1st Team Squad Goalkeepers: Paddy Kenny, Radek Cerny, Brian Murphy
Overview: In the interests of full disclosure, I should confess a huge liking for Paddy Kenny that goes back several years. I’ve been a huge fan of his since seeing him in his early days at Sheffield United and little has happened in the intervening period – on the playing field at least – to dim my opinion of him as a top class keeper. He did very little wrong during the Blades’ previous stint in the top flight and any time I’ve seen him since, I’ve been impressed by his natural ability. I’m delighted he’s getting another chance in the top flight because I’ve always seen him as a Premier League-standard keeper and was genuinely perplexed by the reluctance of several clubs to take a chance on him. With Sheffield United having several near-misses when it comes to promotion, perhaps he felt a loyalty to stay with them over the years or maybe clubs thought his rather complicated personal life was too much of a risk to justify his purchase, but I think he is perfectly capable of performing well in the top flight. His reactions and surprising agility were good enough when he was a more rotund figure a few years ago and now that he’s more svelte, I think that regardless of the fate that befalls football’s soap opera club, he will remain a Premier League goalkeeper for the rest of playing career.
In reserve, the Rs have the service of Radek Cerny. Kenny’s arrival at Loftus Road ended the Czech’s reign as first choice, but provided he’s not too unhappy with spending so much time on the bench towards the end of his career, he’s decent option to have from the bench. In one sense he’s an experienced Premier League keeper having spent a few seasons at Tottenham, but in reality, he was largely confined to the subs’ bench and didn’t see a lot of playing time during his stint there. That said, he went on to play regularly for QPR afterwards and although you wouldn’t want to rely on him for large parts of the season, he’s more than capable of filling in for a few games if required.
The signing of Brian Murphy adds some depth to the goalkeeping ranks. For many years, Murphy has been one of the most consistent performers in the League of Ireland and has been recognised as such with a series of awards. He’s got excellent reflexes and agility and his ability has brought him to the fringes of the Ireland team. He has already had stints in English football, so adaptation won’t be a problem. He’s unlikely to get much in the way of first team action, but his performances at Ipswich last season suggested if given the chance he should be more than capable of stepping in and possibly leapfrogging Cerny in the pecking order. In the short term at least, it’s not likely to change to much at the Rs, but he’s a useful signing – especially for free.
Worst case scenario: Problems may arise is for whatever reason Kenny isn’t fully focused on his football. He has immense natural talent, but if there are things going on int he background, he’s as likely as anyone to see a dip in performances. If he were to have a bad spell, it could be enough to cost QPR their expensively acquired Premier League status.
What will probably happen: Kenny will perform well and if QPR struggle, it will probably have more to do with their outfielder staff or – in the opinion of Neil Warnock – a conspiracy between the FA, the CIA and referees to keep Neil Warnock sides down.