Portsmouth football club. Lying in the relegation zone of League One, on course to be relegated for the third time in four seasons. Just short of Luton Town’s record of three in three years.
Since winning the FA Cup in 2008 under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, who also guided them to an 8th place finish in the Premier League that season, Portsmouth have been on the brink of closure on more than one occasion over the past few seasons.
The cash-strapped club has lost a number of its assists, mainly players over the past few seasons and not been able to pay a number of them. All this because of money mismanagement when in the top flight. It was said that if they had won the FA Cup in 2010 (they lost 1-0 to Chelsea), the players’ bonuses would have been higher than the income generated from the cup.
Why Queens Park Rangers are being compared as “another Portsmouth“, as said by a number of people on BBC Radio Five Live and talkSport over the past 48 hours, on Twitter, blogs and forums, I don’t understand. They’re not.
The significant difference between Queens Park Rangers and Portsmouth is that the current Premier League side have a wealthy owner. In February last year, Tony Fernandes, the 66% stake holder of QPR was ranked #15 on Forbes’ Malaysia rich list. He still owns AirAsia, a Formula 1 team, and quite frankly, a heck of a lot of other businesses. Buying Premier League standard footballers is probably feels like throwing a few pennies away to him.
Should worse come to worst, and if Queens Park Rangers were to get relegated this season, then apart from selling some of the players for a smaller fee and having the difficult task of motivating some of the players to get back into the top flight, finances are covered by the owners’ wealth.
Harry Redknapp is Queens Park Rangers’ third manager in what is their second season in the top flight under the ownership of Mr Fernandes. That itself is a problem in keeping the squad stable. And the squad’s lack of stability is notable.
Jermaine Jenas was Queens Park Rangers’ 29th permanent signing since their return to the Premier League. On top of this, they have also loaned in a further seven players, which included Andros Townsend on deadline day.
The manager has a huge choice of players to choose from now. But with that, that also means a huge number of players to keep happy, or at least content whilst they’re not involved in first team football. Redknapp has already had a falling out with Jose Bosingwa’s lack of work effort whilst earning a rumoured £100,000 per week.
Jose Bosingwa was one of Mark Hughes’ many mistakes in my opinion, during his tenure at the London club. Whilst I had full faith in the Welsh manager avoiding relegation last season, I also expected him to move the club forward this season. I was wrong. Hughes went in a backwards direction.
I’m not a fan of Jermaine Jenas, but the acquisitions of Christopher Samba and Loic Remy are certainly an improvement for the relegation-battling side. And different to Hughes, Redknapp is getting the best out of Adel Taarabt – a key player in the future of QPR.
I still have faith in Queens Park Rangers beating the drop this season. Although admittedly it’s going to be very tight down there once again this season. Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic aren’t looking too good right now. Reading are going through a purple patch but will be down there come the end of the season. Norwich are starting to get sucked into it now, Southampton should be down there, depending on what magic the new manager possesses. Will West Ham get sucked in? I think their early season form will keep them afloat this season. And Newcastle will pull away. You can quote me on that in May.
But whether Queens Park Rangers stay up or go down, money will not be an issue. They are not “the next Portsmouth FC“…