A dire Kite

So I got my other half and her brother tickets to the Carling Cup final while I watched between my fingers as Fulham did the double over QPR.

As bad decisions go, that’s right up there with the Decca record executive who turned down the chance to sign The Beatles by declaring: “Guitar groups are on the way out.”

Which is exactly where Rangers will be in a few weeks’ time barring a remarkable turnaround in fortunes over the next 12 games.

These include trips to Chelsea and both Manchester clubs, with Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool heading down to Loftus Road. Gulp.

“Pogrebnyak bears a striking resemblance to Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, although he stopped short of shouting out ‘I win for me! For me!'”

One thing’s for sure, if they play anything like they did on Saturday they might as well head back to the Algarve and put the Tiger Cubs out for the remaining games – at least they’d show a bit of spirit.

I didn’t really see the point of this warm-weather training lark – soaking up a few rays before having to readjust to the cold harsh reality of the bleak midwinter.

But then the sun came out on Saturday and I thought maybe Hughes had pulled off a masterstroke. Sadly, as in the reverse fixture, it only shone on Fulham.

So what exactly did they work on in their week away?

I’m guessing when the ‘How To Play At Least One Half With The Full Complement Of XI Players’ lesson was held, Samba Diakite must have nodded off.

His approach to tackling is akin to watching Devon White in a china shop, clattering into everything – and after misdemeanour number four (or was it five?) everyone in the ground knew he was a red card waiting to happen.

Everyone it seems except for Hughes, who later conceded it might be quite handy to keep all of his players on the pitch.

Although after his little playground spat with Martin Jol, he must be adopting the mantra ‘Do as I say and not as I do’.

The Malian international’s early bath duly came on 33 minutes and the only thing the fans around me found harder to comprehend was how to pronounce his name.

The QPR boss lost his new 'Kite'

My favourite was the traditional British phonetic version – ‘Dye A Kite’ – which would make for a perfect chant to the tune of the Mary Poppins classic – if he ever stays on the pitch long enough to hear it.

Fulham were already 1-0 up when Diakite departed, thanks to their frightening Russian powerhouse Pavel Pogrebnyak, who bears a striking resemblance to Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, although he stopped short of shouting out “I win for me! For me!”

Pogrebnyak was a straight replacement for Bobby Zamora, who was as useful as a one-legged man in an a**e-kicking contest on Saturday after being strangely asked to plough a lone furrow up front.

It was fuel to the fire for the mischievous away support, who chanted “Going down with Bobby and Mark!” – it was hard to disagree.

I’ve never had anything against Fulham – indeed my great Nan used to regale me with her childhood tales of getting let into the last 10 minutes of every home match at Craven Cottage for nothing – but for a while on Saturday night I couldn’t stand the mention of them.

It’s like being cheating on your girlfriend and initially blaming her for dumping you before waking up the next morning and realising it’s not her, it’s you.

The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing – I’d have bought shares in Facebook and supported Barcelona for starters – but I was never in favour of getting rid of Neil Warnock, who rocked up at the Premiere of The Four Year Plan and referred to his old club as ‘we’. Bless.

I’ve got nothing against Hughes but would Uncle Neil have done any worse than four points from five games against teams in the lower reaches of the Premier League?

Would Warnock have fared any worse in recent weeks?

That said, if Cisse had stayed on the pitch against Wolves, if Faurlin wasn’t out for the season, if Helguson hadn’t got injured, if other teams weren’t better than us…

Predictably, a section of QPR fans have decided Joey Barton should carry the can after singling him out for disparaging chants – probably the same fans who were singing “He tweets what he wants!” a couple of weeks back.

Yes, Barton was wrong to bawl out Warnock and hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since his arrival, but then neither has Shaun Wright-Phillips, who my cousin calls ‘Shaun-ohhh’ because every time he picks the ball up all you hear around you is “Go on Shaun…ohhh.”

SWP’s old club Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 3-0 trouncing of Bolton but the axe continues to hang over Andre-Villas Boas, with the press stoking things up by suggesting Jose Mourinho was house-hunting in London.

He has also been linked with the Spurs job should Harry Redknapp become England boss and I for one hope that’s where he ends up. I like Mourinho and it never sits comfortably with me when I’m fond of the Chelsea manager.

As for Brentford, the 4-0 walloping of Carlisle, which saw two brilliant debut goals from teenager Saido Berahino was followed by a dour 0-0 draw at Scunthorpe – summed up by one fan who said: “Better than a kick in the nuts…but just as bad as a kick up the a**e.”

And finally, out of curiosity I had a flick through the new Sun on Sunday last weekend and found this brilliant insight on the back page: “Samba Diakite’s sending off was QPR’s fifth red card at home this season. And it begs the question…have the Super Hoops got a discipline problem?”

Answers on a postcard please.

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