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Friday, January 25, 2008

Looking at QPR (and Newcastle's) Chances of Success - ITV's Sport's Andy Townsend

ITV Sport's Andy Townsend takes a closer look at situation at QPR and Newcastle
Andy Townsend
It is fair to say that Newcastle have dominated the headlines over the last ten days and I for one believe they made the right appointment in King Kev. I've missed him - we all have.
Keegan is box office and his press conference was a lesson to some on how to engage with the media as a modern day football manager. If only his players were as good against Bolton. No sparkle, no magic, no entertainment and KK will have to literally perform miracles to get this team winning regularly never mind thrilling us each week. We shall see?
I had a chat with a London cabbie on my way from Marylebone to Waterloo recently and he had an interesting take on the situation at Newcastle. I was asked the usual questions about whether or not Keegan would be successful, should he take Shearer? etc etc and then the twist. "I bet you my team - Q.P.R. - will win something, one of the cups, before the Geordies!"
I laughed and he replied "You think I'm joking don't ya? Keegan may play some lovely football but they won't win anything this time round. They had their chance but didn't grab it but we are on the up and you watch us go. You heard it here first Andy!"
I thanked him for the lecture, paid him his £23 fare (and yes I did give him a tip) and went on my way. Later that evening that conversation got me thinking. With the Loftus Road outfit now owned by two billionaires and a multi-millionaire they are only going one way.
Those guys did not acquire such wealth and success by sitting around staring at the sky. They make things happen and quickly. Luigi Di Canio has now got the ship moving in the right direction - 19 points from their last 24 in the league looks pretty decent to me and they are currently eleven points from a play-off place. The cabbie has a point, if, and it is a big if, they can get out of this league quickly then they have big advantages over Kevin Keegan.
They would find it easier to attract the very biggest names to Loftus Road as London living suits top international players. Talk of a new stadium excites players. Being part of something new in itself is tempting and crucially, players know that the club can afford them. I bet Rangers have been contacted by more agents over the last three weeks than Manchester United. QPR will be successful, they will return to the Premier League.
It is not impossible to claw back an eleven point deficit; you only need to look at Crystal Palace who have had an amazing run to go from virtually bottom to serious challengers - seeing off the likes of Sheffield United, Watford, Wolves and Bristol City recently. The Championship is that sort of division. Nothing is impossible.
At the moment I'm not sure that QPR possess the squad to amass a huge collection of points from the run-in but should they add to the squad again before the deadline then you never know.
The fans in Geordieland believe the good times are set to return and this time success will be theirs. Mike Ashley's megabucks and a brand of football that will light up the North-East will see to that. I hope I'm there to witness it.
As for my Cabbie friend, I was concerned he was slightly bonkers and didn't know where he was going. Under closer inspection I now realise he wasn't joking and who knows, he could be right..." ITV The Championship

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