QPR 1st are currently going through a process of brainstorming to produce ideas, suggestions and objectives for the trust and for the club. For this to be a success we need as much feedback as possible from members. Below are a number of categories that have already been suggested, please let us have your suggestions for as many of the categories as possible. Of course if you feel that a new category is required please let us know that too. Please email your ideas to policy@qpr1st.co.uk.

If you are not yet a member of QPR1st we would still like to hear from you, please send your suggestions etc tononmembers@qpr1st.co.uk.

Some examples;

Communication
Create a communications forum whereby all fans feel they have some sort of voice on events in the club

Merchandising/Club shop 
Sort out club shop & things like shirts coming out 2 months after start of season

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We want all of your ideas, whether they are sensible and mainstream or off the wall and outrageous, any idea on any matter great or small associated with QPR and the potential role of QPR 1st will be of value. Collating all of this information will help to form a picture of the desires the membership have and also help with prioritizing our objectives. Results will be posted to the site when complete.

Categories

Community
Location
Bringing club and fans closer together
Media/PR development
Communication
Financial ideas
Matchday experience
Inclusion of foreign and exiled fans
Board involvement
Merchandising/Club shop
Terracing back/Safety
Scouting
Fundraising
Council
Children
Morality
Success
Democracy
Unity

All suggestions will be considered, don’t hold back we need to know what you think.

Thanks to a small team of your Interim Committee members, plus two willing little girls belonging to Mum and Dad on the committee, all the election forms have now been posted out. Please take the time and trouble to vote, and to select the EIGHT candidates you feel will best represent you on the new elected committee. Overseas members, who are also eligible to vote, will be contacted separately.

The election forms were posted overnight, and you have until August 28th to return them. Remember that the final count will be scrutinised by Supporters Direct to ensure all is above board.

May we take this opportunity to thank all QPR 1st members for your support over the past few weeks, and to wish everyone involved with Queens Park Rangers Football Club a happy and sucessful season – ON and OFF the field.

On the eve of a new season, QPR 1st issue the following statement:

“In the wake of a highly-promising pre-season by the team, and the positive sense of community within the club as a whole, we call on all supporters to demonstrate their love and commitment to Queens Park Rangers Football Club by packing out Loftus Road this season, and providing the passion and vocal backing needed to spur the team on to success.

We call on the players to match that passion on the field and to play for Queens Park Rangers with pride, professionalism, commitment and desire, in the knowledge that if they do so, QPR fans will in turn provide a level of support, home and away, unmatched by any club in the Second Division.

We call on manager Ian Holloway to instil in his players the values of Queens Park Rangers Football Club; to motivate them; and cement, both in themselves and each other, the belief and confidence, shown pre-season; and which exemplifies the renewed spirit at the club.

We call on the backroom staff to continue the hard work that has clearly been done the close season, despite the uncertainty and difficulties created by administration – high-profile friendlies against Celtic and Chelsea, and the record number of season tickets sold, proof that the club is moving forward once more

And we call upon the Administrator and owner Chris Wright, as well as those currently bidding for the club, to ensure that every decision made is in the best interests of Queens Park Rangers Football Club; and, to that end, remain aware of the responsibility they carry.

We at QPR 1st pledge to carry on tirelessly working to protect the long-term future of Queens Park Rangers, and to serve the supporters of this great club with the utmost dedication and integrity.

At the end of last season, some people were predicting the last rites for Queens Park Rangers Football Club. Now, as the club goes into a new season, with renewed hope and confidence restored, we believe that in the words of Mark Twain… the reports of our demise were greatly exaggerated.

UUUUUURRRRRRRRssssssssssssssssss”

In the wake of Andrew Ellis withdrawing his bid for the club, the local Council has reaffirmed its support for QPR. An official statement said: “Hammersmith & Fulham Council is heartened to see that the views of Queens Park Rangers fans are being taken into account in deciding the football club’s future.”

Mayor Andrew Slaughter added: “The council is not taking a view on any individual bid and in any case does not have the information to do so. We are simply restating our support for the club, the same support the administration has shown for all three football clubs in the borough. We believe QPR is an asset to the area. At the end of the day the future of every football club is decided on commercial grounds, but we are heartened to see that fans’ views, many of whom are local residents, are being taken into account.”

