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The Queens Men

Started on 25 November 2014 by Andre11
Latest Reply on 29 November 2014 by Andre11
  • POSTS13
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I arrived at the training ground an hour and a half before my first session was due to commence. Tony Fernandes greeted me at the reception of the Imperial College Sports Ground, where the club's training is based, and led me to the staff lounge.

"Andre," he said, leading me into the lounge where twenty or so faces stared right at me, "this is the team you'll be working with to get the best out of the players. I'll leave you to introduce yourself properly."

"Well," I began, "I already know the majority of you from my time with the youth squad, so I'll cut to it. I've seen the team train and play matches before, but never in the role I'm in now so I'm eager for you all to voice your opinions and concerns to me directly. I'm sure you will have all noticed that there are three obvious absentees this morning: Joe Jordan, Glenn Hoddle and Kevin Bond. Joe and Kevin both terminated their contracts to leave with Redknapp while Glenn left the club under my consultation as I felt his heart wasn't into the challenge."

"And who are these three then?" Asked Steve Gallen, whom I worked closely with in the youth set-up.

"I'd like you all to welcome Dan Micciche, Ross Eames and Jeremy Steele to the group. Dan has previously worked in non-league football and with MK Dons, and will help with the technical training. The players have been far too sloppy on the ball this season, and Dan will look to iron out any recurring issues."

"Jeremy has worked at Barnet and Stoke, and comes directly to us from Brentford. He's very good at working individually with players and will look to motivate them even in the toughest of times."

"Ross has arrived from Barnet and will be my assistant. He's progressed gradually from an U18's coach to an U18's manager and now here, to us," I continued, "he's proven to be versatile and understands every aspect of the game to a high level."

I discussed with the coaching staff what I wanted to achieve by Sunday lunch time when we faced Aston Villa.

As the players arrived for training, I chatted with each for a short time. I wasn't interested in their personal lives today. Today was about casting my eye over the talent, or lack thereof, available for selection. There was three days between now and Sunday, and I was going to work the players hard. Today, for the players at least, was a boring yet strenuous day. Basic stretches, runs and defending/attacking exercises lay in wait this morning. On the afternoon, they would be split into five teams of four and one team of three and made to face off against each other in a group competition.

It was time to get to work.
Really good start!
J_Skinna_39: Thank you! :)
"Thank you for joining us this morning here at Loftus Road," Tony Fernandes declared. "It is with great pleasure that I'm able to announce the appointment of Andre Chapman."

"In Andre, I am confident that we have identified and hired the best man for the job. He has a lot of experience within the club and knows the players very well. Andre is very passionate and committed to his philosophy and has the perfect attitude to keep this club in the Barclays Premier League."

"First of all I'd like to thank you all for being here today," I began, "it's a very proud day for me and I'm extremely excited to get things underway. I'm confident in my ability to get the team playing good football which will propel us out of the relegation zone."

"Any questions?" Asked the press officer.

"Colin Luke, Sky Sports News. Some managers are famous for their hands-on approach, while others maintain a more reserved manner with their players," said one reporter, "How do you see your management style? With no previous managerial experience, we in the press have little go to off. Could you give us some insight?"

"I think it's important to find a balance between being hands-on in training but also being observant," I replied. "Sometimes it is good to sit down individually with a player and talk through their game with them, whilst other times it is best to have a quick chat as a team. Every player has different requirements and confidence levels and it's important to tailor the treatment to each player. They're all aware that my door is open at any time for them to come in and have a chat should they feel it's necessary."

"Jody Willis, BBC London. We're led to believe that you held your first training session with the team around this time yesterday," she continued, "so now that you've officially started the job - do you feel the weight of expectations? Do you actually believe the team is capable of climbing out of the relegation zone?"

"Our training session yesterday only reiterated my belief that this team is more than capable of staying in this division," I replied. "All of the players worked very hard in what was a tough day. The Chairman here is, similarly to me, an ambitious man and feels a push up the table isn't unrealistic. Myself, the staff and the players will focus on one game at a time. We're not focused on who we're playing next month - the priority is getting it right this weekend to repay the fans for their unwithering support."

"Ben Smith, The Guardian. What sort of football do you intend to play come Sunday? What formation should we expect?" Asked another reporter.

"I'm not going to divulge any information which will help Aston Villa but I can promise the fans that we'll play positive football," I replied, "and we'll certainly be looking to pick up the three points. First and foremost, the team haven't been moving the ball fast enough in advanced positions in the previous games to have an effect so that's something we'll be looking to improve on, but it's also important that we keep it tight at the back as Aston Villa have nothing to lose going into the game."

