Scouting? What Scouting?!

The January transfer window is now under way and the gaping hole in our infrastructure, otherwise known as ‘Scouting’ is evident once again.

Mark Hughes made efforts to improve the club off the pitch in many ways, one of which was to try and improve the scouting. To do this, he brought in Mike Rigg from Manchester City, Rigg had completely overhauled the scouting set-up there and left it in fantastic shape. Rigg then appointed Stuart Webber who joined from Liverpool as a chief scout along with the respected Hans Gillhaus and Steve Hitchen. Gillhaus, who had previously worked for Chelsea and PSV, was to be primarily based in Holland. Hitchen would be located in France and Paul Dyer, who was also new, would be looking at lower-league talent in England. All of this was overseen by Mike Rigg and his infamous whiteboard that was divided up into sections. Player names would move around the board depending on whether they were first team, squad player, development potential or surplus to requirements and out on loan.

He also tried to implement a four-tier system of player recruitment. Premier League player was number one. The player that could come in and immediately fit in straight away. Number two was the ageing player with little resale value that would only cover short-term targets. The third was for development players between the ages of 17-21 who would go on to make the first team. The final was schoolboy. Rigg, believe it or not, wanted a global target list for each tier as he had managed to leave Manchester City.

There was an acceptance that perhaps agents had become to involved and were able to influence Tony Fernandes thinking too much, when it should have been left to the team. Players like Jose Bosingwa and Stephane Mbia were signed despite doubts over their attitude and obvious character flaws.

December saw Mike Rigg leave and Redknapp replacing him. With that, the former Spurs manager wanted to bring his own Chief Scout Ian Broomfield. It became clear early on that those brought in under Rigg and Hughes were no longer needed. With this Han Gillhaus was sacked, Stuart Webber joined Wolves as Head of Recruitment, Hitchen began working closely with Tottenham and Liverpool again whilst Dyer – who is good friends with Mel Johnson – was told he wouldn’t be needed.

Ian Butterworth joined as scouting co-ordinator, who’s job is to oversee and organise the scouts rather than do it himself. The set-up is back to almost as it was before, non-existent.

As usual we blew everyone else out of the water in regards to what we spent in the summer, Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips were the two stand-out performers in the Championship last year and cost the best part of £10m. Richard Dunne, Beniot Assou-Ekotto, Niko Kranjcar and Danny Simpson came in also, for little fees but astronomical wages – the latter was convinced to drop down a division and I don’t think that was because he admired David Bardsley. Joey Barton returned and has arguably, much to the disappointment of some fans, been a stand-out performer. Karl Henry joined for around half a million and has been pretty dire. Javier Chevanton, Oguchi Onyewu and Yossi Benayoun have recently signed on frees, but only the Israeli has featured regularly.

Uruguayan Chevanton was offered to Redknapp last year, whilst Rangers were in the top flight and despite being keen to sign the 33-year old, Chevanton rejected the advances. Despite earning only £1,000 a week in Leece, he was offered £15,000 to join on a six-month contract.

But Redknapp’s side finally got his man when he secured the South American earlier this season on a three month contract. Unfortunately, Chevanton understood very little English, was extremely unfit and generally not very good. He left in late December having only made one substitute appearance for the First Team. One would wonder why Jamie Mackie would be allowed to leave if this was the type of dross replacing him?

Former AC Milan defender Oguichi Onyewu was in a similar situation, although despite having an impressive CV, he is yet to feature in anyway – but you can never have enough bodies. Understandably, the board were then hesitant about sanctioning the signing of Yossi Benayoun, Redknapp was adamant that he was still a top,top player to have. Although he’s home debut against Doncaster looked more like a player that was after that final top,top pay day. Which is ironic.

For all our money spent, surely we are better off investing more into the scouting system and seeing what we come up with? For example, with all our links at Wycombe, how do we miss players time and time again? Before Jordon Ibe made his debut as a youngster aged 15, then manager Gary Waddock phoned Mel Johnson, who was instrumental in highlighting the talents of Lee Cook, Martin Rowlands, Danny Shittu and Lee Camp to QPR (he also was the first to see a 17-year-old Adel Taarabt in France and insured he signed for Spurs). Waddock told Johnson the Ibe was set to play and he was a talent not to be missed. Johnson changed plans, watched Ibe dazzle the crowd and celebrate his goal with his family. Liverpool paid £500,000 and is now one of the most exciting young players in England and featured against Rangers in the final game of last season.