Meanwhile we have been taking further talks with Maurice FitzGerald, whose bid has been tabled, in an effort to learn more about the identity of his financial backers. We are also interested in speaking with Brian Melzack, who remains an interested party; and also with the ‘third’ party who we are led to believe is about to come in with a “renewed” bid.

Whilst there is no suggestion of any underhand dealings within the tabled bids, that they may or may not be backed by property developers is cause enough in itself to remain cautious about any or all of them. And whereas the QPR-supporting credentials of both Maurice and Brian are unquestioned, it is misleading of the media to report the bids as “fans consortiums” without knowing the identities of who make up the consortium.

It is important to stress then that QPR 1st does not endorse any one bid over another. We repeat our challenge to any new owners to go fully public about their short- and long-term plans for QPR and how that will be financed – a transparency that we believe will help increase QPR fans’ confidence, and indeed strengthen any bid into the bargain. Whilst uncertainty remains over the full identity of the new owners, then it is understandable if the fans remain cautious at best over the future of the club.

Andrew Ellis has withdrawn his bid to buy QPR. He told QPR 1st: “In light of the recent Council vote, opposition voiced on the messageboards, and the result of the poll which showed 80 per cent backing for Maurice FitzGerald’s bid, I don’t intend to take on the fans over this issue, and as I promised I would in these circumstances have officially withdrawn my bid. I would like to wish Maurice FitzGerald the very best with his bid, and I look forward to being back in the Ellerslie watching QPR as an ordinary fan this coming season.”

More..

Our understanding is that a further bid from the Brian Melzack-led consortium is about to be tabled. In light of this renewed interest, and the withdrawal of Andrew Ellis’s bid, we urge both Maurice and Brian to make the terms of their bid fully public, including the identity of their financial backers, together with comprehensive details of their proposed business plan.

There is a real sense of community spirit at the club at present, and a belief that the club is at last going forward. If that is nurtured, with everyone pulling together – fans, owners and players alike – then exciting times lie ahead for Queens Park Rangers Football Club.

QPR fans, as stakeholders, have a right to know and express a voice in the way their club is run. And as has been proved time and time again, can be highly influential. When it comes to supporting their club, QPR fans are without equal. Any new owner embracing that will be halfway towards achieving success. The days of done deals behind closed doors are history at QPR. It is the beginning of a new era for the club, and after years of poor management, we are tantalisingly close to being the model for how a modern, professional club can be run in partnership between the fans and the owners, whilst retaining all the traditional values of what the club has been built on.

The challenge then is there for both Maurice and Brian to be fully open about their bids – especially concerning their financial backers. Will either take up the challenge?

Watch this space.

As might be imagined, a lot of people have mailed us with comments on the issue of moving away from Loftus Road, the strengths and weaknesses of the respective Andrew Ellis and Maurice FitzGerald bids, and the advisability of conducting a straw poll on which of the two bids QPR 1st members prefer. The result of the straw poll was over 80 per cent in favour of the Maurice FitzGerald bid – Bid B.

Here then is a selection of your views. For purposes of confidentiality, only the correspondent’s initials have been used.

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“At this stage, I feel the debate about these two bids has become clouded by the obsession with the rights and wrongs of a move from W12 – yet again.

The straw poll seems to be weighted in favour of Bid B by special reference to Ellis’s plans to move to Heathrow. What should be of paramount importance to all us concerned fans are the proposed levels of investment by both bidders at time of take-over, an ability to run the club in the long term if targets are not met on and off the pitch, and the experience and quality of the proposed board of directors.

At the moment I do not feel that I am in possession of enough information to make a judgement between these two bids. I do not doubt that the response to the poll will be a large majority in favour of Bid B because of the stated commitment to remain at Loftus Road but I feel that QPR 1st – who have my total support and admiration for their efforts on behalf of fans – would do well to try and gather more financial information about both bids before posing this kind of poll to the fans.

A final word of warning – whilst I, like many fans, see Loftus Road as an important part of supporting QPR and would love to see us stay there forever, there can be no place for emotion to be the guiding principle of safeguarding the future of our club. That has got us nowhere in the recent past and will serve us just as poorly in the future.” – JDC

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“In theory, Bid A sounds attractive. However, I have been led to believe that Ellis put his weight behind the Milton Keynes bid. If this is true, then reading between the lines this suggests that his only real interest is in selling Loftus Road and never mind the fallout.

