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The QPR question

Norwich deserve to go up - and so do QPR's players

Peter Beagrie - Peter Beagrie Posted 4th May 2011 view comments

It was a tale of two Cities. Cardiff and Norwich were united by a shared dream of automatic promotion to the Promised Land. That's how make-or-break Monday began.

Both sides were in fine form and separated by a solitary point. Norwich had the slight advantage but on paper the toughest fixture with almost everybody expecting both teams' fates to be decided only after their respective final fixtures.

QPR fans: will their celebrations be cut short?

QPR fans: will their celebrations be cut short?

Even with Middlesbrough's recent fine form (one loss in 11), nobody could have predicted that they would be three goals up by half-time at the Cardiff City Stadium. The usually reliable Cardiff defence played like strangers and gifted Boro those three goals in just 21 minutes.

That left the Bluebirds fans clinging to the hope that Pompey could halt the Norwich Express, but the Canaries, fearless all season, produced a performance of real quality and maturity.

Yet a faux pas of huge proportions has taken the gloss off what should have been a week of celebrations for the QPR players and fans who remain blameless in all of this - and yet as usual are the ones to suffer most.

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In essence it was the perfect away performance. They were solid in defence, imaginative and mobile in midfield with two strikers whose hunger for work was only matched by their hunger for goals.

One goal of real quality decided the outcome. It came from a flowing move and ended with man-of-the-moment Simeon Jackson diving headlong to get on the end of David Fox's pinpoint cross and scoring at the near post.

This was another tremendous team performance with the players working incredibly hard for each other. But it would be wrong to suggest that hard work and team spirit alone have enabled Norwich to succeed where many more so-called bigger and more-talented squads have failed.

They have some great individuals such as inspirational captain Grant Holt, the wonderfully creative Wes Hoolahan and two flying full backs in Russell Martin and Marc Tierney - all galvanised by the belief their manager Paul Lambert has instilled in them and the benefit of no big egos.

This is now a time of justified celebration for the Norfolk outfit and let's be honest, if you're going to have a party of huge proportions who better to do the catering than Delia Smith herself?

With the club struggling for investment, the joint majority shareholder wrote a couple more books to help fund the Canaries' dreams of once more rubbing shoulders with the elite. She has proved once again she knows the recipe for success.

Lambert has tasted success as a player both home and abroad with a Champions League medal to boot. He has served his football manager's apprenticeship from Livingstone to Wycombe and Norwich via Colchester and has certainly played a starring role in this fantastic fairytale.

Cardiff will have no time to feel sorry for themselves. They have the individuals, star turns and also the egos, but now need to find the spirit and togetherness to help them navigate their way through the lottery of the play-offs.

What price a Cardiff v Swansea final? Probably the same odds as a Reading v Nottingham v Forest final (Billy Davies' side will surely be in the mix unless a minor miracle happens for Leeds this weekend). That's how hard to call it is.

Faurlin fiasco

This is all assuming that the QPR fiasco has no bearing on the final positions. You couldn't make up this situation because the whole thing is stranger than fiction.

The Championship winners face the possibility of a points deduction following the outcome of an investigation into the signing of Alejandro Faurlín, but remember, the powers-that-be sanctioned the move at the time, accepting all the paperwork was in order and above board.

So why hasn't it been sorted out before now?

My understanding is that all QPR are guilty of is overstating in the media the fee paid for the player; an action that clubs sometimes do to make it appear to their fans that they are being proactive, ambitious and willing to spend.

This false bravado, bragging, call it what you will, seems to have backfired with the question now being asked by the authorities: if that was the fee then where has all the money gone?

There are several other minor issues to be taken into consideration, but I think it should be pointed out that they haven't signed Lionel Messi here. Faurlin has been a steady performer, but there were no other clubs vying for his signature and he has hardly made the difference between winning and losing the Championship.

Yet a faux pas of huge proportions has taken the gloss off what should have been a week of celebrations for the QPR players and fans who remain blameless in all of this - and yet as usual are the ones to suffer most.

This situation has been far too protracted and long-winded and risks disrupting the play-off schedule if QPR decide to appeal the verdict, which is likely to be delivered on Friday.

