Fighting in the away end, home fans encouraging a ref to send off one of their own players and Junior Hoilett scoring; Loftus Road is certainly a strange place to be right now. I cannot recall a QPR crowd as hostile to their own bench as the current one.
A comfortable 3-0 win at home to MK Dons, featuring a lovely solo goal by Jay-Emmanuel Thomas saw QPR consolidate their current position of 10th, five points from the play-offs. Yet for the vast majority of the crowd, Chris Ramsey should already be out of the door.
A man that was originally brought in to overhaul the club’s youth system, Ramsey was given the chance to take charge of first team matters after Harry Redknapp’s knees gave way and the imminent announcement of Tim Sherwood never materialised. Basically, he was never meant to get the job.
At the time of his announcement, the club were heralding a new dawn of rebuilding with Tony Fernandes calling Ramsey the ‘dream candidate’ to bring in fresh, young and hungry players through the club’s youth academy. Fast forward eight months and the direction from the boardroom has turned entirely on its head; Fernandes recently stated on Instagram that ‘going up is everything for me’.
Fernandes’ determination to get automatic promotion has led him to call on the services of Neil Warnock, the first manager he fired to help Ramsey. Warnock’s role as ‘advisor’ is still unclear, but in doing so Fernandes has not just taken the rug from under Ramsey’s feet, he’s taken away the entire house the rug was in. Warnock’s announcement certainly also brings in to question Les Ferdinand’s position as Director of Football.
Based on results, Ramsey has had an OK start to the season. The team’s current stats read as won five, drawn four, lost four. It’s hardly title-winning credentials but nor is it relegation form either. Yet he is getting pelters from the terraces for every misstep he takes. Based on the bile and negativity that is emanating from the home support, you’d think we were rock-bottom. But we’re not. We are doing alright. We don’t have an entitlement to be top. Teams like Hull, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Derby are there because they deserve to be. As well as having more points than us right now, what else do they all have? Modern stadiums. These are clubs that have moved with the times. Other than a lick of paint and a big TV from Argos, Loftus Road Stadium has hardly changed since I first started going and that was 30 years ago.
Our priorities should be about investing in a training ground, raising our presence locally and building a new stadium. That’s the sort of platform that sets you up for a sustained attempt at getting into the Premier League and staying there. Yet, we do the opposite. Our preparations again for a supposed promotion push make me cringe. Many fans talk up our squad, but I beg to differ. Our best centre-half, Clint Hill, is 37. Our best right-back, Nedum Onuoha, is primarily a centre-half. Our first choice left-back is a loannee. Sandro cannot play more than two games a week, hardly ideal for the Championship, and Junior Hoilett, a man that occasionally appears on the left wing, before cutting in, was available for free two months ago; no one took us up on the offer.
Tony Fernandes has spent the best part of £200 million on players and the club have nothing to show for it. I fear the money wasted over the past few years has ruined QPR. It has distorted the expectations of its fans, turning us into a hard to please mob. Four years after taking over, Fernadnes now owns a club riddled with debt and back in the Championship. I don’t know how he does it, but time and time again he seems to be absolved of any blame. You can’t build anything on foundations made of sand, but that’s what Ramsey is facing. Perhaps we as fans should give the man in the dugout a break and support the team. After all, we are the only constant to the club’s past, present and future.