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Thursday, April 29, 2010

New QPR Kit DOES Have Hoops (Sort Of)...QPR Chairman Saksena Speaks...Players' Futures

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Standard/James Olley - The man confident that a land of hoop and glory awaits QPR
- The Championship season may be drawing to a close but at Loftus Road there is a sense of a new dawn.
- Queens Park Rangers have represented something of a calamity to those who assumed the arrival of Flavio Briatore and the super-rich Mittal family in late 2007 would automatically awaken a sleeping giant.
- Instead, confusion reigned as six permanent managers failed to live up to expectations of promotion amid rumours of Briatore's increasingly irrational behaviour, which extended to angry late-night telephone calls and interference in team selection.
- The club insist Briatore stepped down as chairman in February to "pursue other business interests" and that he remains a board member and a "committed shareholder", although they remain unwilling to divulge the stake he now commands.
- It is said Briatore's passion for the club had extended to him walking through Loftus Road's corridors in slippers embroidered with the QPR badge. But for Italian's flamboyance, read new chairman Ishan Saksena's prudence and sensibility.
- Lakshmi Mittal's interests have been hitherto represented chiefly by the appointment of son-in-law Amit Bhatia as vice-chairman to Briatore.
- But any awkward juxtaposition of Briatore's eccentricity and Bhatia's sagaciousness that existed is dispelled by Saksena's introduction.
- The 31-year-old was born in New Delhi and is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he met Bhatia before embarking on a 10-year career working in the finance sector, chiefly in private equity, mergers and acquisitions.
- Saksena and Bhatia remained in contact throughout that time and, after moving to England in 2007, he was invited to join the board as an adviser late last year but quickly ascended to chief executive and then chairman in February.
- Despite the shift in power, Saksena is determined not to paint Briatore as the villain of the piece but admits an important alteration has taken place at boardroom level. "The way decisions are made at this club has changed and that is the important thing," Saksena said.
- "Flavio made whatever decisions he made in the best interests of QPR. In retrospect, perhaps certain decisions could have been made differently.
- "We have done a lot in a short space of time. We have stabilised the organisation from the freefall I think it was experiencing a few months ago."
- Already, more than 2,000 season tickets have been sold compared to around 550 at the corresponding stage last season as fans have responded to attempts by the club to reconnect with their core supporters.
- Saksena organised a forum with 12 representatives of various fans' groups and attended by Amit Bhatia to discuss the direction they must now take.
- But the most notable development to date was the appointment of Neil Warnock as manager at the beginning of March and Saksena personally negotiated the £500,000 compensation package to prise him away from Crystal Palace, who it is understood originally wanted three times as much.
- Saksena is keen to emphasise the burgeoning friendship he enjoys with Warnock and promote the extension of such stability to the dugout.
- "We hit it off from the day we met," he explained. "I have met his family and we are friends.
- "We have very different styles but we work well together. I look forward to getting to know him better, not just over the next three years while he is manager, but much further beyond."
- As if to underline the business acumen ready to guide QPR forward, the Sunday Times Rich List claims steel magnate Mittal has doubled his personal wealth from £10.8billion to £22.4bn despite a worldwide recession and it would be easy for the club's supporters to get lost in a swathe of dreamy transfer aspirations.
- But as a former director in the investment banking division at Lehman Brothers in both New York and London, Saksena is well placed to preach prudence.
- Any extravagance extends only to the directors' box, plush with crocodile skin walls, luxurious sofas and a lavish dining table. "The board and I will fully support Neil in what he wants to do with the team and how he chooses to shape the squad," he added.
- "I can't give you numbers of what money is available. We want to be active in the transfer market but it is going to be dictated by what Neil wants.You have to balance expectations with financial prudence.

- "Because of my experience with Lehman, I can relate to financial sensibilities and see the human emotion when something like this happens. I am proud to say we have no external debt in the company and we intend to keep it like that."
- Briatore's four-year plan for promotion has been replaced by a more measured prediction in which Saksena is reluctant to introduce any kind of time frame. "We want to reach the Premier League and Neil would not have come on board if we weren't all sure of that vision," he said.
- "There is no point saying we have a two or five-year plan to make it. It won't be a failure if we are not promoted next season. If we don't go up, I will wish we had but that doesn't mean it is failure as long as we are making steady progress."
- Saksena effuses a pragmatism that should inspire supporters to believe the club are in good hands, with Briatore's contacts still a useful source to call on.
- In fact, the supermodels that adorned W12 upon the Italian's arrival may not be a thing of past, even if style and ostentation are not paramount.
- "I haven't even thought about viewing the business like that," Saksena said.
- "The main goal for Queens Park Rangers is to do well on the pitch. If getting supermodels in the stands improves the morale of the crowd and encourages the team to score more goals, we should get them back. If it doesn't, we won't." Standard

Paul Warburton/Fulham Chronicle - QPR stars set for showdown talks
- THE entire QPR squad face showdown talks with boss Neil Warnock on Wednesday to discover whether they are wanted or not next season.
- The Rs supremo will make it plain to all the permanent players one-by-one – including loanees Heidar Helguson, Patrick Agyemang and Fitz Hall about his plans for next season.
- Ironically, the latter can’t play in Sunday’s finale against Newcastle even if he was allowed, because the central defender has a hamstring problem.
- But the smart money is on Hall, and several others clearing their lockers at the Harlington training ground so a new wave of Warnock-style players can take their place. Fulham Chronicle