My thinking is that the powers-that-be may decide on a financial penalty - or a financial penalty plus a points deduction that would not deny QPR promotion. They may have to play the final game knowing that the title may still go to Norwich, but I do not see them missing out on automatic promotion.

That would satisfy some people, but not all of them. However, if the facts are what I understand them to be then that would be the fairest thing.

Best of the month

It would be amiss of us not to congratulate the teams that have earned promotion and secured their play-off places in the other divisions.

We have already praised Brighton, but congratulations are now due to Southampton who will join them in the Championship next year. Huddersfield, Peterborough, MK Dons and Bournemouth will contest the play-offs.

We know that Bury and Chesterfield are going up from League Two, but the other automatic spot - and the play-off places will only be confirmed after the final round of matches.

Finally, the nominees for the Player of the Month and Manager of the Month awards for April have been announced. Look over the contenders below and let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.

Have the panel made the right choices? Is there somebody from YOUR club who should have been on this list?

Championship Player of the Month (April):
Simeon Jackson (Norwich)
Marlon King (Coventry)
Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough)
Aiyegbeni Yakubu (Leicester)

PETER'S PICK: Simeon Jackson
After going 20+ games without a goal Simeon produced a show of true marksmanship in the month of April bagging eight goals in six games including two hat-tricks. That was to become seven in nine as he scored what was to be his 13th and most important goal of his season / career sending Norwich to the PL. That being Promised Land or Premier League - for Norwich they are one and the same.

Championship Manager of the Month (April):
Kenny Jackett (Millwall)
Dave Jones (Cardiff)
Paul Lambert (Norwich)
Brian McDermott (Reading)

League One Player of the Month (April):
Ashley Barnes (Barnes)
Danny Ings (Bournemouth)
Craig Mackail-Smith (Peterborough)
Neil Mellor (Sheff Wed)

PETER'S PICK: Neil Mellor
The end of March saw Sheffield Wednesday hovering above the relegation zone in 17th position in League One. Mellor, on loan from League One-bound Preston, contributed six goals in April which saw a solitary defeat in seven and helped navigate Wednesday 11 points instead of four points away from the bottom three.

League One Manager of the Month (April):
Nigel Adkins (Southampton)
Lee Clark (Huddersfield)
Gary Megson (Sheffield Wednesday)
Paul Tisdale (Exeter City)

League Two Player of the Month (April):
Stuart Fleetwood (Hereford)
Ashley Grimes (Lincoln)
Byron Harrison (Stevenage)
Ryan Lowe (Bury)

Captain Ryan Lowe's performances and goalscoring prowess have been there for all to see this season. With 27 league goals and 28 in all competitions, he has led from the front. The much-travelled hit-man's four goals and leadership qualities helped Bury's caretaker manager Ritchie Barker finish off the job Alan Knill started, securing the Shakers automatic promotion.

League Two Manager of the Month (April):
Richie Barker (Bury)
John Coleman (Accrington Stanley)
Graham Turner (Shrewsbury)
Gary Waddock (Wycombe)

Comments (59)

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Dave Kelly (Wigan Athletic fan) says...

can anybody tell me what is the difference in what QPR have done? compared with what West Ham did with Tevez etc, bearing in mind what that apears to have cost Shef Utd. Advice to QPR sign an high profile ex international player onto youre board of directors.

Posted 09:43 6th May 2011

John Thornton (Swansea City fan) says...

The argument that QPR deserve to go up is irrelevant. Hartlepool got docked 3 points for an innocent clerical error leading to the fielding of an ineligable player. As mentioned above so have Hereford and Torquay. There must be consistency in the decision. He was not eligable to play up until January of this year so the only fair punishment should be a 46 points deduction. A huge fine would have no impact on QPR. Rules are there for a reason and should be followed regardless of wealth or style of football or even if my one year old son said goal as his first words in a 4-1 win.

Posted 22:29 5th May 2011

Paul Nathan geary (Nottingham Forest fan) says...