Matt Phillips left Wycombe for Blackpool in a deal worth £325,000 and eventually made his way to W12 for £4m a couple of years later. It wasn’t as if Phillips was a late bloomer, everyone knew his potential, but Blackpool moved first.

The EDS are improving but are still a long way from many of them making a career in football, let alone breaking into the first team at Loftus Road. Tom Hitchcock is receiving a lot of attention recently due to the striker shortage. For those that have seen more than the 7 minutes he had on the pitch at Ipswich, he isn’t good enough. He is a tidy, young player that could make a career in League 1, but he certainly isn’t what we need. His contract is up in the summer, let him go out and make a name for himself. If you want to be interested in anyone it should be Mike Petrasso. He has a really good chance of breaking into the First Team if he keeps progressing.

Who knows what this month may bring, I’d imagine Cole, Wellens and Jelavic.. But it would be nice if we could get value for money, plan for the future and begin thinking about our longterm strategy rather than our normal scatter gun approach.

Successful clubs have a philosophy and stick to it, whether it will be players or managers changing, if only the board could remember that.

Austin-Powered Rangers Too Much For Doncaster

                   Image

 

Charlie Austin’s 92nd minute header secured a vital win for QPR as the came from behind to secure a vital win in hazardous conditions. 

The former Burnley striker, who missed the previous two games due to injury, powered his header past Ross Turnbull in the Rovers goal for his 11th league goal of the season. 

Subsitute Matt Phillips levelled the scoring for the home-side after a scramble inside Doncasters’ six-yard box. 

Sloppy play from Yossi Benayoun allowed Federico Macheda to wrestle the ball off him and release Theo Robinson who fired low in Rob Green’s net for the opener. 

QPR lost Junior Hoilett 12 minutes into the first-half and showed their difference in resources to their opponents by replacing him with Matt Phillips. 

The visitors’ pressed Rangers, who were unable to deal with their slick pass and move gameplan and were unlucky not to be ahead before Robinson found the net. 

Richie Wellens jinked his way into the area and fired over before the lively Mark Duffy failed to get on the end of Robinson’s low cross. 

Benayoun, who was making his home debut, lost out to former Rangers loanee Macheda allowing Robinson to fire beyond Green. 

Boss Harry Redknapp made changes at the break, replacing the Israeli with Andy Johnson and the change in formation seemed to have the desired effect.

David Cotterill failed to clear Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s cross and after chaos commenced in the Rovers’ penalty box, Phillips was able to fire into an empty net. 

The home side continued to push and a swift counter-attacking move resulted in Danny Simpson being found unmarked on the right and his cross was powered home by Austin.

The win – Rangers first in four – was enough to lift them a place to third position, a point behind second place Burnley.

 

 

Why 4-4-2 isn’t the answer anymore for Redknapp or Rangers..

A wise man I know once said: “I’ve always believed that good managers tend to find a system for their players, not players for their system.”

And without doubt, Harry Redknapp has passed the test with flying colours.

There’s been a lot recently made of the fact QPR will only play one up top, whilst Andy Johnson looks to make a return to the side – and Javier Chevanton enjoys stoppage time cameos.

 Redknapp, ironically has always been perceived as an old-school English manager but is now breaking the stereotypical mould and leaving the traditional 4-4-2 alone for the time being.

Instead, the former Tottenham manager has deployed a less than popular 4-5-1 formation.

It’s very easy for fans to think that having two forwards on the pitch automatically means more attacking play, more shots – which inevitably will mean far more goals.

Wrong – with this team anyway.

Starting with arguably the most formidable and experienced defensive pairing at Championship level, Messrs Dunne and Hill. Both strong, physical and dominating; the pair are the epitome of second-tier defending. No nonsense and if they need to take the ball and the man early doors so he knows they’re there – they will. Gritty English defending that we all love to see.

