In West London, Chelsea does not really face stiff competition for the admiration of footballing success despite there being another club of history and tradition, namely Queens Park Rangers Football Club. Usually known as QPR, the club have been around since 1882 with their Loftus Road Stadium having opened all the way back in 1904. One would think that such credentials would help provide a platform from which the way to success could become a shortcut of some form. Wrong.
The club are, in actual fact, a bit of a mystery in the English game. Packed with lofty ambitions, their current owner, Tony Fernandes, a Malaysia tycoon, bought a majority stake of 66% in the club in 2011 and was happy to let the spending spree commence. Many came and many went. There were a lot of mercenaries such as Jose Bosingwa and Christopher Samba, but also some surprisingly decent additions such as Joey Barton. However, the emphasis should be on the word mercenary.
It almost seems as though the club’s ownership is happy to throw money at random players, only to make up numbers. In this context, this season’s squad, which achieved another relegation to the Championship, includes the likes of Adel Taarabt and Mauro Zarate. If relegation is the ultimate annual goal, the club should feel free to continue with this philosophy, as it will ensure further on-target performances in years to come.
However, if there is more to life at QPR than trying to achieve great success in a short time, the Hoops should focus on long term achievements and handle their transfer business more intelligently. Some might argue that this team has actually produced some decent players, and it has with the likes of Charlie Austin. Nevertheless, the policy in acquiring players seems somewhat fishy. In other words, the focus should shift to quality rather than filling the squad with has-beens or those who are looking for a quick payout. It is reported that Christopher Samba’s salary of £100,000 a week was matched when he joined the R’s in January 2013; it is beyond questionable whether such a transfer made sense for a club trying to avoid relegation rather than fighting for the title.
Despite these obvious shortcomings, the club could actually use their Championship campaign for some organic rebuilding and spending more than a year in that division might help in establishing a long term vision. In any case, the fans now have to live with watching a second-tier side for at least one season and if Fernandes gets the Hoops back on track, the club might actually have a more rosy future.