The board have got it right

PUBLISHED: 15:03 14 October 2006 | UPDATED: 09:43 14 September 2010

QPR. Home or Away. A fixture that will conjure up memories for us all, but especially me. For a few years, it was our traditional Boxing Day fixture, and the times it wasn't, there was, more often than not, something memorable about the game.

QPR. Home or Away. A fixture that will conjure up memories for us all, but especially me. For a few years, it was our traditional Boxing Day fixture, and the times it wasn't, there was, more often than not, something memorable about the game.

Our glorious 3-2 victory to deny QPR the title in 1976 and our very un-glorious 3-2 victory on exactly the same day 29 years later maybe saved Nigel Worthington from the sack.

I remember our 2-1 victory when Pape Diop spat at the away supporters in his last game for Norwich; it was a game in which Chris Llewellyn scored and was also sent off. This was back in the pre-speed camera days of Christmas 1999 and after the game I drove back to London in an almost legal time of one hour and 35 minutes.

My intention to reminisce about QPR fixtures from yesteryear was rudely interrupted just as I was sitting down and starting to type. “Beep Beep” went my phone as a text from a Celtic fan said: “It's Peter the Pointer - a good choice”. A few minutes later anther text from a different Celtic fan: “Congrats. He'll demand they play for the badge”.

The bookies were right to close their books on Peter Grant this morning.

Soon after I spoke to a good friend who has been a West Ham season ticket holder for more than 30 years and someone whose opinion of football matters I trust. He is also on the West Ham supporters' committee who meet the directors and team management every three months.

My friend Bob's opinion of Grant is that he is a real gent and decent man. He is also held in high regard by the players and would be a big loss to West Ham. Bob stated that he was a real thinker about the game and very aware of how a match was progressing, and more than able to view from the sidelines and advise on tactical decisions. In summary - a good acquisition for the club and Bob said he would be very surprised if he did not do well for Norwich.

I recall Grant as a very unremarkable centre midfielder who joined Norwich towards the end of his career. Not fast or mobile, or a great tackler or passer, but an organiser who shouted, held his arms out and pointed for fun.

It would be easy to judge Grant on whether he would be a good manager by his two seasons at Norwich. It would also be just as easy to judge Mark Bowen's or Ian Crook's managerial credentials by their great Norwich careers. Good players don't necessarily make good managers. Bowen or maybe Crook would be an easy choice if sentiment was the sole criteria for selection and Grant would be someway behind these two.

Sentimental choices however do not often make good managers, and the easy and popular decision would have been to appoint an old favourite. Time will tell whether Grant is a good choice as our new manager, but I'm confident that the board, after their indecision over the last year, have got this one right.

Finishing, as I started, by recalling matches from days gone by, a few older readers may remember the date April 10, 1971. Norwich beat QPR 3-0 and according to my yearbook Dave Stringer, Kenny Foggo and Malcolm Darling scored. It was also a day when a very proud father took his seven-year-old son to his first ever Norwich game. We both went home very happy.

Today, more than 30 years and a generation later, this proud father was kicking every ball and encouraging from the sidelines as Gemma, my eldest daughter, ran out with the team as the Norwich away mascot for the day.

Gemma knew she should make the most of the once in a lifetime opportunity she has to be a mascot. With Grant looking down from the stands, I'm sure that the players wanted to impress as much as Gemma did.

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