How QPR have transformed as a club since the last time they were in the Premier League


Loftus Road is one of the few old-fashioned grounds still remaining in the top levels of English football. Whilst many clubs have vacated their old and decaying homes for new bowl-like concrete stadia, Queens Park Rangers still find themselves wedged in between the terraced housing of west London. From a distance, you’d barely know there was a football ground there at all.

But for all that the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, as it’s now called, lacks in modern facilities and boosted capacity, it makes up for in the fact that it is a ground still at the heart of the community. QPR are a club that values its ties to the surrounding areas — indeed, the new name of the stadium, which supports a charity set up to honour a former QPR youth footballer who was tragically stabbed to death in 2006 at the age of 15, demonstrates that this is an institution at one with the sentiments of its supporters.

The last time QPR were in the Premier League, the club had a very different feel to it. A spate of high-profile, big-money signings had been drafted in ahead of the 2014-15 season to try and establish the Rs as a stable top-flight outfit under Harry Redknapp, but supporters were left with a group of misfits who simply didn’t care about the club or its roots, and merely shrugged their shoulders at relegation.

QPR spent big in the early 2010s to achieve very little, and they’ve been paying the price ever since — subsisting on a limited budget for playing staff and making do with mid-table Championship finishes year after year. They have rarely threatened the EFL Championship betting with Betfair.

However, something seems to have clicked this season. Mark Warburton has now been at the helm for two and half years, finally building a team which appears to be capable of challenging for a return to the Premier League. At the time of writing, QPR are fourth in the Championship table, and although automatic promotion may be beyond them, a spot in the play-offs is very much within their reach.

Previous iterations of QPR teams often seemed detached from the culture of the club, but now there is a very real link between club, players and supporters, with clearer structures in place to ensure that things don’t go south financially as they did before. Players seem more motivated to play for QPR — there is a greater desire to fight for the shirt and make the Loftus Road faithful proud. Extravagant owner Tony Fernandes has taken more of a back seat. He has learned from his past mistakes, and the club is stronger as a result.

To look at Warburton’s team is to see a healthy blend of youth and experience, of hard-nosed British belligerence and exotic talent. The star of the show is Ilias Chair, a player who could easily play in the Premier League, and will be hoping to do just that with QPR next season. The Moroccan is their creative heartbeat, and the entire rhythm of the team is built around his unique melodies.

There is still a long way to go, but QPR are in a strong position if the Championship score predictions are anything to go by. There is a greater sense of harmony at the club now than when they were last in the top flight — everyone is pulling in the same direction towards the same goal. If they do reach the Premier League, they will be much better equipped than before — their group of hungry young players at odds with the fading stars the clubs once placed its hopes on.

In the tunnel at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, there is a collage of photographs, featuring QPR supporters from all walks of life, in different locations around the world. There are children hugging the mascot, fans wearing their QPR shirts in New York City, Rio De Janeiro, and Shanghai.

Interspersed among them are photos of the team’s greatest successes — trophies, promotions, winning goals at Wembley. In clear blue letters are the words ‘WE R TOGETHER’. At one time, that would have come across as twee, but the club have come a long way since then. Now it feels real.


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