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Cunning plan? There isn't one

PUBLISHED: 12:17 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:33 24 August 2010

General Melchett might view QPR's battle plan as an unqualified success

General Melchett might view QPR's battle plan as an unqualified success

By Ben Kosky UNLESS you re in the Premier League or the play-offs, now is the time to cast an analytical eye back over the last nine months. So where to start with QPR? The three managers or the 14 signings? The solid defence or the dearth of goals? The u

By Ben Kosky

UNLESS you're in the Premier League or the play-offs, now is the time to cast an analytical eye back over the last nine months.

So where to start with QPR? The three managers or the 14 signings? The solid defence or the dearth of goals? The unexpected cup run or the predictable cup failure?

I'm going to start with General Melchett.

For the benefit of under-25s or non-fans of historical comedy, Melchett was a character in the last - and arguably best - series of popular 1980s TV classic Blackadder.

Set in the trenches of the First World War, the series revolved around Blackadder's attempts to avoid being dispatched to inevitable doom on the battlefield by his inept, barking mad commanding officer, Melchett.

In one episode, Blackadder is presumed dead after crashing his plane behind German lines and Melchett tries to demonstrate that the sacrifice had not been futile.

His underling Captain Darling, asked how much land had been retaken from the Germans, self-importantly measures what turns out to be a lifesize map and proudly announced: "Seventeen square feet, Sir."

"Excellent," Melchett responds. "So you see, young Blackadder didn't die horribly in vain after all."

You'd have to be fairly dim-witted and/or insensitive to follow that kind of reasoning. Which brings me back from that flight of fantasy to events at QPR.

Three points. Three measly points. That's the extent of the much-vaunted 'progress' the board would have you believe has been achieved this season.

Has it been worth the ceaseless interference, the changes of coach every few months, sizeable sums of money squandered on players who didn't improve what was already there, for three more points than last year?

At that rate of progress - judging by this season's final Championship table - it'll be another five years before Rangers can hope to sneak into a play-off place.

It might seem harsh to dismiss the club's prospects on the basis of one disappointing season - which, with generally uninspiring football and a plethora of 0-0 draws, it has clearly been.

But, while there can be no doubt that the initial wave of investment DID bring about a noticeable improvement as Rangers moved from relegation candidates to mid-table, there has been next to no progress since.

Akos Buzsaky, Rowan Vine, Matthew Connolly - these were all signings who raised the standard. Since last year, it's hard to make a case for any new arrival bar Kaspars Gorkss doing the same.

That wouldn't matter if there were any indications that the owners have learned from their mistakes. But, as they are attempting to replace Dexter Blackstock with Dele Adebola, a journeyman 10 years his senior, you suspect not.

Football logic plays no part in virtually all decisions now taken at Loftus Road. The next coach will be appointed more because the board want to shift season tickets than because of his credentials to build a promotion-winning side.

The close season is often viewed as a crossroads. But in the case of QPR, it's more a crossroads for the supporters rather than the club itself.

To quote Melchett once more: "That's the spirit, George. If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.


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