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Friday, December 20, 2013

#QPR's CEO Elaborates on QPR's Stadium Plans...Nice Piece re Nedum Onouha....QPR's Co-Owner's Interest in Sports...Football Aid: Play at Loftus Road



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Dave McIntyre - QPR chief sets out vision for Old Oak

QPR chief executive Philip Beard

Chief executive Philip Beard says attracting new fans and generating income on non-matchdays must be among QPR’s top priorities if the club moves to Old Oak.

Rangers’ owners, fronted by chairman Tony Fernandes, are keen for the team to play at a 40,000-capacity arena which will be part of a huge development near Willesden Junction rail station.

With plans for the area to become a commercial hub with a flagship events-venue, as well as thousands of new homes, the project could generate a fortune if it comes to fruition.

And the club are hopeful that the establishment of New Queens Park – seen as effectively a new town – will enable QPR to appeal to locals as well as football fans in general.

Beard said: “Everywhere I go I meet people who are QPR fans who don’t come regularly to Loftus Road.
QPR hope to move in 2018.

QPR hope to move to the new arena in 2018.

“I think with a new stadium we would look to attract a broader, wider fan-base.
If there’s going to new homes in the area we’re talking about, then you’d like to think you’d be able to get new fans from the local area.

“If we go ahead with this we will be as close to Loftus Road as you’d have hoped to be and are almost going back to the home of Queens Park Rangers originally.

“But we need to grow our fan-base.
We need to make the facility attractive not only for the current fans to come to but also new fans to come to, while also protecting the identity of the club.

“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to make sure that every single QPR fan who comes to Loftus Road is engaged and is passionate about what we’re trying to achieve at a new stadium.

But if we’re going to have double the capacity, we’re going to need to make sure that it’s a facility that new fans and latent QPR fans want to come to.”

Beard says the club “have some very good people looking at logos, branding, identity and everything else” but that the immediate focus has to be on winning promotion back to the Premier League and becoming stable in the top flight.

In the longer term, if the move to the new complex goes ahead it would enable QPR to benefit from a number of different revenue streams.

Current plans include the building of a Wembley Arena-style venue next to the main facility, which would host concerts and the like.

Beard explained: “If a football club plays less than 30 home games a season at their home ground, that means you’ve got 300-plus days a year when it’s not being used. That doesn’t make commercial sense.
QPR chairman Tony Fernandes

The project is crucial to Fernandes’ plans

“It doesn’t make sense from a football or business point of view and also for the community – if we’re going to put this right at the heart of this new area, it’s important that we ‘sweat the assets’.

“So, what we’ll be looking to achieve is a stadium that can adapt its areas and facilities for other events, conventions, concerts and conferences.

The plan is to have a hotel on-site and we’ll be looking to win business [away] from core Central London venues and bring them out to New Queens Park so that we can use the stadium for other events.
The initial plans have us building an arena on the site of the stadium for concerts, conferences and things like that.

“Our aim will be to use the facility for a lot more than just football, albeit that it will be the home of Queens Park Rangers.

“It’s really important that we understand that it is a home for Queens Park Rangers but it’s also going to be hosting a lot of other activities as well.”
West London Sport

TELEGRAPH/Jeremy Wilson

QPR's Nedum Onouha 'striving to do more' after death of his inspirational mother puts football into perspective

Former Manchester City central defender talks about the loss of his mother, Queens Park Rangers' struggles last season and their resurgence this term

Queens Park Rangers defender Nedum Onouha 'striving to do more' after death of his inspirational mother puts football in perspective

Lofty aspirations: Nedum Onouha is aiming to represent England and feels his current form for Queens Park Rangers is worthy of an international call-up Photo: CHRISTOPHER PLEDGER

Nedum Onuoha is famously the footballer with three grade 'A’ A-levels whose dedication as a Manchester City schoolboy was such that, if he was ever late, the academy staff would joke that they were more worried about the bus driver.

By common consent, Onuoha epitomises the phrase 'model professional’ and so it is striking to hear the critical honesty that seeps through the self-analysis of his playing career. It is also deeply moving to hear how “a strong reality check” was derived from a personal tragedy that placed football in its proper perspective. Onuoha’s mum, Dr Anthonia Onuoha, had been an ever-present at matches involving her son until she fell seriously ill with Cancer. She died last year and, having offered the support on which Onuoha’s early career thrived, her memory is now providing a lasting inspiration. “She was massive in my career,” says Onuoha. “She literally went to all my games, no matter where it was. She would always find a way.

