Transfer window madness

The silly season is upon us – and at Loftus Road it’s positively bonkers.

For the past few days, QPR have single-handedly kept Sky Sports News in stories.

Reports suggest their hardy reporter has abandoned the idea of commuting in from their HQ near Heathrow every time a Rangers story breaks and is currently holed up in a two-up two-down on the Uxbridge Road, ready to dash down at a moment’s notice.

Never mind the Four-Year Plan, the four-week version is providing enough tittle-tattle to keep Dot Cotton going until Christmas.

First we had the sacking of Neil Warnock, which had everyone raising their eyebrows apart from the man himself, who’s still searching for his.

 “If I never hear the words ‘howay, man and pet’ in the same sentence again it will be too soon.”

The tears had barely dried when Mark Hughes was unveiled as his successor – and then the real fun began.

Tabloid football journalists have long been renowned for doing a lucky dip with players and teams – cobbling together a story about the first pair they pick out.

In Rangers’ case they don’t need to bother.

Granted, the Carlos Tevez suggestion may have been a little fanciful, but in the past week alone QPR are said to have been interested in (deep breath) Chris Samba, Andy Johnson, Alex, Nedum Onuoha, Bobby Zamora, Wayne Bridge, Niko Kranjcar, Henrique and Taye Taiwo.

The last time I saw that many links, Mr T was wearing them around his neck. It’s a good job transfer deadline supremo Jim White has already gone grey.

As if that wasn’t enough to be going on with, there was also the small matter of the FA Cup replay against Milton Keynes Dons – or ‘McDons’ as my little girl likes to phonetically call them.

Don’t laugh – it’s only a matter of time before they colonise Scotland – be afraid, Dons of Aberdeen, be very afraid.

The magic of the Cup always throws up a major upset where the underdog has its day and this year was no different as unfancied QPR somehow scraped home for a first triumph in the competition since 2001, when Tony Blair was still in his first term as prime minister and Hear’say were the biggest band in Britain.

Danny Gabbidon scored his first goal for seven years to silence the MK Dons, who regaled the home crowd with their hilarious rendition of “Sit down or we’ll steal your club.”

I was a little disappointed the R’s faithful didn’t respond with that Leeds classic from a few years back: “Who did you support before?”

The 1-0 win, setting up the small matter of a fourth-round tie with Chelsea (more on that next week) came three days after Rangers lost by the same score up in freezing Newcastle.

While QPR fans were sensibly dressed like Scott of the Antarctic, some of their Geordie counterparts looked as though they were heading for the beach.

For my sins, I was sat with my Magpie mate in the midst of the Toon Army – and if I never hear the words ‘howay, man and pet’ in the same sentence again it will be too soon.

Although fair play to them for the chant to Hughes at the final whistle: “You’re getting sacked in the morning!”

Just to top the week off, Warnock raised his head above the parapet to have a thinly-veiled swipe at Tony Fernandes, Joey Barton and the tweeting culture within the club.

Sparky’s mate Martin.

It seemed a little odd to suddenly start having a pop now after he had exited with such good grace…until I suddenly remembered how many working days it takes for a redundancy cheque to clear.

Meanwhile, the name Mark Hughes was popping up in so many places I half expected him to score for Barnet in an unlikely 3-0 win at in-form Accrington and blow me down, that’s exactly what happened.

Fulham boss Martin Jol certainly had plenty to say about his predecessor, snapping: “If you look at all the clubs he has managed, it has been two years at most.” (Apart from the five years he had with Wales and the four-year stint at Blackburn.)

Fulham’s topsy-turvy season continued as a 4-0 demolition of Charlton in the Cup was followed by a 2-1 reverse to 10-man Blackburn, but neighbours Chelsea had better fortune as they consolidated fourth place with a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

Fernando Torres was an inch away from scoring the goal of the season when his acrobatic volley cannoned off the bar to the grateful Frank Lampard, who gobbled up the chance like the fried breakfasts he used to put away in his youth.

He might not have got the goal he craves, but Torres looks to have finally rediscovered his best form just in time for that little FA Cup encounter next week – oh joy.

But we’ll leave the last word to Brentford fans on the Griffin Park Grapevine forum, who were asked to give their highlights of the 0-0 shocker with Walsall.

‘Greenholme Bee’ wrote: “Staying at home watching the darts”, while ‘nocoat’ added: “Bringing my son. My life has been ruined by BFC and it is nice to be able to destroy his as well.”

And a happy new year to you too.

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