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Saturday, May 28, 2011

QPR Report Saturday: Warnock Comments on QPR Boardroom Matters and on Not Winning Manager of The Year Award

- In Search of QPR Season Ticket Buyers Richard Lewis & Michael Prodomou!
- The Bushman Archives of the 1968/69 Season
- Throughout the day, updates, comments and perspectives re QPR and football in general are posted and discussed on the QPR Report Messageboard...Also Follow: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER

- David Conn/The Guardian: Why QPR Were Fined Rather than Deducted Points

- The Premiership Money

- Ramage Hopes to Be Re-Signing With QPR

- Almost 25 Years Since Jim Gregory Resigned as QPR Chairman

Brian Reade/Daily Mirrror - Why I hope QPR get relegated and want to see a FIFA reality show called The Only Way Is Ethics

- So those old romantics who’ve followed QPR since the likes of Stan Bowles and Don Givens weaved their magic had a fortnight to bask in their belief that the good old days were back...
- ...and then they got smacked in the face with a season-ticket renewal form which told them that modern football is just a cold, corporate con and that their unwavering loyalty isn’t required unless they can back it up with cash.
- A 57% real-term rise in season-ticket prices and match-day entrance fees hiked as high as £72, show precisely why the rich, non-football-loving owners were attracted to Loftus Road.
- To get richer.
- With an average gate of 15,600 at a 19,100-seater stadium in affluent West London, they spotted an opportunity to turn a great old club into a “boutique” attraction - selling packages to firms, tourists, the nouveau-riche and bandwagon jumpers to watch some of the best teams in the world.
- The doubling of season-ticket prices merely weeds out the QPR regulars who don't have the financial power to keep up, releasing precious extra seats for the new match-day clientele they intend to draw to into their boutique experience.
- Sadly, I now hope they get relegated.
- If only to prove that money-men don’t know their R’s from their elbow..."
*** Mirror

Independent/Neil Warnock: Boardroom upheavals are part and parcel of football life – as is being linked with 50 players

What I Learnt This Week

Saturday, 28 May 2011

I've been away this week, in Scotland, but the phone's not stopped ringing because back at Loftus Road my club is still making the news, with Amit Bhatia, the chairman, resigning after the season-ticket prices were released.

Amit was instrumental in my joining the club last year, so I'm sad to see him go, but these things happen in football and people have to do what they feel is right.

Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone are now running things and both have spoken to me to reassure me of their intentions and told me to ignore newspaper talk about my position. It's not the first club I've been manager of where there's been a bit of upheaval and I've learnt from experience to just get on with my job. For me at the moment that means using whatever resources I've got to try and improve the squad as best as I can over the next four months.

At this time of year it never ceases to amaze me how many players are linked with me. I'm told the count is approaching 50. Quite frankly, some I've never heard of. I guess at this point papers can write what they want just using a bit of guesswork. When they get lucky, about one in 20, they trumpet: "We told you first."

What I can tell you is I'm looking forward to managing in the Premier League. Rodney Marsh, who is an idol at this club, once said the only way I would get a Premier League team is to take one up. He's right too. It's not just me – that applies to a lot of British managers. Look at Owen Coyle, Tony Pulis, Ian Holloway, Mick McCarthy; they all got their first crack at the Premier League through being promoted. Why would I give that up?

2. Thrift and hard work at Loftus Road go unrewarded by LMA

Before coming up to Scotland I went to Monday's League Managers Association dinner. Obviously, I was a little disappointed to be the only manager winning his league not to win a divisional award. Sir Alex Ferguson was manager of the year in the Premier League, Brighton's Gus Poyet in League One and Chesterfield's John Sheridan in League Two. Paul Lambert, of Norwich, was the Championship winner.

It's particularly disappointing because without a doubt it's been the toughest and hardest job I've done in my career. I took over a team 14 months ago that was facing relegation. I completely changed the team around in the summer, which meant it had to gel immediately. I think people look at our owners and assume we've spent billions, but we have actually been very thrifty with our money. To lead such a hard division almost every week of the season is something I'm very proud of and it is disappointing not to be recognised.

