HOOPS UP­TURN A CREDIT TO BOLD OLLIE...

The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

AF­TER New­cas­tle belted six past QPR at Lof­tus Road in Septem­ber, a mate of mine called to ex­press his in­credulity.

A Toon sup­porter, he’d smug­gled him­self into the home end and qui­etly – if smugly – watched the car­nage un­fold.

“To­tally sur­real,” he said. “I’ve never seen a game like it. The way QPR were play­ing… it was like they’d gone on strike.”

It ap­peared the Hoops were sleep-walk­ing into a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle.

Jimmy Floyd Has­sel­baink’s boot camp had failed. Even the ar­rival of Ian Hol­loway fell flat, with six de­feats in his first seven games.

Yet that run could well have saved Rangers from League One. So dis­gusted was Hol­loway with the lack of fight and pro­fes­sion­al­ism that Jan­uary was spent tear­ing his squad to shreds.

At a time when most man­agers fear to tin­ker, TWENTY play­ers – ten in each di­rec­tion – moved in or out of Lof­tus Road. Out went wage-bill wasters like San­dro. In came hon­est grafters like big striker Matt Smith.

Ollie’s gam­ble has paid off big time. Last week­end’s 5-1 de­mo­li­tion of Rother­ham capped a run of five wins from seven games.

Sud­denly, there is a verve, pace and com­mit­ment to their play that hasn’t been seen since Neil Warnock’s ti­tlewin­ning reign.

Green shoots th­ese may be, but QPR have re­quired a root and branch over­haul for sev­eral years. Hol­loway did in two months what no man­ager had been brave enough to do in sev­eral trans­fer win­dows.

DE­CI­SIONS: Ian Hol­loway

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