QPR’s Premiership Years – Introduction
Sunday, 12th Jun 2011 19:38 by Clive Whittingham
As we prepare for the release of QPR’s first Premiership fixture list in 16 years this Friday, LoftforWords begins a look back at the best and worst of our previous four seasons there.
This actually all started with Hassan Kachloul. He was the winning entry the last time the lads in my six-a-side team and I played the always entertaining game of ‘name the most random Premiership player that time forgot’ which is an old favourite of ours during after mach Thursday night drinking sessions – usually between pints five and six.
As I stumbled home from the boozer that night I hit upon the idea that perhaps I could turn this aimless drinking game into some sort of LoftforWords feature to use in the build up to the release of the fixtures. ‘Top Ten most random Premiership opponents’ I could call it – Lars Bohinen would be there, and Stg Inge Bjornebye and Marc Hottiger. ‘This could be expanded into a whole series of top tens,’ I thought and I went to bed that night happy that for at least one week of the summer I’d have some regular content for LFW.
Now contrary to what Sky seems to think, there was some football played prior to the Premiership being introduced in 1992. The features that will follow this week fall into the old Richard Keys trap of focusing only on the Premiership years, which for QPR is four seasons between 1992 and 1996. That’s partly because it is the Premiership we’re returning to now, and partly because eight hours of season video viewing was quite enough for me without going back further over the previous ten years of top flight football at QPR.
So, while you were all out enjoying the lovely thunder storms/drought at the weekend I sat myself down in a darkened room with a pad of paper and a remote control and trawled through the highlights of every Premiership match we’ve ever played. The result of this is seven features that will go online this week prior to the fixture release starting with the ten best QPR Premiership goals, and ending with the top ten QPR Premiership players – the order and selection of which is open to debate, and comments at the bottom of the articles saying I don’t know what I’m talking about no doubt. But that’s sort of what they’re there for.
By the end of my video viewing session I found myself wishing I’d watched them in reverse because seeing such a promising situation unravel so quickly into a complete disaster made for depressing viewing. It was so painfully obvious watching through the tapes that QPR were probably only two players short of being genuinely capable of challenging for the Premiership title back in 1992/93, and the failure to realise that at board level borders on criminal.
At the end of the 1993/94 season video chairman Richard Thompson smarmily says he is ideally placed to predict trends and see where the market is heading in the future both on the football side and on the business side. If that were true, he’d have known that 1996 was just about the worst possible time QPR could have gone out of the Premiership given the explosion of television cash that followed shortly afterwards. He’d have known that pulling in a lousy £2.5m for Darren Peacock was absolutely nothing compared to the untold riches that could have been there for the taking had we kept him, Sinton and later Ferdinand and built on the team rather than dismantle it. The shift in results after the Peacock sale was staggering – QPR were seventh when he left for Newcastle but then lost consecutive games 4-1 at Oldham, 4-0 at home to Leeds and 3-1 at Sheff Wed. Had he stayed there’s a good chance we’d have played European football in 1994/95, bringing in yet more cash and enabling us to attract better players. The lack of foresight throughout the tapes made me angry all over again.
Thompson’s policy was to buy low and sell high – perfectly reasonable, and arguably exactly the right thing for a club like QPR to do. The trouble was we weren’t very good at it – only in replacing Sinton with Trevor Sinclair did we ever get close to perfecting the art. When Peacock left the accident prone Karl Ready started to appear more often, when Ferdinand went Gallen and Dichio were left to fill in, and as the tapes go on you start to see more and more of the likes of Alan McCarthy, Trevor Challis, Matthew Brazier and others who, with the best will in the world, were never likely to be good enough. By the time the manager was given money to spend that manager was Ray Wilkins, and he may as well have withdrawn it all in ten pound notes piled it up and set it alight for the use he got out of it – at least we’d have been warm as the likes of Mark Hateley and Ned Zelic failed miserably.
Had the policy been ‘speculate to accumulate, and that sort of money been made available to Gerry Francis 18 months earlier when QPR had a genuine chance to secure their status as a top five Premiership team playing European football who knows where we’d be now and how much we’d have enjoyed the last 15 years.
All ifs, buts and maybes. While we await the announcement on Friday that our first game of the season will be Man Utd away (nailed on) sit back and allow LFW to take you on a little trip down memory lane, to QPR’s previous Premiership years 1992-1996.
Photo: Action Images
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