Vital QPR ed. Adam Boxer gives us the inside track on the Hoops fortunes
VitalQPR ed. Adam Boxer joins us today for a QPR perspective ahead of Wednesday’s game…
What were your hopes, fears and expectations for the season?
Coming into the season, I think there was certainly an air of trepidation when it came to Queens Park Rangers. Matters off the field were far from perfect, despite a season of tremendous success in the Championship. The old board-room frailties had come back to haunt us and the calibre of player coming into the club was probably not what QPR supporters had in mind upon achieving promotion back to the Premier League.
I expected us to fight bravely in the face of the likelihood of relegation, and hope that there were three teams worse off than us, possibly to include our fellow promotees Norwich City and Swansea City. As things transpire, business picked up significantly with the arrival of Fernandes, but I haven’t moved from my position that safety first and foremost is the paramount goal this season.
How important was the takeover by Tony Fernandes?
To say it was vital would be an understatement. The club, while appearing rejuvenated with Amit Bhatia and Neil Warnock steering the ship, always had the shadow of Flavio Briatore lurking in the mist, and sadly his influence was felt in the summer with price hikes and financial transfer prudency threatening our livelihood in the league. While I will not senselessly bash the work of Briatore, and recognise he had a significant role to play in our development – we desperately needed board room changes as anarchy threatened at the start of this campaign.
Eventually we got this – Amit Bhatia returned after resigning over the ticket fiasco – evidently something he did not want to be associated with – and Neil Warnock remained as manager, something he has since stated would not have been the case had Mr Fernandes not come to the helm. It is a breath of fresh air for us, a board that listens to supporters and takes them into consideration when making significant decisions – we are certainly moving in the right direction now.
If the worst happens in the near future and you get relegated, will the club be able to sustain the wages paid to messrs Joey Barton, Anton Ferdinand and Shaun Wright-Phillips?
As a football club evidently we would not be able to sustain the wages – but I can only imagine that Mr Fernandes and our other investors would help us through this with a view to coming right back into the fold. I do get the impression that this really is not an option and relegation will be seen as a hammer blow to the structure the club is currently building behind the scenes. We’ve got to try and take each games as it comes and ensure we don’t find ourselves in that situation.
How is Ferdinand doing since his return to the capital?
The name ‘Ferdinand’ on the back of a QPR shirt only serves to whet the apetite of a support that had some of their best years with Sir Les leading the line. Anton Ferdinand came to Loftus Road with a reputation for being an able defender, occasionally prone to errors, and thus far for me he has yet to disappoint. He has looked good alongside Danny Gabbidon or Fitz Hall and was a particular highlight in wins over Chelsea and Stoke City.
The Chelsea game and the aftermath surrounding the John Terry incident seems to have knocked him sideways and his form has been a tad sporadic since then – but in truth his game has always been relatively solid and hopefully his return from a hamstring injury is imminent.
Will Neil Warnock be handed the money to strengthen again in January?
Yes he will – and no doubt we’ll need it in order to strengthen some key areas. Mr Fernandes has vowed that there will be funds for Neil in January and some of the names already talked about would help us significantly in the battle against relegation.
Who would you like to add in the Transfer Window?
In terms of personnel there are a few players that I wouldn’t mind seeing. Of those linked Roman Pavlyuchenko, Nigel de Jong and Christopher Samba look the best bets that could also be construed as the more achievable signings. A few pie in the sky mentions such as Jermain Defoe and David Beckham are simply not feasible, and I would be stunned if a player of that ilk was to be drafted in come January.
Who is they key QPR player we should be looking out for on Wednesday?
Hard to say really – we have some big hitters, but they have taken a back seat to the old guard of late. I don’t need to tell you how Shaun Wright-Phillips can be on his day, but nevertheless Heidar Helguson appears a man possessed at the moment, and Adel Taarabt had an excellent cameo against Manchester United at the weekend – who knows, players can spring up from surprising places and we’ll probably need that come Wednesday.
Where will you finish this season?
Bottom half – but hopefully comfortably enough from the relegation zone that we won’t need to worry in the final five games. No-one wants to go to the Etihad Stadium on the final day in need of three points…
We have only won once at home this season, against Chelsea. We have looked competitive against Manchester City and Manchester United – although evidently deserving little from the latter fixture. This will be earmarked as one of the more winable games with all due respect and I hope that we can win and give a good account of ourselves – 2-0 QPR for me.
Cheers for that Adam, a shame we ever sold Anton, he’d just begun to get some form under Steve Bruce.