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Saturday, March 31, 2012

QPR Report Saturday: Fernandes Backs Hughes & Reaffirms Warnock Axing...Hughes Backs Fernandes & Says Staying...QPR's £56 M Prem Cost...Arsenal


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Telegraph - Queens Park Rangers count £56 million cost of joining the Premier League elite

The extraordinary cost of Queens Park Rangers’ rise to the Premier League can be revealed today, with the club having run up debts of £56.1 million and average losses of almost £500,000-a-week before Tony Fernandes’s takeover last summer.

QPR - QPR count £56m cost of joining the Premier League elite
Promotion price: QPR's wage bill was £29.7m in 2011; Blackpool’s £14m
Jeremy Wilson

Telegraph Sport can also disclose that, during their Championship-winning season under Neil Warnock last year, QPR’s £29.7 million wage bill amounted to 183 per cent of their £16.2 million turnover.

Since then, the wage burden has been even further increased by the arrival of established Premier League players such as Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand, Djibril Cissé, Bobby Zamora, Luke Young and Nedum Onuoha.

To put QPR's £29.7 million Championship wage bill into perspective, Blackpool were paying less than £14 million on salaries last season in the Premier League.

The figures, which include an operating loss of £25.7 million, are contained in QPR’s more recent annual accounts and have been seen by Telegraph Sport.

Although the period relates to the year ending May 31, 2011 — before Fernandes became owner last August — they raise questions about the sustainability of the club’s ambitious strategy, particularly in the event of relegation back to the Championship.

As of the date of the accounts, the club had also used £4.9 million of a £5 million overdraft facility with Lloyds, contributing to an increase in the net debt to £56.1 million from £33.8 million in 2010.

The situation has changed, however, since the takeover. As part of the sale, all of the outstanding loans made to QPR by the former owners were taken on by Fernandes’s company. In addition, the bank overdraft was repaid in full.

As things stand the club do not have any external borrowing, with the outstanding debt regarded as ‘soft’ because it is in the form of loans owed to current shareholders.

“The group meets its day-to-day working capital requirements through an overdraft facility and the directors recognise that the current economic conditions create uncertainty over the availability of bank finance in the foreseeable future,” said a statement from the board.

"The report, which was personally signed off by Fernandes last month, also said that the directors have “a reasonable expectation that the company and the group have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future”.

It added that the financial results were a reflection on “the focus on on-pitch success".

The accounts also reveal new detail into the vast — and mostly interest-free — funding behind QPR’s Premier League promotion.

As of May 31 last year, Santa Capital Investments, believed to be controlled by Flavio Briatore, was owed £15.8 million. Bernie Ecclestone was owed £11.4 million, with the money due in various instalments by June 2013.

Sea Dream Limited, a company owned by the billionaire Mittal family, was owed £12.3 million, which was also payable by June next year.

A further £10 million was owed, on demand, to Amulya Property Limited, a company in which Briatore and director Amit Bhatia are believed to have an interest.

Santa Capital Investment and Ecclestone subsequently reassigned loans of £19.4 million and £13.2 million to Tune QPR Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and Ruben Gnanalingam.

Fernandes’s company is listed as owning 66 per cent of QPR, with 33 per cent controlled by the Mittal family’s Sea Dream Limited.

QPR are also looking at options for a new stadium. Such ambition will have contributed to the confidence of Mark Hughes, the QPR manager, who said on Friday that he could retain key players even if the club are relegated.

“I’m sure those contracts wouldn’t have been offered if anybody felt it would put the future of the club at risk and I know for a fact that’s not the case and Tony Fernandes would never do that,” said Hughes.

“I’m here to build the club. I fully expect, irrespective of what happens, to be here trying to make that happen.

“If I feel players need to stay then that’s what will happen.”

Most of the spotlight has fallen on Barton, who is on £80,000 a week, and was dropped last Saturday. “He understood my point of view,” said Hughes.

“He’s going to play a part from now until the end of the season if he continues to train well.” Telegraph

[Note: The QPR Accounts were posted on QPR Report a few weeks ago]

Tony Fernandes Tells The Sun/Ben Hunt -

We have plans in case we go down
(But Hughes is still a better boss than Warnock, says Tony)

TONY FERNANDES is still convinced Mark Hughes is the right man for Queens Park Rangers — but the owner has drawn up plans for relegation.

QPR boss says his relegation-threatened players need to "stand up and be counted"

Malaysian multi-millionaire Fernandes has endured a torrid seven months since taking control at Loftus Road.

In August he bought the majority shares held by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

And a flurry of last-minute deals on deadline day raised expectations.

Then, as results took a turn for the worse, Fernandes axed boss Neil Warnock in January and replaced him with Hughes.

But their league position remains just as bad. Rangers, who are at home to in-form Arsenal today, are in the relegation zone.

But Fernandes, 47, is confident that Hughes will steer them away from the drop.

