Back in 2007, when Flavio Briatore and his consortium took control of Queens Park Rangers, there were hopes from fans and promises from the owners that QPR would quickly gain promotion and become an established Premier League side. The owners, who have an excess of wealth at their disposal, were mainly made up men who had made their name in Formula One; the richest sport on the planet. Rumours broke out that Zidane would be coming in to manage the club and Luis Figo would be snapped up by the ambitious club, although whether these moves were actually made remains a slight mystery. Although considering the controversy and indecision of the owners since their takeover, it is likely that they did make such audacious moves and the team who had so much promise in 2007, spent last season fighting a relegation battle with a weak squad. The depth and strength of the squad probably had something to do with the amount of different managers the club has had since the takeover, as when Neil Warnock took charge this season, he was the club’s seventh manager in the past three years.
But Warnock’s appointment (despite the fact the club was still in real danger of being relegated to League One) seemed to signal some stability, as now this ambitious side with a bit of cash behind them had an experienced manager at the helm who was used to being successful at this level. You probably know that Warnock did manage to keep the R’s afloat, and even had to come through a tense game against his former employers Crystal Palace, which leads the hoops into the 2010/11 season win a new hope. I believe that this could finally be the year we see QPR as one of the favourites to gain promotion, as on paper they have the right formula to go all the way to the Premier League.
Four top signings have been made by Warnock already and the experienced coach has admitted that he would like to make four more. As well as Leon Clarke and Jamie Mackie, Paddy Kenny has joined from Sheffield United after a difficult season which saw him serve a ban for a failed drugs test and Warnock was quick to take advantage of Crystal Palace’s former financial problems by snapping up the man who captained his former employers, Shaun Derry. What Warnock has tried to do is create a squad that knows how to play a this level and these signings will provide great depth to the squad that was missing last season. The advantage of Derry and Kenny is that they’re both fairly consistent and will give the club more stability that they’ve often lacked both on and off the field in previous seasons.
The fact that there are four more on the way only shows the intent from QPR to finally realise their ambition of becoming a Premier League side and in my opinion they are looking like a good shout for promotion contenders in a season that looks wide open for most clubs. They may have narrowly missed out on Darren Ambrose who would have provided them with that spark that they often relied upon Adel Taarabt to produce last season, but there are alternatives for the club that they will be exploring. The fact is, this is what QPR should have done in previous seasons, by putting an experienced and knowledgeable manager in charge who knows how to play the field. I wouldn’t go as far to say they will win the league, but in truth it is a possibility if these type of signings continue and they are one of my favourites for promotion. What they need to focus on seeing if they can inject a bit of pace in the side, possibly by brokering a few loan deals, and with the contacts and power the owners have I’m sure they could get the men Warnock would want in his side.