QPR Report Twitter

Friday, February 24, 2012

Q&A: A Fulham Perspective of Fulham and QPR: On - and OFF - The Field

- Photo - of course -from the Bushman QPR Photo Archives

- QPR REPORT MESSAGEBOARD - Visit the cutting-edge, football-only, QPR Report messageboard

- Visit the truly-fascinating Bushman QPR Photo Archives
- QPR vs Fulham: Shared Players...Past Games and Photos


MaudesfishnChips Q&A With Fulham Supporter, Kristian Balkin of http://www.cottagersconfidential.com

How long have you supported fulham?

It's been about five years now for me - I'm only 18 as it is. As a youngster, I wasn't a big football fan but when I did watch it was mainly Manchester United. When I was 13, though, I tagged along with my Dad, a lifelong Fulham fan, to a friendly at Craven Cottage and I've loved Fulham ever since. It's a fair distance for me - I live near Portsmouth - but I go when I can.

How did you get to your blog? Has it evolved how you would of expected?

I was a writer for another website when a friend of mine decided to leave his post at Cottagers Confidential and we agreed I would take the reigns. It's great to have the opportunity to vent my anger/express my joy and have people take a genuine interest. I was slow getting into it but, of late, the site's gained popularity and I'm updating quite regularly.

Who are fulham's biggest Rival (or Rivals) and why?

Now, I'd say Queens Park Rangers. This time last year I would have said Chelsea, but we know that feeling has never been truly reciprocated from the Blues - to them we're just any other team. When you guys got promoted, though, it gave us another derby and what with the Hughes/Zamora link, it's intensified on our part since we met you in October.

Are you happy with your team and how things are to date? � What are your opinions on your manager ? His spending/selling so far?

I think we've finally reached a point of acceptance with Martin Jol and what he's doing with Fulham. At first, we were somewhat apprehensive as to his plans - he wanted to overhaul the squad and bring in some younger blood. It made sense on the periphery but the team that Hodgson/Hughes had built were so successful that it seemed counter-productive to build from scratch. The early signs were that it weren't working, too - we were struggling in the league and his signings were fruitless at best. When we were knocked out of the Europa League by Odense, things hit a new low. The majority were still content in the knowledge that we are a team in transition and, as such, it's going to be a difficult season. As it stands, we're putting together a reasonable run of results - although we still haven't won back-to-back league games, and Jol's purchases are proving to be, at least, decent. Bryan Ruiz was the Dutchman's biggest outlay and while his performances have been sporadic, when he's at his best he's a sublime player.

Your views on mark Hughes, then and now ?

Even though our final standing under Hughes was impressive - eighth place - it kind of masked what was a turbulent season for us. The first half, at least, was depressing at times. Our predictable away day blues were not treated and we were in a relegation fight by Christmas. Hughes made many promises about being a 'second half of the season manager' and he proved as much - the rest of the season was as good as we could have imagined. What must be taken into account, though, is that in the first half of the season, he tried to stamp his own mark on the team and, when this didn't work, we resorted back to the way we functioned under Hodgson. He was good for us, but it's not just bitterness speaking when I say he wasn't breathtaking. Now, I, and the rest of us, dislike him with a great amount of passion. He used the break clause in his contract to walk out amid talk of a lack of ambition, though we all know he was eyeing either the Chelsea or Villa job. When they didn't come knocking on his door - in some part because of what he had done to us - he probably felt a little foolish. We're glad he's back in the game now, but only to get one over him

What do you think of your current Owner? WHY is he involved? What do you expect from him?

As Jol said today in his press conference, Mohammed Al Fayed is one of the best chairmen you will ever find. His loyalty is probably his most endearing factor, but his finances and resources have driven us from the basement days of Division 3 football to the heady heights of the last eleven years. He's done everything for this club and he's done it in good faith. As for what we expect, we've become a little needy of late. I think we all saw his sale of Harrods as the opportunity to spend but it didn't happen until we lavished a fair amount of money on Bryan Ruiz. We're still realistic, however. We know that it was the money he pumped in that has got us this far, but we also know that we are no Chelsea or Man City. We live within our means and we like it that way.

How do you think fulham treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

It's difficult to dislike Fulham and the way they treat us - the ticket prices are respectable, the food is good and everything else is up to par as it should be. There are no real bugbears to speak of, in all honesty.

