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Special Club Feature - QPR
 

Queens Park Rangers F.C.

At the start of the 2008/2009 season QPR were arguably the richest football club in England and probably the world. They are still not doing bad sitting behind Manchester City, the new owners of the richest club label.


So what has changed for QPR since the introduction of their glamorous new owners?

On the face of it, not a lot. Still fighting hard in the Championship, but not exactly setting the football world alight. All we can see at fW is a change in Team logos. See below the ‘new’ logo and the ‘old’ logo that had served The Hoops well since 1982.

‘New’ logo ‘Old’ logo




It looks to fW that the favourites to win the Championship this season are finding it hard to live up to the task. Do we think that they will be there or there about come May 2009? Frankly, yes. Although, it is fair to say on form so far, they have to improve. They have a good solid Manager, rather than a dynamic manager. At least he will keep everybody’s feet firmly on the turf. Will Dowie survive if he does take QPR up? We don’t think so; we think the board will go for a bigger name and a bigger reputation.

How right we were.  SACKED on Friday.  Watch this space for the new manager.


So who are QPR?

Full name

Queens Park Rangers Football Club

Nickname(s)

The 'R's, The Hoops, QPR

Founded

1882

Ground

Loftus Road (Rangers Stadium)
Shepherd's Bush
Hammersmith
(Capacity: 19,128)

Chairman

Flavio Briatore

First-Team Coach

Iain Dowie

League

The Championship

2007–08

The Championship, 14th

Queens Park Rangers Football Club is an English football club, based in Shepherds Bush in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in West London. The club's first team currently plays in the Football League Championship. In August 2007 QPR was bought by Formula One tycoons, Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, who sold a 20% stake to the family of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal in December of that year.

History

QPR was formed in 1882, when a team known as St Jude's merged with Christchurch Rangers. The resulting team was called Queens Park Rangers, because most of the players came from the Queens Park area of North-West London. QPR became a professional team in 1889 and played their home games in nearly 20 different grounds (a league record), before permanently settling in Loftus Road in 1917 (although the team briefly played at White City between 1931-3 and 1962–63 in the hope of attracting larger crowds).

QPR were promoted as champions of Division 3 South in the 1947–48 season. Dave Mangnall was the manager as Rangers enjoyed four seasons in the Second Division, being relegated in 1951–52. Tony Ingham was signed from Leeds United and went on to make most ever league appearances for QPR (519).

Prior to the start of the 1959-60 season saw the arrival of arguably the club's greatest ever manager, Alec Stock. The 1960–61 season saw QPR achieve their biggest win to date - 9–2 vs Tranmere Rovers in a Division 3 match. In time, Stock, with the advent as Chairman in the mid-60s of Jim Gregory helped to achieve a total transformation of the club and its surroundings.

In 1966–67, QPR won the Division Three championship and became the first Third Division club to win the League Cup on Saturday, March 4 1967, beating West Bromwich Albion 3–2, (coming back from a two goal deficit). 40 years on, it is still the only major trophy that QPR have won. The final was also the first League Cup Final to be held at Wembley Stadium. After winning promotion in 1968 to the top flight for the first time in their history, Rangers were relegated after just one season and spent the next four years in Division 2. Terry Venables joined from Spurs at the beginning of the 1969–70 season and Rodney Marsh was sold to Manchester City. During this time, new QPR heroes emerged including Phil Parkes, Don Givens, Dave Thomas and Stanley Bowles. These new signings were in addition to home-grown talent such as Dave Clement, Ian Gillard, Mick Leach and Gerry Francis.

In 1974 Dave Sexton joined as manager and, in 1975–76 led QPR to the runners-up spot in the First Division, missing out on the Championship by a single point with a squad containing five England internationals and internationals from the home nations and Morocco. After completing their 42-game season, QPR sat at the top of the league, one point ahead of Liverpool who went on to defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers to clinch the title. Also, Wolves relegated to Second League at same season. The late 1970s also saw some cup success with Rangers reaching the semi-finals of the League Cup and in their first entry into European football reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup losing to AEK Athens FC on penalties. Following Sexton's depature in 1977 the club eventually slipped into the Second Division in 1979.

In 1980 Terry Venables took over as manager and the club installed a 'plastic pitch'. In 1982 QPR, still playing in the Second Division, reached the FA Cup Final for the only time in the club's history, facing holders Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham won 1–0 in a replay. The following season 1982–83 QPR went on to win the Second Division championship and returned to English football's top division. After a respectable fifth place finish, and UEFA Cup qualification, the following year, Venables departed to become manager of Barcelona. Over the next seven years, various managers came and went from Loftus Road and the club spent many seasons finishing mid table but avoided relegation. The most successful season during this period was the 1987–88 in which QPR finished fifth, missing out on a UEFA Cup campaign due to the ban on English clubs in European competition as a result of the Heysel Stadium disaster. They were also runners up in the 1986 League Cup, losing to Oxford United.