Fortunately, my family were very supportive. When I told Sharon about it I mentioned Brian McDermott and Brendan Rodgers had also been shortlisted. Sharon said she thought I would have been fourth in that list. Amy said, "What do you expect when nobody likes you?", which I thought showed what an intelligent 13-year-old she was. Until I remembered when we were doing our shopping she put a big leek in her basket. We asked why and she said she fancied a bit of celery. I asked, was she aware that was a leek? She blushed deeply. We've since been asking her whether she would like a big bowl of celery and potato soup.

At least William cheered me up. He said he's going to get me his own cup and engrave it to present to me, which I thought was super.

3. Scotland is treat enough for the kids as a holiday destination

It is a bit ironic that we've had another Icelandic volcano erupting while we've been in Scotland. We came here last year because the ash cloud meant we were concerned about flying anywhere. We had a great time, but I hadn't realised how great until we sat the kids down, after winning promotion, and told them they could go on holiday wherever they wanted to. I was expecting them to say Disneyland or somewhere like that. Instead they came back and said, "Can we go to Scotland again?" I thought, "How very level-headed."

So we've been mackerel fishing, cycling, swimming and canoeing. I got a hole-in-one in crazy golf, but didn't win the hole as Amy and William did as well. I lost all the other holes. We've not had a day hot enough to jump in one of the lochs like we normally do, but hopefully we will this weekend before we go back. There's also horse-riding on the beach to fit in, and a trip to Inveraray Jail.

We went up on Virgin trains. We're going to use them a lot next year in the Premier League now I've discovered we can get a return journey on which the players can have something to eat. It's nice and comfortable, and there's no worrying about volcanic ash.

4. Guardiola for the Chelsea hot seat? Give it a year

I'm sure everyone will be glued to the Champions League final tonight for what promises to be a fantastic game. It's a great contest on the bench between Sir Alex and the amazing young whippersnapper Pep Guardiola. Alex goes from strength to strength and Pep will know, even with his team, that Barcelona will have their hands full facing the king himself. The first goal is vital and everything rests on how good United's back four is. I think, unlike Real Madrid, United will have a go at Barcelona, though it won't be an onslaught.

I met Pep when Barcelona trained at QPR this season. He was a real gentleman, who spent a lot of time talking to people. I feel whether it's this summer, or after Guus Hiddink has done 12 months, that he will be manager at Stamford Bridge. Remember, you read it here first.

5. Play-offs are also a big draw

Tonight's match is not the only big game of the weekend, for the players, fans and staff involved the play-off finals are every bit as big. Good luck to Torquay, a club dear to my heart, in their play-off against Stevenage today. I'd love to see them progress but, whatever the result, Paul Buckle has done brilliantly on limited resources. Tomorrow's play-off pits another of my former clubs, Huddersfield, against Darren Ferguson's Peterborough. I'm sure it will be a cracking, high-scoring game. Whoever wins will grace the Championship.

Then on Monday there's the Championship play-off. Reading owe us a lot because since I loaned them Mikele Leigertwood they've hardly lost a game. Given it's just a short trip down the M4, I'm sure a lot of our supporters would love to see Reading go up, but Swansea also have a fabulous ground and Brendan has done remarkably well. May the best team win.

6. Touré ban exposes inconsistency

How is it Paddy Kenny gets 10 months for failing a drug test after unknowingly taking a banned substance, and Kolo Touré gets six months? Once again there's a lack of consistency. I suppose it all depends on who's on the panel and how expensive the defence lawyer is.

7. A busy week of family exercise

William shares his birthday with a friend called Banjo so they had a joint party in the park. Banjo's dad Chris and me built a couple of dens using some wood and stuck a flag on each camp. They then had a pretend gun battle, a bit like paintball without the paint and pain. It worked a treat. The exercise these kids did for two and a half hours was fantastic.

On the subject of exercise I have to congratulate Sharon and Natalie for completing the Moonwalk the other weekend. There was a great atmosphere with everyone encouraging one another. It's a fair walk and it was good to see the girls finish it and raise such a lot of money.

8. I could still manage Wednesday

The appointment of Danny Wilson, former Sheffield Wednesday captain and manager, is very heartening. If Danny can get the United job with his background, there must still be a chance of me managing Wednesday before I retire.

9. Until next season...

That's all for this season, but I'd like to let all you loyal Independent readers know I'm delighted to say I'll be writing for you again next year. I really enjoy doing this column and over the last few years have turned down a number of tempting offers to go elsewhere.

