Party's over for QPR as Ecclestone keeps it tight

The Premier League is an unforgiving arena for newly promoted clubs, but with the campaign still three weeks away fans should be able to look forward with optimism as well as trepidation.

That is certainly the mood around Carrow Road and the Liberty Stadium. Norwich City and Swansea City will be among the favourites for relegation, but both have promising managers who are strengthening their teams.

Paul Lambert made Kyle Naughton his seventh summer signing on Thursday with the fee for his season-long loan taking the Norwich manager's spending past £9m. Swansea's Brendan Rodgers is on the brink of capturing Wayne Routledge for £2m, pushing the Welsh club's outlay towards £7m. Both clubs look as if they will be giving it a go, without risking their futures.

Then there's Queen's Park Rangers. The celebratory air that infected Loftus Road in May has dissipated. The Championship winners are owned by some of the richest men in football, but Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal are not just reluctant to spend their billions, they have not even touched the £40m TV boon QPR will bank this season.

Rangers have been linked with everyone from Fabio Cannavaro and Marco Materazzi, to Peter Crouch and, more feasibly, DJ Campbell, but the only players they have signed are Jay Bothroyd, Kieron Dyer, Danny Gabbidon and Danny Webber, all on free transfers. While Bothroyd had several suitors it is hard to imagine too many Premier League clubs were chasing the others. To compound this, Rangers are about to sell Adel Taarabt, the creator and taker of most of their goals last season, to Paris St-Germain.

A third of his £15m fee will go to Tottenham, due to a canny sell-on clause inserted by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy when Taarabt left White Hart Lane. The rest, indicated Warnock this week, will not be re-invested in the team. "I've just got to look for Bosmans and shrewd acquisitions, loan players etc." He added: "We'll be trying to survive on the smallest transfer budget ever."

Most galling of all, for QPR, is that they are being outbid by their fellow promotees. Routledge was on loan to Rangers last season, and Warnock wanted to sign him permanently. Naughton, who was under Warnock at Sheffield United, had been a target for months. As with Watford striker Danny Graham, another Swansea recruit, QPR were not prepared to pay the asking price, not even Naughton's loan fee.

It is not just the approach to recruitment that is prompting fans' ire. QPR have increased season ticket prices by 40 per cent (for four fewer games), but they are yet to release this season's kit, announce a sponsor, or reveal individual match-day prices. None of this dispels the impression that Ecclestone is only interested in making a fat profit on the club he bought four years ago. Though the dominant shareholder, he admits he has little interest in the team. It is Flavio Briatore – who owns no shares but has Ecclestone's ear – who dictates transfer policy. Since Mittal's son-in-law Amit Bhatia resigned as vice-chairman in May the Mittal family have been silent partners.

Many Rangers fans hope they will launch a takeover but Mittal has no intention of meeting Ecclestone's £100m asking price, more than twice what Venky's paid for Blackburn last year. Instead there are reports of Russian interest with speculation centreing on Alexei Mordashov, owner of Severstal, a steel and mining conglomerate. Severstal sponsors several sports teams in Russia and the 45-year-old Mordashov – worth $18bn according to Forbes – has business connections with Mittal and lived in England a decade ago.

Any takeover needs, however, to be swift as the transfer window closes in six weeks and two-thirds of QPR fans, according to a poll on one website, believe the club need at least four to five players to survive. Warnock hailed Rangers' promotion – his seventh in management – as his finest achievement in football. Keeping QPR up would top even that.

Spending to survive

How promoted clubs have fared:

2010-11

Blackpool (spent £2.5m, relegated)

Newcastle United (£3m, survived)

West Bromwich (£5.3m, survived)

2009-10

Wolves (spent £16.5m, survived)

Birmingham City (£17.6m, survived)

Burnley (£6.6m, relegated)

Comings and goings at the Premier League newcomers

QPR

In: Jay Bothroyd (Cardiff, free), Kieron Dyer (West Ham, free), Danny Gabbidon (West Ham, free), Danny Webber (Portsmouth, free).

Out: Mikele Leigertwood (Reading, free), Pascal Chimbonda (released)

Norwich City

In: James Vaughan (Everton, £2m), Steve Morison (Millwall, £2.5m), Elliot Bennett (Brighton, £1.5m), Anthony Pilkington (Huddersfield, £2m), Bradley Johnson (Leeds, free), Richie de Laet (Manchester United, season loan), Kyle Naughton (Tottenham, season loan)

Out: Matt Gill (Bristol Rovers, free)

Swansea City

In: Danny Graham (Watford, £3.5m), Jose Moreira (Benfica, £750,000), Steven Caulker (Tottenham, season loan), Wayne Routledge (Newcastle, £2m, tbc)

Out: Darren Pratley (Bolton, free), Dorus de Vries (Wolves, free)

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower