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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

QPR Report Tuesday: Warnock Reviews That Final Day and Looks Forward...Warnock's Current Job Security..Fixtures Out June 17!


Here We Come Again!
- 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

- QPR's 2011-12: PREMIERSHIP Fixtures Released June 17...Premiership Season Kicks off on Saturday, August 13, 2011

- Support QPR Ladies: Appeal for Contributions

- How Much More Money to QPR Next Season?

- A Guide to The Premier League

- Eight Year Flashback: Playoff Semi-Final First Leg vs Oldham

- Gareth Ainsworth Turns 38 and Wants to Keep Playing

- Stan Bowles on Saturday's Game

- "Why QPR Should Sack Neil Warnock"

Neil Warnock/The Independent

'The relief was unbelievable. The players were in tears'
QPR manager Neil Warnock gives an exclusive and emotional account of how the FA hearing that threatened their promotion affected the club
Neil Warnock: 'The relief was unbelievable. The players were in tears'

For QPR fans it will go down, I guess, as one of those "JFK moments", as in, "where were you when you heard?" I was in the tunnel at Loftus Road just around midday on Saturday. There were less than 45 minutes to kick-off in our final game against Leeds United. I'd just done a TV interview and was walking back to the dressing room when Terry Springer, one of our club's secretaries who's been involved in the case throughout, grabbed me. She was crying but she managed to blurt out "no points, two counts, both fines, they're announcing it any second now".

I gave her a kiss and rushed into the dressing room to tell the players, who were busy getting changed. The relief was unbelievable. They were all jumping up and down and hugging each other, half of them were in tears. I didn't realise just how much the threat of having points deducted, and losing our promotion, had affected the players until then. It was an amazing scene. I think everyone will remember it for the rest of their lives.

I know we had a game to play, but it seemed irrelevant. Nevertheless, I had to settle them down. I had a chat, thanked them all for what they had done in the season, and told them we had got what we deserved. Then I said: "We also have a game, if we go into it with the wrong attitude you might get injured. I don't want anyone injured for next season." Then we went into the referee's room to exchange team sheets. It's fair to say we and Leeds are not the best of buddies, as relations between clubs go, so it was funny when Richard Naylor, their captain, said "we'll give you a guard of honour", and I replied, "you won't be spitting on the floor in front of us, will you?" We all laughed, including the ref, Mark Clattenburg. His presence was another reason for being pleased at going up, next season we'll have top refs like Mark every week.

By kick-off, the players had calmed down a bit, but how they played the game I haven't a clue. The atmosphere in the ground was the same as in the dressing room. The news had spread like a Mexican wave. It lifted fans and players from trepidation to joy that we had rightfully gained Premier League status. I'm not surprised we lost, though we played quite well.

While the timing of the hearing has not been ideal, to say the least, I don't think the Football Association had any choice. In a case like this it had to be thorough and judge it on all the facts. I know it took our lawyers a while to gather all the evidence. I just wish everyone was so thorough and patient. I have been disappointed by comments from some other clubs, who appear to be judging the case by some of the wilder newspaper reports. Swansea City, having said they will accept the verdict, are now talking about contesting it. They seem to have changed their mind since climbing from fourth to third. Funny that.

I don't want to fall out with them because they're a great club with a superb stadium, wonderful fans, and a very promising young manager, but I don't think people should comment until they know all the facts. When they do, I'm sure they'll realise the commission reached the right verdict.

I first heard about the situation months ago and, while it is only a few weeks since charges were laid, the issue seems to have been hanging over us all season. Obviously I've felt sorry for Ali Faurlin, whose transfer and contract they revolved around. He's a lovely lad, but he must have felt responsible. The lads ribbed him a bit, that's what footballers are like, and he took it well, but deep down it must have been hard. I saw him say a prayer as he went on the pitch, which spoke volumes to me. In the circumstances, he's done ever so well to keep his form, they all have.