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

Someone who consistently performs and yet doesn't receive all the praise he deserves is, undoubtedly, Moussa Dembele. He's a talent that stretches well beyond the �5.5 million we paid for him, and it's your current gaffer that unearthed him. The ball, most of the time, is practically glued to his feet and, most importantly, he knows what to do with it. He doesn't score many goals but his involvement is crucial in almost everything we do in the final third. Meanwhile, Clint Dempsey is of course grabbing the headlines - he's been fantastic of late. He's great in the air and can do wonders with his feet. The new boy, Pavel Pogrebnyak, is looking good too.

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

It's taken a while to truly perfect it, but in the last few years there has been a steady production line. In the early Premier League days, the only noticeable graduates were Zat Knight and Elliot Omouzusi, but since Hogdson came in, Chris Smalling, Matthew Briggs, Kerim Frei and Marcello Trotta have proved themselves to be potential stars of the future. Jol is more inclined to using them to their full potential, while Hodgson and Hughes were a tad wary, so the next few years should see some of our academy graduates flourish.

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

Obviously my scope is somewhat restricted, but I think I'd have to say Danny Murphy. The captain has been a mainstay since I started following Fulham and, even though a lot of Fulham fans won't agree with me, he's been invaluable to our success. His passing and vision is second to none and his influence on the pitch is palpable. Without him, there are many games over the past few years that we probably wouldn't have won - and for that, I personally thank him. As for past player, you cannot surpass Johnny Haynes

What is your prediction for fulham this season?

This season is all about consolidation and we'd do extremely well to claim a place in the top half. I think we have the squad to do it, but we're still adapting to the style of Jol and wins have been at a premium. I think we'll finish around 12th but I know it's plausible to finish higher.

Who do you predict to be in the bottom three at the end of this season

Bolton, Wolves and Blackburn. I feel a little uneasy saying Blackburn, because I think it's possible they'll stay up. Either they will go or Wigan will.

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

Of course we have Zamora and Hughes at the moment, and we can add Heidur Helguson to that list - although I believe he's injured for Saturday's tie. Rufus Brevett and Leroy Rosenior have played for both clubs, but that's the extent of my knowledge.

What is your view and the general fulham view of QPR?

I can't lie and say we like you, I'm afraid. In general, you've always been our closest rivals in terms of achievement and that means we view this tie as having a little extra spice. QPR are, of course, a good football club and you'll probably play some decent football under Hughes, but there won't be many of us cheering you on.

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

Adel Taarabt has always struck me as a quality player - sometimes selfish and a tad arrogant - but talented nonetheless. Zamora's good, I can assure you of that.

Any memorable matches between our two clubs that stand out for you? And the reasons why?(not including the 6-0 thrashing this season)

Well seen as I can't include the 6-0 hammering we dealt out in October, I would probably say the time before that. We won 2-0 at the Cottage and followed it up with promotion to the Premier League. We haven't looked back since while you guys were, unfortunately for yourselves, relegated that season.

Your score prediction for QPR v fulham?

I've put down on my site a 2-1 win for us, and I know it's going to be a close encounter. You guys will be up for it and you've added a lot of quality in January. Hughes will look to prove a point but the pertinence of the game will be known by every Fulham player too. Hopefully the Pog will be the difference on the day, and Zamora will miss a sitter or two.

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

The greatest thing we could plausibly achieve is a cup win of some form, because it's been a while. The last trophy we won was the inter-toto cup, and I don't think that really counts. Another European journey like our voyage of 2010 would be nice, and also establishing ourselves as top 6 contenders isn't beyond comprehension. We'll have to wait and see.

How embarrassed, on a scale of 1-10 are fulham supporters of THAT statue

At first I would have said 10, and then went away to weep in a corner. It's pretty tasteless but, at the end of the day, Al Fayed has done so much for Fulham that I wouldn't be bothered if he turned the Johnny Haynes stand into a nightclub and invited Garry Glitter onto the field. It's not classy but it's quirky and I'm not one to bemoan something that Al Fayed has done. He's a great man.

Many thanks to MaudesfishnChips and to Fulham Supporter, Kristian Balkin of http://www.cottagersconfidential.com

No comments: