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No Joey Barton on the QPR Asia Tour?
The Star/Shamshul Fitri - Tony Fernandes realises dream of bringing QPR to Malaysia
SEPANG: It’s a dream come true for Queens Park Rangers (QPR) owner Tan Sri Tony Fernandes to have the English Premier League team playing in Malaysia.
In fact, he never imagined it would be realised so soon after taking over ownership of the London club just about a year ago.
“It’s something special to be able to bring a club directly involved with a Malaysian to the country. I never thought it would be this soon,” he said in a video conference yesterday.
QPR will play a Sabah selection in Kota Kinabalu on July 17 followed by a match against Kelantan on July 20 at the Shah Alam Stadium
Waiting for QPR: AirAsia group commercial head Kathleen Tan (third from left) and Queens Park Rangers CEO Philip Beard (third from right) at the announcement of the QPR Asia Tour at AirAsia Academy in Sepang yesterday. — SAMUEL ONG / The Star
The London side will then face Indonesia’s Persebaya Surabaya in Surabaya on July 23.
Tony and club manager Mark Hughes are currently in South Korea to seal sponsorship deals before the new EPL season starts on Aug 18.
Hughes said he was excited about the club’s Asia Tour which is a part of the build-up for next season was exciting.
But fans of Premier League bad boy Joey Barton could be disappointed as Hughes has decided against having him on the tour.“He’s currently serving a 12-match suspension and it makes no sense to bring him. He’s unlikely to be in the travelling squad,” said Hughes.
QPR chief executive officer Philip Beard said the Asia Tour was an important part of the team’s preparations for next season.
“It won’t be just a PR trip for us. The matches that we play will help in our tune-up.
“We will bring the first team for the tour,” said Beard, suggesting that the likes of new signing, England No. 2 goalkeeper Robert Green, and former Fulham striker Andrew Johnson will make the trip.
Tickets for matches are priced from RM30 to RM200 and can be bought online from www.redtix.airasia.com. Details for the Surabaya match will be announced soon. The Star
- More re QPR/Asia Tour
QPR Official Site "Experience is Key"
R's boss Mark Hughes believes adding experience to his squad over the summer months will stand Rangers in good stead for next season.
Hughes has already added three new faces to his squad this summer - in the shape of Rob Green, Ryan Nelsen and Andy Johnson.
Notably, all three players are over the age of 30.
The R's gaffer told www.qpr.co.uk: "We were a little bit naive away from home last season.
"I've obviously worked with AJ and Ryan before and I know they are two calming influences, with great leadership skills and quality too.
"Rob is vastly experienced as well - with international pedigree.
"I'm sure we'll see other players at the other end of the age scale arriving at the Club over the coming weeks, but it was vitally important we added some experience to the group this summer."
Clint Hill, 33, has also signed a contract extension in W12, and Hughes couldn't be more delighted: "Clint has been first class since the day I walked into the Football Club," he said.
"Last season was a difficult one for him, spending time on loan at Forest and then coming back and playing in different positions.
"I'd always viewed Clint as a centre-half, since when I played against him! He's very adept in that position and he thrived on playing there last season.
"He is a defender who loves the art of defending. He enjoys the challenge of defending and stopping the ball going in the net.
"It's important you keep players like Clint at the Club, because he's a great professional with a terrific work ethic.
"I told him on the plane going home from Manchester City that I wanted him to stay and thankfully it's signed and sealed now."
Hughes added: "Players like Clint and Dezza (Shaun Derry) bring a drive and determination to the squad.
"They don't like getting beat - it's as simple as that.
"They're top pros and the other lads feed off them."
He added: "Ryan is of the same ilk.
"It's great to have the opportunity to work with him again.
"He's obviously nearing the end of his career, but I'm very comfortable with the fact that we'll get a significant number of games out of him next season.
"He understands the Premier League and having let two or three centre-halves go, we needed cover in that area." QPR
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