Football: Francis reveals ambition on return to QPR

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GERRY FRANCIS has promised an end to "First Division mediocrity" after returning to Queen's Park Rangers for his second spell in charge.

Francis, appointed both manager and director of football at Loftus Road, was in ebullient mood as he outlined his plans for the future. "Although I'm not setting any targets, I'm not here to keep this club in First Division mediocrity," he said. "QPR should be in the Premiership and in time that's where we intend to be."

The west London club's chairman, Chris Wright, took the opportunity to apologise to the fans for "past mistakes", but claimed the club has now turned the corner with the appointment of Francis as Ray Harford's replacement.

"I don't think this club has been very well run for several years," Wright said. "Before we came in it was run very badly and we've made lots of mistakes. But I have brought in Gerry Francis and he has blue-and-white- hooped blood. He lives and breathes QPR. He is an absolutely top-class manager."

Francis, a QPR player, captain and manager over a period of 17 years, has signed a contract for the remainder of this season and for two more years. He added: "Over the past 11 months I've turned down flat 12 offers of work. If it hadn't been QPR who came in, I'd still be out of the game but I've got a soft spot for this club."

Manchester United are ready to create special areas where singing is encouraged behind each goal at Old Trafford and could return to the days when fans paid at the gate to get in. Ideas being discussed by United's board for increased capacity to be created by the next development of the ground are revealed in the latest edition of the club's magazine.

United will be extending the capacity of Old Trafford to 67,400 in the next three years. At present, demand for seats far outweighs supply, and the club uses a ballot to distribute 10,000 non-season ticket seats at each game. With a further 12,000 becoming available, they have to decide how these will be sold.

Building work on the west stand starts at the end of this season and the Stretford End will be completed in 2001.

Francis' tough start, page 29