Bray Wanderers better than QPR?

Brian Quigley

Regular readers of this column will know that as well as supporting Bray Wanderers in the League of Ireland, I’m also a fan of Rochdale AFC in League One of the EFL. I receive a copy of the programme from each of their home games [because I contribute a column to it] and I was looking through the programme from last weekend’s fixture against Southend United when I noticed a piece about Ryan Delaney, who has recently signed for Rochdale.

The left-sided central defender has signed until 2020, and although he officially came from Championship side Burton Albion, he was at Cork last year and had started his career with Wexford Youths. The signing was the subject of debate on many League of Ireland forums when it was announced earlier this month. Reaction ranged from the ill-informed and incredulous [‘Rochdale are crap, why would he go there?’] to the more realistic [‘That’s a great move for Ryan. Good luck to him. Rochdale play football the right way.’]

Reading through these comments and reactions got me thinking. Just how good is the League of Ireland – in terms of the standard of football – compared to the lower leagues in England? At different times over the years my own opinion has seen the SSE Airtricity League [Premier Division] variously slot in at a high of Championship standard to a low of Football Conference standard. At present, and I feel I’m being generous, I’d say the league as a whole is about the level of League Two, although individual teams like Cork and Dundalk could probably hold their own at League One level.

I remember about 16 or 17 years ago when QPR – then a struggling Championship side heading for relegation to the third tier – made an approach for two Bray players [Jason Byrne and I think either Jody Lynch or Philip Keogh]. I don’t know what the offer was or what the terms were for the players, but it was turned down. One of the players was asked about it afterwards and said something like ‘’Why would we move? Bray are better than QPR”. He wasn’t joking, and he was right. At the time Bray were riding high in the League and had won the 1999 FAI Cup and got into Europe, as well as hosting Newcastle United, Glasgow Celtic and Blackburn Rovers in friendlies. The standard over here was quite high at the time. A QPR side sinking like the stone didn’t hold much appeal.

Back to the Rochdale programme for the Southend game. It’s a rarity in that it’s a programme for a game that never was. The match was called off shortly before kick-off due to a water-logged pitch, with the Southend team and fans having already travelled. The programme will be sold at the rearranged game. I think they sent out my copy from the office by mistake.

The programme is a memorable one for my collection for another reason. My column was about Graham Coughlan, a former Bray Wanderers player who had a long and distinguished career in England and Scotland and who was the Southend first-team coach until he was removed during the week of the [abandoned!] match along with Phil Brown and the rest of his management and coaching staff. I had to do a last-minute edit to reflect Graham’s changed status, as did the other programme contributors in their references to Phil Brown. Such is the danger of writing to deadlines and being overtaken by events!

As for QPR, well they are a still a struggling Championship side, despite having made the Premier League between 2011 and 2013. On Saturday last, as Ryan Delaney was lining up for Dale against Millwall [and seen later that night on FA Cup Match Of The Day] in a superb 2-2 away draw in the FA Cup 4th Round, QPR were slumping to a Championship defeat to Bristol City.

So Ryan and Dale have a home replay on Tuesday 06 February which gives them the chance to progress to the FA Cup 5th round. I’m off to pen my column for said game. It’s going to be about Eamon Dunphy, Millwall legend that he is.

10 thoughts on “Bray Wanderers better than QPR?

  1. “QPR…despite having made the Premier League between 2011 and 2013..”, as a throw away comment as if it’s nothing. What’s Rochdale’s highest league finish? It’s actually never been higher than the English third tier. Why isn’t the title of your daft article ‘Bray Wandereres better than Rochdale. (full stop, rather than a question mark)?

  2. Also some addenda and corrections. QPR were also in the English Premier league in 2014-2015 and were in the top tier of English football for a total of 16 seasons prior to the formation of the Premiership finishing 2nd to Liverpool by a narrow margin in 1975-1976. They were in the Premiership for the first four seasons of it’s existence, finishing top London Club in its inaugural year (above Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs). QPR also won the League cup in 1967.

    In your defence, I very much doubt that you are old enough to remember any of this, but research is what Journalists do, isn’t it? It’s all very easy to find on the Internet.

  3. Some may find it interesting to note that QPR, the small West London club struggling in the Championship, has the best goals per game ratio in the history of European football.

  4. Bless him ..probably a man utd supporter. You know the old saying ” how do spot the Irishman? He’s wearing a man u replica shirt!!” ..signed- an irishman who hold..s a season ticket at QPR!!

  5. Well, if Brian wanted activity with a sensationalist headline that he knew would appear in the ‘QPR News Now’ feed – well done. Job done, quite astute.
    If he wanted any sort of credibility for his insight as a sports journalist, he has failed miserably.

  6. Really pointless article. Have a pop at a club an expect no response ! Roy Keane was going to Blackburn before Man Utd. Dose that mean Blackburn were a bigger club than Man Utd. Alan Sheared went to Blackburn . Matt Le Tiss wouldn’t join Man U…….. did ya ever think for one minute that those players you mentioned from bray were comfortable where they were on handy money semi pro that’s nearly wrecked league of Ireland football now an turned down an opportunity to play full time…….whos the bigger fool..

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