I would not be happy if he won the bid if this was true. Bid B sounds good too, but how realistic is it? I’m fairly sure we would have a bigger fanbase if we moved further west. We would have to start at the bottom in Shepherd’s Bush. We have almost no empathy with the ethnic side or the young side of things in the area. Not even businesses on the Uxbridge Road seem bothered whether we stay or go.

The local council have been none too supportive as far as I can see either. Their only contribution has been a speech at the town hall at about the same time as the general election funnily enough. I would like to know a lot more about both bids. How can I find out?” – BW

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“Ellis seems exactly to be all these things: a dreamer, a property developer and a flake desperate to get his mitts on Loftus Road. The link between these three things is pretty clear and it’s something the administrators have obviously recognised too – promising Chris Wright representation on the board is as tasteless, gauche and dumb a move from Ellis as aligning himself with that fool Winkleman and Milton Keynes.

He strikes me as desperate, but not necessarily for QPR. I also think that Ellis badly underestimates the intelligence of the fans by waging his campaign through the Mirror and on the messageboard (or so it seemed a while ago when a bunch of messages from first time posters like “Big Fan” appeared urging everybody to take Ellis seriously). It’s a contempt for the rank and file obviously inherited from his old man, who always struck me as a patronising gimp during his tenure as Chairman. Nothing I’ve read makes me feel comfortable about Andrew Ellis. He sounds like exactly the kind of Simon Jordan we don’t need. We need a cute and experienced businessman with a profound love and understanding of QPR, reasonable financial muscle, vision and adaptibilty.” – TK

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“Unfortunately there will always be an ongoing discussion as to whether the Rangers should move out of Loftus Road. We all live in a real world, and if we were asked for an honest opinion, it must be said that even if we filled the ground every week we could never become a major force in any league.

Let me first say that I do want to move from Loftus Road, not just simply for the sake of moving; if and when it ever happens it must be from a position of strength, the comment by Andrew Ellis stating that if in five years we are still Second Division, then the stadium would be scaled down to reflect our league position is simply ludicrous, we are then stuck for life with a small time arena, so what profit is there to move from Loftus Road, better the devil you know than the one you don`t. As it stands at the moment we know that good players will never be afforded, and that any useful players developed by the club can only prosper if they move elsewhere; will we ever again see the day when the first team could field five current international players, three of them for England, not on our present gates at Loftus Road. But does that really matter,? we are all supporters who will stand by all that happens, and would probably still show our support for the Rangers no matter how low they might sink, but I know that in every one of us is the ambition to see us get back to the top and beat all of those pumped up clubs the way we did some ten years ago.

Yet times have changed and things have moved on at a rapid pace, to have any chance of competing the club must also move on, but it must only be on our terms, as I said previously it must be from a position of strength and that’s only when we have the Premiership within our grasp and the gates are high, but at the same time we must be able to hold on to the good players who will have the ability to allow us the transition to the higher level and not sacrificed to fund the new stadium.

For Andrew Ellis to say we will move even if we are still Second Division doesn’t bear thinking about, a low value club playing in a field under a flight path to Heathrow, competing with Reading who have a useful stadium not to far away, couple that with a low density population, where does the catchments trade come from in the surrounding area, certainly not from London, what`s the attraction? He`s in the property business and is after cutting the biggest deal of his life, Rangers supporter or not his interest lies in his head not his heart. If anyone cared to carry out a survey of Brown Land Sites I am sure a far more acceptable venue could be found, British Rail, that was, has a massive land bank with many large unused sites, only two weeks ago a two billion pound scheme was submitted for planning permission in Cricklewood, one mile from one of our previous grounds in Shoot-up-Hill. The proposed site will have new road links and rail stations, a scheme said to be almost as large as the Canary Wharf development, but who would have known the site existed, it was just another tucked away site held by British Rail. Park Royal is constantly evolving with old sites being demolished and new ones erected, does our property speculating friend keep his ear to the ground, can the training ground be built on?

