Hoops & Dreams: Why QPR will be flying high this season
London24’s Rangers blogger Sandy Lerman reflects on a whirlwind 12 months at Loftus Road
What a difference a year makes. Last year our pre-season was so depressing that I quickly forgot we had won promotion to the Premier League as winners of the Championship.
The negative vibes that oozed from the club suggested we were not going to have a particularly successful season – as our last-gasp reprieve on the final day of the 2011/2012 season proved.
But with Tony Fernandes in the driving seat off the pitch and Mark Hughes in pole position on the pitch, the 2012 pre-season has been an absolute treat.
Within days of the season ending, it was confirmed that season ticket prices were to be frozen – a mighty relief after the unreasonable hike of last year! Then, we were treated to the news that both Clint Hill and Jamie Mackie had signed new contracts.
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There then followed a “clearance” sale; well, more of car-boot sale, as players out of contract, like Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine, were officially told they would not be offered new contracts.
Before we could draw breath, a host of new players came through the front door: Ryan Nelsen was quickly followed in by Andrew Johnson. Rob Green joined and we knew Paddy Kenny would be leaving after a sterling job between the sticks.
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It was announced that we would be flying to Asia for an early pre-season tour – which turned out to be a success both on and off the pitch. We now have a huge following in the Asian arena.
And who better to lead the team in the first match in Malaysia than our marquee signing: Ji- Sung Park? A great coup, coupled with the completion of Samba Diakite’s permanent signing and the year-long loan signing of Fabio da Silva.
Adel Taarabt signed a new contract, ending speculation about his future, and will now wear the iconic number 10 shirt. And then there was yet another signing: Junior Hoilett. Wow!
More players look set to leave – Heidar Helguson has already gone to Cardiff, DJ Campbell is linked with Watford; and Jay Bothroyd was left out of the Germany squad. We also have the great news of Faurlin’s recovery and rehabilitation, featuring against Augsburg, and the apparent resurgence of Shaun Wright-Phillips – almost like having two new signings!
I have enjoyed this pre-season like no other. If the 2012/13 season follows such an enjoyable and successful formula I will be a very happy Rs fan.