To describe QPR as an inconsistent team would be insulting to a team such as Norwich who an challenge the Arsenals and Man Uniteds on their day whilst crumbling to bore draws against Reading and Aston Villa. QPR aren’t inconsistent, they’re the opposite. QPR are a consistent team, but in the wrong vein because they have consistently put in poor performances and completely deserve the position they sit in right now, bottom of the league without a win from their first twelve games. There is an incredible pressure from the fans to get rid of Mark Hughes, should Chairman Tony Fernandes take the initiative to turn their season around and bring in some fresh blood or see if Sparky can fight his way out? This is turning out to be the million-dollar question, or with the cost of relegation reportedly rising to well above that, the £50m question.
QPR are one of the most impatient teams out there. Their managerial record of eight different managers over only three years shows this more than anything. It’s hard to argue this has changed under new ownership with Neil Warnock getting sent his P45 last January after his team were hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th place.
There was a lot of debate over where Warnock’s departure was right, surely a man who had taken a mid-table Championship team to a top place in England’s toughest league should deserve more than three months to establish the Hoops as a stalwart Premierleague side.
Perhaps the QPR board were taking a look at how Newcastle were meeting expectation and then pushed even higher by ridding themselves of the man who gave them promotion. Pardew undoubtedly has done a great job at Newcastle, but this is an extremely odd success story, getting rid of Chris Houghton to hire a non-established Premierleague top half manager was a controversial decision and the fact that it’s paid off still baffles fans and pundits alike, so to use it as a business model seems almost irresponsible.
QPR’s impatience in recent years can be seen through more than their management. The transfer policy at the club is almost farcical, with desperate last minute buys in the 2011 summer transfer markets due to the last minute instalment of the new ownership. There has been no foresight in QPR’s transfer policy; one stat that exemplifies their desperateness is that the club have signed five new strikers in just over a year. This year they signed established England goalkeeper Rob Green on a free to replace the consistent Paddy Kenny, only to sign Julio Cesar a month later. This kind of short sightedness completely undermines any kind of strategy, and makes them seem like a kid playing Football Manager.
Mark Hughes has been constantly backed by Fernandes as the club look towards a long term plan, but having built this on a short term, panic buying spree just undermines the whole supposed ethos of the club. You should start as you mean to go on. The biggest success stories of the Premiership in recent years have been Stoke and Swansea. Stoke have gradually established themselves as a fully-fledged Premierleague club, playing good solid football with an English backbone. Swansea have excited fans and neutrals alike with a style of play that has seen their pass completion rates become higher than Barcelona at times.
Both these sides have built their squads with trust in the players and managers that won them promotion, with gradual integration of big name players rather than QPR’s system of flooding the squad with established Premierleague players. QPR have last the oppurtunity to run their side this way, but it’s not too late to put a cap on the players coming in and start to work on who they already have.
This leads us to possible names that could come in, there has been talk of pretty much only one name, and it’s a big name at that. Harry Redknapp has had a terrible year, from courting England to losing his job at Spurs and a comfortable London job is deemed his next, and possibly last, shot at football management. But is he the proper man for the job? Redknapp is universally recognised as a wheeler dealer (but don’t tell him to his face http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJBsI7RAuvk), and his love for the transfer market is obviously not the best fit for QPR.
We often forget, however, how good Redknapp is at grooming potential into ability. From Lampard and Cole at West Ham, to Bale and Walker at Tottenham, ‘Arry has took youngsters to the top of their potential and there’s a group of players in the QPR dressing room that could use that direction.
QPR can’t suffer relegation. Their players are above the Championship level and Wright-Phillips, Zamora, Ferdinand, Park and Hoillett would be the first to abandon ship, leaving them in a terrible, irreversible position. In the same way, can you imagine Hughes managing a Championship team, even if he wasn’t forced out? QPR are desperate to stay up, which makes it so much harder for them to plan for the long term and be brave to stay away from the desperate decisions that have landed them in this position. Keep Sparky and have a quiet January, then perhaps you can have a quiet few years transitioning to a mid table team.