Monday, 14 May 2012

QPR: A season to remember, and forget

Scenes after promotion last year
QPR are safe and live to fight another season in the top flight. For all of us that watched the extraordinary game yesterday afternoon, let alone those who were actually at the City ground, it was not an afternoon that any of us will ever forget.

And yet it wasn't supposed to be like this. I also remember those afternoons last season when we were clearly the best in the Championship, but had to hang on with the prospect of it all being taken away from us because of the Alejandro Faurlin affair, a problem that arose because of the suits at the club who thought they could short circuit transfer rules.

I spoke to Neil Warnock shortly after that season at Hammersmith Town Hall who was clearly both bursting with pride but also very wary of what the suits at the club might come up with next. That he was already thinking of that tells you much about the boardroom culture at the club.

And much of this season's woes were self inflicted too. Barton's constant undermining of Warnock in the early part of the season and his relish at his ultimate dismissal when it became clear that Tony Fernandes wanted to bring in a bigger fish was symptomatic of the problems created when a hugely enthusiastic owner who has, to his credit, supported the club with his wallet just got a bit too involved in the day to day.

Enter stage left Mark Hughes. Who inherited a mixed bag of players, some clearly still struggling to cope with the premier league but with others who were obviously flourishing, and a Boardroom who by now realised that if this gamble didn't pay off they would all pay the price. No pressure there, then.

That he managed to demonstrate, in his old Manchester City ground, why the owners of that club were so foolish to let him go and in so doing save our own bacon is testament to his abilities. He deserves huge credit.

But what is also important now, as he surveys the wreckage of this year's season and, frankly, one particular player's career at the club, is that he is empowered to take some serious decisions about the future mix at QPR.

First out of the door should be Barton, a thug who not only in his actions on the field yesterday but in his subsequent attempts to justify them on Twitter demonstrated once again why he is unfit to play and has the criminal record that he does. Is that really the sort of team captain that should be on display for younger fans to look up to? We can do better and his removal would be a positive sign of the club maturing into a long term premier league club.

But looking beyond that, Hughes himself has to be the man in charge. Not the beancounters, not the boardroom nor one or two players who believe their own hype - just him. There will, apparently, be a "very big announcement" about the club later today. The rumour is it relates to the ground and where QPR will be playing football in the years to come. I suspect it may mean a new stadium off Wood Lane, but we shall see.

The future for the club is more exciting than it has ever been. This season has been eventful but not in the way that those of us in the paddocks ever wanted. Over time we'll forget some of the bad stuff and hopefully replace it with the greater things to come. But we'll only do that if lessons from this season of all seasons are learned.

1 comment:

  1. As a Newcastle United supporter living in Shepherds Bush I was delighted when he left St James Park, but not so happy he ended up on my doorstep. Barton that is.