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- Mirror - Shock QPR revelations: Club decline to comment as Harry's stars lift lid on astonishing Dubai booze bender
QPR STATEMENT (Or Non-Statement) - re Mirror Dubai Allegations - IanJTaylor @IJTaylor81 - The club is aware of the article in today's Daily Mirror but the club's entire focus is on today's fixture against Southampton ... We will be making no further comment at this time #QPR
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Happy Birthday to Ex-QPR Long-Serving Club Secretary, Sheila Marson
IanJTaylor @IJTaylor81 Getting up off my sick bed to wish #QPR legend Sheila Marson a happy 60th birthday tonight. All she'll want is three points tomorrow!
2 Mar 2013 10:51
“Some players were out, until 3am, 4am, 5am – and then went to training at 8am. It was like a stag party. Some looked at it as if we had a five-day holiday," said one player
Criticism: Players complained about the trip under Harry Redknapp Criticism: Players complained about the trip under Harry Redknapp
Queens Park Rangers have declined to issue an official comment on the Daily Mirror's exclusive revelations that a club training trip to Dubai was marred by ill-discipline last month.
The Premier League side's Head of Media & Communications, Ian Taylor, Tweeted on Saturday morning:
"The club is aware of the article in today's Daily Mirror but the club's entire focus is on today's fixture against Southampton. We will be making no further comment at this time"
QPR’s training break in Dubai last month became a “stag party” according to first-team players.
In claims that will embarrass the club’s hierarchy, members of Harry Redknapp’s starting line-up told Mirror Sport the week-long camp in the Middle East descended into a “joke”.
Manager Redknapp did not stay in the same hotel as the players and his coaching staff.
Early-morning training sessions lasted barely 90 minutes before the squad were left to their own devices, which saw all-night benders for some and huge bar bills run up, according to accounts given by three players to Mirror Sport.
Some players were said to be incapable of training as a result of their partying, resulting in reprimands from Redknapp.
In a series of astonishing and candid admissions, players broke ranks to reveal the Rangers camp is split into dressing-room cliques, with jealousy over the massive wage differences and anger at a perceived lack of application by some of the squad.
With just two wins from 27 Premier League games, Rangers require a near-miracle if they are to avoid relegation.
But what was supposed to be a team-building break instead became a glorified “holiday”.
One player admitted: “Dubai was a week when we had the chance to sort out the problems. Everybody wanted to do that.
“But we ended up going there for a holiday. It would have been better if we’d stayed here in London.
“We had training very early in the morning. We’d start at 8am and be finished, every day, by 9.30 at the latest.
"It was very warm and after that we would just go out.
“Then in the evening some players were out, until 3am, 4am, 5am – and then went to training at 8am. It was like a stag party.
“Some looked at it as if we had a five-day holiday. It wasn’t one or two of us. That’s the problem.”
Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa Le Royal Meridien: The QPR players stayed here, but not Redknapp and his wife
Redknapp and his wife Sandra stayed in a different hotel from the Royal Meridien in which the squad and coaching staff were housed throughout the week.
Another senior member of the team added: “I’ve never known anything like what happened in Dubai.
“We had all day to ourselves. That meant shopping, the pool, nightclubs. We were on holiday, it was just a party.
“Some of the bar bills were enormous, huge, in the tens of thousands of pounds for one night.
“Two or three players couldn’t train the next day. It was that bad.
“We have to take the blame for what we did. We know that.
“But some of us think that if the manager had been in the same hotel he could have controlled what was going on.
“What sort of club allows a team with 17 points and only two wins all season go and do this?
"It’s impossible to survive like that and so this club isn’t going to survive.”
Redknapp confirmed on Friday night he had stayed in a separate hotel and that the players had only trained for 90 minutes each day.
Quizzed over the specific allegations of drinking, he replied: “If it happened they must have done something I didn’t see.
"I don’t believe what you’re saying. I can’t see it.”
The claims appeared damning and set to cause outrage among QPR fans.
Three of Redknapp’s squad told MirrorFootball:
How the club’s training camp in Dubai last month was treated by some players as an excuse for a week-long bender.
The scale of the dressing-room schisms.
And the recriminations at the pitiful display against Manchester United last week.
Giggs scores againt QPR: "It was almost impossible for us to play against United," said a player
These were not the normal ranks of the disaffected, players left on the outside, but key members of Redknapp’s squad.
The launching pad was the trip to Dubai, which came 48 hours after a humiliating 4-1 defeat at Swansea left Rangers rooted to the foot of the table.
Dubai is a regular mid-season retreat for Premier League clubs and Swansea, Sunderland and West Ham were in the Gulf state as Rangers booked into their £300-a-night five star beach base.
