Speaking in the Evening Standard, football’s favourite loudmouth Joey Barton sellotaped the blame for QPR’s dire situation at the foot of the Premier League on to the creaky back of former manager Harry Redknapp.
Without actually naming the 68-year-old in his lengthy tirade outlining why the R’s are where they are – 1/10 favourites to be relegated – it’s clear who the one-cap England international is referring to when he says:
“It is difficult for me to get away from the blatantly obvious facts. Those facts being, realistically, statistically, we are the worst team in the league. Finishing fourth in the Championship last season, scraping up via the play-offs says that.”
Overlooking the fact Leicester are in a worse position, despite playing a game fewer, Barton adds:
“So the thing that you have got to do in between getting promoted and getting back to the Premier League is have an incredible pre-season and recruit really well.”
Redknapp took the Super Hoops on hurriedly prepared sojourns to Germany and Ireland as the team warmed up for 2014/15.
He also spent the bulk of the summer months drilling his side on how to play 3-5-2, though abandoned this system after a couple of matches.
His off-season efforts may not have been exemplary, but Redknapp isn’t wholly responsible for QPR staring relegation in the face, with Barton himself one of those who must accept a portion of the blame.
Despite being club captain and, statistically speaking, the R’s most creative player this season, the former Manchester City man succumbed to his inner idiot and got himself sent off just 32 minutes into his side’s 2-1 loss at Hull, which came just a game after their only away win of the campaign at Sunderland.
The three-match suspension that ensued meant he missed two home games and a trip to Crystal Palace, where his inclusion would definitely have heightened the R’s chances of picking up points.
Without him, they got none.
But Barton, nor any of his teammates for that matter, are the chief culprits.
This mantle is bestowed upon chairman Tony Fernandes.
He seems a nice bloke, but the Super Hoops have been victims of the Malaysian’s haphazard, cavalier approach to football club ownership.
Hiring managers with respectable track records and expecting the Champions League qualifications to roll in is a far from foolproof strategy, as the appointment of Mark Hughes and the heap of money he squandered will attest.
Similarly when the opportunity to instil some stability arose following ther 2012/13 top-flight relegation, Fernandes opted to invest the majority of his money in season-long loan deals, instead of establishing a more beneficial transfer policy.
When all these short-term deals expired, the R’s were left with very few players and having massively overspent in the seasons prior to their initial Premier League relegation, they had no money to acquire the appropriate talent to compete at the highest level.