The exodus can begin
Finances are a huge concern given that QPR overspent massively in their past Championship season and face heavy Financial Fair Play policing. However, the book-balancing business is aided by having so many players out of contract this summer, including rarely utilised wage drains like Rio Ferdinand, Alejandro Faurlin and the ultimate anti-fan-favourite Shaun Wright-Phillips.
The majority of the men whose deals are expiring are in their 30s, including Richard Dunne, Karl Henry, Joey Barton and Bobby Zamora, so even those who have featured regularly may be discarded or told that their only chance of extension is to sign greatly reduced terms. If there are bad eggs as Barton and Chris Ramsey have suggested, the likelihood is that they will be able to discard them.
The prospect of a Green stay
Most QPR fans appear to point to three players when asked who has come out of 2014/15 in credit: Charlie Austin, Matt Phillips (in terms of post-Christmas contribution at least) and Robert Green.
There will almost certainly be offers for the first two, but they might get lucky with Green as demoted shot-stoppers usually go ignored regardless of how well they perform: think David Marshall last term or Alex McCarthy – who QPR now have in reserve if Green does go – at the end of 2012/13.
The 35-year-old has a year left on his contract and didn’t abandon his employers in the aftermath of three prior relegations (Norwich, West Ham and QPR), guiding two of them straight back up.
Their options are open with Ramsey
Whereas Tony Fernandes ceded too much power to Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp, letting them overhaul the squad at considerable expense and praising them so effusively that he effectively handcuffed himself, he hasn’t yet devoted any funds to Ramsey or made any unhelpful promises.
If he is convinced that Ramsey is worth persevering with, he can do so – and helpfully the 53-year-old seems wiser to the financial realities of QPR’s position than his two predecessors. However, if he judges there to be a more suitable candidate available then he can hire them without there being any players signed by Ramsey who might react poorly or feeling like it is throwing money away.
They bounced back last time
When QPR were last relegated from the Premier League in 2012/13, there were similar fears: the weight of the wage bill, the negative influences in the dressing room, the manager who hadn’t yet proven that he was worthy of the role and the inevitability of a chaotic summer of ins and outs. They did it though, winning the play-offs to return at the first attempt.
Will it get worse before it gets better for the Hoops? They are [1.2] to finish bottom for the second time in three years…