The only solution that preserves the integrity of the League competition in the event of a guilty verdict for a serious breach of the rules is for QPR to be crowned Champions but declined an invitation to join the Premiership. The clubs in the play off positions after this weekend should then play off for two promotion places, either over two legs or as two single ties at Wembley or Millennium Stadium if the two Welsh clubs draw each other. Any other verdict involving a gerrymandering of the final points total is grossly unfair on the other 23 clubs, their fans and sponsors who have competed over the season and paid their money in good faith. Lets us hope that the FA for once put the interests of the innocent parties first and repay their good faith, rather than bring this years competition into disrepute by making an arbitrary. points adjustment that fudges the issue and changes the final standings of those clubs who qualify for the play off places after 46 matches.

Posted 22:14 5th May 2011

Lenny Henry (Nottingham Forest fan) says...

If their is an issue with points deduction, Why not let them be promoted and put the deduction on at the start of next season?? Warnock went nuts when at sheff utd when west ham had the whole tevez affair and wanted them relegated.. Amazing how now he is involved in a club doing it he says nothings been done wrong.. gotta love the man lol

Posted 21:01 5th May 2011

Jeff Mccullagh (Queens Park Rangers fan) says...

firstly can i thank all the good well wishers , well done to norwich on an excellent season . secondly all you people who say dock em points throw the book at em , we have been charged yes but that doesnt make us guilty of anything. have you actually taken time to read into the case in depth and all the aspects of it , i doubt it. and all you cardiff fans who are saying we should be shot . could you only be doing this cos youre in 3rd place and its a bit of sour grapes . anyway the case will now be decided after friday , we will be lifting the cup at loftus rd on saturday and this only says one thing CHAMPIONS, if the fa were going to dock us points they would not allow us to do this or a law suit would be on the cards . INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

Posted 20:50 5th May 2011

Nick Martin (Queens Park Rangers fan) says...

there seems to be a lot of sour grapes from play off teams & chelsea now theres a shock ! we (QPR) fully deserve our place in the prem so cardiff & chelsea (who tapped up ashley cole) deal with it....

Posted 20:19 5th May 2011

Andrew Hadley (Cardiff City fan) says...

I am a cardiff city fan and whilst we have thrown away our opportunity of automatic promotion, gaining it at the expense of another team being punished would leave a bitter taste but rules are there for a reason. The rest of the clubs have played by the rules with the exception of Hereford and Torquay and they were duly punished, so why should QPR not be punished? I quite agree with Daniel Foster who said that they should be docked every point they earned for each game that Faurlin played in. Its tough but if its not stopped now then lets just ignore all the rules and then see what happens to the 'Beautiful Game'

Posted 19:44 5th May 2011

Ian Johnstone (Ipswich Town fan) says...

How would a financial penalty be any punishment at all, when their breach of the rules has got them promoted to the premiership and around £40+ as well as parachute payments if they are relegated, thereby putting them on an even better financial footing than the rest of the clubs in the championship

Posted 19:06 5th May 2011

Daniel Mceniry (Queens Park Rangers fan) says...

I think we should be given our top flyte status as we won the league well we were top from day one and there is noone more deserving then the QPR fans after watching years of rubbish this is our year and it would not be fair to lose it because of the men upstairs its the fans and players who will be effected by this would norwich want to be champs when they haveny earned it u R'S

Posted 19:00 5th May 2011

Del Wright (Queens Park Rangers fan) says...

Funny how many Cardiff fans are having a moan isnt it? If QPR get found guilty, then whatever way it goes, we will take the punishment. It still doesnt cgnage the fact that we were / are the best team over the whole season, been top since November and won it outright. Cardiff moaners.....turn your heads and look at yourselves :) 3 down after 20 minutes in a make or break game at home?? You dont and never have done this season ever deserved to go up...rofl

Posted 18:50 5th May 2011

Ricky Thompson (Liverpool fan) says...

Some comments on here are funny... Cardiff & Leeds fans saying they should deduct maybe because Cardiff will then get 2nd ? lol .... Leeds even if they lose 15 points you aint getting in play-offs so better luck next year LOL... Norwich fans will not want it because if QPR do and Norwich get title well lets just say people will know that the title doesnt belong to them i believe a fine would do and if you want points off then let them start premier league on -15 lol :)

Posted 16:41 5th May 2011

Andy Pike (Queens Park Rangers fan) says...

