THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

18 April ~ Pride Park was where many QPR fans realised that this season was going to be different. As the game entered injury time, Derby were 2-0 up and comfortable. The Rs had offered little while Robbie Savage had kept Adel Taarabt under lock and key. We had won our opening three games but this game was reminding us that we weren't as good as we thought. But then a hopeful long ball resulted in a Pat Agyemang goal and, in the game's final attack, Jamie Mackie powered past two defenders to slam home an equaliser. It was a glorious robbery, a point conjured out of nowhere.

It had little to do with skill and lots to do with the new-found character of QPR under Neil Warnock. We had discovered that knack of getting results even when they haven't been earned. Somehow our unbeaten record had survived; it would be four months and 15 matches before it was broken. It's the return fixture tonight and while Rs fans hope for the win that might just seal promotion, Derby supporters can only look forward to the summer. They hit a bad slump after looking genuine promotion contenders at one point and recent wins over Leeds and Swansea have hinted at what might have been.

Our formidable home record suggests that tonight will be straightforward but, with safety virtually secured, Derby come to Loftus Road without pressure and with plenty of players keen to prove a point. Cardiff, Hull, Watford and Leeds mount up to a tough run-in for QPR; Warnock and his players would dearly like to go into those games with the job done. And then there's QPR's tradition of melting down in front of TV cameras.

If there is, however, to be a major collapse in our fortunes, it is most likely to come in a courtroom rather than on the pitch with the FA having charged the club with various offences relating to the signing of Argentinian midfielder Alejandro Faurlin in 2009. Rangers fans divide into three camps on this issue. Firstly, there are the optimists who are so swept up by euphoria and a belief that "this is our season" that they refuse to believe that we will end up with anything worse than a gentle slap on the wrist. Then there are the pessimists, hardened by years of underachievement and suspicious of how well this year was going. Now they have found their hitch. They talk ominously (and without evidence) about the FA wanting to set an example.

I'm a member of the final group, the "don't-knows". I am fairly sure that we are guilty of something; the FA's investigation appears to have been thorough and chairman Gianni Paladini has a reputation that could be reasonably described as colourful. The decision to delay the judgement until May 6 makes a points deduction seem unlikely. Surely the FA would not want to alter the league table on the day before the final fixtures? Yet the FA has long had its own perverse logic.

I can sympathise with the irritation of some of our rivals as Alejandro Faurlin is a vital player. In addition, I think the FA are right to take a strong line against the unattractive idea of third-party ownership. But here is a huge gulf between a fine and a substantial points deduction. The former is a slight annoyance for wealthy owners while the latter overturns the outcome of a 46-game season. When creating these regulations, the FA failed to be specific enough about when points deductions will apply. Whatever decision they come to will now seem arbitrary. One thing is certain – the lawyers are getting ready for the long-haul. Andy Ryan reversesweptradio

Comments (7)
Comment by cc82 2011-04-18 12:35:26

Are QPR still rich? I honestly forget.

But if they are, won't the FA just slap a load of fines on it?

Evidence for setting an example, btw, comes from UEFA Financial Fair Play and the FA Homegrown Squad rule, two policies designed to, at least, ensure the appearance of solvency.

But QPR can't be made an example of. They come from London. They're rich (I think). FA suits: "kerching"

Comment by pokerboy 2011-04-18 14:53:40

I don't know what the FA could have done about timing given when it was passed on to them by the FL, however, it is now an impossible situation.

If they decide QPR are guilty and deserving of a deduction of points. If it is say, 6 points and they are 10 ahead going into the last game, QPR get away free and the FA look impotent. If they deduct 20 points, going by recent deductions for Hereford and Torquay it will not apply for 28 days while they have right of appeal, by which time the play-offs have been and gone.

If the FA apply it immediately they are looking at a £90 million law suit if they lose a subsequent appeal.

If they don't apply it pending appeal, QPR will be looking at a massive law suit if they fail to win the appeal from the club that finish 3rd.

I think the FA will give a meaningless point deduction to set precedent and a big fine.

Comment by KingTrips29 2011-04-18 16:21:44

Unless the point deduction is applied to whichever division QPR find themselves in next season...in which case it becomes considerably less meaningless.

At least they didn't swear in front of them camera though.

Comment by Lincoln 2011-04-18 17:39:47

I imagine it will be the same as the deduction Palace got for fielding Rui Fonte in the 08/09 season, ie one that doesn't affect anyone's league position.

Comment by lazerock 2011-04-18 22:36:49

Well as it happened, Derby put in a magnificent battling performance and deserved their point. Jones only had one save to make, from Taarabt, whilst Kenny saved the day for the Hoops with his impersonation of Gordon Banks.

Having seen both Rams v QPR games this season, I think it's amazing that Savage managed to keep Taarabt pretty much in his pocket, to the point that the talismanic Moroccan was subbed off both times. Taarabt maybe has to learn a lesson from his venerable nemesis - he might have the fancy feet and the mind of a fantasista, but if he's denied space, he needs to learn the discipline to adapt his game and not throw his toys out of the pram. It will be much, much harder for him to express himself in the Premier League.

I'm sure Rangers will go up and I wish them all the best for next season. As for us, we need to learn to put that level of steely determination and desire in, or damn near to it, every time. If we can do that, we won't be too far away next season.

Cheers,

Ollie
www.derbycountyblog.com

Comment by madmickyf 2011-04-19 04:28:07

As QPR have the money to launch legal action against the FA I doubt they'll get a point deduction. My team, Luton, copped 10 points for a technical breach of the rules which even the FA conceded gave us absolutely no on-field advantage. Mind you, we were in Administration at the time so the FA knew there was no danger of any legal action against them. That's how it works folks.

Comment by madmickyf 2011-05-08 02:07:56

So I was right about the FA. Gutless, corrupt bastards!

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