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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Briatore: Doesn't Pick The Team...Can Always Walk Away...Crystal Palace Retain Maguire Interest

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- CONTRARY to rumour, Flavio Briatore will not be standing in his ­pyjamas in the middle of the ­Melbourne night picking the Queens Park Rangers team – but he will be on the phone if they lose.
- “Let’s get this absolutely clear,” said Briatore, who is plotting a return to title-winning form for his Renault Formula One team when the season opens at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
- “I do not pick the team but I have an opinion on things because we have invested a lot of money.
- “I don’t pick the team, no way, no way. I go in the dressing room sometime after the match but I don’t know why this story is around. But this is our money and we want to be informed about what is going on. It is our investment. If the result is good, nobody puts their nose in.
- “ We want information – and if the results are not coming, then you want to ask why. I think this is normal and not unreasonable. The coach is working for QPR like the players.
- “If we don’t get results in F1, then I discuss with the Renault chairman Carlos Ghosh. Only in football do they think they should not be asked if the result is bad.
- “If the people [supporters] think someone is better to come over, then we have no problem. You need to keep your feet on the floor and have respect for the people who invest.”
- Briatore, with a bit of help from F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, bought the club for £14million in 2007 – but that included a £13m debt.
- They also brought in another billionaire, Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal making them, in theory, the richest club in the land. They have brought a jet-set crowd to the club too.
- Fans expecting a move into a “spend, spend, spend” era have, however, been disappointed. There has been no splashing the cash like Manchester City – that will not happen for a while.
- “We will not be spending money, no, no,” said Briatore. “The billionaires and millionaires are business people, they are not going to throw away money.
- “Money is not the answer. Manchester City is a very good example; they will be lucky to stay in the Premier League. They are like some in F1, people who have an astronomical budget and can’t win a race.”
- As he does in F1, where he has been hugely successful in creating teams with the right people at the right price, he believes a four-year plan is the best way forward. This is only year two.
- “There is no question of being fed-up. Lots of people are very enthusiastic, including us,” he said.
- “We started at QPR only a year ago in the middle of the Championship. The club was ready to pay a penalty of 10 points because, financially, it was not in great shape.”
- Despite their potential wealth, the club are currently 11th in the table, seven points from the play-off spots, but their form has started to pick up recently.
- Some believe that failure will be the end of the fifth coach in charge since the Briatore reign began, with Iain Dowie quitting early this season and hinting strongly at selection interference. Paulo Sousa is the current incumbent and Briatore sounds mildly optimistic about him.
- “I don’t think there is any problem at this moment,” he said.
- “We support Paulo. In the last two or three months, I am not happy with results and the coach knows that. But we have had a lot of injuries to key players. I respect the fact the sport can be like that.
- “It is disappointing but fans should be happy because we have done everything possible; we are there, especially at this moment when there are not so many people who want to buy a club. Everyone who gets their salary from QPR needs to respect who pays the salary.
- “Because QPR is not a profitable business, you need to be very careful. You have to have respect for people who are doing everything for success.”
- There was a time not long ago when he and Ecclestone were rumoured to be considering investing at Stamford Bridge. But Briatore said: “I don’t wish I had invested in Chelsea – that would be worse.
- “Football is a very expensive hobby. The bigger you are, the investment is more and the risk is bigger. We have invested at QPR, took over the debt, we have one of the best food and beverages in a ground in England, we have a great sponsor and great people, but you need to build the club.”
- Leaving the ground one night with Briatore, I heard a fan ask when they would be spending on players. It was mild in tone and most seem to appreciate this man has rescued the club.
- But does he ever get real trouble at Loftus Road?
- “If they give me hassle then I will walk away.
- “We do what we can, I enjoy it – when we win. I want to see more of that like any other fan.” Daily Express

Croydon Advertiser - Trialist could still fit like a Glove
- Palace will continue to monitor the progress of trialist midfielder Danny Maguire after the QPR starlet joined Yeovil on loan until the end of the season.
- The Advertiser exclusively revealed earlier this month that 19-year-old Maguire, who signed a one-year professional deal at Loftus Road last year, had joined the SE25 club on trial.
- Maguire made an instant impact, scoring on his Eagles debut as the reserves completed a comfortable 4-2 win over Millwall’s second string.
It is understood the teenager has no future at the west London club and is free to find another club.
- And despite his switch to Huish Park, Palace will continue to watch the youngster closely as they weigh up whether to move for him in the summer.
- Assistant coach Gary Issott, who worked with Maguire during his time in south London, said: “Danny is a good player who is comfortable on the ball. He showed plenty of potential while he was here.
- “The Yeovil offer was too good for him to turn down – but we’ll keep an eye on how he gets on.
- “But at the end of the day it’s up to the manager (Neil Warnock) on whether he wants to bring him here.” Croydon Advertiser

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