QPR Report Twitter Feed

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Criticisms of Briatore...Briatore Holding Back QPR?...Further Peterborough Dismissal of QPR/Ferguson Option

The Guardian/Benjie Goodhart - Briatore's influence at QPR is no longer a force for goodIain Dowie's hasty sacking is symptomatic of the malaise that has settled on QPR since Flavio Briatore's arrival at the club
- How quickly the golden hue of optimism fades into the familiar gloom of disappointment and failed expectations. How easily long-cherished dreams recede from touching distance to spots on the distant horizon. And with what indecent, impatient and juvenile haste are people judged in this age of instant gratification. Just ask Iain Dowie.
- When Dowie took over the reins at QPR in May, it must have seemed like a dream job. A team on the up, drowning in cash, with owners whose track record in business and sport showed them to be shrewd, sensible and successful. And, at the top of the pyramid, the charismatic figure of Flavio Briatore, who brought with him not only cash and know-how, but a dash of elan - and the occasional supermodel. While he swanned about in spectacles with lilac lenses, the rest of us supporters were using ones with a rosier hue.
-How bloody naive.
- On Friday, Dowie was sacked by Briatore after 15 games in charge. Fifteen games is nowhere near long enough to give someone a crack of the whip at the best of times, but the sheer, shattering, shambolic absurdity of this situation is that he'd actually done well in his time at the helm. Dowie oversaw eight wins in those 15 games. He left Rangers in ninth place in the Championship, one point off the play-off places, and in the last 16 of the Carling Cup, having beaten a close-to-full-strength Aston Villa in the previous round.
- All right, some of the football was more utilitarian than aesthetic, and style was occasionally sacrificed on the altar of expedience, but so what? A manager's job is to get results. There are suggestions that Briatore, who has stated his desire to turn QPR into a boutique brand, wanted a more stylish type of football. Which raises the question: what the hell made him appoint Dowie in the first place?
- As a QPR fan, I was disappointed with Dowie's appointment. I felt his gilt-edged record at Palace had subsequently become tarnished by failures at Charlton and Coventry. But I knew what the club would be getting from him - a team that was fit, well-organised, defensively solid, hard-working, and perhaps a little lacking in creativity - somewhat in the image of its manager. It seems, though, that Briatore thought he was getting someone who combined Kevin Keegan's attacking philosophy with Walt Disney's ability to entertain. Where he got such an idea from, heaven only knows.
- But if I was underwhelmed by Dowie's appointment, I'm left speechless at his dismissal. Not just for the absurd haste of it, but for the reasons that appear to underpin it. It is said that Briatore wanted to exert an inappropriate measure of control over Dowie's decisions. Reports indicate that he and Dowie had a number of fallings out over the former's interference in footballing affairs.
- Right from the get-go, things didn't look good. After his appointment, Dowie announced to the press that they shouldn't read too much into his title as first-team coach - he would still control transfers and pick the team. Yet while he announced his intention to pursue players such as Ben Watson, Clinton Morrison and Jermaine Beckford, Briatore was arranging for the transfers or loan signings of Daniel Parejo, Emmanuel Ledesma and Samuel Di Carmine. Regardless of the merits of the players involved, the impression that the club was signing players in spite of rather than because of their manager, was hardly healthy. Look at Dennis Wise's role at Newcastle. Well, at QPR it looks like we've got the cocky mafia, who think they've earned the right to pick the team.
- That, by the way, is not an exaggeration. It has been reported that before the game against Reading, Dowie was presented with a team sheet, drawn up by Briatore, and told it was his starting XI. Dowie, not surprisingly, took exception to this. How would Briatore like it if Dowie started telling him how to run his Renault F1 team? (Interestingly, with a masters degree in mechanical engineering, perhaps that's exactly what Dowie should do.)
- Before he was fired, Dowie announced the team to play Reading. After his sacking, insiders say, caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth made a "couple of changes". The nature of those changes is unknown, but the game saw Parejo regain his first team spot and Di Carmine was granted a rare start, at the expense of top-scorer Dexter Blackstock. Whether these changes were handed down to Ainsworth on another team sheet dispatched from on high is not confirmed, but this is what Ainsworth had to say on the matter: "He's the chief investor and he loves taking an active part in how his investment is going." Right.
- While we're on the subject of reading between lines to find the none-too-hidden meaning, here's what experienced midfielder Gavin Mahon had to say on Dowie's tenure. "The coaching was top drawer, well organised, everyone was fit and times we let him down on the pitch with our performances. His record's decent, you can't fault it … I think the club's moved on a lot from last year."
- So what of the dream job that Dowie took back in the halcyon days of summer? Suddenly it bears all the hallmarks of something distinctly toxic and chalice-shaped. Pre-season, QPR were laughably tipped as promotion favourites - a level of expectation that probably helped seal Dowie's doom. Mahon has also recently said he thinks Briatore wants promotion this season. This heaps pressure on any incoming manager, before taking into account that QPR have actually spent very little money to match the soaring expectations. And then there is the suggestion that, as manager, you don't get to make your own signings or even pick the team. What manager of any integrity would accept those terms? Certainly not any of those ambitious names so far mooted - from Darren Ferguson to Gary Johnson, and more exotically, the two Robertos, Mancini and Donadoni.
- Whoever he appoints, Briatore has a lot of ground to make up with QPR fans. Only a year ago, he was hailed as the saviour of the club. It says much for how he has conducted his business that his stock has fallen as sharply as the FTSE 100. Even before his role in Friday's bloodletting, he'd used up his credit. It turns out that making Loftus Road into a boutique stadium meant hoiking the prices to obscene levels, at a stroke disenfranchising many of those fans who had stayed loyal during the dark years of League One football and Vauxhall Motors defeats. Paying £50-a-ticket is all well and good if you want the ground filled with moneyed Eurotrash parvenus, but it doesn't do much for the soul of a club.
- Some reports have suggested that Briatore would claw back some fans' kudos if he appointed Terry Venables as the new manager. The idea that such a move would be popular with the fans is beyond laughable. Thanks for the good times, Terry, but we've already got one permatanned playboy causing mayhem at our club, and that's one more than we need just now. The future's none too bright, but we could do without it being orange as well. The Guardian

