A critical stage

Just over two weeks before the start of Rangers’ pre-season campaign and it seems all is not well.

A row over bonuses from last season has been averted, but the all-too familiar spectre of a stand-off between the manager and board is hanging over QPR once again.

I’ve been told that promotion will cost the club around £10m in player bonuses.

That could be a wild exaggeration, but what I do know for sure is that a number of players were unhappy – to put it mildly – when the squad didn’t receive their bonuses in May.

A settlement was reached when it was agreed the players would receive their bonuses at a later date.

But a gulf between Warnock and the club’s owners will also need to be closed if Rangers’ preparations for the Premier League aren’t to be thrown into total chaos.

Warnock told me shortly before the end of last season that he fully expected to be nudged towards a number of Italian players this summer, but most of his targets were English-based.

For recently making public his frustration at missing out on some of those targets, Warnock angered his bosses and has since been reluctant to comment.

Rangers do look close to getting a few of his preferred signings, especially in the case of Jimmy Bullard.

But other potential deals have hit problems, including the mooted signing of Jay Bothroyd, which was shelved because of the proposed wages involved. Talks apparently resumed, and it looks like there is a fair chance the player will end up at Rangers.

DJ Campbell has also been in talks, and again the signs there are positive.

The club need – and expect – to confirm the signings of two to four players very soon, which would indicate that Warnock is getting his way.

In 12 years of covering QPR, you could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve referred to a ‘source’ or ‘insider’. I hate doing that. And there have been even fewer occasions on which I’ve been talked out of doing a story by the club.

But late on Saturday night, after conversations with (here goes) club sources, I was talked out of circulating a story that Warnock’s relationship with the board was close to breaking point.

I was assured that such a story would be proved wrong within a few days, as the club would definitely complete some signings and were making progress with other possible additions.

For once, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, partly because I knew much of what I was told to be true.

But the situation has reached a critical stage and is, I understand, being monitored by the League Managers’ Association, which is a very significant development.

The owners have never intended to fire Warnock, but his contract states that he has full control over transfers, and according to some inside the club, there is now a feeling that this stipulation may have been breached, which would apparently entitle him to a full pay-off were he to walk away.

He made several excellent acquisitions last summer but there have been rumblings of discontent among his bosses over signings such as those of Petter Vaagen Moen, Leon Clarke and Rob Hulse.

That may have been a factor in the sea-change during the second half of last season, when Bernie Ecclestone started having more of an influence behind the scenes and Gianni Paladini’s involvement, which had been reduced, seemed to slightly increase.

It is worth pointing out though that Paladini is a staunch ally of Warnock, who was very much his choice for the manager’s job – regardless of how things were portrayed at the time.

I do believe the situation will be resolved, that Rangers will get over the line with at least a couple of signings in the next 48 hours, and that Warnock will still be in charge come August.

But I have to admit I’m less confident about that than I was this time last week.

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12 Responses to A critical stage

  1. John says:

    Not sure what to make of that article Dave… leaves me with mixed emotions, but I’m clinging to the positives and on your word, feel a little bit more optimistic about Warnock’s level of control, pre-season and August!

  2. AussieR says:

    Not much we can do but wait and hope. It is so typically QPR to have such fan discontent and boardroom calamity after such a great season. As Clive Whittingham has said “at QPR, every silver lining has a cloud.”

  3. Rich Lloyd says:

    same as it ever was – there’s no point in doing anytghing the easy way

  4. I just can’t work out how optimistic you are, Dave. Strange times.

  5. Lee Wiffen says:

    What concerns me is the brinkmanship being played out, which is obviously the point of the article.

    All of this power stuff diverts from the job in hand….making sure we have a strong mentality as well as squad to compete in the prem. Rich men wanting to be richer, more powerful….what love do they have for the club?

    I don’t think I could bear the ignomy and ridicule of mates and the press should we be the whipping boys of the division.

    Warnock will not resign, he will want paying off….Briatore and Ecclestone are trying to force Mittals hand to make a profit on their investment….and will try and avoid having to pay off Warnock should they breach his agreement…..meanwhile us poor saps have to sit in the expensive seats and suffer the same pain that we suffered through Sousa and Magilton

  6. Olly says:

    ..and now here on Season Ticket deadline day the club release an official statement stating Neil Warnock has not resigned.All because of Chinese whispers on messageboards and twittersphere on the back of this David McIntyre irresponsible blog.Yes irresponsible,David…not happy at all.Just as I have 650 scraped together sponds ready to go to the box office to renew.Didn’t agree with any of the Anti-Taarabt blog but this is messing with my melons man…

  7. John says:

    Olly…. have I missed something here? Did David state “Warnock has resigned”…? I didn’t catch that… I must read it again!

  8. […] Journalist and Queens Park Rangers supporter, Dave McIntyre wrote an excellent piece today on what seems to be brewing in the Loftus Road boardroom, click on the link to read:  https://davidmcintyre.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/a-critical-stage/ […]

  9. Olly says:

    Apologies DMac.Tired,emotional,season ticketless and extremely pissed off with all that’s happened at QPR since May 7th….not this blog responsible for interwebbery rumourloid rhubarb,of course.
    Betfair if anyone to blame.

  10. Jamie says:

    Could the rumoured Taarabt sale be used to fund the players bonuses?

  11. […] What it also highlighted was something I alluded to in my last blog: that Neil Warnock was given a slap on the wrist for hinting … […]

  12. A very interesting article. I like to read this article.

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