QPR 2 Hull City 0: New boss Gregory launches the rising

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The Independent Online

It was The Boss' birthday yesterday. No, not the new QPR manager John Gregory, who might have liked a second reason to enjoy this particular afternoon, instead it was the big day for Gregory's biggest idol Bruce Springsteen. But despite the scoreline, there were no extravagant guitar licks. It was more of a plodding, steady bass-line kind of day.

The west Londoners were stuck at the bottom of the Championship at kick-off, thanks to the efforts of the previous incumbent Gary Waddock and were without a win in the League since mid-August. Furthermore they were knocked out of the Carling Cup in mid-week by Port Vale, so Gregory could not have picked a club at a lower ebb. But Gregory's timing was good in other respects, in coming up against a poor Hull side, he could not have had an easier reintroduction to life at a football club.

Out of work since he left Derby County in acrimonious circumstances in 2003, Gregory turned up with only Leeds United separating the two sides in the relegation zone. It is a far cry from when he was in charge of Aston Villa and guided them to a club record run of 12 unbeaten games. He also took the midland side to the 2000 FA Cup final, which they lost against Chelsea by a single goal, while they never finished outside the top eight in his four years at Villa Park.

Finishing outside the bottom three this season with QPR will be a success, but they made a start towards that thanks to Ray Jones' header on the hour, which was backed up by Dexter Blackstock's effort 20 minutes later. Not that the home fans were grabbed by the appointment of their former player, there were fewer here than for the Southend match last month, but Gregory admitted that second goal was a huge personal relief for him. "There was a lot of frustration that came out then after three years out of work. It's been building up for quite a long time."

Gregory, speaking in midweek, feels his reputation had been unfairly damaged during the latter part of his stint under Doug Ellis, with transfer bung allegations that were never proved. Gregory thinks those rumours were what prevented people from asking him back into management.

Flushed with victory, Gregory might put on a Springsteen track at home.With these three points it could be Born To Run.

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