It was supposed to be the chance to regroup, work hard, find a way out of trouble. Instead, according to the players who spoke to Mirror Sport, some treated it as little more than a holiday camp.
One player recounted: “We were in one hotel. Harry and his wife were in a different hotel. They went out before us and came back a day before we did.
“It felt like a holiday camp, not a training camp, for everyone. We thought we were going there to train.
"Players were out, every night. I can’t pretend there wasn’t plenty of drinking, because there was.
“Harry came every morning at 8am, but he just watched and didn’t take the sessions.
“Once we had finished, the players were off to the pool and having a drink.
"There wasn’t anything organised by anyone. It just happened, naturally.
Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa Le Royal Meridien: The players had free reign at the hotel after 9.30am
“We were all out. Players got sucked into it, we know that, even if we thought the next day, ‘How can you spend that much money on a night out?’.
“Looking back, it’s hard to believe what we were doing. We know it was unacceptable and unprofessional. It wasn’t good behaviour.
“Harry told us he was upset, especially when he saw two or three players who just weren’t able to train at all. But that was it.”
Redknapp insisted on Friday night his players had “trained harder on this trip than on any trip I’ve ever been on”.
He added: “We worked the maximum, man for man, worked our socks for an hour and a half, every day.
“No one was ever late. I was the first one on the training ground.”
The Rangers boss said he was perplexed by the drinking claims, adding: “If it happened, they must have done something I didn’t see.
"I don’t believe what you are saying. I can’t see it.”
Another player conceded the week was not ideal given the next game was against Manchester United. QPR lost 2-0 at home.
He admitted: “Given that sort of preparation, after a week like that, it was almost impossible for us to play against United.
“Fitness-wise, it was a disaster. When we played United, they didn’t play – they didn’t have to.
"They have some great players, but some aren’t 100 per cent fit and have had injuries – and they were running past us like we don’t exist. That just shouldn’t happen.”
That defeat left Rangers seven points adrift of safety, with games running out. According to another player, too many of the squad believe they are already doomed.
“There’s a feeling from some of us that other players don’t give a s***, that they’re just here for the money,” said the player, a regular starter.
“Some are going around saying they can’t wait for the end of the season so they can move.
“When you hear that, you know the trouble you’re in – 50 per cent of any team is having the right team spirit.
“The manager is supposed to be the leader, but a lot of us think he’s going to leave in the summer as well. If that’s the case how is he going to get the players going?”
Redknapp insisted only last week he would stay, even if relegated, but the player added: “There’s resentment between the players who have clauses in their contracts which will see them take wage cuts if we go down, and those that haven’t.
“At the moment, the foreign players are in one section and the English players in another. There is not enough bonding, no atmosphere where we fight for each other.
“We all feel bad for the chairman and owner, but they don’t see what’s happening to the club.
Tony Fernandes: 'We all feel bad for the chairman and owner' said one player
“The training ground is like a free-for-all, a million people who shouldn’t be there because they are friends of someone or another. There’s no structure, things are a mess and I’ve never known that at a club before.
“You can’t hope to survive with that chaos. No one wants to be part of a team relegated in disgrace and winning only two games in the season, but that’s the way it’s heading.”
Redknapp was accused of taking his eye off the training ground ball in January, although, as at Spurs – who he took to three successive top-five finishes – he delegates to his coaches, currently Joe Jordan, Steve Cotterill and Kevin Bond.
“During the January window he was barely there,” said one of the players. “A lot of us thought he was concentrating on trying to buy one or two players and forgetting about the 22 already here.
“Our problems aren’t going to be solved by one or two players. It’s a joke.
“The club is in a mess. How can any club like this hope to be in the best league in the world?
"We all have to take responsibility, but what’s happening isn’t right.”
QPR: Rock bottom all year
August 18: England keeper Rob Green, one of a host of big-name summer signings, endures a nightmare debut as Swansea enjoy a 5-0 opening day romp.
A long day: Rob Green concedes the first of five goals against Swansea on the opening day
November 23: With no wins, Mark Hughes is shown the door as Tony Fernandes moves swiftly to hire Harry Redknapp, then in talks over the Ukraine job.
December 15: The Hoops finally manage to qualify for a Premier League win bonus at the 17th attempt, as they squeeze past Fulham in a 2-1 win, thanks to an Adel Taarabt double.
December 21: But it soon becomes known that Jose Bosingwa had refused to be a sub for the Fulham game. The former Chelsea man was fined heavily.
January 31: Redknapp, having already spent big bucks on France striker Loic Remy, brings in former Blackburn defender Chris Samba. He cost a £12million fee and £100,000 a week in wages.
