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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#QPR Report: @QPR1st Statement re New Stadium...@QPRPodcast Fernandes Interview...Flashback: "A Week in the Life of Alec Stock"...Flashback II: Fans-Club :Consultative" Meeting


- Flashback: "A Week in the Life of Alec Stock" (Bushman Archives)

- 12 Success Strategies of Air Asia Boss Tony Fernandes

- QPR Podcast with Chairman Fernandes

- QPR's New Stadium: Compilation of Articles

- EX-QPR Coach, Richard Hill Extends Stay at Eastleigh

- See Photos from QPR's  First Time at Park Royal (Courtesy Bushman Archives)

- Next: Leicester - Videos of Some Past QPR vs Leicester Matches

- Croatia' Player Banned from the World Cup
- Paul Doyle/The Guardian - Football Fans Refuse to be Taken for Granted

QPR1st Statement - December 16, 2013

Statement regarding the New Stadium

Generations of fans have grown up knowing Loftus Road as the home of QPR, and as much as its dated facilities and lack of leg room can cause us to moan the day we move out will be an emotional one as many fond memories will be recalled not just of great moments on the pitch but of time spent with friends and family.

Yet many fans will welcome the prospect of us moving to a new purpose built stadium with better amenities and indeed there is much about the Old Oak proposal which is innovative and exciting, Certainly it is consistent with the ambition of the Club to restore us to a stable position within the top flight of English football.

The viability of the new stadium is based on predicted attendance figures which are ambitious to say the least and we urge the club to plan and budget carefully so that the stadium does not become a white elephant, potentially dragging us into a spiral of increasing debt but an example of astute financial management and accountability. One key question to be answered whether QPR will be sole owners of the property.

A priority of the architectural design of the new stadium must be to ensure that it produces a great crowd atmosphere. Too often stadiums have been built which have attractive designs but where any atmosphere is effectively stifled. We urge the architectural team to carry out thorough research and to use every trick in the trade to make sure that when our fans make noise the sound echoes and resonates around the whole stadium. Essential to this is ensuring that fans are as close to the pitch as possible rather than find themselves watching the players as tiny figures in the distance.

We also hope that central to the stadium plans should be recognition that a football stadium should be more than just a sports venue but a community asset- and an inclusive one at that which embraces the cultural and economic diversity of its fans and the people who live in its vicinity. It is hoped that those involved in the plans can see beyond the needs of the prawn sandwich brigade and the tourist industry. For example consideration needs to be given to affordable accessible parking spaces for QPR fans rather than expecting us to pay ‘Saturday Shopping’ prices on top of our season ticket. In keeping with the response we gave to the consultation organised by the Mayor and local councils on the new stadium plans, the developers must ensure excellent, safe pedestrian links from Willesden Junction tube and overground services to the stadium, and to future Crossrail/HS2 stations.

Above all we believe that if the Club is going to get this once in a lifetime opportunity right then it needs to ensure that structured focussed consultation takes place with the fans at every stage of this development. This should not be limited to merely telling the fans what has been agreed after the event. Consultation also needs to be broad so that it takes into account the varying needs of different groups- families with small children; those who would prefer to stand; physically disabled as well as those with other forms of disability including autism and learning difficulties.

In previous meetings, QPR1st has received reassurance from the Club that consultation will indeed take place. We now look forward to the Club honouring that pledge.  QPR1st


Edit: Six years ago today: Report of the QPR-Fan "Consultative" Meeting was held

Fans Consultative Committee Meeting Minutes
December 17, 2007

On Thursday 13th December, representatives from QPR 1st's Management Board attended a Fans Consultation Group meeting with Queens Park Rangers Football Club at Loftus Road Stadium.

The meeting was an opportunity for our new Board and owners to meet with the various supporter groups and provide us with an insight into their plans and the future of our fine football club.

A full copy of the minutes taken from the meeting can be found here.

