Season preview: Queens Park Rangers

If you have the time (and interest) to look into the background of this little club, it’s worth the time. The documentary The Four Year Plan is available to stream from Netflix, and it is fascinating. It brings you up to about three or four years ago in the club’s history. It also gives you some idea of how a club is run (if they happen to be so unlucky as to be owned by Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone). The Rangers are now owned and operated by Tony Fernandes, a Malaysian with an airline, but not of the variety that falls out of the sky. At least not yet.

I think Fernandes is a decent owner. From what I gather, he’s positive and has learned some good (if painful) lessons in his three years at the helm of the West London club. He has spent far, far too much in a short period of time on older (“seasoned”) professionals who were supposed to have the experience to keep the club competitive. Instead, many if not most have proven to be expensive flops. In Harry Redknapp, he has a manager who believes in the seasoned pro. Redknapp is a decent manager, but he’s over it I feel. He’s great for a quote and has done decently in the past (while at Portsmouth and at Tottenham for a bit), but QPR need new ideas and new faces, and I think that ol’ ‘Appy ‘Arry needs to go.

So should most of the first team. Rejuvenate should be the order of the day. With the average age at the club being 28.9 (closer to 32 when you just look at the first team), we are talking about a club functioning as a parking lot for aged professionals seeing out their careers. The recent addition of Rio Ferdinand only feeds that perception.

But perhaps ol’ Tony Fernandes is right to hang in there rockin’ to the oldies for now. Job one is to survive this season, which they should. The squad has a look like a pack of mercenaries who know how to get the job done. Fair enough.

Reality bites in this business and the truth is Fernandes will want need his club to stay up. He’d likely love nothing better than to lure a young and exciting manager to West London, to boost investment in his academy and move into a larger home (Loftus Road is the smallest in the Premier League at just over 18,000). In order or any of this to become a reality, the Hoops need to become an established team in the Premier League and sit on the cash-positive side of things for a season or three. Then the academy can be staffed with great scouts and trainers. Then the ground can be broken on a new, 40,000 seater stadium. Then someone like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can be brought in to oversee the establishment of a new era at the club.

But for now the club needs to stay in the league, and I think they will. QPR to survive, 16th in the log.