THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Tuesday 14 April ~

With Charlton contemplating fixtures at Exeter and Wycombe next season and Crystal Palace lurching, QPR are going to finish as the top London club in the Championship. If they put a spurt on, they might yet end up one place below the play-off places. Even if they remain in their current position of tenth, this would be the club's best season since 1996-97. But neither Rangers’ fans not their board are remotely satisfied. The board, headed by Grand Prix magnate Flavio Briatore, are angrily perplexed at the team's failure to win promotion, while the fans despair at the series of glaring blunders made by the fools on the board. No satire written on the recent adoption of football as a plaything by the international jetset could match what is happening for real at Loftus Road.

Rangers are now looking for their seventh manager since Briatore and his racing chum Bernie Ecclestone took over 18 months ago. The departure of the most recent incumbent, Paulo Sousa, was inevitable after he complained publicly that the board had sanctioned the loan of striker Dexter Blackstock to Forest without his knowledge. Previous managers were said to have received team selection advice, if not demands, from Briatore who is not known to have been a football fan prior to his fetching up in west London. He obviously thought that it was going to be easy, as he showed off his purchase to the succession of super-models who watched matches from the Rangers directors’ box alongside beaming board members in their pristine blue-and-white scarves.

Evidence suggests that, like many wealthy men dabbling in a new interest, Briatore doesn't seem to have been prepared to listen to expert advice – or else he didn't ask the right people. If the QPR chairman began with zero knowledge of football personnel and tactics 18 months ago, then it's reasonable to assume that what little he has picked up since has come from discussions with agents, whether they are lobbying for their players to be picked in the team each week or touting their clients as possible signings. And plenty of agents must have been getting their calls returned over the last two seasons, during which QPR have had two European managers and a plethora of players from overseas.

Then there is the question of what the QPR owners hope to achieve. Even if the club got promoted it's highly unlikely that they could become a significantly bigger outfit than they are currently. At a time when Chelsea and Fulham are enjoying the most successful periods in their history there is no new fanbase in west London, or further west of the capital, for QPR to tap into – and certainly no cause for them to think they would need a significantly bigger new stadium, as has been mooted.

The latest rumour is that Briatore wants Darren Ferguson to take over. But if Sir Alex's son continues on his upwards trajectory with Peterborough he will surely get much more enticing offers. In fact, for a manager to accept the QPR job at the moment would be a sign of a lack of ambition, of someone happy to turn up for a big pay packet for a year or so before being summarily dismissed by the Grand Prix pillocks.

Comments (9)
Comment by Amor de Cosmos 2009-04-14 16:13:29

Briatore has no interest in extending QPR's west London fan base. Or, many would argue, even retaining the one that exists. The season ticket debacle, comments like not listening to supporters who "only paid 20 pounds to watch," extension of "platinum" seating and the creation of the exclusive (and largely empty) C-Club all indicate that "boutique football" for the wealthy is his plan. The templates are his resorts in Sardinia, Tuscany and Kenya as much as F1. As ludicrous as it seems, the oranged-faced one genuinely believes that Shepherds Bush can be added to his "Billionaire" jet-set circuit. The scary thing is he may even succeed.

Comment by Max Payne 2009-04-15 03:40:22

"With Exeter contemplating fixtures at Charlton and Wycombe next season" ;-)

Comment by jackofalltrades 2009-04-15 09:28:11

"..Briatore doesn't seem to have (been) prepared to listen to expert advice..."

"..managers were said to have received team selection advice, if not demands, from Briatore..."

"Even if they remain in their current position of tenth, this would be the club's best season since 1996-97."

Hm.

Comment by Meeksocini 2009-04-16 13:20:28

Exactly what I was thinking Jackofalltrades.

One of the worst articles I've had the misfortune of reading for a while. Don't quit your day job fella.

Comment by Dr Collins 2009-04-16 17:27:27

It's not at all clear what point jackofalltrades is making as "Hm" doesn't express a lot. The first and second points raised, about Briatore not listening to advice but then attempting to give advice, don't contradict one another. And the third sentence being objected is factually correct, fellas.

Comment by Dr Collins 2009-04-16 17:29:48

"Objected to", of course.

Comment by jackofalltrades 2009-04-17 10:56:03

Well doc, I used "hm" instead of "I have extracted three quotes from the article above and juxtaposed them for ease of comparison so that other readers can perhaps see, as I did, that the line of reasoning throughout the article is unsound, and that the writer has perhaps missed an alternative line of reasoning - suggested by the facts - that Briatore's methods have been far more successful than those employed previously, presumably by the authors 'experts'"

But you’re right, perhaps I was being a little ambitious with my condensing…

Comment by Dr Collins 2009-04-17 21:07:57

There's nothing wrong with ambition, jackof, but clarity is key in comment boxes. I would venture to suggest that your perception of Briatore and his singular methods is a little skewed. If you honestly believe that the flamboyant racing magnate is heading firmly down the right road in his leadership of the Hoops, you'll be in a small minority among Rangers fans.

Comment by jackofalltrades 2009-04-18 12:11:33

Bugger - hadn't thought that 'jackofalltrades' could be abbreviated to 'jackof'...I picked that user name because at the time I created the account, I was chuckling over someone's description of Alan Smith as a 'jack of all trades, master of f*** all'.

Yep, I'm a Newcastle supporter, and although I'm aware of Briatore's autocratic way of doing things down there at QPR, I have to be honest, I've been slightly more concerned about us as OUR owner has similarly been ignoring expert-advice (is "ignoring expert-advice" the same as "listening to Denis Wise"?) with a (potentially) altogether more catastrophic result.

All the Newcastle fans "knew" that Wise was a muppet and that Ashley was a muppet for listening to him - but if Newcastle had had their best finish for over ten years this season, I'm sure we'd all be prepared to eat a little humble pie, and possibly, just possibly, re-appraise them in a slightly more flattering light.

Similarly, down there at Loftus Road, of course you've got cause to grumble and be apprehensive of the direction the club's being taken. But the article (ah yes, the article) made much of the dilettante nature of the owner, and his meddling in team-management affairs but failed to make the case that your 'best finish since 1996' was in spite of and not because of Briatore.

But anyway, take no notice of me, I'm probably just jealous because you seem to have got one of those smart-billionaire-owners, whereas we got one of them dumb ones...

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