Why Rangers are simply not ready for the new season

It is fair to say that the past year has not exactly gone to plan for Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes, whose dream of forging a Premier League behemoth lies shattered and broken.

Target | Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes has faced anger from frustrated supporters. (Image | BBC)
Target | Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes has faced anger from frustrated supporters. (Image | BBC)

Relegation from the top flight, despite raising the spectre of financial collapse, offered hope that the club could be reformed, cured of its many ills and made ready for second-tier life.

What has actually taken place, however, is a series of public relations disasters, most notably the courting of Celtic striker Gary Hooper, 25, who shockingly elected to join Norwich City over the Rs.

Some signings have been made, including veteran defender Richard Dunne, 33, who looks set to forge one of the least mobile defensive partnerships in history with Clint Hill, 34.

Hate figure José Bosingwa, 30, has finally been released, “by mutual consent”, but this was offset by the departure of popular winger Jamie Mackie, 27, to Nottingham Forest for just £1million.

There has also been the bizarre phenomenon that was Christopher Samba’s return to Anzhi Makhachkala for £12million, the most time-consuming way to pay another club £500,000 ever witnessed.

Yet Joey Barton, Stéphane Mbia, Junior Hoilett, Esteban Granero, Bobby Zamora, Anton Ferdinand and a host of others remain on the wage bill, despite their collective failure last season.

Although an expert yesterday tipped QPR to bounce back immediately, primarily due to the presence of manager Harry Redknapp, he could yet prove to be the problem, rather than the solution.

Such lacklustre preparation, and the paucity of new arrivals, has understandably caused resentment among supporters on Twitter, much of which has been unfairly aimed at Fernandes.

The chairman, whose heart is always worn on his sleeve and emotions routinely tweeted for all to see, said: “The abuse I get is undeserving for someone who works so hard.”

Few could disagree with this assertion, but the fact remains that Sheffield Wednesday visit Loftus Road this Saturday, to face a team that has won just seven matches since this time a year ago.

Perhaps the naysayers will be proved wrong, and a flurry of sensible signings with experience of the division, preferably not top-flight rejects such as Danny Simpson, are on their way.

Fernandes, 49, appeared to suggest more departures and arrivals are imminent, but the fact remains that Rangers, after scoring 30 goals in 38 Premier League games, remain bereft of firepower.

All this adds up, not to the glorious return to the top flight which so many are expecting, but a painful struggle to compete in a notoriously difficult league separated by the finest of margins.

QPR were able to dominate the Championship in the 2010/11 campaign because boss Neil Warnock forged a balanced, hungry, experienced squad with steel, creativity and goalscoring potential.

This time around, far too many of the players who will take to the field this weekend are used to inadequacy, the wrath of those in the stands and prioritising their wages over football.

Pre-season was meant to change all of that, but what Redknapp and those around him have done to date is give a car requiring a new gearbox a quick wash, wax, and some shiny new alloys.

Unfortunately, the rickety old machine will still fail to start, because the underlying problems as to why it broke down in the first place have been ignored, or impossible to overcome.

It should be pointed out that the Rs are not facing the same calibre of opposition, and will win more than three league games this season, while confidence can be re-established over time.

Redknapp was brought in for his famed motivational skills, which were perhaps difficult to show last season: but nobody ought to expect miracles, because this will be a long, hard and trying campaign.

Prediction: 11th

Top goalscorer: Bobby Zamora

Most valuable player: Alejandro Faurlin

Have your say | Tweet the author | @chriskking


Originally published on Kilburn Times on Tuesday July 30 2013.

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