Has anyone considered the possibility that after the enquiry there will be no points deduction and no fine because the Rangers are innocent of all charges. God, some of the people on here would make terrible jurors if they based their decison on the charge rather than the evidence. Lets wait and see (and pray) that there is no case to answer.

Posted 16:28 5th May 2011

Jon Vickers (Leeds United fan) says...

Throw the book at QPR. As far as im concerned, why shouldn't they be punished?! As a leeds fan i recall we were docked 10 points, which relegated us to league 1, and were slapped with a subsequent 15 point deduction the following season. QPR, you broke the rules, you deserve what is coming to you no matter how well you have played this season. MOT

Posted 16:23 5th May 2011

Nat Moleski (Queens Park Rangers fan) says...

To all you pessimists ready to give judgment before the fa have given judgment on any facts (not presumptions of others) "It aint over till the fat lady sings" lets just wait and see as we all know we have had a blinding season!

Posted 15:45 5th May 2011

Chris Mcnally (Leeds United fan) says...

Nobody moaned when Leeds were deducted 15 points which cost them promotion a couple of seasons ago.... If they've broken the rules they they should whatever penalty is deemed appropriate, its irrelevant that they have already won the league.

Posted 15:27 5th May 2011

Steve Williams (Cardiff City fan) says...

QPR should be docked points, simple. They have boken FA rules and a fine will do nothing in penalising them as the owner could pay a fine from the money from under his matress !. The guy is a crook, he was found guilty in the F1 saga and now this. If they dont get points deducted a new precedent will be made basically saying if you cheat your ok, we wont dock you points. Feel sorry for the likes of Luton who got spanked twice with points deduction. When the Tevez saga blew up I remember Warnock saying 'they should be docked points', now he says 'oh no dont dock points it's not fair' (soon changed his tune has'nt he) My opinion is not becasue I support Cardiff, we blew our chance ourselves simple. I do wonder though if it was a welsh club in the same situationas QPR would we get away with it. I think we all know the answer to that one :-)

Posted 14:32 5th May 2011

Oli Monks (Middlesbrough fan) says...

I think with the fine form that you mentioned, Tony Mowbray warrented a nomination for Manager of the Month, considering that he's used nearly the same team that slumped under Strachan. Looks promising for next season though! Glad to see Norwich get promoted and despite the last result, would love to see Cardiff go up too, they have been up there consistently and deserve more than most, a chance in the Premier League. As for the QPR situation, it's appalling. The timing of the decision has been so late it leaves the practical implication of whether to stop QPR being promoted or not. If this had been sorted at the start of the season or even at the beginning of the year, it would still leave a large number of games for QPR to recover their position and give them some sort of control over the situation. I'm expecting a points deduction but I really hope it doesn't stop QPR from being promoted, what a farce that would be.

Posted 14:04 5th May 2011

Craig Buller (Swansea City fan) says...

Congratulations Norwich on promotion , james leeds fan I agree fully with the points deduction but as for the season leeds were deducted 15 points I think you will find we still would have finished above you by a point .Any way wembley here we come "jack army"

Posted 13:29 5th May 2011

Lee Austin (Queens Park Rangers fan) says...

Being a Rangers fan and playing for there youth team as a kid i am disapointed in some of the comments posted ok we may have broken the rules to do with this player but at the end of the day all he wanted to do was play for us he and Warnock are not the problem its our club and there agents we all know that agents act different when they come from South America i only hope the FA are lieniant with us p.s lets hope the BAGGIES get relegated next season

Posted 13:16 5th May 2011

Alison Shanahan (Queens Park Rangers fan) says...

This is to ALL football fans - whoever you support - we ALL feel the passion and what we are going through this week at QPR is absolute torture - and unfair on the fans. we have waited so long for this - let us start the party, please. Week after week my young son stood freezing on the terraces watching QPR defeats, over the past 3 years, but never giving up hope. Please FA, don't break our hearts.

Posted 13:11 5th May 2011

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