QPR Need A Reality Check: This Is Not A Game Of Football Manager!


I have witnessed two events in my life that I'd genuinely class as torture. The first is from a scene in the 2003 South Korean film Oldboy, where one of the protagonists gaffer tapes a man's face to a table and then proceeds to extract his teeth, without the trifling inconvenience of anaesthetic, and using that traditional precision instrument favoured by the most light-fingered of dentists, a claw hammer. The second, and by some considerable distance the worst, is watching a twelve-year-old boy attempt to play Football Manager.

Where the likes of you or I would sit down and methodically go through the all the backroom intricacies and attempt to perfectly weight the scales of formation and function, their approach comes from a mind that's been forged with the tried and tested, scatter-gun approach of button-mashing. 

“Oh, we're conceding goals quite a lot, I'll just go out and buy every defender I've ever heard of. Doesn't matter how much they cost because I'll get that all back in spades when I win the Champions League next season. I could do with more goals too, better make sure I start 5 centre-forwards in my next match. A 42-year-old Brazilian international wants 800,000 grand a week, better pawn off the youth academy to pay for that. I wonder what a scouting network is”

That sound you can hear is the grinding of ten thousand jaws across the land. It's a footballing methodology that somehow manages to offend all of the human senses at once with its flagrant disregard for the countless teeny-tiny magical little knotts and weaves of the beautiful game. To think that success arrives by simply throwing money at men, and then throwing those men at other men, is something all the serious students of the beautiful game grow out of somewhere in their 20s. Unless of course you're in any way involved with the current situation at Queens Park Rangers, in which case it's called a “business model”.

If you Google the words “QPR” and “spending” you'll get 1,950,000 results. That's roughly one website for every pound sterling they pay Joey Barton in a fortnight. In wage-brackets of hilarious comparability come the likes of 3ft mono-whippet Shaun Wright-Phillips, troubled sci-fi punk drummer Djibrill Cisse, caveman-drawing-made-manifest Jose Bosingwa, and non-corporeal Enid Blyton character Robert Green. All players who at one stage had a huge reputation, but now wile away their days appraising Mediterranean property prices and putting their agent's kids through Red Brick universities. 

It doesn't end there, though. If I had the hours in the day I'd spawn convoluted sideways descriptions for Park Ji-Sung, Andrew Johnson, Ryan Nelsen, Kieron Dyer, Bobby Zamora, Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell as well. That's an entire squad's worth of talent who've recently celebrated birthdays of the thirty-something variety, and no doubt had a massive wadge of cash from the Chairman hidden in their card somewhere. If that wage bill was any higher it would be watching a Bill Hicks DVD while stuffing its face with Doritos.

So what's the next logical step in this carefully woven masterplan? Why, it's to sign 34-year-old centre-back, and one of the best paid footballers on the planet, Ricardo Carvalho of course!

Now, obviously we're not yet privy to the ins and outs of the deal yet, but up until the R's slammed a contract down on the table for him, Carvalho had the choice between another year at Madrid on his €3.5million a year deal, or a lucrative move to Russia for something closer to €5million. A loan deal it may be, but the rumblings are that the vast majority of his wages will be coming direct from the coffers at Loftus Road.

QPR are doing for footballing sustainability and financial fair play what BP's Deep Water Horizon disaster did for sandcastles and donkey rides, and if these rumours about the casual overlooking of relegation clauses are to be believed, then the term perilous doesn't even begin to describe the situation there. A few injuries, a bad season, or even just Mark Hughes' overriding tactical ineptitude could easily see them staring back into the dreaded abyss of the football league with only a rabble of disinterested former celebrities, with little to no resale value, to help bail them out. 

When Tony Fernandes arrived, he was hearlded by the fan base as a the latest overseas billionaire to take a Premier League team to unprecedented heights, but right now he just looks like a young lad bludgeoning his way through a game he doesn't have the capacity to grasp yet. And as anyone who's got children will tell you, if they don't learn from their mistakes they'll just get bored of making them... and find a new game.

QPR are currently priced at odds of 4.00 to be relegated from the Premier League.

Read more musings from Adam Clery HERE