Also what about Kings Cross, a massive site with excellent road and rail connections that most teams would sell their soul for, Arsenal were considering it at one time. It has good connections for most of our supporters with the Metropolitan from Hammersmith, including the District, Circle and Northern Line, and a short trip for supporters from the Watford and Bushey area having rail links direct to Kings Cross taking only fifteen minutes. It has to be stressed to any prospective purchaser for a team to be successful you need to be in an urban environment, not stuck out in an inaccessible suburb.

We currently have a stadium that has just half the capacity required for an income that would allow us to compete on equal terms with the majority of teams in the Premiership, Kings Cross would give us all this, it has the means available, Andrew Ellis could put up his Hotel this time for central London together with a leisure complex for a deprived area, and who knows the place needs a shopping mall, what more does the guy need, the council would love him, if our friend wants to make it big time, what better?” – JD

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“I am slightly disturbed on QPR 1st’s view on a ground move. I know that QPR 1st have always stated that its views on a ground move will reflect the general consensus of all its members, but when I read your reports I get the impression that QPR 1st would be vehemently opposed to such a move under any circumstances.

I have always tried to steer clear of these ‘ground move’ debates because I don’t think it’s fair that an exile who can only manage to visit his Mecca (Loftus Road) three or four times a year should have the same voice as a devoted season ticket holder. Although I would love to see QPR remain at Loftus Road, I do feel that if we can make the fringes of the Premiership within the next few years, our reluctance to depart from Loftus Road will serve only as a hindrance to our ambitions.

I believe that QPR being a potential Premier League team and remaining at a ground with a 19,000 capacity is simply impossible and those of us that shout “QPR should never leave Loftus Road” are being a little short-sighted. Although I don’t always post, I regularly read the messageboards and to those who hold the view that “If QPR move from LR, I’ll never see them again” I’d just like to say this. Firstly if you feel the same as me about QPR, you’d follow them anywhere. Secondly, it must be nice to have that choice. We’ll share your season ticket if you don’t want it.” – LP

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“I think Dave Thomas should stop trying to be a journalist belting rubbish all the time and just worry about the Ellis bid and do everything about stopping him raping the Rangers. I think the press release about Maurice Fitzgerald and his leaving was a deliberate attempt to discredit any bid from a real fan in favour of the Ellis bid.

Dave have you a side deal with Ellis? If not why not write a real from the heart passage that the Rangers must stay at Loftus Road just like your speech at the first meeting. QPR1st get together with the LSA and all supporters and stop Ellis and let him know so.

You know the score he wants to sell the ground, move us to nowhere and piss off. Please don’t let it happen. Dave stop the crap, and support the real players, support the real bid and you know what I mean, even if it means that you need to apologize for issuing a bad press report without permission just to be a reporter.” – RD

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“I believe that the club should not be sold to Ellis. We don’t want to fall even further down than we are at present (lowest position for 35 years). I cannot believe how badly Queens Park Rangers Football Club have been managed for the past five seasons.

It would be interesting to view the books to see what sort of transactions were taking place. I would welcome the notion of the club being owned by the supporters. I am a shareholder in Loftus Road Plc and although that investment was my worse ever – I would be prepared to put a sum of money into the club (if it was to be owned by the supporters). Not the millions that would be needed to get us back to where we were before Chris Wright but a few thousand nevertheless. I am sure that there are many other Rangers fans who feel the same way that I do.” – JN

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“I reluctantly vote for bid A. However, I obviously would appreciate more info. I live to the west of heathrow but was born in the Bush and have been going to Loftus Road for over 30 years. I am very attached to the place but bid B sounds like it has been tried many times before, whereas A may have potential to recover some of our lost status and attract some much needed extra revenue. Much may depend on transport links from the W12 area.” – FB

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“I cannot make an educated choice without these answers:

1. SURVIVAL: Do both options guarantee the survival of QPR as an operating football club? Which provides greatest security?

2. FUTURE GROWTH: Does Option A allow for a larger, more modern ground than Loftus Road, with more than adequate parking space and easy access (ideally on foot) from local rail services. (Rationale: A larger ground capable of holding more fans is required if QPR is ever to have sufficient income to compete in the Premier Division – which should surely be a major goal of the club).

