Fan Alex, takes a look at reasons QPR fans should stay in high spirits as the season is set to resume on Saturday.
Saturday 20th sees the return of championship football. I can’t lie I’m excited, I really wanted the season to be finished and I’m really happy that the Championship is at least finishing. In rather unusual circumstances QPR actually have something to play for. Right now we sit six points off the play offs with a favourable set of fixtures. This is all very un-QPR. Apart from a very short flirt with the play offs last year under Steve McClaren, we haven’t been remotely close to challenging for promotion for years. This gives me optimism, which I’m well aware is a dangerous thing for any football fan to have.
The last five years haven’t been the most thrilling, but there is a very important reason for this and that is the restructure of the club. Coming down from the Premier League we had players on ridiculous wages, we had payed crazy amounts for players and it was clear that this could not continue. So in comes Les Ferdinand as Director of Football to oversee the change to a more sustainable approach. Everyone knew it wasn’t going to be easy and it might not be fun, but it was necessary. The club does seems to be past that phase of the project now, not saying we didn’t make mistakes during that time (Steve McClaren). It is a minor miracle we’re still in the championship, and make no mistake the club should be praised for that. The fact that most of the time we were never really in danger of relegation is a success.
Now as a more sensibly run club we can hopefully reap the rewards. The football this season has been great, by far the best I’ve seen at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium for a while. Mark Warburton is a good and honest bloke, every time I’ve seen an interview of his I think he comes across very well. Then you see the football and it is beautiful. Look at Ebere Eze’s goal against Stoke on the opening day. Look at Bright Osayi-Samuel’s solo goal against Birmingham. Our midseason war on Wales where we scored eleven goals in two games, all fantastic moments in a season littered with individual brilliance. This is down to Warburton’s management and coaching, he’s allowed our best players to express themselves and showcase their talent. Somehow we have managed to get one of the best Championship managers and I don’tthink everyone gets that yet. This season we spent next to nothing on incoming transfers yet he’s built a squad that is showing signs we can compete at the top end of the table, a huge improvement on previous years.
It has been said that this summer we are in a decent position to purchase a few players, this is because of the hard work that has been done before. Restructure hasn’t been enjoyable at times but we are very much in a much better position for it. We will possibly see some talent leave this summer but that is part of the process. We are not in a position where we can offer our players what they want in order to keep them. What then becomes really important is getting the right price or at least a good price for our players. Last summer Luke Freeman left the club for an undisclosed fee, depending on who you ask the fee ranges from £4 million to £5 million. This was a good deal for us we signed Freeman for next to nothing from Bristol City then sold him on for a decent price. Fans have to remember we are only ever going to get what other teams are willing to pay. At the time Sheffield United were the only club interested, without a bidding war it’s hard for the club to drive the price up. That might not happen with Eze or Osayi-Samuel as there are more than one club interested in the aforementioned players. Despite this the value of players this year is still not clear due to COVID-19, its known we value Eze at £20 million, but can clubs afford that? I have more faith now that QPR have a good idea of the players to bring in, there seems to be a clear direction. We have improved but we can always do better, again it isn’t easy but it is a necessary part of our strategy. Brentford have managed to do it for years and right now they’re unfortunately one of the best teams in the league.
This new sensible way of running the club excites me, and as I said at the start the opportunity of play offs is brilliant. But even if we don’t finish in the play offs that won’t be a failure in my eyes. We have talent coming through from the academy, we’re playing much better football and we will be challenging for promotion in coming seasons if we continue down this path. I truly believe we have reasons to be hopeful.