He said: "When I joined the club I thought Neil was going to be with me for a long time.

"But I just felt that the Premier League had moved on and when I started seeing what other clubs were doing, I thought we were a long way behind.

"It was a hard decision because I love Neil, I still do. We are still mates, he texts me and is a really good guy.

"I've had tremendous abuse over Neil's sacking on Twitter.

"The fans love you, then hate you, but as long as you are transparent with them, it is OK, I can deal with that.

"But you look at the analysis now since Mark has been there. All the statistical information and the training methodology — it's just a science now.

"We shouldn't be anywhere near that relegation zone. Wolves were outplayed when Djibril Cisse was sent off. Then there was the goal against Bolton that was disallowed.

"We have a huge battle ahead of us and of course there is a contingency plan. I'm not a man who will just sit there and say we are going to easily do it. You have to be prepared for it."

Fernandes, who is estimated to be worth around £300million, made his fortune turning around Air Asia.

But his countrymen could not understand why he bought QPR and not today's opponents Arsenal.

He said: "People in Malaysia only knew Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool. They asked me: 'Why didn't you buy a club that is successful?'

"But my life is about building things. If I'd bought Manchester United or Arsenal, not that I could afford to, what could I have brought to them?" The Sun


Hughes: I’ll stay even if QPR go down

by David McIntyre
Mark Hughes says he will stay on as manager even if QPR are relegated.

Rangers are heading for a return to the Championship after a miserable run of results and there is sure to be speculation about the Welshman’s future should they go down.

But Hughes insists he intends to remain at Loftus Road regardless of which division Rangers are in next season.

He said: “I’m here to do a job and build a club, and to make sure that in the long term Queens Park Rangers is a healthier club both on the field and off it.

“That’s still my aim and I fully expect – irrespective of what happens – to be here. That’s my intention.” West London Sport

West London Sport/Dave McIntyre - Hughes defends QPR chairman Fernandes

Hughes faces a big decision.

Manager Mark Hughes has leapt to the defence of QPR chairman Tony Fernandes following recent claims the club will face a financial catastrophe if relegated.

A number of players were signed this season with no relegation clause in their contract, leaving Rangers facing the prospect of having to continue paying massive salaries in the Championship.

Chairman Fernandes was determined to spend big.

That has led to reports the club may be left with an unmanageable wage bill.

But Hughes said: “I know for a fact that’s not the case. Tony Fernandes would never do that to QPR. That’s not what he’s about.

“Contracts were drawn up and offered to players with the view that we wanted to stay in the Premier League and the players we targeted would help us to that end.

“Obviously there was always a risk that there would be a different outcome. But I’m sure those contracts would not have been offered if it was felt it would put the future of the club at risk. West London Sport

MIRROR - Hughes: I'm staying at QPR...even if we get relegated|

Published 22:24 30/03/12 By Neil McLeman

Mark Hughes has pledged to stay at QPR next season – even if the club is relegated.

And the Hoops boss warned the club’s big-money signings he will decide who stays if the club go down.

“It is my intention to be here next season regardless of what happens,” he said. “I’m here to build the club and make sure that long-term QPR is healthy on and off the field.”

Unfortunately for Rangers, they did not take out insurance that would have enabled them to cut the wages of high earners like Joey Barton and Djibril Cisse after relegation

Without a matching firesale, the owners will be forced to cover the losses.

But Hughes said: “If I feel players need to stay it will happen. If they’re contracted, that’s my problem.

“But I’m sure those contracts wouldn’t have been offered if anybody felt it would put the future of the club at risk” Mirror

Sporting Life


Sir Alex Ferguson still has faith in Manchester United striker Federico Macheda even though the youngster has had yet another loan deal cut shot.

Macheda left for QPR in January optimistic he would prove he could cut it in the Premier League.

Unfortunately for the Italian, manager Neil Warnock was sacked within a matter of weeks and he never saw eye-to-eye with replacement Mark Hughes.

The 20-year-old had not made an appearance since coming on as a substitute at Aston Villa on February 1, although he did hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when he was fined £15,000 by the Football Association for a posting a homophobic Tweet.

He also used the social networking site to express his displeasure at his treatment by Hughes and has now returned to United for an ankle operation that will end his season.

"He is so unlucky," Ferguson told MUTV.

"I have complete belief in the boy. He could be an outstanding player. But he needs football.

"We put him on loan to Sampdoria last January. He was there for two weeks, they sacked the coach and he doesn't get a game.

"We put him on loan to QPR. Two weeks later they sack the coach and he doesn't get a game.

"That has been really unfortunate.

"He has been bothered with his ankle a little bit over the last few weeks, so we have done the right thing to get an operation and hopefully he will be ready for next season." Sporting Life

- Flashback: Four Humorous/Satirical Videos re QPR

- Alec Stock (RIP): Would Have been 95 Yesterday..Flashback/Video of Alec Stock Talking about QPR Promotion Prospects in 1962!

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