3. FINANCIAL REALITY: Has there been an analysis of revenues and spending for all clubs in the football league? For each division, presumably one could calculate a mean revenue and standard deviation of revenues. The Premier Division would have the highest mean value and the other divisions successively lower. Has the business consortium of Option B undertaken this kind of financial modelling to ascertain where FINANCIALLY in the football league QPR is likely to be able to play in the longer term? On this basis, will QPR be limited to Second Division football (unable to compete with higher division, higher budget clubs) if it stays at Loftus Road “as is”?

4. LOCAL INTEREST: The connection between the team and the local community is an important one. Given the financial realities of Question 3, are LOCAL supporters happier with keeping the club local and outside of the Premier Division, or would they travel on the tube to support their club in facilities with greater ability to grow. If the answer is keep it local but don’t expect promotion, then fine… the local community should have the most say.

5. ALTERNATIVES: Have you considered an Option C… Temporarily move QPR and/or share with another club. Rebuild a modern Loftus Road ground on the same site, but on top of a two storey above ground, one storey below ground, parking, office and entertainment complex. Use the revenues from the complex to support the club, allowing the club to retire its debt and compete financially against clubs in the First and even Premier divisions, despite having a smaller ground. This would solve the pitch problems too. The technology to build above parking is readily available.” – AW

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“Is there no independent adjudicater that can be lobbied/used when Plc bids are under scrutiny? Surely the close relationship between Wright and the Administrators means they are dancing to his tune and the long term/best option for the Plc/QPR will not be his priority?” – CG

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“Obviously ‘B’ looks like the better option to those of us that want the club to remain local and part of the community it serves. What do we know of the consortium, can they be trusted or are we being led down the garden path (again!)? I know that sounds a bit paranoid but don’t you think we all feel that at the moment.” – KA

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“I vote unreservedly for Bid B. We cannot allow the club to be moved. It would be a complete disaster with Rangers losing their identity completely. This, in my humble opinion, would lead to the death of the club as with the current situation of Chelsea and Fulham being in the Premier league, we would lose nearly all our fan base and potential supporters. QPR are from the Bush – not an aircraft hanger near Heathrow. People associate QPR with Kilburn/Maida Vale/Willesden/Harlesden/Stonebridge Park/Kensal Rise/Queen’s Park/Ladbroke Grove/Latimer Road/Shepherd’s Bush/Notting Hill/ Hammersmith/Chiswick/Acton/Ealing/Isleworth/Hanwell/Northolt etc. We are not Chelsea, we have always been a local club supported by local people from all backgrounds. English/Irish/Caribbean etc. Try and make Wright see sense. Best of luck – there are thousands of people with you in spirit. It is all we can do at present.” – DM

Thanks to everyone who has written in. Please keep your views and comments coming to: info@qpr1st.co.uk

The straw poll conducted last week, in which we outlined the two confirmed bids for QPR and asked members which of them in principle they preferred, produced a healthy response. As of midday today, 629 votes have been cast. The poll has been carefully scutinised to ensure that only vote per member has been counted. The result is:

Bid A – 103 votes
Bid B – 526 votes

Around 20 people replied pointing out that there was insufficient information given to make an informed judgement. This we fully acknowledge, but repeat it was merely a straw poll and recognise that many people would have wished to qualify their vote if the sale of the club really did depend on the result.

But it doesn’t, and Andrew Ellis’s bid (outlined as Bid A and which plans to move QPR out of Loftus Road and to a purpose-built stadium and hotel and leisure complex) remains Chris Wright’s preferred bid, it seems. This, despite Maurice FitzGerald’s bid (outlined as Bid B and which keeps QPR at Loftus Road and develops the community aspects of the club) being the preferred choice of over 80 per cent of Trust members.

It was only a straw poll, and so it would be misleading to make categorical assertions at this stage about the result. But 80 per cent is just too high a figure, and the return both statistically sound and representative of QPR fans in general, simply to dismiss out of hand. Indeed, it mirrors the result produced by two previous independent polls carried out on the subject of moving ground. If nothing else, it sends out a clear message to Chris Wright and the Administrators that selling to Andrew Ellis is clearly not supported by the fan-base.

Up until now, as an Interim Committee given a mandate to take QPR 1st forward to a democratically elected supporters trust, where (then) the properly surveyed views of members will dictate policy, we have had to rely on what we believed was the majority opinion of QPR fans. As such our platform from day one has been to keep QPR in the local area.