Although, it would be hard to accommodate them, if not impossible in a 4-4-2. A pairing that lacks pace and likes to have the game played in front of them needs the central midfielders to protect the spaces that teams would like to exploit – and could exploit if in a 4-4-2.

 This is why having Joey Barton, or when he’s fit Tom Carroll and sometimes even both slightly deeper, just in front of the ageing pair allows them to flourish. Equally, having a midfielder in the position to collect off of his defenders allows him to start moves through the midfield instead of going long.

When Rangers have played some of their best stuff this season (the tika-taka, 33-pass move against M’Boro springs to mind) has been when 5 central midfielders have been deployed – many of whom don’t have the legs for a traditional formation.

 Alejandro Faurlin is highly regarded by fans but he could never play in a 4-4-2, he doesn’t have the awareness or mobility. Niko Kranjcar could never fit into a 4-4-2 formation. These players just simply don’t have the legs anymore.  Tom Carroll would look far more exposed and out of his depth in a midfield battle with only one central midfielder alongside him.  Playing 4-5-1 allows him to excel and us fans to revel in his technical ability; instead of cringing at his attempts to get to grips with the physical element of the Championship.

 It also allows a fluid transition between players and positions enabling the type of passing move we’ve all been re-watching on Youtube.

Redknapp has stressed his desire to remain strong throughout the middle, having three in there is key in his eyes. Winning the midfield battle is the way to win Championship football.

 So why leave ourselves more exposed and less creative just to satisfy fans cravings of 4-4-2?

 

 

Why it’s time for Junior Hoilett to start impressing

Despite having a few fruitful seasons at Blackburn, Junior Hoilett has largely been a disappointment since moving to QPR.

Former coach Steve McClaren worked relentlessly with him on the pre-season tour of Austria to develop his ability – which has promised so much — and work on various aspects of his game.

Starting the season against Sheffield Wednesday, with the transfer window open still, he impressed. But it was always going to be interesting to see what the 23-year-old’s form would be like once the scouts in the stands had left and the interest on him passed. What he would play like when the real hard slog of Championship football commenced.

I felt Rangers should have done their upmost to get Hoilett a move in the summer whilst he was still hot and trendy – Stoke were deemed to be interested.

For me, the winger lacks too many key elements meaning he will struggle to make it as a ‘top,top’ winger in the Premier League; like he has been billed as.

Even though the Canadian regularly operates on the left-side of midfield, his insistence to use his right foot at every opportunity becomes predictable. Even when deployed on the right, he prefers to take the full-back on instead of producing a cross.

Admittedly, he is the product of the modern game. Tricky and skilful, an inside forward that attacks the centre-back at pace is all the rage these days. Think Wayne Routledge and the role he has adopted at Swansea under Michael Laudrap.

But more than his negligence towards his right foot and a decent cross, his decision making is woeful. Ask anyone that watches Hoilett and QPR regularly and they will tell you that the winger would much rather try his luck with a shot than play the simple pass and when we are treated to a pass it tends to be the wrong one to make.

For someone so young, the Canadian’s reoccurring problems with his hamstring could cause a problem in the future. He’s missed a host of games already this season.

Paul Warbuton of the Hammersmith and Fulham Chronicle reported that the medical team at Loftus Road had noticed the winger ‘shuffles’ his feet when sprinting rather than raising his knees resulting in him suffering with his hamstring injuries over the last two seasons. As Clive Whittingham brilliant wrote on his LoftforWords article Hoilett has hamstrings comparable to ‘chewing gum’.

For the hefty compensation fee that Rangers remunerated Blackburn with, let’s hope that we don’t have the modern-day Aaron Lennon on our hands. Spurs winger Lennon has often been criticised for being too wasteful with his final ball. Having never fully reached his potential, the former Leeds man now sits way down the pecking order whilst former R’s loanee Andros Townsend stars at White Hart Lane.

