QPR must act now
It will take everyone associated with Queens Park Rangers a little time to get over the disappointment of conceding a last-minute equaliser to Wigan last Saturday. Having gone a man down after Bobby Zamora’s reckless sending-off, and on the verge of an unexpected three points, Harry Redknapp described it as ‘the cruellest last kick of the ball’ he had ever witnessed.
April 9th, 2013
With six games now remaining, QPR find themselves seven points from safety and running out of time. What the club needs to now realistically prepare for is relegation. The dramatic injury-time goal on Saturday appeared to have killed off any last hopes for an escape; the crowd were left stunned and the players’ body language was one of reluctant acceptance of their fate.
For many of the current playing squad it will simply be a case of finding a new club to play for and securing a new contract. However, for the supporters and staff at the club tough times could well be ahead. Having spent even more money in the January transfer window and with a significant wage bill to cater for, serious changes are going to have to take place at Loftus Road.
The club needs only to look at recent history to know that even ‘big’ clubs have struggled to cope with the drop in division. Whilst a parachute payment certainly aids the financial situations of many clubs, it is not there to cope with a wage structure like QPR’s.
Promises and personal guarantees are already being made and Tony Fernandes, the club chairman, will need to sit down with his closest advisors and devise a strategy now. It is of course still mathematically possible that the club could survive but it was the manner of the draw that will leave a psychological scar. To be so near and eventually fall so far within a matter of seconds is a hugely significant mental hurdle to overcome in sport, and it is doubtful that there are enough games left to rectify it.
The future of Harry Redknapp is, of course, the one that will occupy the majority of the headlines but it is the playing staff that will make the difference. Julio Cesar, Loic Remy and Christopher Samba have all been brought to the club on big salaries and they will be the first to leave. They should recoup some of their money from these sales and will ease their overheads.
With the players remaining, the club needs to establish a plan for doing well in the Championship and returning to the Premier League as soon as possible. The fall from the top tier of English football can be a tough one to negotiate, and will present the club with many obstacles. There was a slim chance the club could have survived until last weekend but the people who control the club have to now be objective. It is increasingly likely that the club will be relegated, and to ensure their future the club must take action now.