Yesterday I chose not to occupy my usual seat. That hurt

Chris Wright explains whyhe decided to step down as chairman in a traumatic week for his beloved QPR
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The Independent Online

This has been a very upsetting week for me. Ever since the fixture list was published last summer, I have always known exactly where I'll be on home match-day afternoons. Yesterday, though, I chose not to occupy my usual seat at Loftus Road. That hurt.

This has been a very upsetting week for me. Ever since the fixture list was published last summer, I have always known exactly where I'll be on home match-day afternoons. Yesterday, though, I chose not to occupy my usual seat at Loftus Road. That hurt.

I did not take the decision lightly but, after the threats I received during the 2-0 defeat by Fulham on Wednesday night, I felt I had no alternative but to step down as chairman of Queen's Park Rangers and Wasps, the rugby club.

I've been a fan of QPR for 30 years, but I am not prepared to sit in the stands and just take abuse. I've done nothing but try to get it right and improve the club. It has not worked out and I know that is frustrating for the fans, but it does not justify the behaviour of some.

These are very difficult times because on the one hand, the club are totally dependent on me for financial survival, while on the other, I can't keep going to banks left, right and centre to borrow money that I simply do not have. It's a real catch-22 situation.

It's soul-destroying when you think you're doing your very best and yet you get stick for it. The abuse from the fans has escalated in the last few weeks to the point where I can no longer accept it. They are upset with the results, particularly last weekend's 6-0 defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup. And I understand that. I'm a fan and it hurts me just as much.

But the truth is that we've often been unlucky. The Arsenal game was close until we conceded the first own goal. And against Fulham, our keeper made an untypical error. You can't legislate for incidents like that. We've also had six broken legs and two cruciate ligament injuries so far this season.

The position of Gerry Francis, the manager, is not under threat. He's emotionally committed to the club and, at this stage, is only interested in saving QPR from relegation. He's contracted to the end of the season and will stay until then at the very least. I've no doubt Gerry is the right man to get us out of the mess on the field.

Off it, one of the most common criticisms levelled at me is that I am a wealthy man who is not prepared to put his hand in his pockets. Fans see the rich lists and think that, because I am supposedly worth £150m, all my money is readily available. But that's not the case.

Yes, it is true I have some assets, but all my wealth is tied up in my main company, Chrysalis. It's taken me more than 30 years to build up that business and I've no intention of selling my shareholding, under any circumstances.

As it happens, I have already secured over £20m for the club over the last four years. What people don't realise, though, is that the bulk of this is in the form of loans. The fans think that I'm being stingy; that I have all this money lying around in wads of cash. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I know that we need new players. We're all well aware of that and, believe me, we're trying to find them. Only last week, we enquired about a dozen players. The problem is that either those players are not available or, if they are, the better ones don't want to play for a First Division side.

I am also criticised for ploughing too much money into Wasps, while ignoring QPR. Nonsense. Rugby union is a totally different sport, with salary caps and tight financial controls. The truth is that I have spent very little to help Wasps achieve their success.

If you look at the two clubs, QPR lose about £5m per year; Wasps no more than £1m. In fact, if you count the proceeds of the sale of Wasps' old ground at Sudbury, the rugby side of the business is in the black.

Whatever the decisions I've made, the Wasps supporters have always been great with me. They're grateful for what I've done. At present, both clubs are owned by the same parent company, Loftus Road plc, but if the way forward for QPR is to demerge the two, then we'll find a way to do that.

For now, however, I remain totally committed to the club I have supported for 30 years. I will continue to fund QPR until a new buyer is found and do everything possible to help fight against relegation. After that, I will remain their No 1 fan.

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