After just a few more questions, Fernandes and the press officer agreed that was enough for the day.
The day has arrived and I cannot wait for the action to begin.

Today we play the 15th league game of the season. We started the weekend bottom of the table with just 6 points. Sunderland, Stoke and Aston Villa, today's opponents, were level on 9 points. Sunderland lost and Stoke drew. We had an opportunity to level ourselves with Sunderland and Aston Villa.

For me, today is simple: we need to pick up three points.

There is just one minor concern, however. In the three games previous to my appointment, the team had conceded a confidence shattering 23 goals. A 9-0 defeat to Chelsea was followed by a 6-0 loss to Liverpool. Manchester United added to the misery with an 8-2 pummeling at Old Trafford. I suppose we at least managed to score two.

The attendance is predicted to be the lowest of the season. A combination of Sky televising the match and the fans altogether losing confidence has ensured the ticket office had a quiet week.

It's mild within the confines of the small stadium, yet all I can feel is the pressure of expectancy building as kick-off looms. The crowd that have attended are generating an incredible, if not a little intimidating, atmosphere.

We're in need of a win to kick start our season and show our rivals that we will fight endlessly to secure our place in the division. My team selection may raise an eyebrow or two, but I've chosen a strong side capable of securing the victory.

QPR: Alex McCarthy, Mauricio Isla, Nedum Onuoha, Steven Caulker, Armand Traore, Sandro, Matt Phillips, Jordon Mutch, Leroy Fer, Eduardo Vargas, Charlie Austin.

Substitutes: Robert Green, Richard Dunne, Rio Ferdinand, Alejandro Faurlin, Niko Kranjcar, Adel Taarabt, Bobby Zamora.

We'll begin the game in a 4-1-4-1 formation which shouldn't leave the defence as exposed as it has been recently. Sandro can provide an extra body at the back when required, while both Fer and Mutch have important defensive roles. Vargas and Phillips will provide an extra layer of protection, although their man priority is to attack.

I'm happy to name Faurlin on the bench today as he is a tidy player, despite picking up just one appearance so far this season. Junior Hoilett and Yun Suk-Young are both players I'd like to have on the bench today, possibly in place of Richard Dunne and Adel Taarabt, but failed pre-match fitness tests. Ferdinand might be a little unhappy to take a place on the bench, but I'm not confident over his ability to keep up with the pace of the league anymore.

***

We start confidently and knock the ball around our opponents with ease. Just 17 minutes in, we get off to a flyer. Isla and Phillips combine well down the right allowing the former to cross dangerously between the 'keeper and defence. Fer nips in to give us the lead and looks to be revelling in the attacking freedom he's been given.

The lead was doubled 6 minutes later when Sandro executed a volley to perfection. Phillips beat two men down the right before cutting the ball back into the path of the Brazilian midfielder.

Despite the two goal half-time advantage, our dominance increases in the second period.

Just as Villa start to come onto us, we cheer in delight as Vargas adds another on 48 minutes. Phillips' shot was parried well by Brad Guzan, the Villa 'keeper, but only for Vargas to convert.

Onuoha extended our lead on 67 minutes by converting a corner which was poorly defended by the visitors. Loftus Road exploded into joy as the caution which had been portrayed by the crowd until now disappeared.

To round things up, Caulker nodded in a corner from Taarabt, whom had replaced Phillips just minutes earlier due to a minor knock.

The final whistle blew and the supporters applauded the players.

Queens Park Rangers 5-0 Aston Villa
Good updates .
"Thanks for taking time out to meet, I know you have a busy schedule," I said as Steve Hitchen, one of the clubs scouts, entered my office.

"Not a problem," he replied. "My report on Newcastle is almost complete."

"I really appreciate your work here at the club, Steve," I said, "but we have to discuss some important business."

"You're not firing me, are you?" He asked, looking increasingly unsettled.

"Of course not," I replied. "I actually asked you here today to offer you a new role at the club. I'm looking to restructure specific parts of the staff at the club and I'm in ongoing negotiations with Nick Cox of Sheffield United to replace Richard Allen as the Head of Youth Development."

"Frank McParland is close to joining as Director of Football, too," I continued. "Ian Butterworth will be leaving the club imminently, and I want you to replace him as Chief Scout. You'll be offered a pay rise, of course, and increased responsibility in recruiting players. I believe that you and I, along with Frank, will make a solid team in recruiting the right players."

"I'm honoured," he said, "but will the other scouts continue in their role as normal?"