This is London/James Olley - Hands-on Flavio Briatore may hold back Hoops' dreams
- Two managers gone, no promotion, disaffected fans and a disappointing position in the Championship: welcome to the first year of Flavio Briatore's four-year plan to drag Queens Park Rangers into the Premier League.
- Next Thursday marks the first anniversary of Briatore's formal takeover at Loftus Road and the optimism surrounding a club that last played in the top flight 12 years ago now seems all but a distant memory.
- While there were mitigating circumstances surrounding the departure of Luigi De Canio in May the Italian was homesick and had struggled to learn English the end of Iain Dowie's tenure after just 15 games is the culmination of constant rumours and unrest behind the scenes.
- It is understood Briatore had become infuriated with Dowie for not selecting the players the 58-year-old used his sizeable influence to sign.
- Most notably, Samuel Di Carmine, on loan from Fiorentina, had started just one game until being restored to the line-up under caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth for Saturday's 0-0 draw at Reading where Dexter Blackstock, the club's leading scorer this season with six goals, was dropped to make way for Di Carmine.
- Ainsworth's admission that Briatore "loves taking an active part in how his investment is going" is an ominous indication of the influence the chairman and co-owner is looking to wield.
- Sources close to both Briatore and vice-chairman Amit Bhatia have hinted at clashes between the pair over the management of the club. When asked to explain these rumours and clarify Dowie's exit, the club, Bhatia and Briatore declined to comment.
- Their silence has left fans feeling frustrated, especially in light of the ticket price hikes that were later softened by Bhatia, presumably in a bid to win fans' support.
- Neil Jackson, spokesman for QPR 1st Supporters Trust, said: "Dowie was sacked after 15 games so if it was a performance issue, I can't make sense of it. It is clear Flavio Briatore is having a very strong input. Does Flavio have the football knowledge to pick the team? I don't know. Some of the purchases have not worked out and that is concerning."
- Of course Briatore wants Rangers to be a success and it must be remembered his £14million bailed out the club but the new branding and the celebrity 'It' crowd would appear to hint at a desire for a west London plaything.
- By contrast, Bhatia, the son-in-law of co-owner Lakshmi Mittal, is painting himself as a football man hence it was he who announced the U-turn on certain ticket prices. Bhatia is also said to have been reluctant to fire Dowie (right). The players also appear confused.
- Defender Peter Ramage said: "It's a strange situation. I have never encountered an owner who is so hands on but if we win our next eight games, people will say he is a genius.
- "It's good that he takes an interest because it shows he cares. The power struggle or whatever is going on is no concern of the players we are paid to play and that's what we'll do."
Standard Sport understands Ainsworth will not be given the job on a permanent basis and that Briatore would prefer to appoint an Italian with Roberto Mancini, Roberto Donadoni and Gianluca Vialli under consideration.
- Failing that, leading English contenders include Terry Venables and Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson.
- Any manager will need to work within the Briatore framework, which appears to be that the co-owner will influence both transfer policy and team selection.
- A long shot who would fit that bill is Damiano Tommasi, the 34-year-old former Italy international, who signed for Rangers thanks to Briatore as a player but has struggled with injury.
- But as Tottenham fans could testify, until there is a united boardroom with a single vision and a manager in place who is given time, QPR remain very much a work in progress. And despite Briatore's business and sporting acumen there's no guarantee the second year of his four-year plan will see any more success than the first. This is London

Peterborough Evening Telegraph - ADAMANT: Darragh MacAnthony insists Darren Ferguson is going nowhere.
- POSH chairman Darragh MacAnthony insists only a Premier League club would stand any chance of prising manager Darren Ferguson away from London Road.
Ferguson has been tipped to succeed sacked Iain Dowie as manager of Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers during several days of intense media speculation, but MacAnthony has told the London club they are wasting their time if the rumours are true.
- MacAnthony believes Ferguson – who has dismissed the Rangers link – is one day bound for the big time and admits he would only consider an approach for his manager if a club from the top flight comes calling.
- MacAnthony told The Evening Telegraph: "I would not entertain an approach for Fergie and to be honest, why would he want to look at QPR anyhow? Just ask Iain Dowie what it was really like for them.
- "Anyway once we win League One I have no doubt that a Premiership club will be in for the gaffer and that will be the only way I will even consider entertaining this type of conversation.
- "I am sure that Darren will state the same on the issue."
- And MacAnthony is right. Ferguson has again shrugged off the speculation linking him with the Loftus Road hotseat and insists his sole aim this season is to lead Posh to a second successive promotion.
- Ferguson, who has guided Posh into the League One play-off places after a fine recent run, said: "There is no reason for any of my players or myself to leave this football club.
- "We have a squad that is capable of challenging for another promotion this season and no-one is going anywhere."
- Posh have the chance to boost their promotion claims when travelling to rock-bottom Crewe Alexandra in League One tonight. Peterborough Today

Blog Archive