CLINT HILL: QPR deserved to go down last season because we were unprofessional... but Harry has turned that around and we can bounce back to the big time
Clint Hill is the QPR captain who is aiming to win his second promotion to the Premier League with the club. Hill says there is a far better atmosphere in Harry Redknapp's squad this season than there was last year. The former Tranmere, Stoke and Crystal Palace defender also says in his debut Footballers' Football Column that goalline technology should be introduced in all divisions, not just the Premier League. Before you read his column, watch his video below...
There is a good feeling around QPR at the moment and it is nice to be able to say that because that has not always been the case. Results-wise we are doing well and that is always a key but the important thing is that there has been no hangover from relegation.
There is always a fear when you come back for pre-season after being relegated from the Premier League that nothing will have changed and you will be in for another tough season.
But to be fair to Harry Redknapp, he brought some new players in like Richard Dunne and Charlie Austin and, more importantly, shipped a few out on loan, which needed to happen.
Good feeling: Clint Hill says there is a much better spirit in the QPR squad compared with last season
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And we are back to being a good solid team who go out there and give everything. Luckily enough it has gone for us in most games.
A lot of people say that the squad we have now with the players and characters we have in it would have had a better chance of staying in the Premier League, it is difficult to know for sure as it is such a punishing league, so who knows but I think we would have had a better chance.
A lot has been said about the ‘poisonous’ dressing room last season and to be honest it was a demoralising place to be, coming in for training was not enjoyable.
There were some very unprofessional things that went on and we deserved what we got. But I can honestly say we have turned things around and it is a lot better place to be this season.
The manager singled me out in his book for having the right attitude and it is always nice to hear managers praise you. But to be honest I think the very least you should give as a professional footballers – or any profession – is to have the right attitude.
I think your attitude should always be right every time you turn up for training. The very least you should give is 100 per cent daily because we are very lucky to have this job and this lifestyle so you should give everything back to it.
The Championship is a very tough division and we have had a good start so far. We have only conceded 10 goals this season and that is always a good place to start when you are trying to build a good side.
If you limit the opposition to as few chances as possible then with the players have then we have a good chance of scoring at the other end.
We will really know how tough this league is going to be after Christmas but it is always demanding, it is always tough and it is a very unforgiving league and those things never change, no matter what year it is.
There are a lot of bigger teams in the league who have come down in recent years and still got the parachute payments. There are about six teams who have a very good chance of getting in the top two.
The good times are back: Clint Hill celebrates with new signing Charlie Austin
On the up: Hill wants to lead QPR back into the Premier League at the first attempt
HARRY REDKNAPP'S VIEW
The teams at the top with us in Burnley and Leicester and both very strong. Burnely have a good work ethic and two strikers, Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, who are in form. Leicester have got stronger from last season and also teams like Blackpool have surprised people.
You always expect one of the pack from about 12th upwards to go on a run and make a charge towards the end of the season, so it is as competitive as ever.
The start to the season is always important and when we went 1-0 down to Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day there were probably a lot of people who were thinking ‘here we go again’.
Down and out: Hill says QPR was a bad place to be when they were relegated from the Premier League
Got what they deserved: Hill says QPR were not good enough to stay in the Premier League
But we showed great character to come back and win that game and winning games gives you confidence and makes you more resilient and you never know how far that will take you.
I can see similarities between the team now and the squad that won the Championship under Neil Warnock a few years ago. There is good camaraderie in the camp and we have a good fighting spirit in the squad and everyone wants to help each other and it is a good dressing room to be in.
The last time we went up we had a lot of experienced lads who knew how to play in this division and I see similarities this time around but only time will tell if we are able to match what that team did but I am confident we will be there or there abouts.
Plenty of experience: Harry Redknapp has improved the QPR squad in the Championship
Experience: Joey Barton has returned to QPR and has previously won the Championship with Newcastle
I have heard myself being described as a ‘Neil Warnock player’ as he has signed me a couple of times.
And to be fair he took a gamble on me the first time he signed me at Palace because of my injury record at Stoke, I had only played 80 games in about four years.
But he signed me, stuck me at left back, which I will never forgive him for! And I managed to do a job for him.
Bond: Hill played for Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace and QPR and said he was a great manager
Showing the passion: Hill says football is a worse place with Warnock not managing
I played about 120 games for him in three years and he must have seen something he liked as he brought me to QPR.
I enjoyed working for him. I think he is a brilliant manager. His strength was to try and get a decent team in and hopefully that would take you far.
I think football is a sadder place without him in the game. When you get to know him and play for him then your opinion of him changes, he has been fantastic for me.
A lot of characters have gone out of the game and football has gone a bit straight and a bit formal and people like Neil certainly keep it interesting.
I’m 35 now and I don’t know how much longer I will go on playing. As long as someone wants me then I will continue to play, but when those options start to dry up then it time to call it a day.
I am feeling fit, I never thought I would do at this age, so as long someone wants me and I feel I can do a job then I will carry on.
I am not sure what I will do when I do retire, but I would like to stay in the game.
I am taking my coaching badges and I would like to cut my teeth as a coach first and see where it takes me and see if I am ready to go down the management path.
I have seen my old team-mate Shaun Derry take the plunge into management with Notts County and it did come as a bit of a shock as he was still playing at Millwall and he kept himself fit and I thought he would probably play for another year.
At the time, his phone was very quiet, he was not replying to text messages or calls and then one day out of the blue he called me up and said he had gone for the job.
Management material: Hill is not surprised to see his former team-mate Shaun Derry become a boss
In at the deep end: Derry has taken over at Notts County, who are bottom of League One
I always thought Shaun was management material. He likes that side of the game and I am not surprised to see him go down that route.
The problem is that jobs tend to come up when clubs are struggling. Teams don’t sack managers when they are top of the league, so it is difficult for him.
But he will have gone in with his eyes wide open, they were bottom of the league when he took over and not much money to spend but he has belief in himself and hopefully given time he can put his stamp on the team and keep them up.
Seeing goalline technology being introduced into the Premier League is a good thing and long overdue. But why just the Premier League?
Over the line? Hill had a goal ruled out against Bolton in the days before technology was used in the top flight
Roll it out: Hill believes goal line technology should be used in the Football League as well
Technology in action: The newly introduced goalline system is being used in the Premier League this season
The Premier League is a big market but are you saying three points there are more important than to a team in League Two? I don’t think so.
If you get to the play-off final there is no technology and you could lose the game on the basis of a dodgy call, and that is not right.
Football is there to divide opinions, but it should not be at the result of a decision that could cost a manager his job, relegate a team or prevent promotion. Those are the things that affect lives and jobs and that is when it starts to get serious.
I had a goal disallowed against Bolton, it crossed the line and was not given.
Thankfully we stayed up that year, but it could have cost us relegation.
That was a Premier League game, but those things happen in League One and Two and have the same consequences. So I really think it is something that needs to be looked at.
I will always say I have a Premier League goal, unfortunately the record books don’t back me up.
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