Andros Townsend. Now there’s a proper winger. He can go inside onto his  left foot, or drop a shoulder and accelerate towards the byline . Good both defensively and in attack, Hoilett has a long way to go before he reaches the dizzy heights set by England’s new blue-eyed boy.  Rangers fans would give their all to see the boy from the Lane back at W12 instead of Hoilett – now who would have thought that 12 months ago?

Holloway, Bircham & Winton – QPR People

For quite a while the omission of ‘QPR people’ in the Rangers hierarchy has been a trendy topic. I’ve always believed that clubs need to have a tradition or culture in place in order to succeed both on and off the pitch.

We’ve had this in the past and reaped the rewards from it, having QPR people in place is vital. We had it in 2003/04 when the R’s won promotion right through from the dugout to boardroom.

The journalist David Mcintyre recorded what Ian Holloway said following the clubs relegation to what was then called Division 2:

“No words can do justice to how I feel. Devastated doesn’t even start to cover it. To have played for this great club in the premier division and see it now, in the third division for the first time since the 60s. It’s a tragedy. It breaks my heart. And to think how those QPR fans will feel, having come from what we had to this, here today. I feel sick. Absolutely sick. But let me tell you this: QPR will rise again. I promise you that. Like a phoenix, it will rise again. We’ve lost everything, but everything we’ve lost we’ll get back. Trust me on that. We’ll get it all back. Whether I’ll be the manager when that happens, I don’t know. I’d like to be. I can at least get the whole thing started. Believe me, I’ll be proved right. Remember me saying this. QPR will get back there again – back to how it was a few years ago and the years before that. Mark my words. Remember them. It will happen, I’m telling you. Everything we’ve lost, we will get back.”

Having been appointed as the club spiralled towards the 3rd tier of English football, Holloway had a huge task on his hands. The good times had been and gone in W12 and a dark cloud with the name of administration would now cover Loftus Road.

Many would find it difficult to build a competitive and talented squad in a normal close season; however Ollie had it twice as hard. He was under strict instructions not to offer any new deals to players with an expiring contracts and the administrator sold many others for a fraction of their true worth. This left Rangers and Holloway with only seven fit players for the start of pre-season and two of the most talented with long term injuries (Carlisle and Langley). From Holloway’s perspective he was at a club that he fought so hard to play in the Premiership for, and now, through no fault of his own it was crumbling around him.

Having a manger that could identify with the fans and the culture of the club, allowed Holloway to draw strength in a challenge that I feel many other managers would have shirked away from.

His transfers the following season included a young Danny Shittu, the Nigerian was at the start of a successful career and originally signed a loan deal only for it to be made permanent in a generous move by the Winton family. Shittu, who has also had a more recent spell at the club in our promotion campaign, went on to make 162 appearances for Rangers before leaving for Watford. The towering defender became a club legend. Ollie also managed to persuade Kevin Gallen to rejoin the club from Barnsley, the former QPR youth team player and Rangers fan became the sixth highest goalscorer in the club’s history after notching an impressive 54 goals in 194 games in his second spell at the club. Kevin ‘Magic Hat’ Gallen, somewhat unsurprisingly, goes down in Rangers folklore also.

Passion, determination and drive to get the club back where it deserved meant a healthy 8th place finish during our first season in Division 2 was followed by heart-break at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. But 2003/04 was to be our year. A ‘siege mentality’ was instilled and the fans, players and staff took the division by storm. The season ended with an emphatic 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. 7,500 R’s fans had made the journey to Yorkshire and over 5,000 watched back at Loftus Road on a big screen.

An integral part of our successful side that year was the former Millwall man, Marc Bircham. The Canadian was also an integral part of away side’s chants, but we didn’t care. He had blue and white hair, he flew into tackles and when he scored he revealed an old Rangers top with the sleeves cut off and ‘Bircham 8’s Chelsea’ emblazoned on the back, what was not to love about him?

What we would give to have had a player like Bircham last season.

Having arrived on a free from Millwall, who were at the time a division above, ‘Birch’ may not have been blessed with all the talent in the world but he played with the desire and heart that only a player who supported the club could.