Personally, I've been convinced we would be OK ever since I sat down with our barrister, Ian Mill. He spent an hour going through all the charges, why and so on, and satisfied everything I wanted to know. In his opinion we had breached a couple of regulations and we would be fined for both, but there would be no points deduction whatsoever. I trusted him because he knew his stuff, and he was also independent of the club.

It was still very hard dealing with the next few weeks, what with it being right near the end of the season. There was some terrible scaremongering from people who should know better, and ridiculous headlines from people who never do, and didn't know any facts. The Sun headline, that we would be docked 15 points, was scandalous as we couldn't reply. There were no facts in it at all other than a "source" within the FA. That "source", if he ever existed, obviously had no idea about the evidence in the case, as was proven when the headline was shown to be spectacularly wrong.

But no one knew that for certain at the time and the players were distraught. It was the day of the royal wedding, and we were due to train in the afternoon before travelling to Watford.

When I arrived at the training ground, Keith Curle, my coach, came over to me in the car park and said, "Gaffer, we've got a bit of a problem. I've not seen them as low as this. They are rock bottom. They want us to get someone to speak to them."

I went inside and sat them down. I said, "You have to trust me. I've spoken to the main man and it'll be OK. You have got to get out of this mode and not use it as an excuse. We have to put this aside and get a result at Watford. Stop messing about with these draws [we'd drawn our previous three matches]. Just focus on that."

They did, and they won. I was very proud of them that afternoon. One of the papers said it wasn't convincing. If the reporter had known what the lads had been through, he would have thought it a remarkable performance.

Now for next season. I've been meeting all week with the playing staff, and expect to meet the owners tomorrow to look at budgets and so on. That's the nature of football management, you enjoy success when it comes, you have to because there are plenty of difficult times, but all too soon you are planning for the next challenge.

Read Neil Warnock's regular column in 'The Independent' on Saturday Independent

Mail/Sami Mokbel- Warnock wields the axe as QPR boss reshapes his side for the Premier League
Queens Park Rangers boss Neil Warnock is set to leave a clutch of his promotion heroes heartbroken when he wields the axe ahead of the club's return to the big time.

The Loftus Road boss will hold one-on-one meetings with all his men to tell them whether he needs them next season.

Tottenham right back Kyle Naughton is a top target - which could leave Bradley Orr's future in doubt - while Heidar Helguson, Patrick Agyemang, Akos Buzsaky, Fitz Hall, Rob Hulse, Martin Rowlands and Danny Shittu could also leave this summer as Warnock looks to reshape his side.

Warnock and his backroom team have met over the past week to discuss targets. The Rangers boss will continue his preparations for next season in the talks with his players.

Warnock is keen to give as many of his squad as possible a chance to prove themselves in the top flight - but several will be facing up to a summer exit as the 62-year-old looks to clear the decks ahead of a busy few months Daily Mail

David McIntyre Blog - Warnock’s on safe ground this summer

No-one is more cynical about the owners of QPR than me, or less inclined to believe what they say. But they’re not looking to ditch Neil Warnock.

I say that having previously broken stories of Holloway, Waddock, Gregory, De Canio, Dowie, Ainsworth, Sousa and Magilton being close to the axe or at least under serious pressure, which sometimes angered the club and left even friends of mine thinking I was on a wind-up or looking to stir.

The reason for that was the apparently ridiculous timing of some of those stories. In Holloway’s case it was soon after promotion, and in other cases it was soon after they had been appointed. But those managers were genuinely in danger. If Warnock was in a similar situation, I’d be all over it. He isn’t.

Aside from Waddock’s appointment in 2006, which was a formality, the one time I suggested a manager would stay, I ended up with egg on my face.

That was when De Canio insisted to the point of outrage that I was totally wrong to suggest he was going, so against my better judgement I wrote a feature reflecting this. Google it. I still can’t bear to look.

It was a huge gaffe and a stupid error of judgement. Deep down I wasn’t comfortable about it from the start and less than a week after our conversation, De Canio announced he wanted out for personal reasons, making me look a very silly boy.