Fans Consultative Committee Meeting

Date: 13/12/2007 at 18:00

Location: Loftus Road Stadium, London

In attendance:

Alejandro Agag (Chairman of Queens Park Rangers Holdings PLC)
Gianni Paladini (Chairman of Queens Park Rangers Football Club)
Nick De Marco (Legal Advisor to Queens Park Rangers Football Club and Chairman to the Fans� Consultative Group)

Bev (Representing Disabled Supporters)
Stephen Dedridge (Representing QPR 1st and QPR Rebuild)
Karen & Pat (Representing the Official Supporters Club)
John Reid (Representing LSA)
Vic & Spencer (Representing Friends of QPR)
Neil Dejyothin (Representing QPR 1st)


- Introductions by the Supporter Groups
- Introduction by the new Board
- Update from the club on the football side
- Questions submitted on behalf of the Supporter Groups
- All other business


- each supporter group introduced themselves and outlined what they were about.

Alejandro Agag

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- introduced himself as a shareholder at QPR.
- has worked with Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone in F1 business for many years.
- has a political background and worked in politics and the sports business for many years.

New Board

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- they have a clear objective.
- they were actively looking to get involved in a football club.
- the reasons they were attracted to QPR included its history, being based in London and great potential to grow and improve.
- they like to start small and build a team and their business, much like they've done with Benetton in F1.
- they want the club to keep its soul and spirit and retain an English identity.
- they will team up with strong financial partners who are not English, which may be revealed over the coming days.
- they feel the fan base is very important.
- they want to keep and have a very direct communication with the fan base.
- they feel the club needs to keep its soul and spirit.
- both Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone are very committed to the club.

In response to the supporter groups introductions

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- that he would arrange for Rebuild QPR to meet with the new Commercial Director in January.
- any help from Supporter Groups is welcome.
- the Supporter Groups should expect the same level of support as before the new Board arrived.

Update from the club on the football side

Gianni Paladini said the following:

- we would be looking to strengthen the playing squad and that we would bring in "quality players" during the January transfer window.
- the signings we made would not be free transfers.
- the type of quality arriving hasn't been seen at Loftus Road for some time.
- pointed out that the new Board had put in the necessary finance to bring these players into the club.
- a number of deals for new players had already been agreed or were in the pipeline, but the club wouldn't reveal any names of targets at this time.
- one of the players arriving will join from abroad.
- the club want to move away from using the loan system as a means of strengthening the squad.
- stated the importance of having strength in depth and a squad of 22 good players.
- the club would be in the top six for player salaries in the Championship.
- the club would like to model the success of Sunderland last season.
- the club currently employ 5 scouts who assist Luigi De Canio with finding players.
- the scouts are sent out all around the world to look for talent and some of these scouts are Luigi De Canio's own men.
- the need to work with and develop younger players over a 3 year plan.
- both Gianni Paladini and Alejandro Agag stated that any points between now and January were deemed critical to our cause.

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- there is a further plan in place to strengthen with a few more players in July.
- the plan is to stay in the Championship this season and anything more is a bonus.
- it's nearly impossible and would be somewhat a miracle for the club to achieve promotion this season.
- the club would try and mount a serious challenge for promotion the following season, providing we retain our Championship status.

Summary of the new owners' plans for the club

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- there is finance available, but ultimately and eventually they want and believe the club can make revenue. - some sponsorship deals have been agreed with some very big partners. Some of these may be revealed within the coming days.
- further discussions and negotiations are ongoing with other sponsorship partners and they're actively seeking more.
- the existing sponsorship deals, while beneficial at the time before they arrived, are no longer good enough for the club.
- they have found it difficult to mutually terminate some of the existing deals and are continuing to negotiate with these sponsors.
- there is already a good momentum building around QPR on a commercial scale and plenty of companies with money behind them are interested in investing in the Club.
- some of these companies appear ready and willing to offer or make deals at rates that are more favourable than some Premiership clubs, up to three times as much.
- there is a strategy to use celebrities as a way to promote the club and generate revenue through sponsorships.
- the VIP areas (boxes) will be a major focus for the celebrity appeal.

Questions submitted by the Fans' Groups

3a - Are the club planning on holding a Fans' forum in the future?

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- in response, Agag said: "Yes. Sure, we can do that."
- agreed and suggested that a minimum of 2 Fans' Forums should be held per season. - the suggested timeline for these to take place were February/March and September/October.
- a third Fans' Forum could be held during the season in "extraordinary" cases if necessary.
- stressed that the Fans' Forums should be for football talk and team matters and not to discuss finances or the ABC loan.
- the EGM would be where discussions would take place about finances and the ABC loan, which is its purpose.
- Stephen Dedridge told how he felt this wouldn't be a problem so long as this was properly communicated to the fan base.

3b - Could the club appoint a Fans' Representative/Point of contact to be the first point of contact with the Club?

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- in response, Agag said: "Yes, it's important."
- confirmed that 2 commercial people would start in January and expected this role would be covered by one of these employees.
- the Fans' point of contact would report directly into Mr. Agag.

3c - Are there any plans to improve the 'dreadful' catering and bars at Loftus Road?

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- there is a plan in general to improve the whole catering experience at the club.
- from January the Club would be looking to take this forward and begin improving this area.
- he will talk to John McDonald (Stadium Manager) regarding the opening and closing times of the Bars and look to extend them.
- the security and catering staff can work later to ensure the Bars remain open for longer.
- is an area he wants to improve as he believes the Club are losing money and not making the revenue they should be from these areas.

3d - Are there any plans to improve or develop Loftus Road Stadium further or move to a new ground?

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- there are plans to "improve and not to move" at the current time.
- the plans were to "spend millions, actually" with regards to improving Loftus Road Stadium.
- that "we could change of course" to a new stadium, but that wasn't in the current plan.
- the VIP boxes will be made bigger and more luxurious by reducing the amount we currently have from 32 to 25.
- the VIP boxes are already sold out.
- the likes of Renault, Versace, Armani, Roberto Cavalli and others were all interested in these VIP boxes.
- Flavio Briatore wants to have catering from his restaurant brand Cipriani's involved and do "fancy things for the celebrities".
- the Club are currently in the process of seeking permission to build an extended cover over the stadium to prevent the fans from getting wet.
- the type of cover they want to go for will be transparent and allow them to further their sponsorship and advertising opportunities as they would be visible.
- how fast this happens depends on how quickly permission is granted.
- they are already tight on time to have this work started for the summer and if it slips any further they will lose a year on this plan.
- the toilets would be cleaned up and improved during the summer of next year.
- they will redecorate and paint the stadium during the summer of next year.
- in the medium to long term, especially if the club are still in the Championship, there is no reason to move to a new stadium.
- if we are getting full houses and have queues of 20,000 fans waiting outside to get in, then it would be logical to consider moving to a new stadium.
- it's not easy to move to a new stadium anyway.
- they are still investigating ways to expand Loftus Road Stadium.
- the Ellerslie Road stand can potentially be increased by 7,000 worth of additional seats, depending on planning permission which would allow them to build upwards.
- no work would be carried out until they could fill the stadium as there's no point if it's only half-full and that means there is no need currently.
- it would make sense to temporarily ground-share with another local team, like Fulham, while any stadium redevelopments were underway.

3e - What is the position with the Clubs' debts? Has the ABC loan been paid off?

