If I can start by taking you back briefly to the 24th May 2014 Championship Playoff Final which is not a hardship for any Queens Park Rangers supporter.
We had a team of fringe premiership football players who had all grantededly played far too much football in what was a notoriously gruelling championship season.
However, as the infamous Joey Barton quipped at this stage of the season many-a-times “We find a way” and that they did, non so more prominent then against Derby County at Wembley on that momentous day.
Most if not everyone in that stadium would agree that Derby County thoroughly deserved victory…which draws me onto the point of this article.
FFP…those dreaded intials that usually mean only one thing and that being the death and demise of what would seemingly be badly run football clubs.
There are too many factors that overide the above mentioned formality of “badly run” football clubs and it appears the football league and now premiership focus on different aspects from case to case.
As we now see Derby County are being sanctioned and fined in a whole manner of different ways which hardly seems fair, just or appropriate in a Covid new world.
FFP is real kids and it kills football clubs.
Stringing this conversation along i find a new comfort and grace in the form of the new strategy formed by the directors and board at Queens Park Rangers. Les Ferdinand and Co. have formed a new era at the club by stripping back an ever growing wage bill and lowering the focus of attention to U23 players who have either been allowed to leave their parent club or have been allowed to walk into the wilderness that is the giant hole of European Football.
This brings us to focus on the current QPR squad and in particular Chris Willock.
Willock has displayed all the hallmarks of a creative and speedie winger ever since he first pulled the Blue and White jersey on, however this season we have witnessed a transformation into not only provider but match winner.
Its been a long journey for Willock beginning his young career in the formidable Arsenal youth set up and then signing pro papers with the same club in 2016.
Here’s where the fun begins or more so the education…
Shipped off to the incredible and mesmeric academy of Benfica, Willock found himself plying his trade as a young English footballer in the Portugal Liga 2 making an impression with over 60 games for the Portuguese giants and chipping in with 14 goals. This form earned him the attention of the English Championship with one null and void season at West Brom and a decent season with a young vibrant Huddersfield Town playing 14 games and hitting the back of the net on 2 ocassions.
Roll forward the Les Ferdinand and Co. era at Loftus Road…
Willock signed in 2020 and immediately showed signs of becoming a decent young and talented player, but nothing could prepare us for what followed in the 2021/22 season.
Our young squad have defied all expectations this year and Willock has spearheaded the assault. With 6 goals and 9 assists thus far Willock has exceeded expectations and found himself to be one of the Championships top performers. Not to mention some phenomenal strikes against a Blackpool, Luton and Derby.
Yes the board wanted us to move forward and yes the fans wanted to see a continued improvement from what was an exremely impressive run of results since Charlie Austin signed on the dotted line, but did we truly expect this?
Team unity and performances that have far outreached our expectation, we currently sit 2 points off the automatic promotion places with 1 game in hand…
Playoffs or Automatic…with a player of the grace of Willock on the field theres always a way.