After 15 long years Queens Park Rangers are back in the top flight and have every chance of staying there as long as the board leaves Neil Warnock alone to do his job.
Pre season: Good, bad or ugly?
I would cautiously say ‘good’. On the playing side, our manager Neil Warnock practically has the freedom of Cornwall (I think he lives there) and takes his teams to the county for a work-out every pre-season. After walloping Bodmin and Tavistock, we then went to Italy and beat Braga and Atalanta, so generally it’s gone OK on that side of things. We’ve signed two decent strikers in Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell and when he’s not on his sick bed, Kieron Dyer could come good. Adel Taarabt is also staying, which is a relief to most Rangers fans and will be a worry to many opposition defences. My main concern is our own defence – we’ve a bunch of honest triers, but I’m not sure it’s enough at this level. We have signed Danny Gabbidon from that well know team called ‘unattached’ and that is it as far as the defence is concerned.
Hopes for the season:
I’d be happy with a Champions League place – I think anymore than that would be unrealistic expectations, wouldn’t it…Na, I’ll take 17th but I hope we entertain and put smiles on faces along the way.
Fears for the season:
That ‘Tango & Cash’ (our owners Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone) make it a truly miserable period for fans, players and the manager. They have already ousted Britain’s richest man, Lakshmi Mittal, from having a seat on the board (although he retains his stake in the club) and you wonder if Warnock might be next. Ecclestone simply doesn’t care about the club and it seems to be inexplicable why he ever got involved, whereas Briatore has ideas way above his station. With his connections and experience, he has the potential to be a good owner, but seems to want to manage the team as well as turning the club into something it isn’t (one of his brainwaves was for us to become a ‘Boutique football club’ – no, I’m not sure what that means either). Warnock just won’t stand for this nonsense. If they provide the manager with firm, but non-intrusive support, it will work. But many fans fear the worst.
Opposition fans have always ‘had a soft spot’ for QPR. Charging away fans £50 will very swiftly bring those times to a close.
Absolute bare minimum you’ll accept:
This is a tough one, as fans of newly promoted sides ought to be a bit pragmatic. I think if the players give everything for 38 games, no one can have any complaints.
Fixture you’re most looking forward to?
Convention says I should say Chelsea, but personally I can’t wait for Bolton at home on August 13th – our first game back in the Premier league. It’s been 15 long years since we were there and we’re back where we belong. I was at the match away at Huddersfield in 2001 when we went down to Division Two (as then) – it was truly awful and to be back in the Premier League now is just fantastic.
Got the right manager?
Absolutely. Whether our owners feel the same is questionable.
By Christmas you’ll be…
Player you’d most like to sign?
Can I say anyone here, no matter how implausible? If I can, then I wouldn’t half love to have Nemanja Vidic marshalling our back four.
Which player should we look out for?
Great things are expected from Adel Taraabt, who has realised his potential under Warnock. He is one of the most gifted players I have ever seen and when his attitude’s right, he is unstoppable.
Which player would you love to ditch?
Any player who wasn't signed by our manager. Along with Ecclestone & Briatore, there is another chap who runs the club called Gianni Paladini, who’s a football agent by trade. I’ll protect the innocent, but over the years we seem to have signed a few players where you feel the various managers have had them foisted on them from above.
Opposition hate figure?
This is the only reason John Terry was put on this earth. Now that Robbie Savage has retired, it leaves a lovely spot open for someone new to become the man all football fans despise. JT appears to have all the personal attributes to step effortlessly into the role.
Tell us something we don’t know about your club? .
We’re about to feature in a movie. There is a film coming out this autumn called “The four year plan” which, from the trailer, looks like an explosive behind-the-scenes documentary about the goings on at the club. Just from the trailer, Briatore comes across as an unpleasant, aggressive egomaniac, so I don’t think it’s his PR people behind it. Or if it is they haven’t got a clue what they are doing!
What won’t happen this season?
For years, opposition fans have always ‘had a soft spot’ for QPR. Charging away fans £50 will very swiftly bring those times to a close.
I still have “We are Premier League” ringing in my ears from the end of last season. If we’re still singing it in a year’s time that’ll do me.
Where will you finish?
I genuinely think if Warnock is left alone to do his job, we will be playing in the Premier League come 2012/13 season. But that’s a big ‘if’.
Any other news?
Yes, there is a new QPR fans Podcast for this season. It’s called ‘Open all R’s’ and it’s by Rangers fans, for Rangers fans, featuring great QPR chat and celebrity interviews. You can follow us on twitter @qprpodcast, go to www.qprpodcast.com or just search for ‘Open all R’s ‘ in iTunes.
Click here for more Queens Park Rangers stories
Click here for more Football and Sport stories
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook