In May jubilant celebrations rang around Loftus Road as QPR returned to the Premier League, however all has been rather quiet over the summer, leaving little of the celebratory air around the place remaining.
QPR’s owners have stated that they are committed to strengthening their status as a Premier League club and building for a future in the top division, but they have shown little to no ambition to stay there. To be fair to the owners, they did take a very weak team and save them from sliding down the leagues, but they now seem to have woken up to costs of running a club in a recession and the difficulty in competing in this league. It appears that they are now not willing to put any more money in, and that Neil Warnock and the players will be on their own if they want to stay in the Premier League.
Neil Warnock was reportedly told that there was no money to spend this year, even if Adel Taarabt was sold, which is not really ideal preparation for a team preparing for a team who face a tough season in the top flight. It looks now as if they have managed to keep hold of their star Taraabt, which is absolutely key for them for the season ahead, however, this seems like one positive of a rather gloomy summer, as the lack of investment over the close season has been alarming. The only players who have come in, have done so on a free – Jay Bothroyd, Danny Gabbidon, Kieron Dyer – it seems that the owners-despite being some of the richest men in football-have no desire to stay in the top league.
Of course QPR fans have to be realistic, and they wouldn’t have expected massive transfer fees or wages to be thrown about, but they must have expected at least some sort of investment. The clubs original targets have gone to promoted rivals or slipped away, which is simply frustrating. Of course it is key to be sensible in the Premier League, but the owners seem to be showing absolutely no desire to dig into their pockets or spend the promotion windfall.
To compound matters, QPR are now charging top dollar for the fans to see their team play. The cheapest seats at Loftus Road this season are £47, with some as high as £72, and season ticket prices are up 40%. A lot of the long term fans have been totally priced out of seeing their team next season, which just seems beyond. How can they put the prices up by that much when they are showing no ambition to even stay in the league? The owners and fans have got what they wanted, Premiership football, but has it come at the expense of the heart and soul of the club?
There are troubled times ahead for QPR, a lack of investment, lack of new players, lack of support for the manager from the owners, and the rise in ticket prices will surely serve to alienate fans and the owners even further. If the side want to stay in the top flight then everyone will need to pull together, but unfortunately it seems as if the owners are not willing to do their part, and ultimately this could affect the whole atmosphere at the club and their season ahead.