Gerry Francis, a key player in the 1970s QPR side who had proved himself as a successful manager with Bristol Rovers, was appointed manager in the summer of 1991. In the 1991–92 First Division campaign they finished mid-table in the league and were founder members of the new Premier League which began in 1992. Francis oversaw one of QPR's most famous victories, the 4–1 win at Old Trafford in front of live TV on New Years Day 1992. They finished that season in fifth place, and in the following season Francis guided them to a ninth place finish. Midway through the 1994–95 season Francis resigned and very quickly became manager of Tottenham Hotspur and Ray Wilkins was installed as player-manager. Wilkins led QPR to an eighth place finish in the Premiership. In July 1995 the club's top goal scorer, Les Ferdinand, was sold for a club record fee of £6 million to Newcastle United.

QPR's struggled in the following season and were relegated at the end of the 1995–96 season. QPR then competed in Division 1 until 2001 under a succession of managers. Gerry Francis returned in 1998 however the 2000–2001 season proved to be a disaster, and Francis resigned in early 2001. Charismatic former player Ian Holloway became manager but was unable to stop Rangers from being relegated to England's third tier for the first time for more than thirty years. Following the 2003–2004 season QPR returned to Division 1 and struggled for consistent form over the next two campaigns before Holloway was suspended amidst rumours of his departure for Leicester City. A poor series of results and lack of progress at the club saw Holloway's successors Gary Waddock and later John Gregory (both former players) fail to hold on to the manager's job.

During this same period QPR became embroiled in financial and boardroom controversy. Although the club had floated on the Alternative Investment Market in 1991, in 2001 it entered administration. A period of financial hardship followed and the club left administration after receiving a £10m high-interest emergency loan which continued to burden the club. Scandals involving the directors, shareholders and others emerged in 2005–06 season and included allegations of blackmail and threats of violence against the club's chairman Gianni Paladini. In an unrelated incident QPR were further rocked by the murder of Youth Team footballer Kiyan Prince on 18 May 2006 and, just over a year later, the death of promising teenager and first-team player Ray Jones in a car crash.. Following this low point in the club's history as Rangers also faced mounting financial pressure, in the same month it was announced that the club had been bought by wealthy Formula 1 businessmen Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone. During the 2007–08 season, Rangers competed in the Football League Championship. John Gregory's reign as manager came to an end in November 2007 after a string of poor results left QPR at the bottom of the Championship and he was replaced by Luigi De Canio until the end of the 2007–08 season. Further investment followed in early 2008 as the club looked to push for promotion to the Premier League within four years, on the back of greater financial stability. On 14 May 2008 Iain Dowie was announced as the manager to begin the campaign to return Rangers to the top flight.

Investment

After a number of years of financial difficulties which included a period in financial administration, QPR was bought by Formula One tycoons and multi-millionaires Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore in a £14m takeover in August 2007. In spending £690,000 to acquire a 69 per cent majority stake in the club, Ecclestone spent £150,000 on his 15 per cent, while Briatore bought 54 per cent for £540,000 through a British Virgin Islands registered company, Sarita Capital. In addition Briatore and Ecclestone are believed to have promised £5 million in convertible loan facilities to help buy players and have covered £13 million of debt, in a total commitment to the club of around £20 million. At the time of purchase the remaining 31 per cent of shareholders turned down the offer of 1p a share.

Four months later, on 20 December 2007, it was announced that the family of billionaire Lakshmi Mittal had purchased a 20 per cent shareholding in the club from Briatore. The purchase price of the 20 per cent stake was just £200,000. As part of the investment Lakshmi Mittal's son-in-law took a place on the board of directors. While Gianni Paladini remains chairman of the football club, Alejandro Agag, as chairman of QPR Holdings (the parent company) was the de facto chairman, until he was replaced by Flavio Briatore in early February 2008. Agag moved into the role of managing director, supported by a deputy managing director, Ali Russell, who moved from Hearts in the Scottish Premier League.

