FanZone’s QPR blogger Chris King feels relegation is now a certainty for Harry Redknapp’s big-spending Hoops, who must learn from their errors.
When Queens Park Rangers were torn apart by Swansea City on the opening day of the season, it was Michu more than any other player who led the brutal slaughter.
The Spaniard ruthlessly carved the R’s open, inflicting grave injuries on a seriously-ill patient that supporters were told was fit again and ready to conquer all.
Not content with exposing the fundamental weakness of the QPR “project” so foolishly trumpeted by the club in the summer, he returned to finish the job last week.
With the high farce of his deflected first goal and the manner in which record signing Christopher Samba was humiliated for his second, Rangers were left gasping for air.
There is to be no recovery for the long-suffering Superhoops, but given that relegation is now a cast-iron certainty, there will at least be a sense of release.
Analysis of the two sides at the Liberty Stadium revealed one in perpetual crisis and another reaping the benefits of solid management and long-term planning.
It hardly takes an expert to guess which is which: while QPR are destined for Championship football, the Swans are gearing up to play in the League Cup final.
Some might argue that the two clubs are incomparable because the circumstances are so different, but they need not be, as both were promoted in the same season.
While Rangers chose the “spend now, ask questions later” option, Swansea showed a little more intelligence in creating a classy, attractive football team able to compete.
Survival by the slimmest of margins last season covered a multitude of sins at Loftus Road: the horrendously engorged wage bill and shocking waste were forgotten.
As were the many transfer blunders that may aptly be described as Mark Hughes’ legacy and could be included on his footballing headstone, so to speak.
Names such as Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton, Jay Bothroyd, Ji-sung Park, Djibril Cisse and Jose Bosingwa have been utterly inadequate throughout.
Motivated by money but without the requisite ability to back up their extortionate salaries, they are part of the long tale of woe that could fill an entire library.
Back in December, after an abject defeat away to Newcastle United, manager Harry Redknapp tore into unscrupulous agents and QPR’s deeply-flawed transfer policy.
Speaking with what one can only assume was a wry, ironic smile, Redknapp spoke of his disgust and fury at owner Tony Fernandes having had his “pants pulled down”.
Perhaps he was signalling his intentions to do the very same, as since taking over, the former Spurs boss has repeated the actions of his predecessor.
Fernandes, for his part, is deeply naive but was caught in an impossible situation in January: leave things as they were, with relegation certain; or carry on spending.
He opted for the latter but the £20million gamble has backfired. There is no impediment to the inquest starting early, and people being named and shamed for what has gone on.
Supporting this club often brings with it a mix of tragedy, shame, embarrassment and dejection, but the past few months have been notably dismal.
From the disgracefully inept thrashing at home to Southampton, to the opening-day debacle and collapse against Liverpool, it really has been an unmitigated disaster.
By far the worst aspect of this season, however, was the brazen, barefaced cheek of the summer PR operation, which was nothing but a pack of lies.
Barring goalkeeper Julio Cesar, and a few others, almost all of the players signed to replace Neil Warnock’s promotion-winning side have been unfit to wear the shirt.
Worst of all, loyal lieutenants such as Jamie Mackie, Shaun Derry and Clint Hill were unforgivably cast aside to make way for the new order, and then called back.
That all returned without complaint, performing admirably ever since in an impossible situation, is testament to their loyalty, professionalism and true value.
Quite frankly, the club does not deserve such dedicated personnel. None befit the greed, short-termism and disinterest that the R’s can hopefully soon leave behind.
It is only when footage of Rangers’ dignified, wholly-deserved triumph two years ago is shown that how far the club has fallen truly hits home.
This is rock-bottom.
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Originally published on TEAMtalk on Sunday February 17 2013.