“Before she passed, I was here [at Queens Park Rangers]. I wasn’t really playing. I was doing all right in training. It was a strong reality check.

“I just realised that I needed to strive to do more. It’s only within the past year or 18 months that I have really started to understand everything about the sport. A lot of people have said that I have a lot of potential but I don’t want to be the guy who has got potential. I want to be someone who people want to be in their side.” Onuoha was five when he arrived with his parents in England from Nigeria and it is the value of hard-work, irrespective of the obstacles, that he regards as one of her great examples. “There’s a saying that you chop your own wood and you feel double the benefit,” he says. “She was never given anything for free. She has had to work her socks off for everything. She had a PhD in environmental sciences and, a bit later in life, that led to people saying that she was overqualified for jobs that she wanted.

Despite the unsurprising admission that his head was “a little bit all over the place” at times last season, Onuoha remains one of the few QPR players whose on-field attitude was never in question.

After relegation, chairman Tony Fernandes accused some players of taking the club’s money without giving their all. Onuoha is sympathetic to that anger but believes that a central difficulty was simply the process of integrating so many players in such a short space of time. “I think one of the difficult jobs in a football club is to be the owner,” he says. “It is your investment, your company and business but you can’t control everything on a day-to-day basis that actually defines the club’s success.

“As much as things were bad last season, they were never as bad as people were saying. It sort of happened at Manchester City. You bring in players and they have to integrate. I feel for the people who were here six months in, couldn’t really speak the language but saw that people who had been here longer were getting frustrated at them because they were not doing the jobs that were expected of them. City are going doing better now because they are not bringing in lots and lots of new players. They have a core. In the same way, if we do get promoted, I think we will be in a better situation.” The situation, quite clearly, is already dramatically improved. QPR sit top of the Championship ahead of tomorrow’s match against third-placed Leicester City and Onuoha, even allowing for a hamstring injury, has been one of their players of the season. Central to the change was a pre-season training schedule of quite exceptional rigour.

“It was so hard that you only completed it if your heart was in it,” says Onuoha. “You wanted to just say, 'I can’t do this any more’, but when you look around and have your team-mates there, you carry on.

“Everyone was in the mood to work to get back in the Premier League.” At 27, Onuoha should be approaching his prime. He previously won 20 caps for the England Under-21 team and, although he also remains eligible for Nigeria, does not want to make any firm decisions until he feels that his own club form merits international selection. Regular first-team football with QPR in the Premier League is the target following eight seasons at Manchester City where the likes of Sylvain Distin, Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott have restricted his opportunities.

Beyond that, Onuoha would like to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of young home-grown players. “If I was to retire soon, I think one of the things I would do is go and speak to younger players,” he says. “I’d say it’s important to look after your body to the nth degree. You have to listen to what the coaches say. There is no problem doing more after training in terms of extra ball work. Some of that I think is perceived to be a bit busy.”

The deadline for submitting evidence to the FA’s commission into the future of English football expires in two weeks. Greg Dyke would do well to pay a visit to the QPR’s training ground.


The Star (Malaysia)

Friday December 20, 2013
Co-owner of Championship leaders QPR and KL Dragons passionate about all things sport

by christina low
Mad about The Hoops: Besides managing Westports Holdings Bhd, Ruben is also a co-owner of English Championship League football club Queens Park Rangers.

ALTHOUGH many may think Ruben Emir Gnanalingam is a busy man who probably does not much time to spare on his off-days (if he happens to have any), the 39-year-old begs to differ.

Growing up in Kuala Lumpur, the CEO of Westports Holdings Berhad is not an “all work and no play” guy.

In a recent interview, he shared with StarMetro his love for sports from his school days and where it has taken him today in the business world.

Having had his early education at Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, Ruben said he was active in field events such as discuss throw, softball and shot put to which he also represented the school for it.

The eldest of three went on to further his education in England where he represented his college in badminton.

“I have always been a fan of football and continued to play some form of it till a few years ago when I injured my ankle,

“Nowadays, I stick to golf which I picked up after university,” said the Eton College and the London School of Economics graduate.

Growing up, Ruben said his parents had always encouraged him and his siblings to give a shot at different kinds of sports before finally picking what they fancy.

KL Dragons co-owner Ruben Gnanalingam trying his hand on basketball, a sport he has grown to love over the years.
Proving a point: Ruben trying his hand at basketball, a sport he has grown to love over the years.

“I have always been open to numerous sports and my parents always wanted us to try everything.

