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05/06: Preview: Queens Park Rangers
Opposition opinion
by David Barton of Dave's Unofficial QPR Webpage

What happened last season?
Last season was a bit of a learning curve for us. We started with virtually the same team that got promoted with just Lee Cook and Georges Santos joining. We had a poor start with a few players showing they just couldn’t cut it at this level and we produced our worst football for a few years when Watford stuffed us 3-0.

The poor results and performances almost cost Ian Holloway his job as fans with a short memory, and investors, got a bit anxious but once we got Dan Shittu and Marc Bircham fit the results began to improve.

Holloway’s near departure actually brought the squad closer together as they fought to save his job and won seven games in a row. During that run we had a share of good luck in the wins over Brighton and Stoke but also hammered Coventry 4-1 and came from 2-0 down to beat Leicester. The final game of that run saw us beat West Ham which was most enjoyable.

After that we never looked down at relegation again really. We stayed in the top six until mid December although our form was never as consistent again as it had been during that seven game run. We stayed in touch with the playoffs with wins over Wigan and away to Ipswich but also suffered the annual exit at the first hurdle of the FA Cup and got hammered by Leeds as Brian Deane of all people scored four goals in a 6-1 humiliation.

Ian Holloway began planning ahead during the second half of the season and we brought in several players like Adam Miller and Dean Sturridge with the following season in mind. We had an outside chance of the playoffs when April arrived but injuries and suspensions cost us most of the first team so we had to use most of our youth team and soon to be released players in the last few games so we ended up finishing mid-table.

What's going to happen next season?
We’ve added a few decent players during the summer so in theory we should improve on last seasons efforts although I doubt it will be as easy as that with several of last season's average bunch looking a lot stronger this time around. Raised season ticket prices have also raised expectations higher than they should be.

We haven’t brought in any big name stars so far (although we did come close to signing Tore Andre Flo). The players who have come in though should improve us and hopes are high for Tom Doherty to become the midfield enforcer that our blue haired Marc Bircham hasn’t quite managed to become in the fizzy pop championship. We still need to find back up for Paul Furlong and someone to score goals from midfield but we’ve needed that for three years now and managed to get away with it.

The transfer window is likely to affect everyone though so if we get injuries to key players then we might end up struggling at the wrong end of the table. Paul Furlong and Dan Shittu are again our key players and if they stay fit and play as they did last season we should do well.

With the players we have we should be able to finish mid table again and if one or two of our youth team can fulfil their potential then we might even break into the playoffs.

Soundbites (from assorted Census correspondents)

"I haven't done the washing up"

"I've just bid 10p for the QPR vs. Watford programme from 11/11/69 (my first match)on Ebay. "

"Last season, one of our players was caught thieving from one of his team mates and was sacked, but not before being decked by another team mate!"

"Good Questionnaire. With regards to Watford, they'll probably do fine, as every year I think they'll struggle and the seem to have done alright."

"QPR are the copa de ibizza champions and i'm far too drunk to properly answer this"

"Nothing escapes the man who walks slowly"

"QPR are the new black"

"Luton town are the worst side in the league their fans are scum and are going to cause fights between watford QPR,leeds,millwall,cardiff,and it was a sad day when they came up its a shame that they did not go bust! Really hope they go straight back down"