QPR’s rags to riches story may have fairytale ending yet

by Michael Wade

Friday, September 17th, 2010

It’s August 2007 and a west London football team going nowhere suddenly take a severe twist to become the richest club in the world. A multi-billion pound takeover by Bernie Eccleston, Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal changed the footballing landscape at QPR but translating these riches to the playing field has taken slightly longer.

Fast-forward to September 2010 and it seems the Loftus Road side are finally on track to deliver the Premier League football the club was purchased for. Despite the clubs riches it hasn’t been expensive signings and luxurious renovations they have needed. Stability was the missing ingredient, something brought to the club by Neil Warnock’s appointment.

Just six games into the new campaign and Warnock’s side are looking hot favourites for promotion and justifiably so. While pre-season tips Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough have faltered and sit 15th and 17th with nine points less, QPR have made sure their intentions are clear from the outset.

With every passing game the juggernaut gathers more pace as they dispose of one impressive opponent after another. A 3-0 away win at Roy Keane’s high-flying Ipswich on Tuesday night was added to the 3-0 home victory over Middlesbrough last Saturday. Even more impressive are the stats that accompany Rangers start. 17 goals in 6 games with only two conceded show this is no fluke.

The only time they have failed to win this season perhaps best illustrates the camaraderie and team spirit instilled by their Yorkshire manager. 2-0 down in the 90th minute Rangers recovered to snatch a point and devastate Derby, a stark contrast to the whimper with which they ended last season in 13th place.

So what has changed? Just about everything is the answer. Upon Warnock’s appointment in March he had time to assess what was right with the club and what was wrong, and then put his plan into action before the new season. With six promotions on his c.v he knows what he is doing.

His first port of call was to a reliable pair of hands. Picking up Paddy Kenny from Sheffield United for £750,000 seemed odd business to some given the goalkeeper had just returned from a nine-month ban for failing a drugs test and Warnock already had Radek Cerny to call upon. Five clean sheets in six games later and Kenny’s credentials at this level are shining through.

The next step was securing the long-term services of the jewel in the crown. After two previous loan spells at the club Adel Taarabt’s strengths and weaknesses were well known. Subsequently the decision to invest £1m in the 21-year old playmaker was done with a specific role in mind. He has devastatingly delivered so far destroying every defence he has faced and drawing praise from far and wide.

Warnock himself has been gushing in his praise of the young Moroccan but has also been quick to point out that he is harnessed by a number of equally important ‘bread and butter players’. The likes of Shaun Derry and Kaspars Gorkss go about their jobs quietly, drawing little praise, but are just as integral to the side.

Most teams would be happy with one goalscorer, most teams would feel lucky to have a regular fox-in-the-box to rely on. This QPR side isn’t just any team, they have two. Heidar Helguson has started in fine form hitting four in six, while strike partner Jamie Mackie has gone not one but three better netting seven times.

Put all of these ingredients into a blue-and-white-hooped shirt and the finished product looks like a runaway train that will take some stopping this season. At this rate Manchester City and Chelsea might not be the only nouveau rich teams flashing the cash in the Premier League next season.

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  • stevie

    come on, come on, it’s to early to get to excited, look at Forest, Cardiff & Leicester last season.

    If they are still top by Christmas then you never know

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