I always know when I write my Independent column it will say what I want it to say, and the headline will not take things out of context, which is really reassuring. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it. Have a good summer. QPR

Daily Mail/Des Kelly

- Bernie's scant reward Having achieved promotion back to the top flight, Queens Park Rangers rewarded their celebrating supporters for a decade-and-a-half of patient devotion with a season-ticket price rise of 40 per cent.
- Some reward. QPR's owners might as well have punched every fan squarely in the face and then congratulated them for having such punchable faces.
- Remember QPR will pick up £90million for going into the Barclays Premier League, mere pocket money for a club already bankrolled by Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest man, and Bernie Ecclestone, who somehow scrapes by on £2,500m.
- To his credit Mittal's representative on the board resigned in disgust at the hike, but major stakeholder Ecclestone appears untroubled about screwing the paying public.
- The F1 mogul admits he has little interest in football - he prefers Chelsea - and the word is Flavio Briatore, the Crashgate cheat (allegedly), is really driving QPR's greedy pretensions.
- The club badge has already been re-styled to look like a 1970s aftershave logo, now fans are bearing the cost of the strategy to make Rangers a 'boutique club'. And you have to say it stinks.
- Rodgers climb is good for all" - Daily Mail


Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore have today (Friday 27th May 2011) clarified the following points in the wake of recent press reports regarding Queens Park Rangers Football Club.

Bernie Ecclestone and the Flavio Briatore Trust (FB Trust) saved QPR from administration when they acquired the Club in 2007. When the Mittals joined them, FB Trust and Ecclestone maintained an 80% interest in the Club and provided 80% of the funding needed to run QPR.

In 2009 when Briatore took a backseat at QPR, FB Trust passed a 13% shareholding in QPR to the Mittals free of charge. This took Ecclestone and the FB Trust's combined shareholding to 67% and they have continued to fund 67% of the Club's financial need, with the Mittals contributing 33%.

When Ecclestone and Briatore took over at QPR, they were clear about their vision to take the Club into the Premier League within four years and this plan has now been achieved, with QPR set to grace the top-flight of English football in the 2011/12 season.

Both Ecclestone and Briatore believe that Amit Bhatia's recent comments and the subsequent press coverage have been damaging to QPR and do not fairly reflect the reality of the situation. They have not received a written offer from the Mittals for their QPR shares and feel strongly that the verbal offer made to them was insultingly low. Bhatia appears to be using the press to try to force the price of any deal down, which is disrespectful to both the Club and its fans.

Despite the assertions from both Bhatia and Lakshmi Mittal that they were prepared to invest heavily in QPR to allow Neil Warnock to spend money on new players ahead of the new season, a recent request for shareholder funding was rejected by Bhatia, whereas Ecclestone and FB Trust have met and will continue to meet their funding commitments to the Club.

Ishan Saksena has parted company with QPR as a result of managerial changes that the Board felt were appropriate after the way in which the FA Hearing was handled. This was a decision made by the Board for the best interests of QPR.

QPR's Season Ticket prices for the 2011/12 season are in line with other London-based Premier League Clubs and are reflective of the Club's newly achieved Premier League status. With over 90% of QPR Season Tickets being sold in Gold and Silver areas, the year-on-year increase in the standard price of a Season Ticket for the majority of fans is between 22%-27%, or 16%-21% when taking account of inflation and the increase in VAT. Ecclestone and Briatore believe that although price increases have been necessary, they are not unduly high and initial sales have so far been encouraging, with four times as many tickets being sold in the first 48 hours when compared with last season. In fact, QPR's website has spoken to a number of fans who have already renewed their tickets.

"My ticket has gone up in price, but - personally - I think it represents good value for money."

"The owners have put their money in and as a supporter of the Club, I've done the same, because it's my team."

"The buzz of coming along to Loftus Road on a matchday is special. The whole experience is great."

As both Ecclestone and Briatore have stated in recent days, Neil Warnock's post as Manager remains secure and Neil has the full support of the Board. Discussions have already taken place between Neil and the Board, in which Neil outlined his thoughts on player acquisitions ahead of the new Premier League season and was assured that he will be able to keep his best players for QPR's return to the Premier League.


