On Saturday, after a bright start, Queens Park Rangers conspired to a 0-0 draw with Preston featuring one of the dullest halves of football I have ever witnessed. In complete contrast, the past few weeks have seen Tony Fernandes make a return to football matters, leaving a trail of confusion in his path.
About three weeks ago Fernandes tweeted that he ‘still believes but… going up is everything’ – a 180-degree turn on his public declaration of a period of consolidation and rebuilding of the club from earlier this year. This moving of the goal posts triggered a series of events that included former manager, Neil Warnock returning to the club and last week culminated in head-coach Chris Ramsey being relieved of his duties after 30 games in charge. The decision to make Warnock, the first manager Fernandes fired, interim manager typifies how the club has been run in recent years. Shambolically.
With regards to who the new manager should be, part of me wonders whether it will make any difference. As dreadful as he was at QPR, Mark Hughes has done fine everywhere else and at clubs like Blackburn, Fulham and Stoke, similar to the R’s in stature, he has been a success. All things considered, Harry Redknapp had quite a decent managerial career before taking over and did, somehow, get us promoted. Ramsey was a man never destined to get the job, but did. He tried, he failed, and was then hung out to dry by a weak club statement following his sacking.
Earlier today, the club’s owners effectively wrote off more than £180 million worth of debt in interest free loans by turning the loans in to equity, which according to the owners, means the club isn’t liable for the money. This has led to speculation that the owners are trying to sell the club but the board have been quick to deny this. Taking into account the £60 million also written off earlier this year, when the threat of Financial Fair Play sanctions loomed large, that’s a total of £240 million written off.
Two-hundred-and-forty-million! Let’s just take that in for a second. A club that has a stadium with a capacity of less than 20,000, that has never won the FA Cup or a top-flight title, based in a city with 13 other professional teams, has amassed a debt of £240 million pounds in only four years and has nothing to show for it. I take my hat off to the owners for seemingly taking such a huge loss on the chin, and if it doesn’t come back to effect QPR, that certainly won’t be forgotten by me. However, this is the R’s we are talking about, so I have my doubts. Regardless, the fiscal policy of the past four years doesn’t inspire confidence for the future, if they are still the owners.
On a day where eye-watering sum of monies owed were being dealt with like a bar tab, Fernandes decided to throw another corker of a tweet into the mix, stating that ‘QPR fans need to manage their expectations.’ After shaking my head, I thought long and hard and I can honestly say that after the past few years of madness, I don’t think I have any expectations to manage at all. Perhaps that’s more worrying than anything else.