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Saturday, June 30, 2007

QPR Snippets

From Today's Times "...Ben Sahar, the Chelsea forward, is expected to move to Queens Park Rangers on loan for six months. He follows Michael Mancienne and Jimmy Smith, who made a similar move last season...." The Times Today's Telegraph "Chelsea
QPR want to sign 17-year-old striker Ben Sahar on a six-month loan. Jose Mourinho wants the Israeli to gain more first team experience with the Championship side next season." Telegraph

ShrewsburyNot yet announced by Shrewsbury on their official site: The July 31Friendly vs QPR. (Shrewsbury List who they are playing)

Gillingham are being linked to released, Steve Lomas

The changing face of QPR: Updated Staff Directory (with presumably a couple of changes to the Directory yet to be made)- Squad Numbers

Tony Roberts, Dagenham and the Insurance issue still unresolved

On this day two years ago, then-QPR Manager, Ian Holloway was talking about Flo
BBC - Holloway admits interest in Flo
QPR boss Ian Holloway has confirmed his side are hoping to sign ex-Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo.
But he admits he is not confident on his chances of persuading the 32-year-old Norway international to leave his Italian club Siena.
"He will attract interest elsewhere. To get a player of his quality is a real 100-1 shot," he told QPR's website.
"We've done all we can to persuade him that QPR is a great club, but we fully respect Tore will need to take time."...
"We are shooting for the stars here - but there is nothing wrong with trying to bring in the very best players available," Holloway added.
Holloway has already signed defender Ian Evatt, midfielder Tommy Doherty and striker Stefan Moore this summer, while goalkeeper Simon Royce will join on 1 July after his contract at Charlton has expired. BBC

And in a nostalgic "blast from the past:" From the Spring of 2005
QPR's then Chairman Bill Power and then CEO, Mark Devlin talking about the (much-criticized) season ticket increase and other issues. Agree or disagree; right or mistaken; look back in hindsight, etc, but the effort to grasp the club's financial problems is evident. - QPR


You can now read an edited transcript, or listen to a recording, from the Q&A with Bill Power and Mark Devlin answering YOUR questions on season tickets...
Or simply read the transcript from the event below. Many thanks to everyone who submitted questions.

It's all very well comparing the next season's prices to teams like Watford or West Ham.But what do you say to those of us who know that a parent and child season ticket to watch Chelsea is going to be cheaper? Or what do you say to those who point out that your sudden huge whack in prices will stop them introducing the next generation of fans to Rangers?

Mark Devlin - The prices have been set to try and gain the revenue that the club needs to function because we can't go on begging for money. It's all been done to put us on a more stable footing.

We gave out a lot of free games last year in a very haphazard fashion and all that's happened is that supporters now won't be getting as good a deal as they were last season. I just hope that they can see the reasoning behind what we've had to do.

Are the club trying to discourage both families and children? If not how do they justify the fact that the highest increases apply to these groups?

Bill Power - We looked at all of the prices and it was in those sections where the biggest discounts were being given.

MD - The prices have been set in stone so they won't be changing now. Begging to our Directors for money had to stop. With regards to the child season ticket holders we'll be looking at giving them a £30 club shop voucher and if every one of them takes us up on that offer it will cost us in the region of around £60,000.

Will the club consider offering at least a cup game in with the season ticket. I know our record in the cups is not the best at a difficult time a gesture might help.

BP - FA Cup games involve other clubs so it would be remiss of us to give away tickets for free without having first consulted them. But of course we will look at the discounts if it is at all possible.

Are you planning for ticket promotions for next season?

MD - We would have to be careful as we wouldn't want to be seen to be diluting the value of a season ticket. But once we know the make up of (the division) next season there may be three or four games where we can look at possible promotions which would be in the Lower School End.

Why was such a dramatically high increase on Season Ticket prices considered necessary in one season?

BP - We were discussing these prices in November 2003 and that will tell you all you need to know about our predicament back then - we were desperate for money.

Was the option of notifying supporters in advance of the massive price increases considered?

MD - In hindsight, maybe consultation with some of the supporters groups should have happened, although I HAD spoken to some people involved with them about big increases. But maybe we could have done it a bit better.

But (In terms of explaining the rises) Bill and I both did interview with the website which you could read, and listen to, free of charge, without having to subscribe to QPR World as someone incorrectly suggested.

Then the letters were delivered at the weekend which again explained the reasoning behind the increases. We haven't tried to put a spin on this at all - we've only ever presented the fans with the facts.

Recent season ticket/ticket price increases appear to be based on the ongoing cost of servicing the ABC loan. If this crippling loan is the prime cause of having to 'penalise' the fans what are you doing to get away from ABC?

BP - The loan is crippling us, but that isn't the only reason for the season ticket increase. There are things happening next year that have never happened before. Not only is our season being condensed, but the changes to the transfer window ruling will mean that we need a bigger squad and of course all this means we need more money.

