QPR v Spurs: Rangers paying the price for lavish summer spending
QPR host Tottenham at Loftus Road in tomorrow’s London derby as Harry Redknapp faces his former club.
When Tottenham faced QPR in September, Mark Hughes was in charge and, while Rangers were defeated, there was little forewarning of the disaster to follow.
“QPR’s position doesn’t reflect the team they can be, and certainly the position they can finish,” said Andre Villas-Boas at the time.
Rangers fans probably felt the same as they looked at their new-look squad, which included Esteban Granero from Real Madrid, Julio Cesar (Inter Milan) and Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United), as well as seven other summer signings.
However, less than four months on, Rangers would certainly settle for 17th place after a dismal run of results left them winless from their opening 16 league games and with just seven points on the board.
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The Rs’ attempts to buy their way out of the relegation fight is serving as a humiliating cautionary tale – particularly when their plight is compared with the progress made by Norwich and Swansea, who were promoted with them in 2011.
Rangers’ Clint Hill believes that the club’s hierarchy have been too ambitious too quickly.
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“The chairman [Tony Fernandes] is throwing money everywhere, left, right and centre and sometimes that doesn’t work,” said the defender.
“You’ve got to stick with people, work on them and try and get the best out of their ability. I just think we need a bit of stability.”
It remains to be seen whether Harry Redknapp agrees after the former Spurs manager and his assistants Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan replaced Mark Hughes and his backroom staff in November.
However, the 65-year-old has also admitted that the club’s lavish recruitment policy has backfired badly.
“There are a lot of players at this club who earn far too much money – far too much for their ability and what they give to the club,” said Redknapp.
“I don’t want to see the owners have their pants taken down like they have in the past. A lot of agents made money out of them.
“I fined a player [Jose Bosingwa] and he was earning more than any player at Tottenham. You shouldn’t be paying massive wages when you’ve got a stadium that holds 18,000 people.”
Redknapp was initially slow to make an impact as QPR drew with their struggling rivals Sunderland, Aston Villa and Wigan, but the first victory finally followed against local rivals Fulham.
That was followed by three successive defeats – two of them at home against West Brom and Liverpool. However, the new year appears to have brought new signs of life and QPR kicked off 2013 with a surprising victory away at Chelsea.
Adel Taarabt set up Shaun Wright-Phillips’ winner, having been reunited with Redknapp following their spell together at Tottenham.
Redknapp described the Moroccan as “a fruitcake” last season – little knowing that he would soon be managing the 23-year-old again.
Taarabt later responded by hitting the winner before getting sent off as the Lilywhites went down 1-0 at Loftus Road in April.
Meanwhile another ex-Spurs man, Ryan Nelsen, has been named as the new head coach of MLS outfit Toronto – but he is still available to face his former club this weekend. Kieron Dyer will not be in the Rangers ranks though, having been released on Tuesday.
The verdict: The first goal will be key – it will either force QPR to search for an equaliser and expose them to Spurs’ lightning counter-attacks, or give the hosts something to hold onto in front of their home crowd – 2-1 to Tottenham.
Stat’s a fact:
QPR set a Premier League record for failing to win any of their first 16 games in the top flight – which was also a club record.
Rangers have kept just two clean sheets, but one of them was in their last league game as they won 1-0 at Chelsea.
Shaun Wright-Phillips’ winning strike at Stamford Bridge was his first league goal since May 9 2010, a wait of 969 days.
The Rs have not won back-to-back Premier League games since they won promotion from the Championship in 2011.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs