Braced for the drop

“I’m so unlucky, if I fell in a bucket of boobs I’d come out sucking my own thumb!” One of Ian Holloway’s favourite pearls of wisdom during his tenure at Loftus Road.

Not a lot, it seems, has changed.

My initial reaction on seeing Clint Hill’s bullet header against Bolton was there was enough room to drive a double-decker bus in the gap between ball and line.

After watching several TV replays, I revised my estimate to a small family saloon.

Roberto Di Matteo jumped around like a toddler with a sugar rush, hugging every player in sight – a move clearly not appreciated by some.

Admittedly you could make no case for the defence as Darren Pratley went up the other end to nod Bolton ahead after finding himself in more space than the Starship Enterprise.

And yes, Djibril Cisse was offside for his equaliser, while Rangers showed no urgency in their quest for a winner until Akos Buzsaky and Jamie Mackie were inexplicably brought on with just 10 minutes to go.

But if linesman Bob Pollock (it’s what spoonerism was invented for) had been watching the goal-line instead of wondering what he was having for his tea (and he looks like he’s had a few dinners, does Bob), the game could have finished so differently.

The reality, though, is that QPR have simply not been good enough this season – and with six of their last 10 games against the top six, they look destined for a quick return to the Championship, much to the delight of posters on Norwich and Swansea messageboards.

I can understand their schadenfreude, with both tipped by just about everyone to go down at the beginning of the season, while big-spending QPR didn’t even make the frame.

But it still hurts that my club – who once upon a time seemed to be everyone’s favourite second side – are now despised by many because of their flash signings and propensity to go through managers like water. There is more to life than success.

Not that I’m particularly relishing the thought of relegation either. After 15 long years bouncing around the second and third tiers it would have been nice to hang around for at least another season –as miserable as this one has been.

There are some schools of thought suggesting it would be good to go down to the Championship, relive the glory days of last season’s successful campaign and duly win a second title in three years, without the added complication of an FA inquiry this time.

Watch this man take Leeds up.

There are two words that could scupper that plan – Neil Warnock. If he doesn’t get Leeds up this season (and I wouldn’t back against it) I reckon they’ll be champions come May 2013.

Throw Leicester, a couple of the teams that don’t go up this year and the other relegated teams into the mix and it might be a tough ask for some of the pampered ‘superstars’. Barnsley on a Tuesday night, anyone?

And if Warnock does take Leeds up this season, you just know he’ll come-a-calling for some of his old favourites – although possibly not Joey Barton.

The skipper sounds like he’d welcome a move from the Smoke, mind you, after squatters invaded his gaff. “ Barton tweeted: “What’s with this London place, no one squats up north. You’d get t******d for even trying that s***.”

Of course the real reason no one squats up north is because you can comfortably buy your own place for the price of a round down here (more of that later).

The only saving grace in Rangers’ gruesome run in is that they traditionally tend to raise their game against the bigger teams.

While my head says we’re going down faster than Adele’s waistline, my heart is instructing me to salute magpies and dive into the path of oncoming black cats…just in case.

As if things couldn’t get any worse after the Bolton game there were reports of a ding-dong between QPR players and fans arriving at Euston Station.

Piecing together information from various reports it seems one particular clown was salivating at the mouth and trying to have a pop at Jamie Mackie – the one player who in Kevin Keegan speak always gives a million per cent.

Incidentally the description of the main aggressor was “middle-aged, probably in his 40s, with short brown hair” – and yes I can account for my whereabouts at the time.

The incident was witnessed by Stoke players about to board the train on the opposite platform after a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.

Ivanovic fired in Chelsea's winner.
Chelsea's hero of the hour.

It was a far from convincing performance from the Blues given that Stoke were down to 10 men for the majority of the game after Ricardo Fuller’s horrific stamp on Branislav Ivanovic.

But the big Serb personified the phrase ‘No pain, no gain’ when three days later he popped up with the winner to secure an astonishing 5-4 aggregate win for Chelsea over Napoli in the Champions League after they had looked dead and buried.

Interim manager Roberto Di Matteo jumped around like a toddler with a sugar rush, hugging every player in sight – a move clearly not appreciated by some.

Indeed, Fernando Torres’ reaction looked like he’d been transported back to his childhood when his blousy auntie with the cheap-smelling scent attempted to plant a smacker on him.

If Chelsea beat Benfica in the last eight, the chances are they will have to get past Barcelona for a place in the final. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Elsewhere in west London, Fulham’s recent good run came to an end at Aston Villa, where they were punished for failing to turn their superiority into goals as Andreas Weimann (me neither) struck a late winner.

And there was more doom and gloom for Brentford as Sheffield United won the battle of the red and white stripes – an experience not enjoyed by ‘Ruislip Rich’ on the Griffin Park Grapevine forum.

He wrote: “Heard some northern muppet say ‘£10. 40 for a round… these bloomin London prices’. He was sporting a gold hoop earring and a tash. I don’t like Brentford being invaded by the 1980s.”

But his mood changed a little later when he added: “Just got back to my local, The Bell in Ruislip. All the QP-hah supporters telling me how (rubbish) they are and they’re going down. Priceless. It’s cheered me right up!”

You can go off some people.

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