QPR: Who is to blame for their relegation?

In a season characterised by the sheer number of low quality teams in the Barclay’s Premier League, for Queen’s Park Rangers to have stayed adrift at the bottom of the table from beginning to end is remarkable. To have done so despite significant investment in the playing staff ahead of the season, and in January, as well as employing two managers of significant premier league experience, is extraordinary.

QPR supporters have endured one of the worst seasons of any fans of a Premier League club from any of the previous 20 years. They may have survived by the skin of their teeth in 2012, but even the most pessimistic of supporters would not have predicted that 12 months on, they wouldn’t even put up a fight to stay in the division. So, who is to blame for this failure? Let’s look at the prime suspects:

Hughes

Image available under Creative Commons (c) the sportreview

Mark Hughes
Manager (Sacked 23 November 2012)
Won – 0, Drawn – 4, Lost – 8

Mark Hughes’ reign at QPR was nothing short of disastrous. Having left Fulham in 2011 citing his ambition to manage at the top level, it took some by surprise that he agreed to take on the QPR job in the first place. Barely maintaining their Premier League status, he oversaw a flurry of transfer activity in 2012 with over £20m spent on new players. But the majority of those signings have flopped. Robert Green was sidelined after just one game – the opening day 5-0 home defeat to Swansea. Park Ji Sung and Jose Bosingwa proved themselves incapable of replicating anything like the form they displayed in previous stays at Manchester United and Chelsea respectively. Hughes was relieved of his duties just 12 games into the campaign, having presided over QPR’s worst ever start to a Premier League season. He left behind a bloated, unbalanced squad, a huge wage bill, and a mountain to climb.

694px-Harry_Redknapp_2011_(cropped)

Image available under Creative Commons (c) James Boyes from UK

Harry Redknapp
Manager (appointed 24 November 2012)
Won – 4, Drawn – 9, Lost – 9

Harry Redknapp arrived at QPR the day after Hughes’ departure, and was immediately hailed as a saviour by supporters and pundits alike. Having previously led Tottenham to the Champions League and been widely tipped for the England job, many believed he was the man to rescue Rangers. But despite some positive results – notably a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge – Redknapp was unable to dramatically improve QPR’s form. He refreshed his squad in January, spending over £20m to bring in expensive signings like Loic Remy and Christopher Samba, but despite this complained of a lack of quality and poor attitudes. Redknapp recruited over a quarter of the first xi that finished the season, had no discernible impact on the unity of the fractured squad he inherited, and finished the season with the lowest win percentage of any QPR manager in the Premier League.

Tony_Fernandes

Image available under Creative Commons (c) http://www.flickr.com/photos/lastsham/ lastsham

Tony Fernandes
Chairman (since 18 August 2011)
Reported amount spent on players: £40m +

And so we arrive at Tony Fernandes. Assuming the role of majority shareholder in 2011, Fernandes arrived promising investment, stability, and a long term plan for the development of QPR. Initially sticking by Neil Warnock, he soon sought to bring in his own man. In his defence, he has prioritised improving the infrastructure of the club and increasing the size of their stadium, and he has backed both of the managers he appointed with serious cash in the transfer market. But it is impossible to ignore the naivety that Fernandes and the QPR board have displayed. Seemingly hoodwinked by managers, agents and players alike, Fernandes has been taken for a ride and seen much of the money pumped into the club squandered. He took over a club newly promoted to the top league in English football, staffed by largely functional but committed players. Two years on he has spent a fortune, but the club is leaving the top flight, awash with high wages and bad attitudes, and with a monumental rebuilding task ahead.

The individual cases against Hughes, Redknapp and Fernandes are all compelling, and in truth, each deserves to take a large share of the blame for QPR’s relegation. And of course you could also include the QPR players in that list, who barring one or two exceptions, have woefully underperformed during the whole season. But I find it hard to look beyond the owner in terms of who is ultimately responsible for the mess QPR are now in.

Fernandes is right to feel let down by the people around him, and those he has employed. But a businessman of his experience and stature should not have allowed himself to have been taken advantage of in this way. Now he faces a long road to restore his credibility, and the fortunes of his football club.

By Ben Harrison

Feature Image available under Creative Commons (c) Jammy 31

Comments

  1. Joey Barton – he gets the blame for most things (although he does most things)

Trackbacks

  1. […] More from this author: England: Why Hodgson is stuck with the devils we know; Who is to blame for QPR’s relegation? […]

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