Neil Warnock’s passion can be seen at every match as he heads imaginary balls into nets, running up and down the touch line ferociously yelling at players, linesmen and referees alike for 90 minutes. QPR fans have seen already, you will get your money’s worth from Warnock.
Made manager on 1st March 2010, he was the Super Hoops' 5th manager of the season with five wins, five draws and four losses at the close. But that was just a honeymoon of sorts in preparation for this season.
Recently the hoops have sent out a little message to the teams of the newly named Npower championship...’write us off at your peril’.
Playing Equipe Romagna in Italy last Wednesday (where the Hoops were on tour) in a pre-season friendly they eased into a 4 -1 win which saw them starting in a three-man attack set up.
Equipe Romagna is a sort of collective of players (mainly Serie A players) who have been released by clubs post-season & awaiting new contracts.
This means every player is going to give every thing they have in the bag to get noticed or signed, to beat a team of wannabes and yet to be signed is no mean feat. These players are literally playing for their careers.
Last Sunday they played Ravenna Calcio, a once promising team who now reside in Lega Pro Prima Divisione (equivalent to our League One) but still a staunch test for the Hoops. The game was fierce from the start with the Italians somewhat kick-happy.
Ravenna took the lead early on but Ephraim & Mackie answered the questions with confidence under what turned out to be a siege on the Italian teams’ goal.
The game seemed to be more about tolerance as the Hoops held their nerve and tempers against the over zealous yet talented Ravenna.
Warnock did very well not to completely combust on the sides lines as he jumped around putting passes through to his players and once or twice letting the officials know what they missed during some crunching tackles. He left the field beaming at the team’s performance and the fans support.
The return trip home to play local side Crawley town was a bit of an experiment, he obviously wanted to take a look at the normally sidelined and backup squad.
Not taking anything away from the two great finishes by Matt Tubbs who looked lively and deserved the double strike, I think Neil was more interested in what this very important team of super subs and possible game influencing players were like.
The 2-0 defeat score line didn’t really justify the fast paced game but hopefully he now has a better understanding of who he needs to add or who is dead weight.
This is a very important year for QPR, with them having the most realistic chance of a top six finish than there has been for many years.
The bookies seem to have tagged onto this offering a measly 9-1 that they win the league outright. Why?
Because QPR look very strong this year, signing Paddy Kenny on a three-year deal was a stroke of genius. At 32 he is a solid keeper, excellent shot stopper and a general at the back.
Another solid pairing of Clint Hill and Shaun Derry (both from Crystal Palace) will start the moulding of a very strong spine down the centre of the field, leaving wingers to race up and down the lines with almost gay abandon.
The connection also means they will meet up with old boys Fitz Hall, Gary Borrowdale and Mikele Leigertwood, having a strong understanding in midfield and defence.
This will be paramount to QPR’s challenge this season as the championship looks even stronger than last year.
The campaign begins at 3pm on the 7th August at home to Barnsley, could this be the year? Is Neil Warnock the best man to captain such a formidable looking ship?
I personally think ……yes!
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.