Queens Park Rangers: What's Next for QPR as Relegation Looms Large
Queens Park Rangers are in real threat of relegation, and it looms as large as Nemanja Vidic in a darkened alleyway. But what is next for the club?
The "what next" question has been floating about for a few weeks in the murmuring of fans in the pubs, stands and online message boards. But it is now becoming more of a loud roar as various scenarios start getting played out in heads and on Twitter.
Will they be able to drag themselves out from bottom into safety? Will they spiral into a debt quicksand? Or will they bounce back and begin a real charge on the Premier League after dipping their toe into the big boys' pool?
Here are four scenarios which detail what could be next for the west London side.
Become the Next Portsmouth
When Portsmouth went into administration and were unable to pay the players' wages, it was particular comical timing from their sponsorship department when they announced that jobsite.co.uk, a UK job search company, were to be on the front of the Pompey shirts.
But they situation the south coast side found themselves in—and still find themselves in—is anything less than humorous.
Of course, one of the major issues was that the less-than fit and proper owners of the club ran them into the ground. Something which thankfully QPR do not have to deal with.
However the accumulating debts and extortionately high wage bills could collide to provide a cataclysmic reaction should the impending relegation become a reality; with various income revenue reducing substantially with the drop in division.
If Tony Fernandes and his team do not manage their finances properly, Queens Park Rangers could soon begin a spiral which has befallen many clubs after their relegation, including Leeds United, Bradford City, Sheffield Wednesday and of course, Portsmouth FC.
If Rangers do end up a Championship side, it will take all of Fernandes' business acumen not to lead the club into debt creek, with no paddle to speak of. And if he does not manage to avoid that, QPR may well begin a nose dive into the lower leagues with money troubles and a washed up squad.
Not the most inviting future.
Become the Next Newcastle
And from one haphazard ownership of a club to another; Newcastle United.
The troubles off the pitch were replicated on the pitch and the once big club (or as some might say "wee club"), were relegated to the Championship. However their fall from grace was short-lived, as with players such as Jonas Gutierrez, Jose Enrique and Kevin Nolan staying with the club, and great leadership from Chris Hughton brought Newcastle back into the Premier League the next year.
Their 12th place finish in 2010/11, fifth place finish in 2011/12 and current position in mid-table this season (via SoccerAssociation) proves that a season in the Championship is not necessarily a bad thing.
If Queens Park Rangers get relegated, they will need to keep hold of their own leader; Harry Redknapp. The squad will need to be based around key players already on their roster, and remove any deadweight. And if QPR can rebound from the disappointment of the drop, they may well come back stronger in two years time.
Become the Next Wigan
Of course, relegation may be looming, but anything can happen at the bottom. Just ask Roberto Martinez.
Wigan Athletic are the definition of the great escape, with their history of making a last gasp effort to remain a Premier League side. How they do it, nobody knows, but black magic has been suggested.
Wigan have stayed up after a relegation dog fight the past few seasons, so surely it's another team's turn to do the impossible. After last year's dramatic last day, Rangers have set a precedent of performing their own Premier League resuscitation attempt, and their fixture list still looks to permit another sensational survival effort.
The loss to Aston Villa caused many to give up hope and resign themselves to relegation. But if Wigan can do it, why can't QPR? And it could well be that Anfield is going to be the stadium to be at come May 19.
Become the Next QPR
Of course however, the most likely scenario for what is next for QPR is they become the next, well, QPR.
Relegation in 1996 saw them lose some key players, but even keeping hold of Trevor Sinclair, Danny Dichio and Kevin Gallen couldn't resurrect their top flight career with promotion the next year. And so began Rangers' dwelling in the lower leagues for the next 15 years.
Promotion after relegation is rare (via Soccerbase), and the drop has proven too much for many teams in recent years, QPR included. A repeat of 1996 is most likely for the west London side—relegation and then Championship regulars—just hopefully without the chairmen troubles.
Unless of course Tony Fernandes can breathe fresh life into Queens Park Rangers once more. But as much as money can't buy you love, it can't buy you Premier League safety either.