Queens Park Rangers
Founded in 1866 following the merger of Christchurch Rangers and St. Judes Institute, Queens Park Rangers have been a part of football in West London for a number of years. After a few seasons in the Premier League in recent seasons, the R’s are desperate to get back to the big time.
After nine games they sit 11th in the table, and are unbeaten at home. However, away from Loftus Road they are yet to win a game and will be looking to change that this evening. Despite struggling on the road, the hoops sit only eight points off the top and with an experienced man like Ian Holloway in charge, promotion could be a realistic target for the club.
The Playing Style
Holloway has employed both a 4-3-3 and a 3-5-2 formation when selecting his team this season. The overall focus of both these formations is the wide men as one incorporates the use of wingbacks and the other uses wingers to support the attack.
Both formations allow for at least two solid central midfielders to sit in and let the wide players get forward. At the back 3 centre halves can provide cover for the wingbacks to push on and support the two front men.
The two front men play off each other and therefore form a good partnership. When they play with 3 up top, one will play as a central striker and the other two will play off him.
Due to their poor form away from Loftus Road, Holloway has adopted a much more defensive approach on their travels. At home the R’s are much more likely to attack teams and they have plenty of players who can score goals.
With a career total of 311 professional appearances, goalkeeper Alex Smithies, the current Player of the Year provides vital Championship experience as the last line of defence and is capable of making match-winning saves.
Tough tackling centre back and club captain Nedum Onuoha is the man at the heart of their defence. Along with James Perch he has Premier League experience and knows what it means to play in the top division.
Massimo Luongo is another leader in the team and plays in the heart of the midfield. With a 3-5-2 often being used by Holloway, Jake Bidwell has adapted well to playing as left wing back and has started the season very well.
QPR certainly aren’t short of firepower, with the likes of Jamie Mackie, Conor Washington and Matt Smith all in their squad. Between the three of them they have scored a total of 143 goals for professional football clubs. If QPR are to challenge for promotion, they will need their strikers to be on form.
Past Player - Les Ferdinand
On 20th April 1987, Les Ferdinand made his Queens Park Rangers debut in a 4-0 defeat to Coventry City. After a spell on loan at Brentford and then one in Turkey in 1988, Ferdinand returned and went on to make himself a club legend.
After helping the R’s maintain their top-flight status in 1991-92, Ferdinand really established himself as a top striker in the Premier League’s inaugural season. With 20 goals in 39 games, Ferdinand helped QPR finish 5th meaning they were the highest performing London club that season.
His form continued in the next season, Ferdinand scored 16 goals in 36 games and helped QPR finish 9th. That summer he signed a two-year contract with the R’s and played a crucial role for the club yet again in the 1994-95 season.
He scored 24 times in the Premier League that season and speculation grew that he would leave the club. In nearly a decade at the club he scored a total of 80 goals and played under four different managers. He is now Director of Football at the club and is an all-time fans favourite.
The History Boys
In the club’s early decades, QPR had a very nomadic existence. They became a professional team in 1889, and played their home games in nearly 20 different stadia (a league record).
They permanently settled at Loftus Road in 1917, although the team would briefly attempt to attract larger crowds by playing at the White City Stadium for two short spells: 1931 to 1933, and the 1962–63 season.
Their highest ever finish was during the 1975-76 season. Dave Sexton’s team were narrowly beaten to the title by Bob Paisley’s Liverpool but did qualify for the UEFA Cup for the first time in the clubs history.
The R’s won the League cup in the 1966-67 season but have never won the FA Cup. They were beaten 1-0 in a replay by Tottenham in the 1982 final. Former Spurs player Terry Venables managed the R’s that day. More recent success came for the club when they were promoted to the Premier League via the Play-Offs in 2014.
In The Dugout - Ian Holloway
With a managerial career spanning 21 years and across 7 different clubs, Ian Holloway certainly provides experience in the leadership department. Having previously managed our visitors from 2001-2006, Holloway returned to West London on the 11th of November 2016.
He began his managerial career with Bristol Rovers; this was followed by his first stint at Loftus Road before spells at Plymouth, Leicester, Blackpool, Crystal Palace and Millwall.
Having won promotion to the Premier League twice as a manager (Blackpool and Crystal Palace), Holloway has proven he almost certainly has credentials at this level. With these promotions on his CV it wouldn’t be very wise to back against Holloway and his squad mounting a serious push for promotion.
After a steady start, the Hoops remain just behind the Play-Off places. The fans will be hoping that Holloway is the man who can guide them back to the top division, as for Holloway, what better place to gain your 3rd Premier League promotion than at a club you’ve both managed and played for.