QPR Report Twitter Feed

Thursday, June 25, 2009

London Football Fan Census - Part II: What QPR Fans Think

- For cutting-edge, continually-updated news about QPR: Visit the combination, quasi-blog/messageboard QPR Report Messageboard. QPR and football. Nothing else! All posters and all views welcome!

- QPR Pre-Season in Croatia?

- Published Yesterday: Part I of the Evening Standard/Football Fan Census

Football Fan Census - Part II
- Evening Standard/Raoul Simons - Support for Arsene Wenger on the wane as Arsenal fans face a test of faith

Arsene Wenger faces the most serious questioning of his leadership since becoming Arsenal manager 13 years ago.

Figures revealed in the Evening Standard's London Football Report 2009 show an alarming slump in the Frenchman's approval rating among Gunners fans following the club's fourth successive season without a trophy.

Wenger is London's least popular Premier League manager in the eyes of his club's own supporters with Roy Hodgson, Guus Hiddink, Gianfranco Zola and Harry Redknapp all polling higher marks for last season.

Research company Football Fans Census asked more than 2,000 supporters - with a minimum of 100 from each club - to rate their manager's performance last season. The top mark was +5 with the bottom grade -5.

Wenger's score of 2.1 is certainly not damning enough to be interpreted as a call for him to go, but it is a significant fall from his previous status and appears indicative of a changing mood among some sections at Emirates Stadium.

When the London Football Report began in 2006, Wenger achieved a near-perfect score of 4.6, making him easily the capital's most popular top-flight boss.

Despite Arsenal's failure to win anything in 2007 and 2008, his rating remained strong with the fans won over by the potential of his young side, the quality of their play and his successful track record.

However, things went far less smoothly for Wenger in 2008/9 and his lower polling coincides with other evidence of discontent.

Fans booed his substitutions at times last season - when the club finished fourth in the Premier League - and the 59-year-old was upset when his decisions were questioned at a fiery shareholders' meeting last month.

Amid rumoured interest from Real Madrid, a group of fans organised a march in support of their boss ahead of the last home game against Stoke, however the report shows unrest among others has not gone away.

But an Arsenal spokesperson said: "We don't think too much emphasis should be placed upon the survey results as proof of our fans' strong and deep bond with Arsene has been demonstrated consistently over the years.

"Most recently, at the Stoke game when a march was undertaken in his honour by the fans and the vocal backing from them was clear."

In contrast to Wenger's troubles, Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has much to celebrate after scoring an outstanding approval of 4.9. The club were written off as relegation fodder at the start of the season and Hodgson's achievement in leading them into Europe is fully appreciated.

Brentford fans are equally delighted with rookie boss Andy Scott who oversaw promotion from League Two, while caretaker Guus Hiddink's strong rating of 4.7 has set a high benchmark for new Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Kenny Jackett, of Millwall, Geraint Williams, of Leyton Orient, and Gianfranco Zola at West Ham also registered impressive ratings in excess of 4.

At the other end of the scale, Phil Parkinson (-2.1) receives little sympathy for failing to avert Charlton's slide towards Championship relegation.

In west London, Paulo Sousa (-0.6) was not a hit with Queens Park Rangers fans and chairman Flavio Briatore has already acted to appoint Jim Magilton in his place.

Neil Warnock was the capital's top- ranked manager in 2007/8 (4.9) after Crystal Palace's surprise play-off charge but a season of mid-table mediocrity has seen his popularity take a considerable nosedive (0.6).

As well as the performances of managers, the report also asked the fans to rate contributions of their directors and players and to name their club's biggest rivals.

The feelgood factor at Fulham extends beyond the dugout and into the boardroom, according to the report.

Chairman Mohamed Fayed's popularity has soared after appointing Hodgson and providing the funds for successful signings such as Andrew Johnson and Mark Schwarzer.

The Harrods owner is now head of London's highest-ranked Premier League club board which trail only Brentford in the overall standings.

For their part, the Bees are the capital's only professional side owned by a supporters' trust and their board, led by chairman Greg Dyke, receive a ringing endorsement (4.9) from fans.

Millwall's American chairman John Berylson (3.8) also emerges with plenty of credit for restoring stability to the boardroom after years of turmoil.

Elsewhere, the bubble appears to have burst for Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone's regime at QPR.

Gripped by a wave of optimism in the wake of their takeover - along with Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal - fans of the so-called "richest club in the world" made Rangers directors the most popular in London in 2008.

Twelve months later, following a season of underachievement, the same set of directors are bottom of the pile with a rating of -2.9.

The handling of Charlton's ignominious slide down the leagues and the Icelandic financial meltdown at West Ham have not impressed fans of those clubs either.


Only 38 per cent of supporters quizzed thought their players had provided "value for money" last season given the salaries they earn.

Fans of Charlton (9 per cent), Tottenham (12 per cent), Crystal Palace (12 per cent) and QPR (14 per cent) were the most unhappy with their squads' efforts.

Arsenal's wage bill is in excess of £100million but just 18 per cent of their fans believed the players had justified their pay packets.

There was greater levels of contentment with Chelsea's high-earning players (44 per cent), while footballers received the best reviews from fans of Brentford (96 per cent), Millwall (93 per cent) and Fulham (85 per cent).


Chelsea topped the list as the team London fans love to hate with 23 per cent naming the Blues as their most disliked club.

But the figures also demonstrate how short-term factors can change the face of football rivalry.

For the past two years, Arsenal fans have named 'Big Four' counterparts Chelsea as their bete noire in preference to traditional foes Tottenham.

But, this year, as the Gunners have struggled, improving Tottenham have come back onto the radar.

Chelsea and Spurs both attract 32 per cent of Arsenal fans' venom.

It is a similar theme among Chelsea fans with Arsenal viewed as less of a threat and, unlike in previous years, they don't feature in the top three of Blues fans' biggest rivals. This is London

The Football Fan Census Questions

- Some Terrible-Looking Playing Strips

- Flashback: QPR's former CEO Simon Crane (who was replaced by David Davies)

- Flavio Briatore's Websites

- Video: 1969/1970 Fifth Round FA Cup: QPR vs Derby County (Rodney Marsh vs Dave Mackay)

Blog Archive