Two games into his new job as QPR manager and Harry Redknapp might be wondering whether he will need more than a miracle to save the Loftus Road club from its imminent relegation from the Premier League.
After collecting just six points from their opening 15 fixtures, QPR are in serious trouble and, despite news of the players not trying their hardest under Mark Hughes, I’m not surprised.
When Tony Fernandes paid a reported £35million for Bernie Ecclestone’s share of the club in August 2011, he immediately began flashing his cash and funding the acquisition of players on big wages. This is where it all went wrong.
If you look at the players QPR have signed since Fernandes’ money arrived, there aren’t many names on the list that scream ‘top class quality’ at you. Firstly, signing Kieron Dyer should have set alarm bells ringing instantly, while signing Premier League rejects like Jose Bosingwa, Djibril Cisse, Luke Young, Danny Gabbidon and Andy Johnson aren’t exactly the names you’d expect to see bringing regular top flight football to the QPR faithful.
On paper they are big names who achieved things in the game in the past, but stick them all together and they have done absolutely nothing. What Fernandes didn’t do was take a look at what happened to West Ham when they were bought out by a consortium headed by Eggert Magnusson and, as a the self confessed Hammers supporter he claims to be, he should have known better than to just throw big transfer fees and big wages to too many players in such a short space of time.
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Redknapp has been hired to improve the morale of the squad and give a kick up the backside to those that haven’t shown enough heart so far this season. That’s all very well and good, but when he brings in his own players in January, there will be more unrest among the players that are already there, which won’t do the squad any good at all.
We all know Redknapp is a bit of a master when it comes to getting the best out of the players and that’s what he needs to do to the current squad, regardless of whether they are a good enough team or not, rather than bring in more players. The squad needs improving, of course, but it seems enough damage has been done to save the sinking ship.
What Fernandes must do now that he has got a decent manager in place is think about adopting a strict transfer policy, because the amount of money they must be paying in wages can’t reflect well on the books, as well as them being revealed as the team that pays agents the most money in the Premier League.
He needs to sit down with Harry Redknapp and listen to who he wants, but also stand firm when it comes to budget. More importantly, purely with the club’s finances in mind and the imminent Financial Fair Play rulings, there will be players on the books that will need to go before any more players can come in.
The likes of Dyer, Zamora, Johnson and Green, who are thought to be on big wages but are either not performing or even playing, all should be sold before Harry brings in his targets. Because if players like Scott Sinclair, Joe Cole, Darren Bent and David Beckham are all going to arrive at Loftus Road next month, they’re not going to come cheap.
Furthermore, he needs to prevent arrivals that aren’t going to make any positive impact on the team in the long run. For example Joey Barton, DJ Campbell and Jay Bothroyd have all been sent out on loan merely a year after joining the club, while Danny Gabbidon was released after just one season.
Signings like that must stop if QPR are going to get anywhere and remain a top-flight side and, without a recruitment structure in place, I fear things will only go from bad to worse for them. If this can be adopted properly then, in time, the squad will have enough balance to be able to move forward and improve.
After spending around £45million on players that aren’t currently performing, it appears Fernandes may never get any of that money back by selling them on for a profit once Harry decides he wants his own stock to help him attempt to keep them in the top flight. Perhaps only then will he realise that throwing cash at players that were once good, or who sound good, might not be the best way to go about things.
With Harry in charge there is a bit if light at the end of the tunnel, but the owner needs to take some of the blame for the way he has given the green light for so many arrivals in such a short space of time.
Stability off the pitch brings stability on it and that’s what QPR need to work towards, and one season down in the Championship won’t do the club any harm if Harry is given the time to stamp his own authority on the London side.
What do you think? Is QPR’s downfall down to Tony Fernandes’ reckless transfer policy? Or does the blame solely fall on the players for not performing?