"Rob Walker will definitely remain at the club. I've heard he has a great eye for talent and I'm more than willing to give him a chance," I paused. "On the other hand, Kevin Randall's future isn't so certain. I'm not convinced by his ability to judge a player. He'll certainly stay for now, but in the long-term I'm not so sure. Oh, and I've contacted Steve Head from Reading about joining the scouting team, so long as you're willing to accept the role I've offered."

"I'm happy that Rob is staying. Kevin's judgement is admittedly tiring, but can you blame him?" He asked. "And I've not worked with Steve, but I'm sure you've judged him well. How much will my salary increase by?"

"Well, to my understanding, you're earning two thousand a week right now," I paused. "How about an extra five hundred for now? Depending on the clubs financial situation and how well you do, there's certainly a possibility to increase that in the summer."

"That sounds good," we shook hands. "I'm looking forward to proving my worth. I have the utmost respect for you."

"Thanks again for your time, Steve."

"I'm sure my wife will enjoy spending the extra cash," we both laughed as he headed for my office door, before he turned to face me, "And thank you for the opportunity, Andre."
It was our last day of training before we travelled north to face Newcastle.

Alan Pardew's side were certain favourites. They sat comfortably in 8th and had the opportunity to move up one spot ahead of Liverpool if they ended the game victorious. We, on the other hand, could escape the relegation zone if other results went our way. Aston Villa hosted rivals West Brom, Stoke faced Manchester City and Sunderland travelled to London to play Chelsea. All three would have to pick up no more than a point if we hoped to leave the relegation zone this weekend.

Today I planned to focus on our play when we weren't in possession. How our shape should look, who and when should we press, who should do the pressing - that sort of thing. During the week so far, we had worked on our passing, movement and counter attacks. I felt that if we were to get anything from the game, we would have to work just as hard without the ball as we would with the ball.

Newcastle are a good side. Tim Krul is an excellent goalkeeper. He's played 12 league games this season and has kept a clean sheet in half of them. Their defence is a tight unit, with Janmaat and Santon also posing an attacking threat. Sissoko and Anita offer bite in midfield while Gouffran has the pace and power down the right. Cabella is their best technical player, I expect he'll often cut in from the left. De Jong will float behind the striker and run endlessly to provide cover. Facundo Ferreyra boasts an excellent scoring record both back in Argentina and in his first months in England. 6 goals in 12 games means he'll have to be tightly marked tightly throughout.

Steven Taylor and Cheick Tiote are the only two I could see potentially breaking into their starting eleven from last weeks 0-0 draw at Goodison Park.
Like this story mate! I think maybe with a few pictures to break the text up you'd be on to a real gem! keep it up :)
lross: Thank you! Your feedback is appreciated and I'll certainly look to do so.
Newcastle made changes to the side that we weren't expecting.

Steven Taylor and Tiote both broke into the starting eleven, which I predicted, but Pardew had shifted Sissoko onto the right wing. Colback replaced Vurnon Anita in the centre while De Jong replaced Ferreyra as the lone striker. Cabella moved from the left to play just off De Jong, leaving youngster Shane Ferguson to start on the left.

I've selected the same team to start as against Villa, although I've managed to make the changes to the bench I was unable to six days ago.

Queens Park Rangers: Alex McCarthy, Mauricio Isla, Nedum Onuoha, Steven Caulker, Armand Traore, Sandro, Matt Phillips, Jordon Mutch, Leroy Fer, Eduardo Vargas, Charlie Austin.

Substitutes: Robert Green, Rio Ferdinand, Yun Suk-Young, Alejandro Faurlin, Junior Hoilett, Niko Kranjcar, Bobby Zamora.

Leroy Fer was impressive last Sunday and I'm looking at him to have another good game today. He may be required to do a little more defensive work this week, but he's eager to prove his worth after training well all week.

***

Newcastle start the stronger of the two sides, knocking the ball around at the back with 44,000 Geordies cheering them on.

In the 15th minute, Pardew's side up the tempo and begin a swift counter attack. Janmaat sprints down the wing before pulling back to Colback who fakes a shot and plays it forward to De Jong who, with his back to goal, slides the ball through for Cabella. My heart is in my mouth. The Frenchman strikes it cleanly, beating the struggling McCarthy in goal. The base of the post came to our rescue as the ball rebounded out for a goal kick.

Ten minutes before half-time, Phillips was hacked down in the box by Davide Santon. Isla had taken a quick through into the path of the Scottish winger, who beat Santon to the ball and was instantly knocked from his feet. Austin stepped up and I was confident in his ability after his goal against Villa. As the young striker ran up his standing foot gave way, leading to him planting the ball directly into Krul's grateful hands.