QPR Official Site - FAN ZONEPosted on: Fri 27 May 2011

R's fan Richard Lewis was amongst the first QPR supporters to renew his Season Ticket for the 2011/12 Premier League campaign when they went on sale on Tuesday lunchtime.

Lewis, a lifelong Rangers supporter, renewed his Season Ticket in Block F of the South Africa Road stand.

The 59 year-old told www.qpr.co.uk: "It's great to hear I was amongst the first to renew my Season Ticket!

"I just had to renew it as soon as possible, because next season is going to be one to remember for the Club. I knew demand would be huge on our return to the Premier League and I was determined to keep my aisle seat.

"My ticket has gone up in price, but - personally - I think it represents good value for money."

The feel-good factor ahead of the new campaign is already building in W12 and Lewis added: "I can't wait for the season to start in mid-August," he said.

"I've been coming here since I was eight years-old and this is the place to be now.

"The owners have put their money in and as a supporter of the Club, I've done the same, because it's my team."

Demand for Season Tickets at Loftus Road is already outweighing last year's statistics at this stage, with Hoops fans eager to seal their ticket for the R's eagerly-anticipated return to the top table of English football.

Fellow R's fan Michael Prodromou, who also sits in Block F, added: "I've been a supporter for 40 odd years.

"It's been a long time coming since we were in the Premier League.

"We're back in the big time and I was determined to clinch my seat as soon as possible.

"The buzz of coming along to Loftus Road on a matchday is special. The whole experience is great.

"I'm confident that if Neil Warnock is able to bring in the players he wants, we'll be able to hold our own next season." QPR


QPR1st Supporters Trust: Amit Bhatia

The QPR1st Supporters Trust wishes to express our sadness at the news of Amit Bhatia's resignation. Amit had a very clear vision of QPR as a Club that should respect and listen to supporters' views. He was keen to work in partnership with independent supporters groups and sought to ensure that the views and aspirations of the fans were taken into account by the Board of Directors.

Amit also had a passionate belief that QPR should have a strong role within the local community. As Chairman of the QPR in the Community Trust he played a major role in ensuring that QPR in the Community went from strength to strength.

Amit fully appreciated the harm done to the relationship between the Club and the fans by the ticket pricing system introduced for the 2008-09 Season, in particular the removal of a discount for existing season ticket holders and the extent of the increase. He would have been determined that the Club did not repeat these mistakes but unfortunately failed to convince his fellow Board members. Unable to publically support the Club's pricing policy and concerned at the treatment of his friend and colleague Ishan Sakensa, his sense of honour left him with no choice but to resign.

In his open letter, Amit comments that his vision, strategy and direction for QPR is 'very different' from that of the other shareholders. That begs the question as to what exactly their plans are. Mr Ecclestone and Mr Briatore have so far not been willing to meet with QPR1st and therefore our only clues as to what they have in mind comes the interviews they have given to journalists which offer scant comfort to the fans. Despite their previous lack of enthusiasm to meet face to face with us and other independent supporters groups, we will nevertheless write to them to request a meeting in the hope that they will sooner or later begin to see the value of working in partnership with the fans rather than in opposition.

QPR 1st has always sought to work with the club to promote on field success and financial viability. We share the delight of everyone in the QPR community at a successful season and a return to the FA Premier League. We now want to see the club grow and develop. The way we see this being achieved is by having stable management at all levels of the club. We hope the owners use their financial and business skills to ensure the club remains financially secure. We hope the football management, staff and players will be given the appropriate environment to deliver success. Most of all we want to see mutual respect between all parts of the QPR community that will allow every-one of us to make our club successful.

QPR1st wishes to offer the LSA our support in their decision to host an open meeting for fans at the Barley Mow Public House 82 Duke Street W1K 6JG to which they have asked the Club to send a representative. We hope that this meeting will provide an opportunity to canvass fans views about a possible campaign of protest. We would also welcome hearing your views by emailing us at info@qpr1st.com to help inform our own response.

- QPR Summer Calendar

- Flashback Nine Years: QPR Exit Administration (and with the ABC Loan!)

The full 86-page FA report on "FA vs QPR and Giannia Paladini" can be read here..Selected Excerpts from the FA Report Can be Read Here

- Flashback to the Briatore/Ecclestone Takeover

- Any American or Canadian Readers of QPR Report/QPR Report Messageboard? (Or any QPR Fans from Central or South America?)

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