The August Riots

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Saturday, 6 February 2010

An open letter to the owners and management of Queens Park Rangers Football Club

Since being purchased by Mr. Flavio Briatore and Mr. Bernie Ecclestone in November 2007, a systematic and absolute disintegration of morale has occurred at Loftus Road, with thousands of loyal fans being alienated by the new owners, wholly inadequate players afforded generous and lengthy contracts, and the club's former good name in the football community being tarnished to an irreparable degree. Like many other Queens Park Rangers fans I am no longer willing to witness the club which I have supported for as long as I can remember being subject to the whims and fancies of two football-illiterate billionaires. QPR was once a proud football club with a long-standing tradition of attractive football and a passionate, dedicated and loyal fanbase. As far as I am concerned the ownership of Mr. Briatore and Mr. Ecclestone has brought about no improvement whatsoever in the standard of football, the club's potential to move forward, or the playing staff. By raising season ticket prices to extortionate levels the owners have demonstrated their criminal lack of business sense, as this has deprived fans, in the midst of the worst recession Britain has suffered since the late 1970s, of the right to support their team and attend matches. Today's defeat away to Peterborough United underlines the atrocious manner in which Mr. Briatore and his lackey Gianni Paladini have gone about managing the club. The decision to sell one of the very few players with any talent to speak of, Wayne Routledge, draws comparisons with the similarly-ludicrous decision to offload star striker Dexter Blackstock to Nottingham Forest, where he has continued to flourish and score goals on a regular basis. The fact that relegation is becoming an ever more likely prospect for Queens Park Rangers this season illustrates the club's malaise, and were this not unacceptable enough, when combined with the effect the owners have had on the fans, it becomes wholly unacceptable.

Upon gaining promotion to the Championship in 2004, morale amongst the fans was extremely high, and despite successive finishes in the bottom half of the table, this remained the case. As it currently stands, few supporters are willing to attend QPR matches because they feel betrayed by the club's ownership, let down by the lacklustre performance of the players whose extortionate wage demands they are forced to meet, and bemused at the decision of the owners to rise prices to Premier League levels without a corresponding rise in the standard of football, or indeed the club's league position. I am sure that many fans will agree with me when I say that the dark days of administration, selling the club's best players in order to survive and exhausting relegation battles were immensely favourable to the current disastrous situation the club finds itself in. I only hope that the owners begin to make decisions in the best interests of the club, either by leaving or solving the endemic problems that plague the management structure, before it is too late and this 'boutique club' finds itself mired in League One. I wish to finish by reiterating my sadness at the effects of the actions of Mr. Briatore, Mr. Ecclestone, Mr. Palladini and associates on this once proud football club. I know I will never terminate my support of QPR, however the question is, if fans continue to walk out and players continue to be sold without being adequately replaced, will there be a club left to support?

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