That wording must remain very deliberate, because we recognise that the question of QPR moving away from Loftus Road, and moving outside the area, are two very separate arguments and carry two weights of opinion. In other words, the issue of ‘if and when QPR move from Loftus Road’ needs to be qualified by the question of ‘where to?’.

Despite accusations from one of two directions that the wording of the outlined bids was biased in favour of Bid B (something we refute totally), the straw poll was conducted in line with our stated policy of presenting as many details as possible about the nature of the bids and allowing members to decide which they prefer.

The result does not – and can not – mean that QPR 1st is about to give its unqualified backing to Maurice FitzGerald’s bid. But as someone who has repeatedly vowed to put the long-term interests of QPR ahead of his own financial loss, and who stated very clearly after the Wimbledon merger business that, as custodian of the club, he would always listen to the wishes of QPR fans, our expectation is that Chris Wright, in conjunction with the Administrator, will fully consider the poll results before relinquishing control of the club.

 

First off, thanks to everyone who have already responded to our email straw poll, which outlines the two current confirmed bids and asks you, in principle, which of the two you favour. Quite rightly, a handful of people have responded saying that there is not enough information given on which to form a valid opinion. But it is only a straw poll, nothing more – which is why the words ‘in principle’ were important.

Today four of the interim committee members met with the person behind the latest of those bids; Maurice Fitzgerald. He was known to all of us of course as he was one of the initial members of the trust but none of us have had contact with him since he left. We wanted to get some finer points on his bid, and whereas much of the stuff had to remain confidential we came away having learnt a fair deal.

Their offer represents money to pay off a sum to Chris Wright, all the club’s other creditors and running costs for a small number of years. There are a number of innovative fund raising initiatives and more potential investors to carry on the process, intimate details of which he could not reveal. The money is coming from 2 sources, one of whom is an investment company and the other from a small number of wealthy Rangers fans.

The director at the investment firm is a long time QPR fan brought up near White City. As stated in this consortium’s bid in the press they have an intention to stay at Loftus Road. However they did say this; “We are committed to staying at Loftus Rd and any discussion of a move is premature until success is achieved by way of promotion. We wish to stay in West London & preferably LBHF as we consider the heart and soul of the club will be ripped out by a move to out of town locations. Additionally the financial aspects have to be considered and at present emerging from administration, the cost of a new site and ground owned by QPR is not feasible.

In any event this is not a decision for the new owners but the Fans and we would not even consider moving without Fans approval.” Lastly Fitzgerald stated that he is very pleased with the way the club has been run since administration and would look to make no changes below board level should their bid be successful. We will hopefully meet again with as many of the parties involved in bidding for QPR and report back to you as soon as we can.

“This Council backs the supporters of Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club in their efforts to secure their club’s financial future and to remain in Hammersmith & Fulham”

This motion will be discussed at a public Council Meeting in the Council Chamber, Hammersmith Town Hall, tonight Wednesday 25th July at 7pm. It has been proposed and seconded by local councillors and QPR fans; Councillor Wesley Harcourt and Councillor Reg McLaughlin. The whole thing has come about as a result of our discussions with our local council.

The meeting is a discussion between local councillors rather than a public meeting but there is a public gallery that holds 30 people or so and if more people come along they will find more space.

In an exciting development for QPR, the year-old supporters trust, QPR 1st, has announced it has purchased the club from Chris Wright.

A spokesperson for the trust said last night: “We have really radical plans for QPR, which we believe will have the backing of supporters and enable our club to go forward once more.”

The move to put the club in the hands of supporters follows successful fan buy-outs at Lincoln, Chesterfield and Bournemouth. It is believed that QPR 1st has put together a ten-year business plan, which will see the club run professionally, with ‘customer concern’ at the top of its agenda. The business plan budgets for QPR breaking even as a Second Divison club, and operating in profit in a higher division.

The move towards a wage cap is not surprising, with QPR occupying 91st position in a recent Deloitte-Touche survey, which listed wages as a percentage of the total income. Around two-thirds of clubs, headed by Manchester United in the 60% bracket, are below the 100% theoretical break-even figure. Queens Park Rangers’ 144% ratio of wages-to-income was surpassed only by Darlington.

