QPR Tried to Run Before They Could Walk and Fell – Again please log in to view this image It feels rather apt that after ten months of a painful tragic-comedy slowly unfolding for Queens Park Rangers this season, that they’ll end the season against Newcastle, perhaps the only club to coalesce failure in such an embarrassingly comedic fashion. The difference here is Newcastle will probably – just – remain in the Premier League this season; QPR on the other hand will not, having their relegation confirmed last weekend conceding six away to Manchester City. QPR’s relegation this season couldn’t have been more consummately confirmed when Rob Green saw six go past him at The Etihad. In truth though, Rangers never looked like they’d ever even try avoiding the drop this season. Indeed, from day one their season has quietly hobbled along, intermittently misdirected every so often by Charlie Austin’s commendable one-man effort to keep the London club semi-competitive in the league. Much of the same core problems remain since QPR were relegated in 2012/13: they have a squad full of poor and uninterested players, a manager who’s not up to it, a massive wage bill leaching the soul of the club, and a general overcomplicating of roles throughout the club at every level. Yet there are some differences now: spending on big names on big contracts isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days of selling and re-buying Christopher Samba, only to sell him again. There are no more Jose Bosingwa’s, but ‘the bad eggs’ indeed remain. Last summer QPR’s owner Tony Fernandes vowed to see QPR ran in a self-sustainable, yet prosperous fashion. Talk of a new stadium illustrated the dreams of a QPR fit for the Premier League. Indeed, let’s not forget Loftus Road is the smallest ground in the league, with a meagre capacity of just 18,000. “The club has ambitions to be an established Premier League club,” their website promoting the new ground states, “and it needs a stadium that reflects those ambitions.” In the meeting where Fernandes and co. were discussing the ambitions of the club there must have been a massive disconnect when thinking Karl Henry and Richard Dunne are the type of players in 2015 to lead Rangers into such an era of prosperity and growth. Like Portsmouth with Fratton Park; QPR were a toddler trying to pull off wearing an adult’s suit. Their net spend this season may be down to approximately £16m, compared to 2011/12’s 22.5m, but the reportedly unsustainably high wage bill hasn’t completely dissipated. Indeed, reports indicate QPR’s wage bill could still challenge for the title in many European leagues. Compare that to Burnley who spent about £9.3m on players last summer, the least among Premier League clubs. The club also has the lowest Premier League wage bill, an estimated £21m. The cynical might say that Burnley is prepared for relegation because it never planned for anything else, whereas QPR simply didn’t plan for anything. They got to the Premier League by a freak couple of minutes in Wembley last May and never really shook themselves from the surprise for the following 12 months. Even look at Leicester, who in recent weeks has surprised the world by all but avoiding relegation following a sublime run of form. The Foxes wage bill is much larger at £35.3m, but it’s still the second lowest in the Premier league. It also spent £20.9m, twice as much as Burnley. QPR’s transfer spending and high wage bill meant that it breached the Football League Financial Fair Play rules while wriggling out of the Championship last season. While talks of The Football League barring QPR have turned out to be untrue, fines up to £58m seem a stark possibility. It’s hard to understand where Les Ferdinand should start when looking to build a squad fit for The Championship for next season. A new defence seems a good place to start – QPR has the worst defense in the Premier League, conceding 67 goals – that’s six more than Newcastle and 13 more than the third worst, Leicester. Rangers will presumably be without Rio Ferdinand or Richard Dunne so that can only help their cause. News that Charlie Austin will remain is the biggest boost they could hope for. The former non-league man has found the back of the net 17 times in the Premier League this season, adding four assists to that too and Austin averages a direct contribution to a goal every 137 minutes. “Unless I’m told otherwise I will report for pre-season – I did exactly the same at Burnley when I had a year to go and I could have gone to Hull,” said Austin. Should he keep his word and remain at QPR then they may have as good a chance as any to come straight back up next season. One sensitive issue Fernandes and Ferdinand may need to discuss is the manager. The former Spurs coach Chris Ramsey seems to fall under the John Carver bracket: good coach, not a good manager. Ramsey’s appointment reflected QPR’s late turn to austerity perseveration, when they probably needed one last shot at luxury. The inevitable removal of players such as Eduardo Vargas will reintegrate some sense of normality to the London club. Part of the headline news ‘bad eggs’ gang, Vargas was fined two weeks’ wages after refusing to come on as a substitute at Crystal Palace, while QPR supporters have this week blasted Matt Phillips for posing for a photograph with his Porsche three days before his team were relegated from the Premier League. The stories of utter stupidity seem endless for QPR for the best part of the past five years. A club looking to enter the modern age and redefine their identity is not en enviable task, where mistakes need to be accepted as inevitable if not embraced. But the lack of drive and determination are what have cost Rangers most, and as things stand, will likely cost them once more.