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- that "the club debts are gone" and have been cleared, but the ABC loan still exists.
- the Board are currently still deciding on how to tackle the ABC loan.
- a decision on how to tackle it will be made within 2-3 months.
- that decision will be either getting a bank to pay back at a normal rate or to pay it off themselves.
- they will make their choice by 1st July which is when they have to sort this out by.
- the new Board and the Club are carrying out further investigations into how the ABC loan was set up and whether there is an evidence of malpractice.
- there is no intention to buy out the remaining smaller shareholders.
- Sarita Capital Investment Inc. and Bernie Ecclestone own 95% of the Club's shares between them.
- the remaining shares however may become diluted as capital increases. For example, that 5% may be dilute naturally to 3% over time.
- the EGM will stay as they are and the smaller shareholders are invited and welcome to attend them.
- that QPR own the ground, not Sarita Capital Investment Inc.
- Nick De Marco reported that the Board had instructed there to be a serious investigation into the background to the ABC loan and sale of the training ground to discover if there had been any financial impropriety.

Disabled Facilities

Stephen Dedridge said the following:

- that our disabled facilities were of a poor standard compared to other clubs and need to be improved.
- the poor standard was due to the age of our stadium and a lack of available funds.
- the designated area for wheelchairs is too close to the away fans which can be very intimidating and is a major concern.
- the Club needs to have a policy on disabled supporters in place and keep within the requirements of FA recommendations regarding DDA (Disability Discriminations Act).
- representatives from QPR 1st and the Official Supporters Club had already met with the Club to investigate what could be done to improve our disabled facilities.
- a second meeting between the Club and the representatives from QPR 1st and the Official Supporters Club has already been scheduled for January.

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- that they are "ready to spend money" on finding solutions and solving these issues.
- they take these things seriously and that John McDonald (Stadium Manager) should be consulted about these issues and it would be taken from there.

There was then a discussion about Club sponsorship during which Alejandro Agag made the following points:

- provided an example of looking through their contracts, of which there were 7 and removing any advertising around the stadium that no longer existed.
- they were surprised to find many still up that had no contract attached to them. These have been replaced with Coca-Cola advertising.

3f - Will there be more done to raise QPR's name in the local community?

Gianni Paladini said the following:

- the club had been praised by The Football League and the Daily Telegraph newspaper regarding the Club's work in this area.


- it was agreed in general that Andy Evans was doing a great job with "QPR in the community" but that it didn't get much publicity.
- there is a need to improve our relationships with the local press to help increase coverage.
- the reason it hadn't stretched to a wider area was due to an agreement between clubs which meant you could not work in boroughs that don't fall into your area.

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- the money that has been raised by the Official Supporters Club would continue to be better off going to our Youth set up.
- that raising some for both charity and some for the youth set up would also be fine.
- perhaps such monies should be used for the disabled supporters. - less money is needed for the Youth set up from Supporter Groups due to the investments planned by the Board in this area.

Spencer said the following:

- that we should attempt to focus on one charity for the whole season to maximise publicity.
- to do one local charity and one national charity.

3g - Are there plans to improve the Youth set up or start a Youth Academy?

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- the Imperial College which owns the training ground are working with us to cover the pitch.
- this will allow us to compete at the elite level.
- the club is committed to investing in the Youth team.

3h - Will it be possible to re-instate the very popular Open Day for supporters that used to take place? 3i - Can there be Junior Supporter days at the Training Ground?

Supporter�s representatives said the following:

- the "Open Day" had been going since the 70s.
- the players and staff were in attendance.
- there were sideshows, penalty shoot outs and other entertainment acts.
- there were opportunities for supporters to obtain autographs and have photographs taken with the players.

Pat said the following:

- the Junior Supporter days differed to the "Open Day" as they were specifically for children.
- the juniors were able to play against the players.
- there were sideshows with silly but fun games, like throwing wet sponges at the players.
- these events were stopped after the Club moved to a new training ground and a lack of funds.

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- it was "a very good idea" and felt such an event could be sponsored and could be done in pre-season.
- he will speak to the Commercial Director to ensure "we do it".

