QPR relegated: Rangers dumped back in transit by costly mistakes

Another rapid return to the Championship threatens yet more upheaval at Loftus Road as further expensive gambles fail to pay off for Fernandes

For all of the anger in the away end and the public condemnation of the “bad eggs”, there was very little resembling an inquest or even a row as Queen’s Park Rangers digested Sunday evening’s  second relegation in three years.

Before the game at Manchester City, no-one expected Rangers to stay in the Premier League – and out of the reach of the Football League’s Financial Fair Play punishment – but they did arrive at the Etihad Stadium with some hope. “It will be about putting in a performance because we still will not want to be beaten,” said a proud Bobby Zamora at the training ground on Friday morning. “Since Chris [Ramsey] has come here we have not been thrashed by anyone and we won’t want that. If we go down it will be with our heads held high.”

When David Silva rolled in City’s sixth goal, three minutes from the end, Rangers could not even claim that. It was a different type of humiliation from their dismal 0-0 draw at Reading just over two years ago which relegated both teams. But it was not much better than that.

Then, as now, QPR headed back into the Championship having gambled and lost, having spent money on players of apparent quality and experience who were not good enough or committed enough to keep them in the top flight.

 

There will certainly be another clear-out this summer, another dramatic turnover of players who do not fancy trips to Rotherham or Huddersfield next season. Joey Barton is out of contract and has no intention of signing a new one. Richard Dunne has been offered a one-year deal to stay but is considering retirement. Zamora and Karl Henry are set to leave, while the club must hope they can convince stalwart defender Clint Hill to give them another year of service.

Beyond those veterans, there are players who might just earn them some money. Rob Green is likely to join Chelsea. Striker Charlie Austin, who has just one year left on his deal, is wanted by Newcastle United and Aston Villa. Nedum Onuoha would probably attract a Premier League buyer, as might  Junior Hoilett.

Then there are Sandro – currently unable to play due to a visa error – and Leroy Fer, two talented international midfielders who did not join Rangers for the prospect of a season in the second tier. They are both well paid but also both enjoy living in London and it will remain to be seen if any club can make an offer which is sufficiently attractive to player and club.

All of which means that the manager will have a difficult job trying to balance and motivate whichever set of players he is in charge of when the season begins on 8 August. It is likely to be Chris Ramsey, who has impressed the players with his honesty, integrity and coaching sessions since replacing Harry Redknapp in February.

Ramsey has not got every decision right – his decision to expose young full-back Darnell Furlong to Crystal Palace’s wingers in March raised some eyebrows – but the squad thinks he has earned the right to another season in charge.

In that sense it is very different from the situation two years ago. Redknapp replaced Mark Hughes at the midway point, with a squad that was – and this is hard to imagine – more bloated, complacent and over-paid than this one. Redknapp, though, realised quickly enough that the team were set for the drop and rarely conveyed the same enthusiasm and drive that Ramsey does.

That meant that last season, back in the Championship, Rangers hardly ever looked like a team desperate to fight their way back into the top flight, or with much of an idea of how to go about it. Beyond the goals of Austin there was very little to admire in the team and they limped to a fourth-place finish that was embarrassing given their resources. They did not play well against either Wigan Athletic or Derby County in the play-offs and it was only Zamora’s fine finish in the final minute of the final that won promotion.

Had Rangers lost against Derby County at Wembley, Redknapp would have quit – but even in victory that would not have been a bad thing. QPR started this season as they did the last one, with no obvious plan, no balance, no coherence, no motivation. It is easy enough to pin this on Redknapp, whose two-year, two-month reign at Loftus Road was not a very astute use of time or money.

But Redknapp was appointed and supported in the role by Tony Fernandes, who has been in charge of the club for almost four years now. They are, as they were then, in transit between the Premier League and the Championship but are now staring down the barrel of a £50m fine and with their name almost a by-word for mismanagement.

Bad eggs? Five who have failed Rangers this season

Adel Taarabt – 7 apps, 0 goals
Shaun Wright-Phillips – 4 apps, 0 goals
Junior Hoilett – 21 apps, 0 goals
Sandro – 17 apps, 1 goal
Mauro Zarate – 11 apps, 2 goals

QPR’s summer of change: Possible departures

Out of contract

Joey Barton, 32

Bobby Zamora, 34

Richard Dunne, 35

Rio Ferdinand, 36

Clint Hill, 36

Karl Henry, 32

Alejandro Faurlin, 28

Shaun Wright-Phillips, 33

Brian Murphy, 32

On loan

Mauricio Isla, 26

Eduardo Vargas, 25

Mauro Zarate, 28

Niko Kranjcar, 30

Value for money? QPR’s spending record

2014-15

S Caulker, Cardiff          £8.5m

J Mutch, Cardiff                  £6m

L Fer, Norwich                      £8m

J Robinson, Liverpool         £1m

A McCarthy, Reading        £6m

Sandro, Tottenham            £6m

R Ferdinand, Man Utd       Free

Total      £35.5m
Money from sales      £22.25m

2013-14

D Simpson, Newcastle      Free

R Dunne, Aston Villa          Free

K Henry, Wolves                   £1m

C Austin, Burnley                £4m

G O’Neil, West Ham           Free

M Phillips, Blackpool        £5m

C Donaldson, Livingston  £150K

Total £10.15m
Money from sales  £15.5m

2012-13

R Green, West Ham            Free

R Nelsen, Tottenham          Free

A Johnson, Fulham              Free

S Diakite, Nancy                 £4m

P Ji-sung, Man United   £2.5m

J Hoilett, Blackburn    Tribunal

J Bosingwa, Chelsea           Free

J Cesar, Internazionale      Free

E Granero, R Madrid      £3.5m

S Magri, Portsmouth          Free

S Mbia, Marseille                £5m

T Ben Haim, Unattached

Loic Remy, Marseille,       £8m 

Y Suk-young, Ch’m D     £950k

C Samba, Anzhi               £12.5m

J Jenas, Spurs        Undisclosed

Total:  £36.45m
Money from sales  £400,000

Grand total: £82.1m.
Sales: £38.15m.
Shortfall: £43.95m

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