“The sport I chose at various points in my life so far have been driven by what I felt I could succeed in at that point,” he said, adding that he also made sure that he would enjoy playing whatever he was competing in.

In 2010, Ruben took over locally-based basketball team, KL Dragons, with longtime friends Datuk Wira Dani Daim and Datuk Robin Tan, which led him to find new love for the sport.

“When you get involved in clubs like these, every aspect of the club will run through your veins. Every goal and every point scored is celebrated more. Every goal and every point let in hurts a lot more, too,” said Ruben, who also co-owns English football club Queens Park Rangers with his partners, aviation tycoon Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and the Mittal family from India.

Besides managing one of Asia’s top logistics company, Ruben also juggles his time carefully with the two sports franchises from time to time.

“It used to take up more time when we first got involved but this has reduced over time as we have good people running both teams so we do not have to be there as often,” he said.

When asked if sports has changed his way at managing the company his father Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam built, the sports fanatic had only positive words to offer.

“In some ways, these sports are also businesses to us. There are revenue and costs involved similar in managing any other business,

“The most important being that people are your greatest asset and that teamwork is crucial. All of us were competitive business people before getting involved. It was probably why we got involved in the first place — the joys of competing,” he said adding that getting the right mix of people was never easy.

What was more difficult for him was getting his men fight for the same goal.

“My participation in sports at a young age has instilled in me life-long values that I continuously practice till today.

“I have learned to persevere and to never give up, even when I face challenges that may seem difficult to overcome. These values have brought me far especially in my corporate journey,” he said.

With the ongoing 27th Sea Games in Myanmmar coming to an end, Ruben wants the Malaysian team to work and push themselves to achieve their dreams.

“Just like any other competition, every athlete should just go out there and give it their best shot. You may not get another chance and there is no prizes for holding back.

I am hoping Malaysia comes back with a lot of medals and personally will be rooting for the basketball team as some of our KL Dragons players will be involved,” he said.



Play at Loftus Road – The Perfect Xmas Gift!

If you're thinking of getting something extra special for the Rs fan in your life this Xmas, why not gift them the ultimate present: a chance to play for their team on the hallowed Loftus Road turf!

Queens Park Rangers FC have teamed up with Football Aid - www.footballaid.com - once again to offer fans the unique opportunity to play at Loftus Road in 2014, and with proceeds from the games going to the QPR Community Trust it won’t just be your loved ones who benefit this Xmas either.

Football Aid offers the perfect present for the football daft family member - the opportunity to experience a matchday in the same way the likes of Hill, Austin, Barton and co do every other week. Players will gain exclusive access to the pitch and tunnel areas, pull on their own personalised shirt in the official changing rooms, walk down the tunnel to the sound of a cheering crowd and step out on the hallowed turf and represent QPR in a never to be forgotten 90 mins of football!

To add to that, the matches at Loftus Road have also been supported by a host of fantastic R’s legends in recent years, with the likes of Clive Wilson, Football Aid Ambassador Marc Bircham, Danny Maddix, Stan Bowles (and many more) all lending their extra special support by playing alongside or managing the fans on their big day.

Securing a position couldn’t be easier, just visit www.footballaid.com and choose the QPR games and then you’ll have two Fixed Price options: Option 1: Buy Now - Book a place with a one off payment, or Option 2: Sponsored to Play - Pay a non-refundable £100 deposit for a place, then pay the remaining balance anytime before the 31st Jan 2014.

QPR fan Joe Paradiso comes all the way from Canada to take part every year and told Football Aid about his experience after last season's event:

“Thank you once again for organizing another great Football Aid event at QPR's Loftus Road Stadium. The match was certainly exciting for the fans and many of the guys are looking forward to playing again next season. Keep up the good work!”

So if you're keen to secure someone a place on their Field of Dreams this festive season, why not visit www.footballaid.com and book them a position now! Alternatively if you’d like any additional information, you can call Football Aid on tel: 0131 220 5999, e-mail: info@footballaid.com, post on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/footballaid or send a tweet to @footballaid.

Since forming in 2001 Football Aid have allowed over 14,000 football fans the chance to Live the Dream in 535 charity matches all over the UK, with over £2M being paid out or designated as payable to charities in the 12 years since.The unique concept was the brainchild of businessman and Football Aid Chairman Craig Paterson and funds raised from this year's events will benefit the work of a charitable project nominated by the QPR Community Trust, as well as projects nominated by Football Aid’s parent charity Field of Dreams.

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