Hoops boss has big rebuilding job

Date published: Friday 29th May 2015 10:31

Queens Park Rangers handed Chris Ramsey a three-year contract as head coach, and the task of steadying a ship on a rough sea with a couple of holes in its side, just in time to watch his team go down 5-1 to Leicester City.

His first job had been to finish a season that has been a miserable pit of despair at times on some sort of a high, but comically bad defending and general ineptitude put paid to this plan at the King Power Stadium.

The result may well have left the QPR owner, Tony Fernandes, urgently searching for a shredder with which to rip up the contract Ramsey signed, but he is here now and must be allowed to get on with it.

With the signings of the Swindon Town midfielders Massimo Luongo and Ben Gladwin, both of whom are only 22 and genuine future prospects, not players looking for a final payday, he is doing just that.

Their arrivals came after Joey Barton was released along with Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora, Richard Dunne, Brian Murphy and Shaun Wright-Phillips, the latter to the combined relief of all in blue and white.

Showing a remarkable level of insight, Ramsey declared the Rs’ woes are such that “we cannot maintain some of the high earners there at the moment”, but this has been the case for some time, and not deterred previous incumbents.

The level of competition in the Championship is notoriously fierce, and QPR could struggle to finish tenth or above, especially with the threat of a Financial Fair Play fine of up to £50million and a potential transfer embargo.

While Norwich City were able to return to the Premier League via the play-offs this season, the Canaries kept hold of most of their best players, an option that may not be open to the Superhoops.

Charlie Austin, Matt Phillips, Leroy Fer and Robert Green could all depart for sunnier climes, which would leave the Rs facing an even bigger rebuilding job, with goalscorers commanding a premium even in the second tier.

Unfortunately, unless buyers can be found that have never seen the likes of Armand Traore, Adel Taarabt, Junior Hoilett and Steven Caulker actually play, the likelihood is that the club will not undergo the necessary clearout.

It is hardly an enviable situation, but it is the one Ramsey signed up for, and if he can keep Fernandes away from the decision-making process, there is just a chance that Rangers could have a positive year.

What would this entail exactly? Avoiding an FFP assassination (some sort of punishment is inevitable), making a few more smart, realistic signings, and rediscovering the ability to win football matches, among other things.

The last thing the Rs need is to revert to type: the club are still saddled with so many of the mistakes made since Fernandes took over, and he must learn how to be a silent, effective chairman.

In reality, Ramsey has to rebuild a shattered, yet still bloated squad, reduce the wage bill, identify takers for the deadwood and secure good Championship players on a shoestring, all while finding his feet as a manager.

The irony that Brentford would have parted company with their manager even if he had got them promoted, while the Rs gave theirs a deal just after he took the team down, is hard to ignore.

Yet it is not his fault that, over the past decade, as the QPR journalist David McIntyre recently pointed out, Rangers have been an absolute shambles off and largely on the pitch.

Ramsey has had the fortune to secure a high-profile position at a club where, if he gets it right, the rewards are huge. However, given the scale of the challenges ahead, I would rather him than me.

You can follow Chris on Twitter @chriskking – and don’t forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.

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