One of my fondest moments of Bircham’s career at Rangers was the last minute volley away to Brentford in 2003. Pandemonium ensued in Brentford’s tin-pot stadium with the goal proving vital in our hopes of promotion.

He was always a player that split opinion amongst the Rangers faithful, Bircham was a very good player for the level we were out and although the offers from Premiership clubs prior to signing for Rangers may have been slightly exuberant, he was often criticised for remaining at the club purely because he was a fan; this was harsh.He was good a lot of the stuff that goes unnoticed and for this is was actually under-rated in his role.

The end would be sour for Bircham who felt he was forced out due to not seeing eye-to-eye with Gianni Paladini and was even told to train with the reserves. His five years at the club were colourful and passionate to say the least and currently is head of Elite Development.

Harold Winton was QPR’s honorary president and funded moves for Marc Bircham, Danny Shittu and diminutive forward DouDou in consecutive years starting in 2001.

He was also part of a consortium that attempted to take over the club whilst it was in administration but failed to agree a deal with former owner Chris Wright. Despite this, he still continued to provide finances and also worked on behalf of the club during some of the darker days.

He worked as a QPR director however in 2004 his tenure at the club would come to a sad end after many rows at boardroom level. It was following this that he was given the title of honorary life president, which was very much to deserved for his continual efforts to keep the club afloat.

He was cautious when Flavio Briatore looked to take over the club in 2007 and tried in vain to stall the deal, which in hindsight he was right to do.

And whilst Rangers were lavishly throwing money at signings last year, it would have been nice to remember Harold who fought many battles and paid many bills. Harold rarely sought after publicity, which couldn’t be said for some members of the board at the moment.

He was a fire fighter and worked tirelessly for the benefit of the club, a director that was a fan and was also willing to put his hand in his pocket is often something most clubs can only dream of but we were fortunate enough to have that in Harold Winton.

I truly believe that if we had players on the pitch with the heart of Bircham, a manager in the dugout with the passion of Holloway and a director that had the best intentions of the club at heart,as Harold Winton did; we certainly would be in a far healthier position.

An Over Due, Over Haul of the Squad (Part 1)

With the rebuilding stage approaching rapidly, Rangers must be cautious in the way they go about constructing the squad to be ready for the Championship season. Not only do we have a disgruntled squad, we also have an astronomical wage bill for the second tier of English football.
For once the board need to be sensible and cautious with regards to player recruitment, whether they sell shirts in Asia is somewhat insignificant in the Championship, they need to want to play for the club and ultimately see signing for QPR a step-up in their career.
The most obvious way to rectify this problem that we have encountered in the past is by singing the top players at other Championship clubs or the best youngsters that need valuable playing time from some of the best Premier League teams.

The squad that faced Reading away, a draw was all they could muster and the R's were relgated.

The squad that faced Reading away, a draw was all they could muster and the R’s were relgated.

Sadly, apart from Remy, who I will get to in a minute, I wouldn’t be too fussed about any of them leaving. Rob Green, who was a very popular signing amongst QPR fans when he signed ‘because he was an England international’, which he obviously is but that overlooks the fact that the standard of English goalkeepers during Green’s tenure was questionable. His footwork is on the whole very poor and he has a tendency to throw the ball in the back of the net. It was a stupid signing by the board but the hierarchy completely blew that out of the water with the signing of Julio Cesar. Despite what many ‘experts’ on twitter like to about how brilliant Cesar has been this year, he has undoubted flaws in his game.

Numerous times this season the Brazilian has preferred to take the continental route when playing in goal. He leaves a lot to be desired with general communication and commanding of his area, along with his inability to come off his line and claim crosses. However, in his defence, Cesar is a brilliant shot stopper.

Armad Traore was actually very sensible signing from Arsenal at the time, having been sent on loan to a number of different clubs, he was a fairly exciting young player. Like many modern full-backs, going forward is more important than defending. He can cross and he is lightning quick but constantly leaves space in behind him which often results in Rangers’ being exploited down his side. Disappointingly, he seems injury prone and as Neil Warnock quoted in his book “Armand’s the type that if he sneezed he felt he had flu or pneumonia.”

