- QPR REPORT on TWITTER!
- RIP: Ex-QPR Jimmy Andrews
- Ray Wilkins Turns 56
- Next: QPR vs Chelsea - "Shared"Players/Past Results
Here Comes Gianni Paladini!
As Former QPR Chairman Gianni Paladini and associates await to see if their bid to take over at Birmingham is accepted andy Birmingham City Fans interested in his time at QPR and the various actions are invited to look back over the years on QPR Report: The things that were said and done and the various controversies.
Already things are being said which are simply not so - most recently today in the Birmingham Post when he completely inacurately declared: “I have been the longest-serving chairman in the history of Queens Park Rangers"
- See - QPR Report Blog
Paladini's Plans for Birmingham City
Home Sport Midlands Sports
Birmingham City FC
Gianni Paladini tells the Post about his plans for Birmingham City
by Graeme Brown, Birmingham PostSep 14 2012
The man trying to buy Birmingham City has said there is a strong business case for the deal as the club belongs in the Premier League.
Gianni Paladini, an Italian footballer turned businessman who has called the West Midlands home for decades, told the Post he has put in a bid to take over Blues along with an Italian consortium.
Mr Paladini said his football credentials are strong, having previously been chairman of Queens Park Rangers during a period which saw the club return to the Premier League after years out of the top flight.
It is thought that Mr Paladini's consortium, which he says does not include former Formula 1 chief Flavio Briatore, put in a bid of 12 million for the club which was bought by Carson Yeung for 81.5 million three years ago from previous owners David Gold and David Sullivan.
The former Napoli youth player, who moved to Solihull aged 23 and still lives in the area, said: We have put in a bid and we are waiting for Birmingham to agree with everything.
The club has got great potential. Gold and Sullivan sold to these people when they are in the Premier League and there is potential there, and the fan base is big.
It is a big club and the Premiership is the place it should be.
Mr Paladini said the deal was in the hands of his solicitors, but confirmed a bid had been made.
It is thought that Mr Yeung, who faces trial on charges of 59 million worth of alleged money laundering in November, is holding out for about 40 million.
Mr Paladini said the other investors were in place, but they did not include Italian multi-millionaire Briatore, who was part of the team which took over QPR.
He added: It is myself and a consortium but it is not Flavio Briatore. People think because we are friends and we have worked together that it is him but he is not involved.
It is myself and other Italian people. If I gave you their names you would not know them but I have talked to them about investing in England. Italians have recently invested in Watford and I have suggested that Birmingham is the best club available at the moment.
I am a Brummie boy. I came to England at the age of 23 and I have always lived in Birmingham.
My son and daughter are both Birmingham fans.
After leaving football as a young man Mr Paladini built up a business which involved property and nightclubs, and proved the strength of his contact book when he was part of a consortium including the uber-rich Bernie Ecclestone, Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal which invested in QPR in 2007.
He also made a name for himself as a football agent, helping to deliver the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli to Middlesbrough.
Mr Paladini, who said he was almost involved with Midland football 10 years ago when he and friend singer Robbie Williams looked into taking over Port Vale, said his business credentials in the game are strong. Financial success with the club will hinge on returning to the Premier League.
Blues made a 10.6 million operating loss in its last season in the Premier League, but showed its money-making potential with a turnover of 61.4 million in the year ended June 30, 2011.
He said: I have been the longest-serving chairman in the history of Queens Park Rangers and took them from League Two to the Premier League and hopefully now I can do the same with Birmingham.
Birmingham is my home town my house is still in Solihull.
The financial situation at Birmingham International Holdings Limited (BIHL), Birmingham Citys parent firm of which Yeung is the biggest shareholder, is likely to dictate whether Mr Paladinis bid is successful.
The club was given a transfer embargo last year for failing to post accounts in time, and is yet to produce accounts for the 2011 financial year.
However, the Naples-born father-of-two said he was hopeful about the potential of the club should a deal be done, and believes his experiences at QPR mean he is well-placed to survive in an industry where many have lost millions.
You can easily lose a lot of money in football if you are not careful but we have got the right people, he said.
I have learned from QPR, but at QPR I always had my feet on the floor.
The people who got carried away are the people who own the club now paying 90,000 a week when you only have a ground with 17,000 people. Look at what Birmingham made last year compared with QPR.
On why he is interested in returning to football, he added: There is a lot of prestige. You want to be involved with football and do the best that you can do. Birmingham is a great club and if you do the right things you are going to make a lot of people happy.
Explaining the changes at QPR
by David McIntyre
Four-and-a-half months since his appointment as technical director, the basic model which Mike Rigg has been looking to introduce at QPR is already almost in place.
When Rigg arrived at Loftus Road he immediately conducted an audit with a view to setting up a structure based largely on a template recommended to clubs by the Premier League.
The structure is made up of five main departments which, as Rigg puts it, constantly “feed in” to manager Mark Hughes.
These departments are:
Football operations (everything from administration and kit to player care and catering – essentially the ‘engine’ of the club)
Sports science and medical
Scouting and recruitment
Rigg’s intention was to recruit heads of these departments and strong teams around them. He was almost starting from scratch given how weak the infrastructure had been at the club for some time.
