HomeFeatured ArticlesQueens Park Rangers' Squad: Then (2012/13) and Now

Queens Park Rangers’ Squad: Then (2012/13) and Now

Queens Park Rangers achieved immediate promotion to the Premier League beating Derby County in the play-off’s last season having been relegated in 2012/13.

QPR Then and Now

Their journey from that ill-fated relegation campaign ending in their return to the Premier League reveals the many horrendous blunders that they committed before eventually rectifying those mistakes as they enter the new season with a new formation and some young and talented players along with an experienced old guard.

Having survived the 2011/12 season by the skin of their teeth finishing a point above 18th place Bolton with 37 points, the warnings signs were there. But what followed in the 12/13 season was an extraordinary catastrophe.

Incoming transfers in 2012/13

transfers in 12/13

The problems during 2012/13

To prevent a repeat of the previous season, QPR invested heavily in all departments. The problem was, the players who came in were grossly overpaid. which raised the club’s wage bill to an extremely unsustainable level and on top of that they performed miserably.

It was clear on the opening day back in August, when Swansea City scored five goals at the Loftus Road, that things were grievously wrong. By October 2012, Mark Hughes had brought in 12 players while shipping 18 others out, which included loan deals. QPR lacked stability in their squad and most of the new signings were on much better contracts than their counterparts who had achieved promotion from the Championship under previous manager Neil Warnock.

They lacked cohesion and couldn’t stick to any particular style of play and when Hughes was sacked after 12 win-less games, they were sitting bottom of the table behind Nigel Adkins’ Southampton, having earned just four points.

By the time they recorded their first win of the season under new manager Harry Redknapp in their 17th game, they were odds on favourite for the drop. Clint Hill was named as the club captain and Christopher Samba, Loic Remy, Andros Townsend and Jermaine Jenas were brought in the January transfer window.

Ryan Nelson, who had been the sole ray of hope in the defence, departed to join Canadian MLS side Toronto FC as their new head coach and Samba, who was reportedly on a salary of £100,000 per week, couldn’t settle down quickly enough to fill his shoes.

QPR ended up conceding 14 goals as a direct result of errors in a horrendous season and a run of just 9 points in their last 14 games resulted in relegation. They ended the season scoring just 30 goals.

The Guardian’s Paul Doyle aptly summed up QPR’s dreadful season:

“Who could fail to be amused by their relentlessly inventive self-destruction, from misguided signings and tactics to slapstick own goals and majestically needless red cards? The owners goofed, both managers goofed and most of the players goofed. Impressive uniformity for a club riven by rifts.”

The owner Tony Fernandes admitted getting exploited after his club were relegated. The 50-year-old put an estimated £50 million of his personal fortune into the club as they wasted millions of pounds on transfer fees, wages and commissions to agents:

“I’ve seen all of the parts that make football quite … maybe immoral is a strong word but they would sell their grandmother to do something. It’s all parts of the football ecosystem. I don’t want to go down that route [of naming people] as we have to work with them. But what I am saying is there are people in the business where money comes first. I don’t think I will be exploited anymore. I think I allowed myself to be exploited but that’s my choice. Agents are trying to get the best contracts and there’s no two ways about it, I had to pay premiums. It wasn’t easy persuading José Bosingwa to come. It wasn’t easy convincing Julio César, Brazil’s No1 goalkeeper, to come.”

The promotion campaign of 2013/14

With the beginning of life in the Championship, the time was right to rebuild the squad while reducing the wage bill and develop a long-term plan.

Julio Cesar, Stephane Mbia, Loic Remy, Adel Taarabt, Park Ji-Sung, Samba Diakite and Esteban Granero were all sent out on loan while Djibril Cissé, Anton Ferdinand and Jose Bosingwa were released by mutual consent. Christopher Samba was sold after just six months at the club while Jamie Mackie too departed the club permanently.

Danny Simpson, Richard Dunne, Gary O’Neil arrived on free while Karl Henry, Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips arrived for a combined total of around £10m.

QPR started the season with an 11 game unbeaten run before a slump towards the end resulted in just seven wins in their last 18 games and culminated in a 4th place finish.

Robert Green (48), Danny Simpson (36), Richard Dunne (44), Clint Hill (42), Nedum Onuoha (29), Joey Barton (37), David Hoilett (38) and top-scorer with 19 goals, Charlie Austin (31) were the spine of the team which sneaked in to the Premier League after Zamora’s last gasp goal in the play-off final, after they had defeated Wigan Athletic in extra time in the second leg of their play-off semi-final.

The loan signings of Benoit Assou-Ekotto (31 appearances), Nikco Krancjar (32), Tom Carroll (26) and Ravel Morrison (17) all contributed significantly, while Will Keane and Kevin Doyle also played their part.

Although they boasted the second-best defensive record at home, the Hoops scored just 41 goals from open play in 46 league matches. The trio of Bobby Zamora, Andrew Johnson and Kevin Doyle managed a partly eight goals between them all season, as the pressure was on Austin to find the back of the net.j

After the season finished, Redknapp revealed his plan was to get British-based players and offload the deadwood:

“We’ve seen players before who have come in and not done well when people have bought them out of a World Cup. QPR have been down that road before and come unstuck, bringing in an awful lot of players from abroad and who took a lot of money and weren’t really into the club and understanding what’s wanted. I think it’s important now that I look in this country as much as possible to improve the squad…

We’ve got a good chance to do that. We’ve got lots of players out of contract so there is room to bring some players in and that is what we’re looking to do. There’s the nucleus of a team but I’d be a liar if I sat here and said it’s ok. We need to strengthen the squad quite a bit.”

Incoming and outgoing transfers in 2014/15 so far


The prospects this season

QPR are in a much better position than when they were in the top-flight last time around. They have a host of experienced players in their set-up and are expected to play a 3-5-2 formation that will suit their players, making it difficult to concede and strengthening on their defensive record from last season.

The return of Rio Ferdinand and Caulker, who were at QPR as schoolboys, along with the signing of Cardiff’s Jordan Mutch and the potential arrival of Mauricio Isla on loan from Juventus speak volumes about how far the club has come in the past two years on their approach towards regaining Premier League status. These quality players coupled with Austin and possibly another striker should ensure that Rangers do much better than last time around.

The squad is also more comfortable with each other and both Barton and Jenas have spoken about the harmony and togetherness that exists between the players who are more committed for the cause than ever before.

Financial losses though are still a consequence of the plan. The QPR squad from last season had a wage bill more than that of Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid. They have made efforts to lower it but having reported a loss in the region of £80m in their last season in the Premier League; QPR will mostly likely be fined heftily under the Financial Fair Play rules, now that they are back in the top flight.

Adel Taarabt and Remy look to be on their way out of the club while Julio Cesar faces an expected uncertain future at Loftus Road after the unwanted goalkeeper was handed a lifeline by MLS outfit Toronto FC last season.

Probable QPR line-up

Probable line up


QPR’s prime target should be to extend their stay in the Premier League while reducing the wage bill and stopping the club from going into further debt. They were able to smash and grab their way into the Premier League via the play offs. They won’t be able to smash and grab their way to survival though.

Raunaq Salat
Raunaq Salat
A football performance analyst who lives and breathes the beautiful game. Occassionaly dreams about it too.
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