QPR’s demise finally sealed
When the final whistle blew at the Madejski stadium a little over a week ago, there was a slight feeling of relief. Despite the club’s attempts to avoid dropping out of the Premier League, their fight had run out of gusto weeks ago and the inevitable was unavoidable.
May 8th, 2013
It seems so strange writing about relegation only nine months after the season began with much expectancy. The new summer arrivals appeared to have made Mark Hughes’ squad stronger and Premier League safety genuinely appeared to be guaranteed. There was even talk in some quarters about the club being outsiders for a place in Europe, which seems ludicrous now.
Considering the start the club had this season, relegation was almost inevitable even before Hughes was sacked. A record-breaking run of 16 games without a win condemned the side to failure before Harry Redknapp had taken over (bought a player). The departure of Ryan Nelson, possibly their player of the season, in January also deprived them of a leader and an organiser at a crucial stage.
Hindsight is a wonderfully frustrating thing and one that supporters are all too keen to ignore in defeat. Many fans have suggested that instead of committing to losing more money under Redknapp, the club could have prepared for the Championship earlier – but admitting defeat that early in the season would have been dangerous. Despite looking increasingly unlikely there was a slim chance that, with some motivation and a couple of additions, the great escape could happen.
Unfortunately for the club their new manager was unable to really change the slide the club had been on since the beginning of the season. What has also not helped has been the behaviour and mentality of some of the senior players who have left a considerable amount to be desired.
Just after the whistle blew at Reading, Jose Bosingwa was seen smiling and laughing as he walked down the tunnel. For many fans, not even QPR’s, this was a step too far and almost summed up the season in one fell swoop. The lethargic performances at the beginning of the season did not seem to matter that much, and neither did the confirmation of relegation. The one thing that is not acceptable to supporters is a lack of effort and there were others who were less obvious than Bosingwa, but it was clear to see the malaise had affected everyone at the club.
Doubts remain over QPR’s long-term financial stability and this was further questioned last week when it emerged that the club have secured a £15 million loan. Having spent a considerable amount of money on the team over the last year, and with wage bills at an astronomical level in some cases, the club needs to steady itself quickly. As we have witnessed this season with Blackburn and Wolves, it is not easy to adjust quickly to the Championship.
If the club can retain some of their key players and offload some of those on big wages, there should be a reasonable side at Loftus Road next season. It is too early to assess whether Redknapp will stay; but whoever does manage them next season, they will have to be prepared to fight more than they have done this time.