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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why It's Becoming Harder to Like QPR

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An article well worth reading

Dan King/News Of The World - Why it's become harder to like the not-so-Super Hoops

June 28, 2011

UNLESS you are a Chelsea fan, it is hard not to have a soft spot for Queens Park Rangers.

Or at least, it was.

In what should be a summer of celebration as they return to the top flight, something is not right at Loftus Road. Quite a few things, actually.

Up and down... Manager Neil Warnock (left) and player Alejandro Faurlin (right) Up and down... Manager Neil Warnock (left) and player Alejandro Faurlin (right) When I was growing up, QPR went from plucky FA Cup Finalists to Premier League respectability. They were part of the landscape.

Sure, they annoyed everyone with their plastic pitch, but they had decent players, an attractive style and a certain, slightly down-at-heel, West London charm.

I can remember watching them demolished by Manchester United's Andrei Kanchelskis and later snatching a deserved draw with Chelsea.

Invited by a Super Hoops-supporting mate both times, the atmosphere standing in the West Paddock at pitch level was great. It felt like proper football.

That was the first season of the Premier League and a lot has changed since then, only some of it for the better.

When I first started working as a football reporter in 2000, there was still something homely and decent about a trip to Twyford Avenue in West Acton to chat to Gerry Francis or Kevin Gallen.

The ongoing uncertainty about the future of Neil Warnock tells you everything you need to know about the current regime

Tony the Tailor, who was there every week with his rail of clothes for the players to try on, ended up making suits for my wedding.

But as Rangers gear up for their first season in the Premier League since 1996, they seem to epitomise a lot of what is wrong with the game - only without the trophies to go with it. A poor man's - or should that be an even richer men's? - Manchester City.

Billionaires with little understanding of football squabbling over who is going to own the club? Check (or cheque).

Bizarre off-the-field shenanigans? Buenos dias, Alejandro Faurlin.

Massive ticket price hikes? Welcome to the recession-proof industry of football.

The ongoing uncertainty about the future of Neil Warnock tells you everything you need to know about the current regime. We don't just make these stories up, you know. Despite bringing QPR back to the promised land, Warnock's job is far from safe.

He is not everyone's cup of tea. But you cannot argue with his record of getting teams promoted and the least he deserves is a chance to keep them up.

Can Flavio Briatore honestly say that another manager could do a better job with the players Warnock is likely to have at the start of the season?

QPR's chances of attracting better footballers have hardly been enhanced by the row over promotion bonuses which has only just been resolved.

The billionaires' blueprint for Rangers - "boutique football" is the irritating phrase Briatore once used - seems to be to squeeze everyone for every penny they possibly can while clinging on to Premier League status.

That's business, you may say. And no one wants another Portsmouth, a club loaded with decent players they could not afford to pay.

But no one wants a club that has lost its soul and dignity either. News of The World

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