So, after that absolute aberration, which still makes me cringe, I wouldn’t disregard speculation about Warnock unless I was more than sure there was nothing in it.

I’m no fan of the Briatore-led regime to put it mildly. I’ll say one thing for him though: he’s become an easy target. It’s easy to portray him in a certain way. In fact, it’s become trendy to do so. Everyone’s at it now.

I say now, because it wasn’t always like that. It used to be the complete opposite. For some time after the 2007 takeover, the coverage he received was gushing and unquestioning.

In those early weeks and months, his ‘hands-on approach’ – a polite way of putting it – was already having an effect, and Rangers were fast heading in the wrong direction. All was not well, despite the hysteria and hype surrounding ‘the richest club in the world.’

I couldn’t get a story on this out there for love nor money. Nobody wanted to know. Briatore and Ecclestone were unquestioned giants of business and sport, who were revered among the media and simply “don’t do failure” according to those who know them.

All coverage of their involvement in QPR was the same. Rangers had apparently hit the jackpot and were on course for promotion and even the Champions League. It was all about how much they’d spend, who they’d spend it on, and how the club’s fortunes had been transformed.

By and large, that’s how it stayed until Briatore’s bust-up with Dowie.

Some time weeks earlier, I’d written a story that Dowie was close to the sack almost immediately after taking over. Even my mum, having read about it, asked if I was absolutely sure.

But in time, Dowie’s battle with Briatore became common knowledge.

The tide turned against Briatore in a big way. It was open season. Since then, there have been more stories about his interference than you can shake a stick at.

The thing is, not long after Dowiegate, Briatore – relatively speaking – distanced himself from team matters.

So at the time press coverage of his antics was at its peak, the period when his actual antics were at their peak had in fact passed. Things had moved on, but it had become fashionable to write about Briatore’s involvement.

Speculation about Briatore’s input dominated much of Paulo Sousa’s short spell ‘in charge’. Not only was that spell short, it was deeply problematic. But by then Briatore was less of a presence around the club.

The real story was Sousa’s relationship, or lack of one, with Gianni Paladini. But Paladini was a relative unknown compared to the much higher-profile Briatore, whose supposed meddling had become tabloid gold.

Sure, he was still prominent and ended up seeing things the same way as Paladini, his man on the ground. But Briatore’s day-to-day involvement had been scaled back and has never since reached the level it did during the Dowie fiasco.

However, mud sticks. Now Briatore is visible again after a spell being seen to have stepped back, leading fans to believe he had been ousted by the far more popular Mittal family, two and two is being put together.

Warnock is said to be in danger of being ousted in favour of the kind of suave overseas manager I have absolutely no doubt will be on the club’s radar in time. But that time is not now.

Warnock and the board have been a perfect fit because both parties are all about the short-term, and having fun in the Premier League as soon as possible. In Warnock’s case that’s because of his burning desire to have another crack at the top flight before his retirement, which Mrs Warnock is keen to happen in two years’ time.

If it happens with QPR having been established in the top division, Warnock can retire to Cornwall, and Briatore – if he hasn’t sold up by then – can look abroad for his replacement.

That will probably involve several Italians being in the frame, although don’t underestimate the Spanish influence at QPR.

Alejandro Agag, who was instrumental in bringing Dani Parejo to Rangers, is no longer on the board but is still a presence around the club. Spaniards have been considered for the job in the past.

In a nutshell, there is no short-term threat whatsoever to Warnock’s position. In the long term, he is not in QPR’s plans and QPR are not in his. It’s the medium term that matters.

Warnock’s current position is as strong as it could possibly be. Aside from the obvious reasons why, he is also different to his many predecessors in that, crucially, all his key relationships within the club have been and remain strong.

Briatore, Ecclestone and particularly Amit Bhatia are behind him. And although not as close to Paladini as Gregory and Holloway (at first) were, Warnock’s relationship with him is very good indeed.

He was Paladini’s choice for the job, regardless of what the spin machine would have you believe, or Paladini’s detractors want to believe.

