By Jack Bennett.
QPR’s disastrous return to the top flight of English football has been well documented. Although they narrowly survived on the final day of the 2011/12 season, the west London club’s fortunes haven’t improved in the new campaign. With a sizeable proportion of this season’s games played, they sit rock-bottom of the table, having amassed a mere seventeen points, seven behind safety. Yet, under Neil Warnock, they achieved promotion back to the top division with consummate ease, sweeping aside many Championship sides and looking as if they’d more than hold their own in the Premier League. So what’s gone wrong? Arguably much of the surprise at their predicament comes after their overzealous spending sprees since achieving promotion. Having signed big names such as Christopher Samba, José Bosingwa, Esteban Granero, and Júlio César, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect them to be performing much better than they currently are. Many pointed the finger at Mark Hughes, appointed after Neil Warnock’s sacking to keep the Hoops in the top flight, which he succeeded in doing, but was then sacked after a very poor start to the 2012/13 season. The new man was Harry Redknapp, a manager with a firm reputation for achieving success at underperforming clubs, although generally with the sort of backing he’s already got at QPR. They’ve shown some signs of improvement since Redknapp’s appointment, but the big question is: at what cost? Indeed, QPR fans would be forgiven for expressing concern at their club’s audacious spending. Since businessman Tony Fernandes bought the club, he has spent around £35m on players, an incredible amount for a side that should be putting sensibility and prudence before audacity. Löic Rémy arrived in January for £8m; Christopher Samba came in for £12.5m; and Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend both joined on loan to add to the already-humongous wage bill. Add those players to the aforementioned stars and it describes a precarious situation. By banking on the signings to keep QPR’s Premier League status, the club – and its manager – are now under pressure to get the results on the pitch, although they may be helped somewhat by a fairly easy run-in. Generally a club needs around forty points to ensure survival, which would mean that QPR would need to win six of their remaining matches to reach that approximate milestone. It’s certainly not impossible, but it will take an almighty effort for the Hoops to avoid relegation, and one which could spell boom-or-bust for the west London outfit… Like Spoughts on Facebook.