MD - It costs us £1m a year to service the ABC loan and we've looked at other companies who can take over this loan for us without such a high rate of interest. But what we were being told by other banks was that we needed to prove we were more stable before they would become involved with us and that's another reason why we need more money.

Plus next season we will have to finance a section for disabled supporters. On top of that we've also got to spend between £160,000 and £200,000 on essential renovation for parts of the stadium.

These are all things that have been batted away in the past and we buried our head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. But the fact of the matter is, this work now needs to be done.

How many renewals does the board expect (or require) to happen before the end of May and what contingencies are in place if this volume target isn't met? Also has any research been carried out to quantify the expected renewal rate?

BP - It would be wrong of me to presume anything, I would never presume anything of our fans. But what I will say is that I hope that everyone renews their season tickets. I really do think that this will be the best money that our fans will ever spend. If they were excited about promotion to this league last year then they really shouldn't be able to wait for next year. I really don't think they will regret spending this money. And if any of our fans don't think that we researched this then I really don't know what they must think of us.

MD - In terns of financial research when discussing the new prices, we worked out what we would earn if everyone renewed and then we worked backwards to see what we would earn if only 90%, 80% and so on renewed. If we hit a point where not enough money was coming in then we drew up contingency plans. We just hope that people can see the rationale behind these decisions.

Aren't there better ways of raising revenue? What about reducing staff at the stadium, or why not cut back on the amount of free tickets dished out?

MD - We have made redundancies and switched suppliers for certain things and by doing that it looks as though we've saved somewhere in the region of £350,000-£400,000. All of the directors are keen on seeing as few complimentary tickets as possible distributed and we have a system where they all have to be justified before they are signed off.

If we are short of money why give Ian Holloway a three year contract and ask the fans to pay more next season to watch the same players ?

BP - Giving Ian Holloway a new contract is all part of the stability of the club. I can't say enough about the man. When he joined us he hauled us out of the abyss. Everyone knows about Ian's enthusiasm and he is an imperative part of this club. I must also add that his three year deal is of course two years after the end of this season.

MD - Our job is to manage the business so that we don't end up staring down that financial abyss again. We want to have enough money to fund a squad for the years to come because the fans come here because they want to see a team that wins more games than they lose.

I do not understand how the club feel that they can justify paying for a unproven player like Davies and paying him a sizeable (for our team) wage and then turn around and tell the fans we have no money and there has to be a huge increase on our season tickets. Could you please tell me how the club expect us to believe we have no money and then go and offer players like Davies this money?

BP - We've got the best fans in the country here and some of them happen to be very wealthy and very kind and it was those fans who offered to stump up the money for Andrew Davies. QPR Holdings could not have afforded to purchase him - that deal would have been funded by the fans.

How many players will the enhanced revenue enable the manger to bring to the club in the anticipation that QPR a challenge for promotion at the end of the season?

MD - I would say that we probably need around four or five new players before the start of the season. We will be looking at players like the youngster we got from Arsenal.

BP - Ian Holloway has got a list of players of every position that he wants to bring in. his biggest problem is me telling him not to spend too much money and to go out and find us one of his gems.

How many players can we expect to leave during the summer? Is Mr Paladini looking at long term building or just a quick fix?

BP - Gianni Paladini is here for the long term. He never supported a football club before he came here and now he and his family are big QPR fans and he is no longer an agent.

It's been mentioned that "The club have been helped out by the board recently to keep us going"Has this been in the style of Chris Wright/Roman Abramovich type loans and therefore put us in MORE debt or has it been in gifts and hence kept the debt down.

BP - If there is a fan out there who would just like to give the club £1m of his own money then I'd like him to give me a call. Yes, they are all loans - but if the Club went into administration tomorrow I would be homeless and penniless. That's how much I've invested in the Club.

We've tried to be as reasonable as possible. I've met other chairman from other club's who were in a right panic over the position of their club and I wouldn't have wanted to swap places with them. We want to take this club forward now. If it takes two or three years then that's what it takes, but the sooner the better.

MD - Our level of indebtedness have come down. There were companies including the Inland Revenue who we owed money to and we were hanging on by the skin of our teeth.

The fans wanted to hear our levels of concern about how much trouble we were in, but there was no need to inform them then as the Directors stepped up to the plate. But we simply can't keep asking these people to invest their own money, it's not a never ending supply.

If we purchase our season tickets through the payment plan, why will we only get individual tickets rather than the season ticket book as has always been the case?

MD - We had horrendous problems last season with supporters falling behind on their payments and we had to write off their season tickets. So this step has been taken to protect the club. We may revisit this decision, it may be that we can issue batches of ticket, or we may still even revert back to how we did things this season. This is still being looked at.

Club on Season Ticket deadline
"...Supporters are advised to purchase their tickets as soon as possible. Rangers have the Premiership in their sights and 2005-06 promises to be a season to remember. Make sure YOU are part of the action!

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