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Next Up - QPR & Wigan Athletic (Published in Sheffield Wednesday's Official Programme)

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

QPR 24/01, 8:00PM

Sunderland Till I Die, All or Nothing: Manchester City and Take Us Home: Leeds United have all gathered a lot of attention for providing fans an insight to the workings of football clubs. However, one of the trailblazers for this genre of television series and features was QPR: The Four-year Plan.

The documentary provided an inside look at the club following the purchase by Formula One moguls Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore in 2007. The cameras were invited inside Loftus Road by the new owners as a way of promoting QPR and illustrating how they were going to abide by their promise of reaching the Premier League within four years.

It was a full access all areas documentary that followed their Premier League pursuit between 2007 and 2011. The film gained media attention for the speed in which the club hired and fired their managers — no less than 11 in the time period.

The bizarre relationship between the managers and the owners was probably best depicted when Briatore was seen passing immediate instructions to then manager Iain Dowie directly from the stands!

The Alejandro Faurlin transfer is also followed closely which ends in chairman Gianni Paladini crying with happiness that the club did not receive a sanction for the Faurlin move and their promotion to the Premier League in 2011 was secured.

WIGAN 28/01,7:45PM

Mo Salah certainly flies the flag for Egypt in the Premier League, but before Salah, compatriot Amr Zaki plied his trade at the JJB.

After impressing in a victorious Egyptian side in the 2006 African Cup of Nations, a return to his boyhood side Zamalek followed a failed move to Lokomotiv Moscow.

This gained Zaki another call-up to the Egyptian national side for the 2008 African Cup of Nations and another fine display earned him a place in the tournament Xl and Premier League tails were wagging in anticipation.

Steve Bruce and Wigan took the plunge as the striker was signed on a one-year loan in the summer of 2008. Little attention was made of Zaki arriving in England, but he was soon to turn heads.

He carried some fine pre-season form into his maiden Premier League campaign. Zaki scored on his debut against West Ham, notched two against Hull, one against Sunderland and a penalty against Manchester City to put him top of the goalscoring charts with five in his first six games.

The livewire forward continued to be a menace to defences with two goals at Anfield attracting much attention.

In all, he managed 10 goals in 29 appearances for a Wigan side that finished 11th in the Premier League that campaign — only nine behind Nicolas Anelka who topped the charts.

Comparisons to Alan Shearer were sounded by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan before Zaki signed for Hull on loan, but he went on to make six just appearances without scoring.

Zaki left England and featured in only 19 more games with three goals in the following five years of his career An Egyptian star who rose so quickly to proclamation was just as quick to fade to obscurity.

Peter Jones


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