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.