But while board members are not at all looking to install a new manager, I do believe they have an idea of the kind of one they’d like next. That is never a good position for a current manager to be in. It usually only ends one way.

So Warnock is right to ensure that aspects of his contract are watertight, just in case.

Warnock will get financial support and plenty of it, but the most important support a manager needs from his bosses is that they can be counted on to stand by him during bad times.

If some are thinking that if it sadly doesn’t work out for old Neil then someone else, like Claudio Ranieri for example, might be a good choice to replace him, then it may only be a matter of time before Warnock is on his way.

And while that might seem outrageous to many fans now, these things can change very quickly. A few defeats early next season, and I wonder if the impression that Warnock might have been the man for the Championship will be restricted to the boardroom.

Think of Gregory and the love-in after QPR up stayed up in 2007.

He wasn’t the man of the moment on a Warnock scale, but there was still a clamour for Gregory to be retained. Few cared though when he was ditched soon into the new season. That, as they say, is football.

So backing Warnock now is easy. It’s backing him during choppier waters that counts, and if board members are looking for reasons not to back him rather than to back him, his position will quickly become unstable.

There is some potential for disagreement in the weeks ahead. Warnock can, and does, expect to be nudged in the direction of a number of Italians this summer, but is not keen to sign many overseas players. His targets are mostly English-based.

But he ought to have few problems there, largely because his greatest strength as QPR boss applies now more than ever.

That strength has always been the timing of his appointment, which came when Rangers were heading for League One and possible meltdown, and the board had become totally discredited.

They had no choice but to step back and make changes – even if they were only cosmetic ones, which they mostly were – in order to attract a manager of Warnock’s status.

His predecessors had worked with both arms behind their back. Unlike them, Warnock arrived at QPR at the stage when things had got so bad it was the owners’ reputation on the line, not the manager’s. That was all-important, and the platform on which he has been able to build.

And now, it’s mostly Warnock who has been credited with Rangers’ promotion. There is very little talk, if any, of the owners being vindicated, or their ‘project’ coming to fruition. In fact there’s the suggestion they may just do something very stupid. The reaction of many fans to Paladini on Saturday also told its own story.

It’s Warnock’s time in the sun, not theirs. His stock has grown and there are clubs who would doubtless be interested were reports of his possible availability true. Hence his smile and relaxed attitude on the issue of his future.

For that reason, the board will need to behave themselves in the coming weeks, or risk becoming even more of a laughing stock than they were 14 months ago.

The bottom line is that although Warnock’s fate is ultimately in their hands, their reputation is still in his. McIntyre Blog

QPR Official Site - TICKETING FOR THE 2011/12 SEASON

The QPR Box Office would like to thank all ticket purchasers from our Championship-winning campaign. Your support has been fantastic and we look forward to welcoming you all back to Loftus Road next season, when we will host some of the biggest teams in football.

A lot of fans are of course eager to secure both Season Tickets and Memberships for the new campaign. We ask for your patience while we finalise the pricing and on-sale structure for both of these, and set up our systems to best cope with the high demand we are going to receive.

What we can confirm is the following:

We do NOT have a waiting list for Season Tickets. There will initially be a presale for current Season Ticket Holders and all valid Members from the 2010-11 season, and should any Season Tickets be remaining after this presale they will go on general release. The Club will be capping the number of Season Tickets we sell in order to ensure there will be plenty of tickets available to Members on a match-by-match basis. The full details will be released on www.qpr.co.uk first, so please keep an eye out on the website.

We DO have a waiting list full 2011-12 Memberships. To guarantee your chance to purchase either an Adult or Junior full Membership next season please contact the Box Office on 08444 777 007 or email your request to join the Membership waiting list (including client reference number) to boxoffice@qpr.co.uk. All existing Members are automatically put on this waiting list.

If you don't currently have a Client Reference Number, please click HERE and register online today before contacting the Box Office.

Again Thank You for your continued support and we appreciate your patience. QPR

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