At half-time, we make a change. Austin comes off. He looks devastated, but the change wasn't because of the penalty miss. He was poor before that, offering us no out ball when we were under pressure. Vargas moved from the left to up front and Junior Hoilett made his first appearance under my management, coming on to play left wing.

In the 54th minute, we break the deadlock. Mutch and Vargas work a short corner which allows the latter to cross into the front post. Pinball ensued in the penalty area, eventually allowing Hoilett to smash home just nine minutes after coming on.

Our lead was doubled 4 minutes later. Phillips worked the ball well down the right and cut back into the path of Fer. His curling shot was parried by Krul into the path of Vargas who scored his second goal in as many games.

With time running out, Newcastle halved the deficit. A long punt forward from Coloccini is latched onto by substitute striker Ferreyra who strikes the ball beyond an on rushing McCarthy.

A minute later, we cheered as our two goal advantage was restored. Hoilett's corner was nodded in at the near post by Phillips to round off another excellent display by the winger.

As the final whistle sounded, Newcastle fans booed the referee from the field for his penalty decision earlier in the game. I couldn't help but feel they were papering over cracks as they were, to me, beaten by the better side. Maybe I was wearing rose tinted glasses.

Newcastle United 1-3 Queens Park Rangers

When I made it to the dressing room, I looked at the other results to see if we had climbed out of the bottom three:

Aston Villa 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

Stoke City 1-4 Manchester City

Chelsea 2-0 Sunderland

Villa's loss meant we remained in the bottom three for now, albeit on goal difference. Newcastle, on the other hand, dropped to 10th below Leicester and Swansea.

I had just gotten off the phone from a call with Tony Fernandes. Our conversation was as short as Fernandes was stern. I had called to suggest we set up a link with a club, perhaps in Croatia or Belgium, which would help us in signing players who weren't eligible for a Work Permit. Pavel Savitskiy and Humam Tariq were two excellent prospects, yet my hopes of signing them had just been dashed.

The players were told to warm up and that training would start once I appeared outside after my phone call. I grabbed a coffee each for myself and Ross, who was already on the training field, before I headed out.

When I stepped outside into this mild Tuesday morning I could see the players in the distance, appearing to huddle.

As I got closer to the group, it was becoming increasingly clear that the players weren't huddling. My pace gradually quickened until I was sprinting.

Karl Henry was being held back by McCarthy while Joey Barton struggled to escape the grip of Ferdinand.

"What the **** is going on?" I yelled, as the group fell silent.

"He started it," shouted Barton, briefly reminding me of school playground arguments.

"**** off Joey," screamed Henry, "I'll flatten you!"

"Oi!" I interrupted, "both of you, get the **** out of my sight. You'll be gone in January and until then you'll train separate from the squad!"

Why can't anything ever be simple?
An important meeting had been called. Only myself, Tony Fernandes, Director of Football Frank McParland and Chief Scout Steve Hitchen were present.

"We can't afford to let the incident on the training ground slow our progress," I said. "The transfer window opens in a fortnight and we have three games in the next eight days."

"He's right," interjected McParland. "We have a tight budget to stick to which means we'll have to move swiftly."

"I've already made reports on a number of players whose contracts are running out in the summer," replied Hitchen.

"What exactly is our budget?" I quizzed Fernandes.

"We don't have an exact figure," he replied. "We certainly have money to spend, but we have five and a quarter million left to repay on a loan by the end of June. If we could keep our spending to a minimum, we'd benefit in the summer."

"A lot of the big contracts end in the summer," I added, referring to the likes of Zamora and Ferdinand, "and I don't have any intention of renewing them."

"I suggest we focus on loans for now," said McParland. "The only player worth noting on the transfer market is Kyle Naughton and his wage demands may be beyond what we intent to spend. The loan market is full of youngsters looking for a chance."

"It's your choice Andre," said Fernandes. "It comes down to your judgement of the squad."

I took a moment to consider my options.

"Alright," I broke the silence, "we'll focus on loans. I think we have enough about us to stay up and then we can move forward with a healthier budget from there."

"I'll begin preparing reports on players available for loan." Said Hitchen.

"Frank, what progress have we made with Barton and Henry?" I asked.

"They're both in discussions to go for free in January," he replied. "Middlesbrough are in talks with Barton while Henry is close to securing a move to Brentford."

"Good."

I hope that I've made the right decision regarding our transfer strategy. I'm wary that not spending may cost us our place in the division, but Fernandes was right. If we could brave it until summer, our position would be far stronger. As well as the £5.25 million loan being paid off by then, we would have freed up almost £250,000 per week in wages from expiring contracts of players I wanted gone.

If we can move Barton and Henry on in January, we'll save £80,000 per week on wages alone.

You are reading "The Queens Men".

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