Football: Jones wanted at Turf Moor

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The Independent Online
VINNIE JONES is close to upping lock, stock and barrel and heading north from Queen's Park Rangers to aid an old ally at Burnley, providing a settlement can be agreed with the west London club.

The QPR player-coach, who has been picking up his pounds 4,000 a week wages despite staying away from Loftus Road since Ray Harford resigned two months ago, is interested in linking-up with Stan Ternent at Turf Moor.

Rangers transfer-listed Jones a fortnight ago and were hoping to collect a fee for the Welsh international. But Ternent, who worked with him at Chelsea, wants Jones on loan.

Jones said: "I've known Stan for years. I was at Chelsea with him and we have been friends for a long time. Of course, I would talk to him. But it's between the two clubs - they have got to come to an agreement."

Ternent has a player-coach role in mind for Jones but the move could hinge on Jones' willingness to agree a wage cut.

Meanwhile,Gerry Francis, who has returned to QPR for a second spell in charge, is ready to invest his own money in the club and purchase thousands of shares after being named Nationwide League Manager of the Month for November.

Francis has done a remarkable job since Harford left, guiding his team to four wins in the last five games. QPR have already scored more goals in five weeks under Francis than in the previous three months. And they have also won twice as many away games in the last fortnight than QPR had managed in the previous year.

He said: "I have already bought a million shares in Loftus Road plc and I am now looking to buy a lot more. I'm not about to take over the club or anything like that, but if the shares become available then I will buy them. If it all comes off, I should own a fair percentage of the club and that way I'll know there is nothing going on above my head.

"I think buying shares in the club also shows you are committed in more ways than one. And even if I was to leave QPR, I would still want to keep them. I have been involved in this club in one way or another for 17 years and its in my heart. This shows how serious I am.

"A lot of fans bought shares in the company at a good price and then saw them go down to as little as 9p. Now, hopefully, we can help those supporters get their money back and move this club up the League."

Rangers, however, are still pounds 5.5m in debt and third from bottom in the First Division.

Francis added: "We have a long way to go because we have won 12 points in November but are still in the bottom three. That shows what a state the club was in. But our aim now is to get to 52 points as soon as possible - that his how many I think we will need to stay up."

Francis hopes his return to Loftus Road and his immediate success will help fans get over the lean years when he was at Tottenham. "I've watched QPR's results and felt for the fans. Unfortunately, when I was at Tottenham I was responsible for two wins against them which helped send the club down. But I didn't feel guilty. I never wanted to leave QPR in the first place - it was made clear that I wasn't wanted there. So I had to go.

"The fans knew that, and they gave me a standing ovation when I went back there with Tottenham. Now I can pay them back by getting things right again. I believe in my ability to do it.

"When I took over at Spurs, they had just been beaten 3-0 by Notts County in the Cup - and Notts County were bottom of the Third Division. Tottenham were also in the bottom four and had no cash. But I turned it around quickly and was manager of the month in December and went on to get a club record 50 games with only four defeats. We've done it a month early at QPR and we want to end up with the same kind of record."