You can tell a lot from a statement

The hallmark of a deeply troubled club is the ranting, self-indulgent statement.

Think of a problem club in recent years. It’s likely that those at the helm were prone to issuing these type of statements.

Luton, Wimbledon, Hearts, Liverpool, Darlington, Newcastle– you name it. In football, when the asylum gets taken over it starts issuing statements.

Bad regimes tend to produce badly advised, cringeworthy attempts to try and set the record straight from their point of view.  It’s a common characteristic.

Several clubs have been through this difficult but usually temporary spell.

Sadly, QPR have been issuing such statements on and off for six years now. That’s a very long time for a club to be so desperately lacking sensible and coherent leadership – and the previous years were pretty dismal in that respect too.

Saturday’s essay, written on behalf of the club’s owners, wasn’t nearly as horrific as some of the diatribes churned out by QPR since 2005. But it still highlighted that Rangers is a club with serious, deep-seated problems.

Massive spending (and it has been massive) by the owners, and one excellent season on the pitch, doesn’t change the fact that much is wrong at Loftus Road and has been for a long time.

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 at his frustration at not being able to sign some of his targets, and since then has been reluctant to comment.

I knew this because last month, Warnock politely told me he’d prefer not to speak to me and that this was likely to be the case for a couple of weeks.

I’ve got no problem with that. I’m not close to Warnock, don’t know him as well as I have previous Rangers managers, and am used to being in the doghouse with people at QPR. But this came completely out of the blue and, at the time, I couldn’t think of an obvious reason for it.

But the following day, I was told some of Warnock’s previous comments had not gone down at all well, and he’d been given a warning.

In a way, I can understand why. I wouldn’t be too amused by some of Warnock’s comments either. But then I wouldn’t have given any manager the kind of mandate to run the show he was handed when he took over last year. And what Warnock was promised is the key issue at the heart of all this.

Warnock is a very shrewd football man with a Gerry Francis-like understanding of his stock among QPR fans compared to the board’s, and his musings this summer have reflected that.

His words are very clever and effective. They boost his profile and mean he is taken seriously. His bosses, despite their successful backgrounds, are not.

And no wonder, when they talk about working with the manager in a “professional and confidential manner” while giving him a very public and unprofessional slapping down. Only at QPR.

Since their takeover was being negotiated in June 2007, I have never believed the current owners would be good for the club. But despite this summer’s relative lack of transfer activity, for which there are many reasons, I’ve always felt the allegation that they’re unwilling to spend is not only unjustified, but ludicrous.

The irony, though, is that Saturday’s statement was largely about their willingness to back the manager and sign players, yet does nothing to help them do that.

Another very obvious sign of the division and incoherence that prevails at QPR will only add to its reputation as a club best avoided.

Being prepared to spend is only part of it. Being able to convince good players that QPR is a stable, progressive club they should want to join is the most important bit.

And in that respect, Rangers haven’t made things any easier for themselves.

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9 Responses to You can tell a lot from a statement

  1. Jonesy says:

    Good piece Dave, and I agree.

    I know you often refer to them spending a lot of money, where would you say this has been spent? Wages, VIP areas, ground improvements? As it’s difficult to see from a fans perspective where the money has been spent..it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been spent in the right areas – or in the right way

  2. John says:

    After that statement issued yesterday, it will be interesting to see how the remainder of the transfer window pans out for the R’s. Is DJ Campbell still a target? With Taarabt staying put and having signed Dyer, does this mean Bullard is now not a target? Will Routledge join us? It seems likely that Gabbidon will be wearing a hooped shit next season, so is that it with CB’s? While I would never doubt what Hill provided us with last season, and Orr, for me this is the area that needs bolstering! A couple of prem quality full backs on either side!

    For me, and in order to survive a first season back in the prem, a couple of full backs, someone with pace who will play wide in midfield (DJ’s got pace) and maybe another holding midfield (back up for Derry). Surely that wouldn’t cost too much, relatively speaking?

    Will the relationships that exist between board and manager stretch to this?

