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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Briatore Enjoying Running QPR- on Dowie and De Canio (Insisted that Cerny Play Over Camp)

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This is London - Flavio is getting a kick out of his hoop dreams
- Flavio Briatore had not even heard of Queens Park Rangers when the SOS was tapped out last year, so he asked his chauffeur for the lowdown. 'Bad team, bankrupt' was the concise verdict.
- A year on, the crippling debts have been shed and the team's stuttering performances have failed to sway chairman Briatore from his grand vision.
- "I promise we'll reach the Premier League but with our team, our people, our philosophy," he said. "You must build sound foundations; we don't want to go up and come straight back down."

- When Grand Prix maestros Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone bought the club in August 2007 for £14million and then sold a 20 per-cent stake to steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, QPR were labelled as the new Chelsea. Yet the Italian boss of the Renault Formula One team sees the investment as an exercise in organic growth rather than a chequebook-waving orgy.

- "Nobody really expects QPR to go up this season," added Briatore, whose side are just outside the play-off zone after draws against Charlton and Watford over the festive period. "When we took over I always said it was a four-year programme to get into the Premier League. This is the second. Last year we just wanted to survive."

- The rapid disposal of coaches - Paulo Sousa is the fifth to take charge on either a permanent or caretaker basis since Briatore arrived - suggests a more impatient demand for success.
- Briatore claims, though, Iain Dowie has been his only genuine sacking, insisting Luigi de Canio made up his own mind to quit at the end of last season.
- He said: "I never fired De Canio. He did a good job because he saved us from relegation. He left because of family problems."
- 'Communication' is a word Briatore uses frequently in explaining his business philosophy but his relationship with Dowie resembled an arranged marriage which was doomed at the altar.
- Sporting director Gianni Paladini was charged with finding an English-speaking manager who understood the Championship and Dowie appeared to tick the relevant boxes. But even before a ball was kicked in anger in August, there was friction over who should play in goal: Briatore pulled rank to insist that close-season signing Radek Cerny was preferred to the keeper in residence, Lee Camp.- The Italian said: "The coach criticised me over Cerny. I said I thought he was the best keeper in the Championship. I tried to make him understand what we wanted but it was very difficult." The final straw for Briatore came after the 0-0 draw at Swansea on 21 October, a match which saw home keeper Dorus de Vries carried off in the 26th minute.
- With no keeper on the bench, defender Alan Tate replaced De Vries but he was a near spectator throughout a dull game.
- "We didn't have a shot at the target and I found that completely unacceptable," said Briatore.

- Having axed Dowie, Briatore put winger Gareth Ainsworth in caretaker charge before making a surprise move for ex-Portugal international Sousa last month.
- Briatore was then bewildered by suggestions he had started picking the team. He said: "Sure, I give my opinion but the final decision is with him [Sousa]."
- There is no longer the air of tearful gratitude which greeted Briatore's ride to the rescue but the Italian is keen to remind the fans of what might have been.
- Briatore, whose side will be looking to progress in the FA Cup against Burnley at Loftus Road on Saturday, said: "If QPR exist it is because of us.
- "I'm proud because 200 people would have been without a job. I didn't come into football to make money. I came into it to have fun." This is London

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