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Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Pressure is on QPR...Ecclestone on Buying QPR Rather than Chelsea, Liverpoool or Manchester United

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- In the realm of "In case you missed it:" - Bernie Ecclestone Talking About Buying QPR, Football Finances and Going to Watch Chelsea

Western Daily Press - Lee Johnson: The pressure is on QPR
- If you think Bristol City's players are feeling the pressure ahead of this afternoon's Coca-Cola Championship fixture at Loftus Road, spare a thought for Queens Park Rangers.
- Co-owned by three of the richest businessman on the face of the planet, the West London club has been catapulted into a special category reserved for English football's nouveau riche.
- Pundits were quick to predict a rapid ascendancy to the Barclays Premier League after Italian motor racing magnate Flavio Briatore, Indian industrialist Lakshmi Mittal and Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone poured their millions into reviving the Superhoops.
- Naturally, they expect nothing less themselves and a succession of managers have tried and failed to deliver while occupying the warmest of hot-seats.
- Paulo Sousa is the seventh managerial incumbent since Ian Holloway was ditched just over three years ago and, thus far, he shows no sign of doing any better than his predecessors.
- Substantially backed to win promotion this season, Rangers have flattered to deceive. Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Swansea was the team's first in nine Championship outings and, with seven games remaining, their prospects of reaching the play-offs appear slim.
- One can only imagine how failure will be greeted by the owners and it seems reasonable to assume Sousa will go the way of Iain Dowie – sacked just three months into the season – should his side fall short of expectations.
- City midfielder Lee Johnson knows all about financially-induced expectation, having spent a short and inglorious spell in the West Lothian melting pot which is Hearts.
- Ruled by Russian oligarch Roman Romanov, the Edinburgh club was charged with the not inconsiderate task of breaking the Old Firm domination of the Scottish Premier League.
- When George Burley tried and failed to deliver, he was shown the door with unceremonious haste. His successor, former Arsenal and England midfielder Graham Rix, signed Johnson from Yeovil Town in January 2006 but fared little better and was replaced by Romanov's son a few torrid months later.
- Johnson made only four first team appearances that season and had plenty of opportunity to observe chaotic proceedings from the sidelines.
- "What happened at Hearts just goes to show you cannot always buy success," declared Johnson, who was eventually rescued from his Scottish hell by his father, Gary, who brought him to Ashton Gate eight months after his move north of the border.
"They tried it at Hearts but the money created so much pressure, they never really had a chance. Those putting up the cash always want instant results and that can be very hard to deliver in football. To be honest, I look at QPR and see a lot of similarities.
"I could give you £30million and you wouldn't be able to guarantee getting out of the Championship. It still wouldn't be enough to lure top Premier League players.
"It's different if you throw £100million at it, like some of the clubs who come down from the Premier League, but QPR haven't done that.
"Because of who owns them and the amount of money they have, they are expected to win promotion to the top flight. That makes life very hard and is the reason why there has been so much chopping and changing behind the scenes.
"You can't keep sacking the manager and changing players and hope to succeed. It's not worked for them this season and I don't think they are as good a side as when we played them at their place last year.
"There is a lot more pressure on QPR than there is on us. Anything less than promotion will be deemed a failure. What will they do then? Sack the manager and start all over again?"
According to Johnson, City are better-placed than their London rivals to win promotion, not only this season but in the future too.
He contends: "There are two ways of doing it; one is to spend an absolute fortune, the other is to build a team and then keep it together.
- "We have real stability at this club and there is a lot to be said for a settled squad and management team. That is what has got us where we are now and I wouldn't change the way our chairman does things for anything."
Sure enough, Steve Lansdown has spent sensibly and built steadily in his quest for a sustainable future at the higher level. But no amount of careful husbandry will be sufficient to bridge the four-point gap between City and the play-offs if the Robins lose in the capital today.
- Johnson agrees, insisting: "This is a massively important game. We can't afford to play for a draw – we have to go there and try to win the game.
- "We believe we can still reach the play-offs but we're going to have to win another four or five games to make it happen. In my opinion, the next two games – City host play-off rivals Preston North End on April 4 – will decide our fate one way or the other." Western Daily Press

- See Also: QPR vs Bristol City Preview

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