Queens Park Rangers: How QPR Can Learn from Previously-Relegated Clubs
The two year foray into the dizzy heights of England's top flight has not been all that entertaining for Rangers' fans. With the exception of two victories against rivals Chelsea, and the great escape of 2011/12 which was only made reality by Stoke's Jonathon Walters, QPR are headed back to the Championship.
But how can they learn from previously relegated clubs?
If you take a look five of the teams who have dropped down a level in the last few years, there are some whom have simply fallen into mid table, second division anonymity. Well, actually, there are a lot.
Birmingham, Watford, Derby County, Middlesbrough, Burnley and Blackpool to name but a few, have all faded into Championship mediocrity. But there are some teams who did all the right things, and some who did all the wrong things after their relegation party came to a sombre end.
So what can QPR learn from these teams, and how can they set themselves to emulate some, and not replicate others? Read on to find out.
Don't Do a Blackburn: Stabilize
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Blackburn Rovers are one of the most recent clubs to taste the bitterness of relegation, and they did so in an even worse style than QPR.
With the club's owners destroying the once Premier League Champions, their transfer policy, backroom decisions and managerial choices left the fans wondering what had happened to their club.
Behind the scenes, the boardroom was wiped out. Sam Allardyce was sacked only to be replaced by a man who had never managed before, and the side from the North West slid desperately towards the second tier of English football.
Now currently sat in 20th place in the Championship, just two points off another relegation zone, their slide could continue spiraling downwards.
Having already had four managers this season, stability is obviously not a word that owner Venky's has heard of. And if QPR don't want to follow quickly in their footsteps, they will need to maintain a sensible head next year when it comes to the manager, and the players.
Do Do a West Brom: Bounce Back
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West Bromwich Albion are the most recent holders of the Yo-Yo trophy, having been relegated three times, and promoted four times in 10 seasons. However this season has seen the Baggies excel in the Premier League through Steve Clarke, currently sitting in 8th place.
Their Great Escape in 2004/05 was quickly followed by relegation the next year; something which QPR fans can relate to. However the squad regrouped and within two years found themselves sat atop the Championship, prepared to attack the Premier League once more.
Of course, in standard West Brom style, they were relegated to following season. But they finally seem to have found their Premier League feet, and after treading much water are able to jump in with the big boys and hold their own.
If QPR want to return to the Premier League and compete at the other end of the table for a change, they may have to bide their time, and accept that a constant to-and-fro may have to be withstood for the next few seasons.
But if they attack the Championship properly, Rangers could find themselves back in the EPL very soon.
And then probably back in the Championship again.
Don't Do a Charlton: Avoid Successive Relegations
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Charlton Athletic managed a more lengthy stay in the top flight than QPR or WBA, but their fall took them all the way down to League One after finishing bottom of the Championship in their second season.
A draw at home to Blackpool in April 2009 confirmed Charlton's fate as they dropped into the third tier of English football. This, only five years after narrowly missing out on a European qualifying spot. And it was this game which proves to many football fans, how quickly things can change.
When relegated, the Addicks manager Phil Parkinson told the BBC:
This club has had low moments before and has come back, and it will do so again...It's not about me, it's about Charlton Football Club - a fantastic club which has been relegated but will come back strongly.
He was right by all accounts, as the side currently sit in 9th place in the Championship. However the dramatic downfall of the club in such a short time is something QPR fans will be dreading.
Charlton managed to stop the rot just in time, but as Bradford City and Oldhan Athletic will tell you, sometimes it isn't all that easy.
Do Do a West Ham: Achieve Quick Promotion
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It took West Ham United just 371 days after their relegation to gain promotion back to the Premier League after beating Blackpool in the playoff final.
The club kept hold of the backbone of their team; including Rob Green, Carlton Cole and Gary O'Neil, as well as making some shrewd signings such as Kevin Nolan, John Carew and Guy Demel (via transfermarkt.co.uk).
This team was not just built to gain promotion, but a number of the players are still essential to Sam Allardyce's Premier League plan.
If QPR want to follow suit and climb back into the EPL in one season, they too will need to find players whom are Championship quality, but with the potential for more. And 'Arry is well known for his quality negotiating; finding star players for minimal fees.
Except for maybe this year.
Don't Do a Portsmouth: Avoid Administration
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And finally, the Portsmouth comparison rears it's head again.
Of all the Premier League teams relegated in the past 10 years; Pompey have had the worst time of it, and their free-fall continued at the weekend after dropping into the fourth tier of English football without even kicking a ball.
Docked more points than the Penske NASCAR racing team, Portsmouth have been in administration twice since February 2010, had some not fit nor proper owners, and have slid through three leagues in four seasons.
The Pompey conundrum is the worst possible outcome of Rangers' relegation. But with pay slips stacked high, and debts mounting on top, it was take some astute business acumen from Tony Fernandes to keep the club afloat.
Portsmouth fans have just bought out their own club. But QPR fans will be hoping they won't have to do the same thing; as nobody wants to foot Jose Bosingwa's wage bill.