Despite QPR's perilous financial condition, the combined personal wealth of the club's new owners (which included the world's then 5th richest man Lakshmi Mittal) sparked speculation that QPR would receive significant further investment from their new benefactors drawing parallels to their wealthy West London neighbours Chelsea and Fulham. However, to date no significant further funds are believed to have been made available to the club other than those injected as part of the purchase of its share capital. Indeed it was reported in January 2008 that the investors had not discharged the £10 million loan from ABC Corporation together with its £1 million annual interest burden—despite the club's prospective annual turnover of between £10 million and £15 million a year. Furthermore around £2 million was still owed to a former director and major shareholder, Antonio Caliendo, who waived £4.5 million of loans when Briatore and Ecclestone bought the club. It was expected that the ABC loan would be discharged in June 2008 on its maturity and that the debt owed to Antonio Caliendo would be paid off "in early 2008" in line with a funding strategy which Ecclestone has publicly stated would not result in the wealthy owners simply bankrolling the club. In fact the ABC loan was discharged on or around 31 July 2008. Mittal's investment is thought to be primarily motivated by his son-in-law's interests and that Mittal himself will remain a silent investor while Briatore, Ecclestone and Bhatia work together to implement the strategy of slowly building the club up ahead of a push for promotion to the Premier League in 2009. The new owners have also pledged to refurbish Loftus Road and use their experience in Formula One to increase sponsorship revenues. On 25 March 2008 Q.P.R. confirmed that, from the 2008–09 season and for five seasons, their kits will be supplied by Lotto Sport Italia as part of a number of new partnerships formed by Flavio Briatore. The investment potential of the club's new backers resulted in a number of wildly speculative storylines in the football press throughout the 2007-2008 season including rumoured signings of former World Player of the Year winners Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane (the latter as a possible manager).

In May 2008, billionaire Vijay Mallya was linked with buying into the club, as part of the Ecclestone, Briatore and Mittal consortium. Following the termination of the club's sponsorship deals with Car Giant, Le Coq Sportif and Sellotape at the end of the 2007-08 season, in early July 2008 it was expected to be announced that Gulf Air would be the new shirt sponsors. Further sponsorship packages were also announced including Abbey Financial Services and Lotto Sport Italia.

Rivals

The club's traditional local rivals are Brentford and Fulham. Since the 70s and 80s QPR fans have seen Chelsea as rivals. Recently, rivalries with Luton Town and - to a lesser extent - Watford have begun.

Honours

League

Division One Runners-up 1975–76

Division Two Champions 1982–83

Division Two Runners-up 1967–68, 1972–73

Nationwide Division Two Runners-up 2003–04

Division Three Champions 1966–67

Division Three (South) Champions 1947–48

Cup

FA Cup Runners-up 1982

League Cup Winners 1967

League Cup Runners-up 198

FA Community Shield Runners-up 1908, 1912

Records

Highest Attendance 35,353: vs Leeds United 27/04/1974 Division 1

Highest league win 9-2: vs Tranmere Rovers 03/12/1960 Division 3

Highest league loss 1-8: vs Manchester United 19/03/1969 Division 1

Most capped player Alan McDonald: 52 Northern Ireland

Most League appearances Tony Ingham: 519 1950–63

Oldest Player Ray Wilkins: 39 years 352 days

Youngest Player Frank Sibley: 15 years 275 days

Most League Goals in a Season: George Goddard, 37, Division 3 South, 1929–30.

Most Goals in a Season: Rodney Marsh, 44 (30 League, 3 FA Cup,11 League Cup) 1966–67

Most League Goals in Total Aggregate: George Goddard, 174, 1926–34.

Most Goals in Total Aggregate: George Goddard, 186 , 1926–34

Record Transfer Fee Received: £6,000,000 from Newcastle United for Les Ferdinand, June 1995.

Record Transfer Fee Paid: £2,750,000 to Stoke City for Mike Sheron, July 1997.



gazandpete@footballwinners.co.uk

www.footballwinners.co.uk


 
 
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Rangers in Administration
 

How can one of the top two teams in Scotland end up in Administration?  Why are football clubs so badly run?  There is so much greed in football this is why clubs like Rangers and Portsmouth end up in Administration.

I am a Bristol City supporter and I would hate to see my club in administration or go bust and disappear but why is it the football clubs are immune from normal business practices?  We are in a recession that has seen some well known, well loved brands disappear from our high streets, so why are football clubs allowed to continue.  It is about time the government stopped stepping in and allowed clubs to go bust and disappear.  That has to be the only way to get the message out to the rest of the operators of the football clubs that this is a business and must be run like one.  Need to learn to balance the books and stop paying ludicruios wages to average players.

I don't want to see anyone's club go bust but at the same time this nonsense must stop.



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