Moving onto the center back pairing which saw Onuoha partnered with Clint Hill for the game against Reading but normally, you would have expected Chris Samba to play. The towering Congolese defender was our record signing and probably one of the most disappointing since being in the Premiership. At Blackburn he was touted as a future Manchester Utd defender but in his 5 month spell at Loftus Road he couldn’t have looked more the opposite. Cumbersome and calamitous, Samba just looked like a really bad version of Danny Shittu. As fans keep mentioning or Twitter he could be brilliant in the Championship, but as proved with Cisse, Joey Barton and SWP, players playing without passion or for any reason other than money quite quickly become disinterested so has been told to look for a new club.

The Rangers’ captain for most of the year was Clint Hill, the Liverpudlian did what he’s good at and limited his game to just that. Limited is probably very understated, but in a side that was supposed to be so talented but clearly lacked heart, it was nice for fans to see someone that cared. Former Manchester City youngster Nedum Onuoha recovered from the passing away of his Mother exceptionally and when used effectively at center back instead of full back he impressed. Although I feel he may have a bigger role to play next year.

Ex-Chelsea and Champions League winner Jose Bosingwa is never as bad as some make out, but by no means a good signing. Another one brought in by the board to build the club’s reputation quickly. Had just won the Champion’s League but was released which should have told them enough. One of our many CV based signings.

For years the board has loved to over-hype a signing in order to please fans quickly. It was evident with Nick Ward, Emmanuel Ledesma, Ali Faurlin and now Esteban Granero. He was never the £9m Champions League midfielder that he was heralded (as we wrote here) and the pressure didn’t help a young man trying to settle within a new country. Talented and tidy in possession but lightweight Granero will move on and probably to Russia or back to La Liga.

I have never been one of Ali Faurlin’s biggest fans, especially when he is played in a normal midfield pairing but the way in which he was shipped out to Palermo and replaced with Jenas seemed strange. Faurlin, a clear fans favorite perhaps wasn’t good enough to play every week in the Premiership but to keep the fans onside would it have hurt to have him remain at the club? Jenas did okay to an extent, he was nick-named Caspar because of his dazzling ability to disappear during games. Didn’t really do much wrong, but didn’t set the world alight either – accepted his goal against Sunderland was a rocket. One of them signings that we make because why not just sign another player for the sake of it? Although if we don’t need to sign a player I’d rather we didn’t so I’d keep him.

Stephane Mbia was signed as a center back, where he had played for Marseille, for stability the partnership of Hill and Ryan Nelsen was preferred with Mbia acting as a shield to protect their lack of pace, which worked well. But as usual Rangers changed the formation and kept the players meaning he was now playing as a box to box midfielder, a role that he has never suited. Sloppy in possession, clumsy and dramatic, Mbia’s colorful character quickly became harsh on the eyes of the Rangers faithful.

Another one who has fallen in fans’ estimation of him is Adel Taarabt. Probably one of the most unbalanced footballers, in terms of all round ability I’ve ever seen. When in full flow he can dazzle and win games, although as people that watch Taarabt and QPR regularly he needs to be starting games. I don’t believe he can keep coming off the bench and play to his full ability. He’s a touch player and needs to be able to get into the game. Last season he was instrumental in our survival but this year has been slaughtered by many for being over-weight and unfit. The truth is if Taarabt was fully committed to playing football and making the most of his career he wouldn’t be at Rangers. His attitude is appalling – but he’s still the most gifted player we’ve got, but will only realise how good he is once he’s gone.

Our international strike force consisted of Loic Remy and Jay Bothroyd. Remy, much like Djibril Cisse last year, looked worth every bit of the fee that was paid for him. Although Remy was signed on the basis that he would be able to move on at the end of the season, which before the news broke about him being arrested looked very likely. With the trial being in September I can see many clubs wanting to fork out the £8m we paid, which means he could more than likely end up still with us come next season. I’ve seen some fans mention how Remy would tear up the Championship but I just can’t see it happening. In what world would a French international forward be able to motivate himself for playing the likes of Barnsley? A loan move looks likely.

