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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

QPR Report Interview: A Rochdale Perspective of Rochdale and QPR on and off the field

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QPR Report Correspondent, MaudesfishnChips
any thanks to Sarah Lomas of http://www.girlonaterrace.com/

How long have you supported Rochdale?

I've been going every home and the majority of away games for about 11 years now, before that I used to go occasionally.

How long have you been involved with your Blog? Why did you decide to do it?

I started my blog - Girl On A Terrace - in February this year, so this season will be my first full season blogging. I originally started it up just for a bit of fun and combine my two favourite past times of writing and football. However, it's gone from strength to strength and the response has been pretty overwhelming to be honest. I use my blog to give female football fans in the lower leagues a voice, one which often isn't heard or respected still, and I've had fantastic support and comments from fans, bloggers and journalists on what I'm doing. I've achieved quite a lot already from it appearing in magazines and The Guardian website, which I didn't expect, and hopefully that will continue through this season as my blog continues to grow.

Who's Rochdale’s biggest Rival (or Rivals)?

Bury are our main rivals, they're local to us and a pretty similar club too, although it's quite a big rivalry it's also a friendly one and more about the banter than anything serious. We also have a bit of rivalry with Oldham too given that they're local as well.

Are you happy with your team and how things are? – What are your opinions on your manager Steve Eyre? His spending/selling this summer?

It's difficult to know what to think at the moment given our new manager and a lot of new faces, we also haven't finished building the team yet. We've had a bit of an uneventful start to the season, although we never start great, and you can't expect things to go back to how they were last season. We need the new players to gel and get used to each other and for Steve Eyre to work out the best tactics for this set of players. One thing of note is the calibre of some of the players Steve Eyre has brought in, I don't think we would have signed some of those if even wasn't in charge and his name and contacts in the industry have definitely helped.

With regards to new signings...Ashley Grimes is already impressing and scoring a few, defender Stephen Darby on loan from Liverpool is a fantastic name in the side, Andrew Tutte is looking lively and will be a handful this season, Neal Trotman looks solid but also a bit of a liability and is currently suspended after picking up two yellow cards against Oldham at the weekend, and loanee keeper Jake Kean is starting to settle in too. There's also Simon Hackney who looks a great prospect although he's currently injured.

We sold two key players to Barnsley with Keith Hill - Scott Wiseman and Matt Done - although they were main squad players, I wouldn't say we particularly miss them and we've definitely replaced them with players just as good. We also lost striker Chris O'Grady, a big loss for us, who went to Sheffield Wednesday. We still haven't replaced him and it shows, we lack the height up front and a target man, and we currently have no one to fill this role.

What do you think of your current Owners? WHY are they involved? WHO ARE THEY?! What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to boost your chances?

Our chairman is Chris Dunphy. He's a Rochdale fan and definitely runs the club as the fans would want too. It's nice to know the club is in the hands of someone who genuinely cares about the club and will put his heart and sole into it. I love reading his statements, most recently his statement regarding Keith Hill leaving was absolutely fantastic and you trust in him making the right decisions. I don't think he could do any more to boost our chances, one thing I admire about Chris Dunphy is that he won't put us in any financial troubles for the sake of short term glory unlike other clubs. We'll build up slowly but surely along the way but maintain our finances along the way. He's also realistic when it comes to players and having to sell, as a small club we cannot afford to turn down a big bid on a player and I actually admire that about him

How do you think Rochdale’s treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

They treat us pretty well to be honest. We have a fantastic board and chairman and we're kept up to date with anything serious going on at the club. I certainly trust them to make the right decisions, as I does every other fan I'd expect, as they've given us no reason not to before. The only thing I'd like to see more of is interaction with the fans and making us feel in the loop, unfortunately, as a small club we don't have much of a dedicated media department.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Ashley Grimes and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro are both ones to look out for. They both have an eye for the goal and look have look a threat in every game we've played so far. Andrew Tutte is also a problem for defenders, he's quick and lively through the midfield. Our most valued has to be captain fantastic Gary Jones, he's a leader at midfield and we'd be lost without him. Most underrated is probably Marcus Holness, although he has started to become a bit of a fans' favourite, he came good in the past couple of season after a dodgy start with us and last season he was a rock at the back of defence. I wouldn't say we have any overrated players at Rochdale.

Are you happy with your youth set up? Is your club doing enough to bring young/local talent through the ranks?

Our youth set up has improved vastly over the past few years and continues to do so and we're already seeing the fruits of our labour. Reece Gray is a young striker who has come through, he scored the winner on the last game of the 10/11 season at Bournemouth and looks set to make a few appearances this year.

Who would you say was the greatest Rochdale player that you yourself personally saw? And past player? (You can name more than one if it's that close!)

My all time favourite still has to be Grant Holt. I think he's a fantastic player and to see him in the Premier League is brilliant. He's definitely someone you either love or hate, depending on whether he's playing for you. He's a big character on and off the pitch, and I love his attitude and determination. I'm also a fan of Paddy McCourt, it was great to see him skipping down the wing at Spotland in his early days and I always hoped he'd go onto better things.

What is your prediction for Rochdale this season?

Although we've a pretty dodgy start, we always do, I still think we'll do alright. We just need time to gel and work together as a team, the players on paper are better than last season, and once it clicks we could have a fantastic season. I'd hope we could match last season and finish near the play offs, although I know that'll be difficult given some of the teams in the league this year.

Are you aware of any player or manager links between our two clubs past and present?

Not that I can think of off the top of my head!

What is your view and the general Rochdale view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness) or of Neil Warnock and our owners?

Errr, I don't think we really have much of view of QPR! Although I do like Neil Warnock, when I was at university I did a work placement at Preston North End and he was the manager of the opposition for a game, he was a fantastic personality and a really nice guy, and I've liked him ever since then.

Who(if any) is your most memorable/favourite QPR Player over the years?

I've always quite liked Paddy Kenny, I have absolutely no reason why at all either! He comes across as a really nice, down to earth lad which is always great to see.

Your score prediction for QPR v Rochdale?

I actually don't know what to expect, I'm hoping we could cause an upset though, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say a 1-2 scoreline.

What, realistically, do you think Rochdale are capable of achieving in the next five years?

That's a toughie, Keith Hill always said he had a 5 year plan to the Premier League, but now he's gone! I'm less optimistic than that and more realistic, I'd hope over the next 5 years we could cement our place as a decent League One side and maintain our position without threatening relegation, perhaps with a bit of play off drama thrown in too and who knows maybe you'll see us in the Championship over those 5 years.

What one or two questions do you wish I had asked you (and how would you have responded?!

Hmm....people usually ask me why I support Rochdale...and the answer is obvious, because that's where I'm from. I've never understood why people support a club that they have no links to, there's nothing better than supporting your local side.

MaudesFishnChips writes: Also, just to note, Sarah completed this Q&A in her lunch break at work!! as i only sent it late this morning!

Many thanks again to Sarah for offering the answers - and MaudesFishnChips for conducting the Q&A

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