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Friday, April 24, 2009

How QPR Should Operate - Comparing QPR to Other Successful Clubs

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Dave McIntyre - BBC 606 - Watch and learn
-Wolves’ promotion party, which Rangers had the misfortune to be caught up in on Saturday, was well deserved and their reward for being the kind of club QPR need to become.
- After a season of seeing Rangers’ attacking shortcomings exposed, it’s easy to look at Wolves - with Ebanks-Blake and their other strikers - and feel that more spending by Briatore and co is required.
- It was the same story a year ago, when QPR fans looked on enviously as West Brom celebrated winning the title at Loftus Road.
- But like QPR, Wolves are where they are not because of how much they spent, but how they spent it.
- Both clubs are where they are because of the way they’re run. Sadly, that’s just about the only thing they have in common.
- Off the pitch, the support manager Mick McCarthy has received and the general way Wolves operate couldn’t be more different to the way Rangers have been run since 2005. On the pitch, they have built a good team while QPR have wasted money and opportunities.
- The £1.5m paid for Ebanks-Blake, Wolves’ flagship signing, is small in comparison to the total transfer fees and wages Rangers have shelled out for since 2007.
- And like many other clubs, Wolves did the groundwork and made the important judgement calls to bring in the kind of players that could have been picked up by QPR - even without the extra millions Briatore brought to the party.
- Andy Keogh was watched carefully before being signed from Scunthorpe. He is still only 22.
- Michael Kightly, 23, has been a revelation since being signed from non-League Grays.
- David Edwards, Matt Jarvis and Kevin Foley - all 23 or under - were signed from the lower leagues.
- The highly-rated Richard Stearman, who is only 21, was snapped up from Leicester and Stephen Ward, 23, was initially taken on trial from Irish club Bohemians before being signed.
- Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy came through the ranks at Wolves, whereas promising keeper Liam O'Brien didn't even have a full-time coach before leaving QPR for Portsmouth last year.
- David Jones was signed on a free transfer while, in fairness to Rangers, they made Karl Henry a good offer to join them from Stoke before he opted for Molineux.
- These aren’t extravagant transfer dealings by any means, yet many will still tell you the key to promotion is for Rangers’ owners to write even more cheques.
- This despite not only the example set by Wolves, but also Reading - who have not spent big to sign the likes of Kevin Doyle and Noel Hunt – as well as Burnley, Preston, Swansea and Bristol City to name a few.
- Lower down, the likes of Coventry and even Doncaster have made their money go further for them than Rangers have.
- Many seem convinced Rangers need to spend big on a striker this summer. But Doyle, Jason Scotland and Ross McCormack, who have all scored 18 goals or more this season, were signed for modest fees.
- This isn't new. It’s six years since Crewe – a club with nowhere near Rangers’ resources – celebrated promotion at Loftus Road and sent QPR into the play-offs.
- The following year, Plymouth sealed promotion against Rangers and won the title ahead of them at a canter despite having a significantly smaller budget.
- Several seasons and numerous diabolical signings later, Rangers are still being shown the way forward by better-run clubs.
- Last season was a similar story, with Stoke winning the title and Bristol City reaching the play-off final despite their limited resources.
- Shrewd business like Stoke’s capture of Ryan Shawcross and City’s signing of Marvin Elliott proved to be crucial.
- Stoke manager Tony Pulis is clear that the main reason for his success last season was his careful scouting of players.
- Rangers have done their homework and used good judgement to bring in players like Akos Buzsaky and Matt Connolly, but all too often their transfer dealings have been shoddy.
- Players are often targeted only after they’ve started to pop up on television and in the papers, or simply because so-and-so says they’re good or they’ve played for such-and-such team, so they apparently must be good
- As Pulis put it last summer: "The biggest thing for a manager is knowing the product. And the product in football is players.
- "You don't find out about players sat around the television. You have to be out and about, on the road, watching games. It takes a lot of time to analyse what is out there."
- Several clubs, including Wolves, have worked along similar lines.
- Their signing of Sam Vokes, still just 19, spoke volumes and is a good example of the huge difference between Wolves and QPR.
- A number of clubs watched Vokes very closely at Bournemouth and felt he would make a good signing for a Championship side with time to let him develop, perhaps in the reserves initially and then as a substitute.
- That led to one or two clubs looking elsewhere while Wolves took the plunge and have eased Vokes along as only a stable, well-run club can.
- QPR’s shortcomings mean not only are they less likely to pick up this kind of player, but someone like Vokes would be handled very differently at Rangers – as the cases of Nick Ward and Emmanuel Ledesma showed.- Imagine a player like Vokes - or Keogh for that matter - at QPR.
- Rather than play down the hype surrounding him in order to limit the pressure on his shoulders, Rangers would have announced the signing with a huge fanfare, unveiling him as one of the best prospects around.
- This would partly be a self-indulgent swipe at their critics by the powers-that-be, as would the inevitable bragging about beating off competition from other clubs to get their man.
- And whereas a promising start would be played down by any sane club for obvious reasons, QPR would be beside themselves with excitement hyping up their new star. A Ledesma T-shirt, anyone?
- Then the inevitable dip in form would follow and the player is cast aside as *attention switches to the next transfer window. It's no way to run a football club.
- After all the hype, Rangers are struggling to finish in the top 10 this season despite a huge turnover of players, and it's not because they've not spent enough.
- Mercifully, soundbites from the club about emulating Wolves’ achievements have been relatively thin on the ground this week compared to after West Brom’s day in the sun in W12 a year ago.
- That’s just as well, because while QPR’s defeat on Saturday was a narrow one, the two clubs are streets apart.
- And if Rangers are ever to stand a chance of following in Wolves’ footsteps, they first need to stop walking in the opposite direction
. BBC606

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