We were asked by Sean Whetstone of WestHamTillIDie.com to answer some questions ahead of Sunday’s clash…
What do Hoops fans make of former Hammer Harry Redknapp as your manager? Does his past bother you? Can he keep you up this season?
I’m not sure if the Rangers support has ever truly warmed to Harry. He did a terrific job clearing out and pulling together a poisonous dressing room after our last relegation. Yet the football has been turgid throughout the promotion season (and remains so). Everyone knows Redknapp is the Arfur Daley of football, and his high profile with the media suits the chairman. He can keep us up but he really needs to get our system settled, especially the defence.
Are you happy with your transfers this season, Who is the player to watch on Sunday?
Was very happy at the time although with hindsight it’s not looking so great. Steven Caulker looks a fine acquisition and Jordon Mutch appears to have a lot of potential. Conversely Mauricio Isla has started very off the pace at right back and we haven’t really seen enough of the other Chilean Eduardo Vargas. Sandro will be great if we can keep him fit, and Niko Kranjcar is proving his worth in the Premier League.
What positions do you think QPR and West Ham will finish in the Premier League this season?
Maybe I’m being negative, but I can’t see anything above 16th for us right now. Big Sam may not be the most popular manager ever at the Boleyn, but I’d bet on another solid mid-table finish for the Hammers.
Which three teams do you tip for relegation this season?
Burnley, Crystal Palace and Leicester City
How is rivalry with West Ham seen by QPR fans?
Limited. By far our main hatred is Chelsea. Of course there is a bit of added spice about the West / East London derby and we’d love to get one over on another London competitor. The only thing I’d like revenge on the Hammers for is nicking Trevor Sinclair off us for ¬£2m plus Iain Dowie and Keith Rowlands
What is your view on former Hammer Rio Ferdinand?, has he got what he takes to compete in the Premier League at 35 years of age?
I was rather skeptical of his signing initially – Signing 35 year old for a final payday seemed to hark back to Mark Hughes and our relegation season. To be fair Rio has come to get stuck in, although lacks pace and a number of fans are calling for him to be dropped. I suspect he is better in the back 3 formation we started the season with but swiftly abandoned.
Robert Green will return to the Boleyn Ground for the first time since he left the Hammers, he was always a fan’s favourite at West Ham What is his relationship like with QPR fans?
Personally I think he’s a good keeper and a top pro. His relationship with the fans is pretty decent I’d say, pretty much always supportive. On his day he can pull off world class saves, although a common view is that Greeno doesn’t dominate his area enough. He earned a lot of goodwill when Julio Cesar was shambolically signed over his head. But I can’t put my finger on why he’s not quite a ‘fan favourite’.
Tony Ferdandes previously claimed he was a West Ham fan tried to buy West Ham on the cheap from Gold and Sullivan, he appears to have run up massive debt and personal loans which breach of Football league FFP rules. How do QPR fans get on with the chairman? Do you think it could end in financial ruin if you get relegated this season and are fined by the football league?
I’m probably the wrong person to ask about Fernandes. I’m not his greatest fan. I personally don’t like his style, approach, manipulation of media or his reliance on a CEO who has no football experience. However, I accept mine is a minority view and Fernandes remains highly popular with a large section of fans who seem to have bought into his personality. He is very honest about his Hammers link and it doesn’t bother too many people.
I don’t think ‘financial ruin’ will come via FFP. The recent stories were very speculative. FFP is untested in law and the club is very confident. Even if we are fined by the Football League following relegation, our board allegedly has very deep coffers
If you could have any current West Ham player in your team who would you choose?
Of course we had Ravel Morrison on loan last season, who impressed at times but whose off-field conduct has been less than exemplary. There’s a few of your players I like – Winston Reid. Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho look pretty useful too. I watched your home game against Hull and was very impressed by Mauro Zarate.
Favourite West Ham player of all time?
Showing my age here but I always liked Trevor Brooking, particularly for his exploits in an England shirt.
How do you expect Harry to setup the QPR team against West Ham this Sunday to counteract on from Sakho and Vlanecia?
Harry’s tombola machine will no doubt be pressed into service again. We are racking up the injuries in midfield. Barton, Mutch, and Sandro could all be doubtful. I expect it will be 4-4-2 again. I’d like to see Nedum Onuoha to start alongside Caulker in place of Ferdinand, to give us some extra pace against your major threats. I suspect Harry will go with what he knows though. A possible XI (injuries dependent)
Isla – Caulker – Ferdinand – Traore
Matty Phillips – Barton – Sandro – Kranjcar
Austin – Vargas
Score and prediction for Sunday?
A number of my friends and fellow fans are walking from Loftus Road to the Boleyn Ground in aid of the QPR Tiger Cubs Downs Syndrome football team for the game – so I predict some sore feet and aching limbs! We were better last weekend at Southampton so I predict a close game. A narrow 1-0 to the Hammers.