February 23: The 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester United leaves Rangers rock-bottom, with just 17 points from 27 games. Only two had been won. MIRROR
- Southampton -Past Photos
Harry Redknapp craves birthday gift in QPR's year of unhappy returns
Mauricio Pochettino and Harry Redknapp, the Southampton and QPR managers, share a birthday and a common goal
The Guardian, Friday 1 March 2013 17.30 EST
Saturday is the birthday of Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino and the managers will mark the occasion by fighting over the same present. Three points constitute the ideal gift for both men but with Queen's Park Rangers travelling to Southampton, only one will be able to celebrate on the first occasion opposing managers in the Premier League have shared the same birthday.
For Pochettino a draw might just be tolerable but for Redknapp, who is exactly 25 years older than his counterpart and, more pertinently, seven points from safety with only 11 matches left to clamber out of the relegation zone, sharing is unacceptable. Southampton remain in trouble, too, but that is not the only reason their supporters will not be wishing Redknapp a happy return.
This will be the first time Redknapp has gone back to St Mary's since a grim year in charge in 2004-05, when he was parachuted in to lift the club higher than 18th place and proved unable to stop them falling to the bottom of the table, ending a 27-season stay in the top flight. Redknapp remained in charge for a few months in the Championship before accepting an offer to defect back to Southampton's arch-rivals, Portsmouth, whom he did guide to survival. For the Saints faithful he is the ultimate sinner.
"I will get a bit of grief, won't I?" he says ahead of Saturday's return. "No one was more upset than I was that the club got relegated that year. I gave everything I had and that's all you can do. No one tried harder than I did … I stayed there in the Championship the following year and gave Theo Walcott his debut and then I got a phone call asking me to go back to Portsmouth, who looked like they were going to get relegated.
"You make decisions and you get on with it. I don't regret it, I had a great time at Portsmouth again. I took a gamble because if Portsmouth had got relegated that year I would have been finished. But I managed to keep them up somehow."
Redknapp says the reason he was unable to rescue Southampton was that, unlike the Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur teams he subsequently hauled to safety, their players were not good enough. "When I have been successful and done well at Tottenham, it is about good players," he explains. "That is what the game is about. If you've got good players, it is an easy game. You send them on the pitch and off they go. They perform week in, week out. It's easy and the better players you've got the easier the job is."
The question now, then, is whether he has got good enough players at QPR. They looked substandard under Redknapp's predecessor, Mark Hughes, going without a win in the first 12 Premier League matches of the season, the last of them being November's 3-1 home defeat by Southampton, which led to Hughes's dismissal and Redknapp's recruitment.
Upon his arrival Redknapp declared that he had the raw materials to forge a decent unit and, true enough, he did oversee improvement. His first step was to solidify a crumbly defence and QPR drew their next three matches before claiming their first win of the campaign with a 2-1 win over Fulham, when Adel Taarabt scored both goals and generally sparkled, vindicating Redknapp's decision to make him the focal point of the team rather than stationing him out wide as Hughes had done.
The side looked more balanced and better drilled than under Hughes. They lost their next three matches but then summoned a staggering 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge and took six points from their next four games. It seemed they had momentum – but they could not sustain that and the limitations of the new approach were exposed. Sitting deep, ceding possession and defending in numbers made QPR more difficult to penetrate but even less likely to score.
Under Hughes they scored an average of 0.75 goals per game, under Redknapp the rate has dropped to 0.64, hardly surprising when they have had less of the ball and made fewer passes and crosses. Alarmingly, the freshness that followed Redknapp's appointment has seemed to fade in the last two matches, with rotten displays bringing defeats by Swansea City and Manchester United. The momentum looks downward again.
In fairness, Redknapp foresaw this and his plan to move to a second phase of revamping has been hampered by injury to Loïc Rémy, the striker signed in January to spearhead an attacking approach on the newly solid platform. The Frenchman scored on his debut in a draw at West Ham but was injured in his third game. He is fit to return against Southampton but now Bobby Zamora has damaged his ankle, meaning Redknapp still cannot field the strike duo he describes as his "dream".
Southampton's defence has been their weak spot this season but QPR look ill-equipped to exploit it; meanwhile, with Christopher Samba yet to justify his expensive January transfer, QPR's capacity to keep the attack-minded home side at bay is questionable. Southampton are three points above the relegation zone but Redknapp reckons they are too good to go down. Similarly, although this is their first season back in the Premier League since their demotion under him, he says he always knew they had the wherewithal to recover.
"OK, they had to take a couple of steps backwards, they went down to League One, but you knew when you looked at it that they were going to come back. They've always had a good infrastructure … great stadium, fantastic training ground, great youth setup producing kids like a conveyer belt, they've always done it. They were never a club that was to disappear with no foundation."
Asked whether QPR are equally equipped to recover if they are relegated, Redknapp's reticence is telling. "It's different," he says. "I'm not going to say something that's going to cause a problem for me, I don't need that. It's different."
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