Stability is a word often overused in football, so much so that it has become something of cliche in the modern game. But it’s often the cliches that end up being the truest statements.
It is commonly said that what struggling clubs really need is stability, something to build on moving forward and in the case of Queens Park Rangers that couldn’t be truer.
It’s been a turbulent period at Loftus Road since Premier League relegation in the 2014/2015 season. They may have not tumbled down the divisions like a Sunderland or Wigan Athletic, but they’ve hardly been comfortable and suffered brushes with relegation to Sky Bet League One ever since.
Last term typified how things have been for QPR since the spring of 2015; a manager came and went, things were looking up for a bit before they tumbled dramatically and in the end, it was all OK, just about.
Another summer of change has been afoot in west London, caretaker manager John Eustace who took over from Steve McClaren in early April being replaced by a fresh face in Mark Warburton.
Whilst he’s no stranger to bringing success to clubs in west London, the job is going to be a very tough task for the 56-year-old. The Loftus Road outfit really need some signs of stability in their first campaign under the former Rangers boss, a platform to build a possible return to the big time upon.
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This needs to come in the form of a mid-table finish, something in the region of 10th to 12th place and possibly a charge to nick the last play-off place. But under no circumstances, a relegation battle.
Warburton seems to be going the right way about it with rumours of some very smart signings in this early stage of the summer transfer window, players who have worked under him before in Lee Wallace and Liam Kelly.
That should ease the transition process as Warburton looks to imprint new ideas on a squad he’s inherited, although he does have a series of expiring contracts to contend with. Couple that with interest in star player Luke Freeman as well as promising youngster Ebere Eze and it will be a tough summer to navigate.
But if Warburton can avoid too much transfer upheaval, how likely are we to get that stable first term based on his debut seasons at previous clubs?
Well, Warburton was able to make an instant impact at the club where he made his name, guiding Brentford to promotion shortly after he took the job. The story was very much the same up at Rangers when he returned them to the top flight in his first season, but unfortunately there was no such result in the opening stages of his short reign with Nottingham Forest.
That job though came towards the end of the season, appointed to the City Ground in March. The advantage this time around is that Warburton’s already in place; he can influence the club’s summer plans and oversee pre-season. Hopefully by the time the season starts, the squad will be fairly settled.
Perception though, is everything and that will be key for Warburton. Even if there are problems behind the scenes or in the dressing room, the club desperately needs to portray a fresher image of stability. If Warburton can bring that to Loftus Road, he’ll have done a good job.