Doomed Hoops face uncertain future

Seamus Coleman fires the ball past Robert Green to give Everton the lead over QPR. (Image | Joe Toth/BPI)
Seamus Coleman fires the ball past Robert Green to give Everton the lead over QPR. (Image | Joe Toth/BPI)

For Queens Park Rangers, the war is surely over: there is no way the Rs can avoid relegation to the Championship with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool still to play.

This will probably not stop Chris Ramsey being found in a jungle at some point during the summer, refusing to admit that Rangers have dropped out of the Premier League.

The manager is adamant that his team can still stay up ahead of two absolutely vital away matches against West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa respectively.

His optimism flies in the face of results, form and resources; namely a misfiring Charlie Austin, a plethora of average midfielders and error-prone defenders.

Les Ferdinand, the director of football at QPR, described the appointment of Ramsey as a “gamble”, which is certainly true given that he lacks top-level managerial experience.

Doubt was cast last week over whether there would be another man in charge after the end of the season, and a change at the helm might well please a large proportion of fans.

The irony is that Ramsey would probably be an ideal candidate to rebuild the Rangers squad in the Championship, having already shown a fondness for giving youth players a chance.

In the Premier League, however, he appears out of his depth and tactically naive, as shown by his decision to play Darnell Furlong and Shaun Wright-Phillips against Crystal Palace.

Wright-Phillips is, according to former managers, consistently a high performer in training, which suggests he is a consummate professional until it comes to setting foot on the pitch.

The Rs were naive themselves against Everton, and switched off at crucial moments, namely when Seamus Coleman found himself in acres of space to score past Robert Green.

The lack of return on what has been invested already is a huge black mark against the Fernandes regime

Effort has not been lacking, and the players seem to care that they are heading for the trapdoor, but crucial skills such as intelligence, awareness and pace are in short supply.

QPR are the spirited underdogs, full of commitment and passion, but destined to lose: Aaron Lennon’s winner was exactly the sort of goal we concede every week.

Loftus Road has gone from a fortress to a ruin after successive pillages by the opponents Rangers were losing to away without exception during the first half of the season.

Even appointing Tim Sherwood, who is in the process of reviving Aston Villa, would probably not have saved the Rs because something at the club is fundamentally wrong.

Tony Fernandes raised, in a tweet earlier, the possibility that he may be leaving at the end of the season, which might be seen as a victory by his growing army of detractors.

What would follow this is uncertain, especially with the prospect of an enormous fine for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations to come, to the glee of many other teams.

Most likely, this will be negotiated down to a more manageable figure, rather than the £50 million quoted by certain newspapers, but any penalty is likely to have ramifications.

The free-spending days look to be over, and this is by no means a bad thing: the lack of return on what has been invested already is a huge black mark against the Fernandes regime.

As has been pointed out, the infrastructure of the club, in terms of youth facilities, the training ground and the stadium, is much the same as before the splurge began.

The Championship is a far tougher league than the one Neil Warnock’s team clinched in 2011, and probably more competitive than it was when Harry Redknapp took the Rs up.

Being parachuted into this, a competitive, hostile division where QPR will be a major scalp, could be a traumatising experience with a huge clearout likely to take place beforehand.

Austin will be off like an Olympic sprinter, while a fully-fit Leroy Fer deployed in his correct position is too good for Rangers, but the rest are much of a muchness.

Personally, I would like to see a side containing Green, Yun Suk-young, Matt Phillips, Nedum Onuoha, Karl Henry and Sandro, if we can keep him, take to the field in August.

There are probably a few others worth retaining, but the likes of Adel Taarabt, Niko Kranjcar, Wright-Phillips, Junior Hoilett, Bobby Zamora and Rio Ferdinand must be let go.

The Superhoops are used to momentous summers, where the board professes to have learned its lessons, optimism is instilled and several million lavished on new recruits.

This time it will be different, with a handful of hellos punctuated by a great many so longs, farewells and auf wiedersehens. There is no other way for the Rs to go forward.

Most of all, we need to say a proper goodbye to the Premier League, its hopes, possibilities and all its riches, because QPR may not be seeing any of these for a long time.

Have your say | Tweet the author | @chriskking


Originally published on TEAMtalk on Saturday March 28 2015.

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