  3. bp says:

    “Sadly, QPR have been issuing such statements on and off for six years now. That’s a very long time for a club to be so desperately lacking sensible and coherent leadership – and the previous years were pretty dismal in that respect too.”

    Hmm Hmm, present company and all that old boy.

  4. tom says:

    I also am wondering the same things that ‘Jonesy’ has asked. Could it be explained to us where all this ‘massive’ spending has happened? Not that I’m disagreeing, I just don’t see it.

  5. Hubris Goat says:

    Aren’t we lucky little proles that our self-styled benevolent leaders have seen fit to drop some crumbs from their over-stuffed table into our otherwise pathetic and unworthy club that they ‘saved’, oh thank you great and benevolent ones for bestowing Kieron Dire upon us, undoubtedly one of Colin’s main targets; your ambition for our club is clearly unwavering.

    Oh and yep, fair play to you bp – the last time anyone decent was involved at the top was when you were in charge..

  6. David Barton says:

    I’d agree we have spent a lot in getting promoted in wages, transfer fees, bonuses, managers, ground improvements etc. We certainly spent more than most clubs do to get up apart from Leicester if they manage it next year. Add in the big fine for failing to even know the or understand the rules and it all adds up, you only have to see the accounts to see we are making massive losses, far bigger than at any time in our history.

    The strange thing is though why stop that spending now we are up and go with a budget smaller than Blackpools. I don’t blame Warnock for speaking out, he’s missed out on CMS, Graham, Naughton and possibly DJ Campbell due to the board not backing him and they are just the ones we know about. This latest statement is laughable though, only QPR could hand out good news about Taarabt staying and turn it into such a rant about the best manager we’ve had in years. They are clueless. Charging the same for tickets as Spurs with a team not even good enough to beat Spurs reserves.

  7. Martin says:

    A truly awful statement, even by QPR’s standards. Who on earth produces these things? Absolute rank amateurism at its worst. Highly divisive and dangerous too. Oh for a set of owners with common sense who are content to appoint top level football professionals and then leave them to get on and run the club.

  8. Phil Harris says:

    Delighted to say I left my press duties at LR in 2005! The period under Bill Power and Mark Devlin were the happiest in my time at the club. Media relations was much easier then. I remember one episode towards the end of my time at LR when Paladini and Caliendi were arguing over my shoulder about a statement I was trying to write on their behalf. I told them the statement was a bad idea. They didn’t care one jot. Leaving was much, much easier after that.

    Apologists for the current regime – such as the risible QPR Talksport Reporter – should be absolutely ashamed of their toadying and this statement is exactly as Dave suggests: ranting and self-indulgent.

    I’ve followed the club from afar for six years now with increasing despair. A fabulous club, many fabulous people involved, all treated as a plaything, a toy, a disposal prop. Shame on the owners. Shame on those who accept this state of affairs.

  9. Tony H says:

    I think if you look at all the press reports concening the statement, they have shot themselves in the foot and they are deservedly getting hammered for it. There is now wide speculation about Neil Warnocks job and of their lack of spending. Instead of ending bad stories about them which they clearly do not like, the statement has added to them!

    Has for the squad they now head for an Italian tour with the likes of Murphy, Perone, Gabbidon and Webber but without Cerny, Shittu, Ramage and Hulse(are they any worse) and a kit covered in gaffer tape, the Italians will be quaking in their boots.

    I appreciate they may have “spent millions” on overpaid players, long term contracts, transfer and signing on fees and compensation to all the management staff they have hired then fired. But after 15 years in the wilderness trying to get back in the premier i expected them to a least had a go at staying there or whats the point of he club or them being there?

    I don’t expect them to pay ridiculous fees, but QPR should be able to sign the likes of Routledge, Campbell and Naughton. They are getting around £40 million from the TV contract, let the “Coach” use 15 million of that and lets see who his top targets are? If they go down which seems highly likely at present, they have 12 players out of contract at the end of the season plus parachute payments and can sell players to cut costs.

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