HOOPS UPTURN A CREDIT TO BOLD OLLIE...
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