Recently released striker Jay Bothroyd is another one who has unimpressed since signing from Cardiff in the summer of 2011. Although he has good aspects to his game it seems to have gone wrong for Bothroyd. However, as proved with his impressive displays (Southampton) I would probably keep him for next year.

A mention to for Bobby ’60 minutes’ Zamora who’s hip condition was so bad that he couldn’t sit down during half time. An extortionate fee was paid for someone who relies heavily on his physical presence but unfortunately can’t run, jump or hold off defenders.

Part two of this article will see me look in-depth at the lineup I would choose to face against Sheff Wednesday. We need to only sign players if we must and begin to work with what we have for this reason I have chosen the following:

My idea lineup for the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday.

My lineup for the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday.

Adel Taarabt: Maverick Magician or Circus Clown?

Taarabt_2876133

When I used to watch QPR growing up, I would be lying if I said the team was blessed with talented magicians that prospered with the ball at their feet. Don’t get me wrong, often we had the odd player – Richard Langley’s mesmerising stepovers spring to mind.

It was nice seeing Marc Bircham’s never say die attitude  or Steve Palmer’s  aggression in midfield but I’d much rather see the home-grown Langley  skin a few players.

Before my time the likes of Rodney Marsh and Stan Bowles no doubt were the original crowd pleasers, igniting the imaginations of the younger members of the crowd, creating scenarios that they would no doubt try and fail in school on Monday morning. Or the more recent Akos Buzsaky, the white Pele wowed fans with his striking prowess and exceptional technical ability.

But none in my time have produced the enjoyment that Adel Taarabt has for me. The Moroccan has made the last 3 years supporting Rangers easier, no question.

The stepovers, the nutmegs, the shimmies, the goals, the passes; I don’t know anyone who’s better to watch when in full flight.

Our Championship winning season was massive for Taarabt and it really needed to be. He had been labelled as a “fruitcake” by ex Spurs and current QPR manager Harry Redknapp just the season before and the self-proclaiming of ‘the next Zidane’ was beginning to look frankly embarrassing.

Thankfully, the gamble paid off and he proved to be the Ace in the pack. He became the talisman that all other Championship clubs envied rather than the petulant child that he may have previously viewed as.  At the end of his campaign he had 19 goals and 16 assists meaning he had a direct influence on 50% of the goals that year. The man dragged us to the Premier League by our metaphorical scruff of the neck.

Taarabt was untouchable that season.

Neil Warnock agreed, Shaun Derry agreed and so did a panel of expert made up of ex-professionals and journalist who voted Taarabt the Football League Player of the Year and whilst Premier League football may not have been as easy for the maverick to adapt to, I don’t see it as a failure as many other seem to.

5 goals and 4 assist in 31 games this season isn’t great, but 6 of them appearances have come as a substitute and in nearly every game he is hauled off as well.  Chelsea away was an exceptional, mature performance from the 23 year-old, even the assist for the goal was sublime – killing the speed of the ball and laying it to Shaun Wright-Phillips all in one nonchalant touch. The rest was history.

Even against Fulham away when he was somewhere between average and atrocious he scored a goal and won a penalty.

Remember Fulham at home? Sublime.

So yes, he may be overweight and will probably lose the ball more often than he creates something – but when he does it really is something.

He deserves to have a team made around him, to be the first name on the sheet. I know I’d much rather have seen Taarabt play behind Remy in the final few important fixtures than see Zamora lose every header in the air.

I don’t expect Adel to stay now, I think a few Premier League clubs will certainly be interested. The only down side for us is 40% sell on fee to Tottenham, so we should try and hold on to him. With a manager that respects him and respects his talents he will flourish. To produce some of the things he does when in such a poor team, with awful players is admirable but he would no doubt look even better with players that are on the same level as him.

He certainly splits opinion amongst fans. Brilliant at times and equally infuriating at others. A complete misfit of a player.

Fans, should remember the grass isn’t always greener. It may not be plain sailing with Adel and it would be unwise to expect a player like him to be consistently brilliant, because not everything will come off for him.

But if ever there was someone who personified the modern QPR, it’s Adel Taarabt.