Paul Warburton/Fulham Chronicle - Vine and Agyemang handed QPR lifelines
- NEIL Warnock has handed Rowan Vine and Patrick Agyemang a QPR lifeline.
- Both players have been hotly tipped for the chop ahead of showdown talks with the Rangers boss on Wednesday.
- Vine has scored just once all season, while Agyemang has been shipped out on loan to Bristol City, but Warnock has hinted it might not be the end of the road for the duo.
- He said: “Pat was always a handful when I played against him in the past, and I’ve always liked Rowan from way back.” Fulham Chronicle

Paul Waburton - Fulham Chronicle - Four QPR players set for axe
- NEIL Warnock is set to axe four QPR players as part of his summer clear out.
- Italian flops Alessandro Pellicori, already back in his own country on loan, and Matteo Alberti will be allowed to go, along with midfielder Nigel Quashie in the first wave of departures when the Rangers boss meets his players for talks on Wednesday.
- Heidar Helguson has already made it plain he wants to turn his loan move into a permanent one with Watford. Fulham Chronicle

Newcastle Chronicle/Lee Ryder - Peter Ramage: Routledge deserves praise
- PETER RAMAGE hopes the boo boys stay at home as Wayne Routledge makes a return to Loftus Road on Sunday.
- The jet-heeled winger left Queens Park Rangers in January with the club in a slump amid a series of boardroom changes.
- However, he has been a revelation on Tyneside since joining from the Rs and quickly established himself as a favourite at United.
- Ramage told the Chronicle: “I expected him to do well up there.
- “He’s different to what they already had, and that’s no disrespect to anyone.
- “He has pace in abundance, and he has had half a dozen or so assists already.
- “We were bitterly disappointed to lose him, and angry, as well. He was our star player.
- “He’s a good lad, as well and it’ll be good to see him at Loftus Road.
- “I hope he gets a good reception for what he did here.

- “It’ll be strange to see him on the other side.”
- Ramage, though, is glad it won’t be a double whammy with Fitz Hall out injured in what would have been the last appearance of his loan spell from QPR.
- He said: “I think the last time I came across that was when Lomana LuaLua scored against Newcastle for Portsmouth.
- “Fitz is a top pro, and is another really good lad.
- “He was good to me when I moved down.
- “He helped me settle down.
- “It would have been a bit strange if he’d played against us, and then came back on July 1 for pre-season!
- “He’s done a good job for Newcastle, and I’m not particularly disappointed he’s not playing, because he’s a good player.
- Ramage will instead have to content himself with marking Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan – and get to grips with close pal Shola Ameobi – who are vying for the top scorer slot.
- He says: “They’re two quality players. Andy’s done remarkably well this season, and I’m pleased for him. He’s head and shoulders above anything else in the Championship.
“He’s scored 19 goals this season, and he’d have bitten your hand off if you’d offered him that at the start. It’s not surprising a number of clubs are looking at him, and he’s being mentioned as a future England player as well.
“It’s testament to the hard work he’s put in – he’s a good lad who wants to do well.
“Shola’s a good lad, and it’s good to see him scoring goals.
“He’s a handful for anybody when he’s on form.
- “I hope he can keep fit for a consistent period of time, because then you’ll be able to see the best of him.”
- Yet despite the QPR-Toon connections, Ramage knows the game holds particular significance for himself and his family.
He said: “It’s been a long time coming – and a lot has happened in between.
“It was the first fixture I looked for, and probably the first that the QPR fans looked for.
“It’ll be a big day, and it’s the fixture I’ve been looking forward to more than any other.” Chronicle

Football League - 2010/2011 KEY DATES
- 2010/2011 Fixtures Released: Thursday 17th June 2010
- Opening Game Saturday 7th August 2010
- Carling Cup Begins Week of August 9, 2010
- Last Game Championship(Regular Season) - Sunday 8th May 2011

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- World Cup Trivia

QPR Official Site - GEORDIES TICKET UPDATE Newcastle Tickets

Hemel Gazette/Jake Rusby - Celebs and sports stars to play in Berko charity game
- Celebrities will descend on Berkhamsted to raise money for the town's football club and hospice.
- Former footballers Dennis Wise and Marc Bircham will be joined by Ralf Little, ex-Eastender Gary Beadle and others next Sunday for the footballing fundraiser.
- A host of other names could well be revealed in next week's Gazette, with celebrity team organiser and former QPR midfielder and Canada international Bircham well connected.
- Berkhamsted Football Club sponsors Stoneforce will field an XI to take on Birch's sports and celebrity stars with the money being split down the middle between the club and the Hospice of St Francis.
- Assistant manager of the club Steve Boad works for Stoneforce, and is the man getting together the side to take on the big stars next weekend.
- He helped organise a similar event which saw Stoneforce owner Paul Smith's good mate Liam Gallagher get down to Broadwater to help raise money for the club last October.
- "We were always going to do a fundraising event for Berko and the hospice gives us another reason to do it," he said.
- QPR has had a good relationship with the hospice, and it was through the club, for whom Bircham is a youth coach, that the game came about. It will be played at Berko's Broadwater ground at 11am. Tickets are likely to be £5 on the door, with all money going to the club and hospice.
- Hospice director Ros Taylor said: "It's fantastic news that this match is taking place and we are very grateful for all the efforts by the organisers to put an event like this on. QPR has been very supportive of the hospice in the past and we really appreciate their efforts.""The hospice needs around £3 million a year to run our services and we rely on the generosity of the public to open our doors, so do please come down and support the event. It should be a great day!"
- If you wish to offer support, please contact 01442 869555 or visit www.stfrancis.org.uk
- Celebrity team organiser Marc Bircham. Hemel Gazette

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- Plymouth Owner Splits Stadium from Club

- QPR1st AGM Postponed

- Newly-available for purchase from the club shop: Some Great OLD PHOTOS -

- Sponsor a Fan Taking Part in May 9, Marathon for MS

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