, because everyone has played so well I think they all deserve to be mentioned. So here it is:

Some great performances there, young centre back Danny Wilson leading the bunch on 7.88, with Ashley Young and Joe Mattock completing the top 3 on 7.78 and 7.70 respectivly. Only 3 players got less than 7, Marius Niculae (6.90), Andriy Rusol (6.40) and Mourad Meghni (6.30).
So that is it for this post, sorry for the length! I will be posting again once I have completed 12-14 Premier League games. Bye for now!
Edit: I have been made manager of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we are 5th in our Euro 2012 qualifying table. I have only been in charge of one game, a 2-0 win away to Moldova. We have 4 games to go in the group, and if we win 3 of our games, we can still qualify. But with France and Greece leading the group it will be tough. Realistically though, if we win ALL of our games we will most likely finish second and subsequently qualify. I shall update this side-story as well as QPR.