The vision was a long-term one, but the need to put something in place was immediate because of an impending review of every club’s set-up by the football authorities.
Football operations and academy
Shaun Hallett has now been appointed to lead in these areas, overseeing a huge amount of change in a very short period of time.
Prior to Hallett’s arrival, the club’s academy had two full-time employees. Just weeks later it has over 20 and that figure is likely to rise to 25 shortly.
Almost all of these staff members were already working for QPR on a casual basis and have now been given formal contracts. These include former Rangers forward Paul Furlong, whose full-time coaching role was recently confirmed.
The academy structure itself is divided into three phases:
Foundation (ages 6-11)
Youth development (ages 12-16)
Pro development (ages 17 and 18)
Within the academy set-up another new role, this time responsible for player care and welfare, has been created. It has been filled by Steve Quashie, a longstanding employee of the club.
Hodges has a major role at QPR.
Hallett has just implemented a four-month action plan ahead of the Premier League and Football League’s audit of the club’s academy.
QPR, who are applying for category two status, initially thought this audit happen sooner but now believe it will take place shortly after Christmas.
It will be a four-day intensive assessment of the club’s educational, sports science, welfare, coaching and player development facilities, as well as the staff structure
Glyn Hodges was appointed as head of this department during the summer.
The intention is for the above age groups to have full-time head coaches who are backed up by an assistant coach and will report directly to Hodges.
In the interim period, he has had his work cut out, taking evening sessions for various age groups that are currently without a full-time coach, in addition to his overseeing role.
Hodges has a very strong relationship with Hughes. They were international team-mates and worked together at Blackburn and Fulham.
One of Hodges’ first recommendations to Hughes was that young midfielder Frankie Sutherland, who impressed for the new development side while the first team were in Asia, was taken on the subsequent pre-season visit to Germany.
Sports science and medical
Damian Roden has been appointed as head of this department.
Roden’s job is to oversee the treatment of injured players but, more importantly, to try to prevent injuries in the first place.
He has set about introducing an approach to training and nutrition which runs through the whole club from the first team downwards.
But there is also an intention to pay more attention to individual players’ needs according to their body type and other factors rather than simply apply methods across the board.
There have been noises about this from inside the club for some time. Several years ago, Harold Winton questioned why two players he helped Rangers sign, Doudou and Dan Shittu, followed exactly the same regime despite being so physically different. There was a similar kind of internal discussion over the conditioning of Scott Donnelly.
Scouting and recruitment
This aspect of the club is being overhauled fairly radically. Kevin Cruickshank will coordinate a team of three head scouts: Stuart Webber, Steve Hitchen, who is based in France, and the Holland-based Hans Gillhaus – a former Chelsea chief scout.
Hughes has made several changes.
Rigg also has contact with a number of scouts based around the world, including South America.
While at Manchester City he called upon the services of several scouts, including former Norwich defender Rob Newman and ex-Wimbledon player Andy Sayer, who both live abroad.
Closer to home, Terry O’Sullivan is responsible for scouting on a local level, both in terms of finding players for the academy and sounding the alarm if a potential first-team player suddenly pops up at, say, Hayes & Yeading.
This department within a department is also being beefed up. Neil Warnock’s assistant Mick Jones introduced some important changes in this area, but there was still a reliance on old-school methods and paper rather than computerised reports.
Hughes favours a more scientific approach, relying on videos and data with Head of Performance Analysis (the ‘Prozone guy’ in old money) Andy Belk having a key role along with three scouts whose specific task will be to assess teams rather than players.
Another key man in the set-up is Paul Roberts, who is responsible for the first team players’ welfare.
His role is especially important because of the influx of foreigners to the club and his job is to help them settle as quickly as possible.
The extent of Roberts’ involvement varies from player to player. He assisted Fabio for only four days following the Brazilian’s move to London, as the defender already speaks English and has family members in the UK.
Samba Diakite, on the other hand, requires more help. Even before Diakite’s recent return to France for personal reasons, it was acknowledged that Roberts would have a much greater role in helping him settle in England given that, unlike Fabio, he is single and does not speak the language.
QPR code of conduct
This was recently drawn up for the first team and will soon be formally applied for all age groups after input from the likes of Hallett and Roden, so that it runs right the way through the club. The intention is to school players in ‘The QPR way’ from the age of six upwards.
Rigg has essentially been working on two main fronts. The first involves implementing immediate change and the second ensuring that these changes bear fruit over a period of five to 10 years and even well beyond that.
While the club has been focusing on adding to the team in the short-term, the longer-term model devised by Rigg involves having a ‘succession plan’ for each player, with the club identifying long in advance whether an eventual replacement for each squad member is likely to come from the academy or elsewhere based on factors such as length of contract, age, future value and so on.
Much of all of this sounds grander and more unique than it actually is, especially in the Tony Fernandes era of slick PR and a regime still popular and trusted enough for fans to see almost anything in a positive light.
This basic structure is something most moderately well-run Championship clubs would be expected to have and take for granted. For example, most clubs take having scouts as a given and feel no need to proudly broadcast their appointment in the way Rangers have during the last five years or so.
But in the context of QPR, where the set-up has been so uniquely terrible for so long, it represents a huge transformation in ideas and philosophy as much as structure.