The partnership of F1 empresario Bernie Ecclestone and ultra wadded steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal was supposed to bring the good days back to Loftus Road.
The plan was to not only get them back to the top flight of the English football pyramid but also to turn them into a force to be reckoned with, they were the ‘City’ of the Championship and after winning the league with ease last year, things were looking up, but now with just over a week before the big kick off, things are looking bleak.
The problems are complicated and numerous and it seems highly unlikely that any of them can be solved in the short term. The first major issue seems to be a disagreement between both the owners, reportedly Mittal wants to take full control of the club, but Ecclestone is apparently unwilling to sell his 33% share to the majority shareholder. Clearly this uncertainty will have a trickle down effect to Neil Warnock and the playing staff, with such disagreements between the ‘money men’ it is I suppose understandable that neither is overly willing to pump millions into player recruitment with their futures uncertain.
In recent days there has been suggestion over other interested parties buying the club outright, but whether anything comes of that remains to be seen, and even if it does it seems doubtful there will be much time to recruit new players that can keep them up.
Clearly all Warnock wants/needs is money to spend to improve his squad, for the time being he has managed to hold onto Adel Taarabt who was undoubtedly their star performer last season. New signings, however are thin on the ground. Some faces have come in, but they were free transfers Daniel Gabbidon, Jay Bothroyd and Kieron Dyer will hardly fill Rangers fans with confidence. Experience definitely, but whether they are good enough for the English top flight I am not so sure.
They have apparently sealed a deal for DJ Campbell, costing them just over £1million and he could be a good signing, he did pretty well for Blackpool last year and at that price he is a bit of a bargain but clearly they need more.
I suppose in their favour is the fact that competitors Norwich and Swansea have hardly thrown money about to secure easy safety either, but they have still made more and better signings than the London team. The frustrations must be growing for Warnock who is already a favourite with the bookies to be one of the first managers dismissed. He has recently spoken out and revealed that he thought he would have more money to spend:
“I thought I’d have a few millions, if I’m honest. I was disappointed but it’s not the end of the world. It would have been nice to have money to spend but its just another one of those things in my managerial career where I have to show what I can do.”.
Loftus Road itself doesn’t particularly help their cause, with a relatively low capacity and no real opportunity of expansion their revenue from ticket sales will most likely be low, any money that goes into the pool for transfers must come from the owners or from player sales. With the current inflexibility of the powers that be however that seems unlikely.
The biggest positive in their corner is the presence of Warnock, compared to the managers of the other newly promoted teams he has far more experience and that could really aid them. The bookmakers currently have them 3rd favourites for the drop ahead of both Norwich and Swansea, but how much of that is based on the spending that they were expected to do is unclear. The other key man for them is their talismanic captain Taraabt, the former Tottenham winger was imperious for them last season and it will be a great boost with it now looking like he will stay. Whether he can deal with the pressure that will no doubt fall on his shoulders will become evident over the coming weeks, one thing seems certain though, if QPR have been cut a drift by Christmas he will most likely be on his way in January.
The project at QPR was always shaping up to be a really exciting one but it now sadly seems that internal squabbles may be bringing it to a premature end, teams have survived before in the face of adversity, and Rangers are one of those teams that I always feel ‘belong’ in the top flight, mostly because they were in there when I first really got into football at a young age. For the sake of the fans I hope they survive, but right now, things aren’t looking too great…
For more of my thoughts on football follow me on twitter @thegoatfeeder and for all things Manchester City check out the excellent Thoughts From The Invisible Man…