There was then a discussion about Open Training Sessions:

- an email needs to be sent to Caroline should anybody want to go to the Training Ground.
- the training sessions are no longer open to the public.
- the club needs to communicate this to the fans as this hasn't been made public knowledge.
- some people were not being allowed to use the toilets when the first team were training when they were there to watch the Youth team.

3j - When there is the next rise in season ticket prices, will there be any special offers/discounts for existing season ticket holders?
Alejandro Agag said the following:

- it's too early to answer this question.
- that Flavio Briatore was keen on doing something for a proportion of QPR's loyal long serving fans should the Club reach the Premiership.
- they recognise the loyal support is the soul and spirit of the club and want to ensure they remain part of the club.
- there's still a need to make money obviously, so there's a need to find the right balance.

Pat said the following:

- supporters were worried that season ticket prices would increase dramatically next year for the new Board to begin recouping their investment.

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- if that was the case then they'd have to double the prices or multiply them by 10 or 20 to make their money back.
- if there was a raise, then it would be around 10% or something "normal", but it was too early to say.
- stressed that sponsorship deals and not season ticket money was their strategy to generate revenue. Gianni Paladini said process should be similar to other London championship sides like Crystal Palace or Charlton

3k - Are there any plans to improve the toilet facilities?

- This item was already covered and discussed, therefore skipped.

3l - Are there any plans to do up/improve stock in the Club Shop?

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- there were definite plans and they have already spoken about a new range and brand for next season.
- it doesn't make any sense to change the existing stock during mid-season.
- that Flavio Briatore is super on this for expensive and cheap stuff. - they want to get QPR merchandise and gear into department stores and QPR stores.
- they intend to build a brand out of QPR.
- already looking into opportunities with stores in the new shopping centre at White City (Westfield London).

3m - Will it be possible for QPR fans to have any special deal for the British F1 Grand Prix?

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- he wasn't sure but would raise this with Bernie Ecclestone.

3n - What happened to Jude The Cat?

Pat said the following:

- that they were worried about Jude The Cat being banished.
- that Jude plays a large role in the identity of QPR with junior supporters.
- the club need to treat any change sensitively as it could upset sections of the fan base, however trivial it may seem.
- the junior supporters have just received Christmas cards from the Club with Jude on the front.

Alejandro Agag said the following:

- that they are very superstitious and worry about having a black cat as a mascot and don't want any bad luck.
- suggested that rather than banishing Jude The Cat, that he's rebranded in a different colour.

Gianni Paladini said the following:

- we could poll for suggestions on the official website.

All Other Business

- it was agreed that these meetings should continue to take place at least 3 times per year. QPR1st

Paul Warburton - QPR boss has plans for Taarabt

No way back for midfielder regardless of what Fulham say - Redknapp

Adel Taarabt has been told to find another club if Fulham no longer want the QPR loanee.
New Whites boss Rene Meulensteen has promised the midfielder a fresh start despite a lack lustre showing since he joined in the summer.
That might be just as well after Tarrabt’s parent club made it plain there was no way back – even if the Whites were to change their mind.
The Moroccan international was told to pack his bags at Rangers pre-season training camp by boss Harry Redknapp, and the man in charge was anything but the season of goodwill towards his own player last night.
The manager said: “I just want good lads who go to bed early and get up in the morning; come to training and earn their thousands of pounds a week – thats not asking too much.
“I want those that think of other people who don’t earn a fiftieth of what they earn.
“Adel’s at Fulham. They’re in trouble and Adel’s not playing, and that must be disappointing.
“Maybe he’s got to find himself another club. Whether we take him back or not is debatable.”
Under the terms of the loan, both clubs must agree before ripping it up. Taarabt has made three Premier League starts for Fulham, scoring just the once against Burton in the Capital Cup.
Asked whether any return to Loftus Road might spur the 24-year-old might bring a conciliation, Harry was dismissive.
“Would he get the message back here at QPR?” the manager said. “He went to Fulham and I don’t know if he got the message there.” West London

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