Queens Park Rangers supporters finally received the news they had been waiting eagerly for since the final match of last season against Leeds United on 8 May. Neil Warnock’s men will kick off their first year back in the top flight since 1996 against Bolton Wanderers, themselves a model of how to achieve Premier League survival, and subsequent stability. Seeing such illustrious names as Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea on the fixture list was something rather special. However as discussed previously, the cost of attending these matches is such to render them little more than pipe dreams for a significant proportion of the W12 faithful.
Not only are the QPR owners’ misguided attempts to cash in on top-flight football tainting what ought to be the divine calm before the ferocious storm, but the club looks in worse shape than any other entering the Premier League fray previously. The dearth of signings at Loftus Road has already been discussed, sometimes with deep acrimony, but this is by no means the full extent of the problem. For in almost certainly the most commercially valuable summer in recent memory for Rangers, we have, catastrophically, not released our 2011-2012 season kit. The reason for this is that, since 8 June, Queens Park Rangers have been without a sponsor, the contract with Gulf Air running out without replacement. Thus not only is the club losing out on vital revenue, its standing is diminishing by the day from an already low base.
The club looks in worse shape than any other entering the Premier League fray previously.
Perhaps some suggestions as to a future sponsor would be welcome to Messrs Ecclestone and Briatore. Considering that it has long been acknowledged that neither is capable of organising the proverbial ‘piss-up in a brewery,’ it would be apt for Carlsberg to take over the reins. Although from another perspective, in light of their recent record, maybe Sony would like to bring its unique brand of professional service to W12? Or we could just let Bill – the café owner from the high street – sign a multi-thousand pound advertising contract. That would, based on the current misery amongst formerly proud wearers of the blue and white hoops, reflect the esteem in which the club’s owners are currently held.
Moving swiftly back to the football, and the terrifying prospect of Shaun Derry lining up to take care of Luka Modrić on October 22, can Neil Warnock’s men stay in the Premier League? Realistically, based on what is essentially last season’s team sheet, the answer is no. Team spirit, a solid if unimpressive defence, managerial stability and organisation can see a team fly the Championship nest, but the Premier League is more akin to a pit of snakes, who don’t take kindly to newcomers. With enigma, ‘captain’ and whinger-in-chief Adel Taarabt constantly pining for a move to Newcastle United, or more realistically Chelsea, Real Madrid and Arsenal, will he want to play for the R’s up to his usual standard when the inevitable happens and other clubs say no to the player who is probably more trouble than he’s worth? Even if he does want to play for QPR still, will it make any difference? So many unanswered questions remain, and unless things become abundantly clear over the next month or so, Queens Park Rangers may well face a rude awakening in August.
Photo courtesy of The Telegraph.