The QPR 1st spokesperson said: “That sort of figure is totally unsustainable, and has contributed towards the financial mess that the club has been in for far too long.”

Contentiously, the QPR 1st business plan does NOT include merging with any other club, and will keep QPR at Loftus Road and see it run as a community club.

The purchase comes after QPR 1st, backed financially by fans who will now individually own a proportional share of the club, re-negotiated loans owed to Chris Wright, who in turn has agreed to restructure the debts in order for the club to be saved. QPR now joins a select band of clubs in fan ownership held in trust…

Thursday 19th July 2001

Apologies for having got anyone’s hope up. The above, sadly, is just a spoof.

Or is it?

In fact, while most parts of it are true (frighteningly, the Deloitte-Touche figures are accurate), there is no reason whatsoever why at some stage we couldn’t put out such a statement for real. In fact, we are currently in on-going dialogue with Chris Wright over the future of the club and trying to persuade him that there are alternatives even to those bids tabled so far. Our talks have proven extremely positive.

QPR 1st met with Chris Wright and David Davies late last week to discuss a number of issues. Probably the most important question on everybody’s lips at present concerns the status of bids from prospective buyers. There are a number of people who have made enquiries, ranging from the ridiculous to the potentially serious – and at least one of these has been given access to the books to assess whether they wish to proceed with a formal bid. To date, there have been only three actual offers.

The first was from McAlpines, for both Loftus Road and Twyford Avenue (not QPR itself), but was turned down. The other two offers are from Clive Taylor, with the backing of Richard Thompson; and from Andrew Ellis, whose backing is unknown. Wright stated that he didn’t think Andrew had any personal wealth to invest, had no idea who was backing him, but would be prepared to sell to him if he comes up with legitimate funds. In fact, he has entered into a verbal agreement with Andrew Ellis. Wright also confirmed that whilst Andrew Ellis had shown some proof of funds, he believed a bank would require stronger proof.

We put to Chris Wright allegations being made that it was HIS money behind Andrew Ellis. He stated categorically that no Wright family money was involved in any of the bids. David Davies mentioned that all sorts of shady characters had been enquiring about buying the club, including one declaration of interest that had arrived… on prison headed paper!

Wright told us that there was no conditions of sale at all beyond him wanting someone who would help take QPR forward. Whereas he publicly stated that he had a problem with the location aspect of the Milton Keynes bid, privately he has no such problems with Ellis on the Heathrow question – “that would be good for QPR.” That, though, doesn’t sit with the fact Chris Wright has consistently stated he “only wants what’s best for QPR”. In fact, he’s on record as saying that he won’t sell to anyone who wants to move us away from Loftus Road. David Davies said that he understood the proposed site has all sorts of planning obstacles in its way. He described it as a very, very long shot in terms of getting planning permission, as it has ‘meadow’ status, has a private school on the land, and crosses over three boroughs.

When asked if he would remain on the board if Andrew Ellis took over, Wright replied that Andrew Ellis had suggested to him that he should remain for an initial period until loans owed to him were paid off (these have been reduced by the Wasps/Twyford deal), in which case Wright would sell his stake in the club for a nominal sum.

Chris Wright also confirmed that the sale of Twyford Avenue still hasn’t quite gone through but should do in the next two weeks. There was a reiteration that at least 10% of the profit of any sell-on would go to QPR. The proposed equal three-way split is, it seems, proving difficult to agree with his commercial partner. We are funded to the end of the season, however, which has allowed the administrators to confirm ability of meeting fixtures to the Football League.

We also put to them the suggestion that whereas Wasps have consistently been quoted as being profitable, in fact they had NOT shared their full cost burden. David Davies acknowledged this might have been the case but insisted that Wasps would now be fully charged for all their hired services whilst playing at Loftus Road, use of box office staff, club shop, office space, etc. He also acknowledged that they make a year-on-year loss of half a million and breaking even is currently dependent on RFU subsidies.

Interestingly, that whereas Chris Wright gives the impression of having stepped back from QPR (several times he had to ask for confirmation of the sort of information, facts and figures you might assume he would have off pat), David Davies comes across as very efficient, and extremely knowledgeable on his subject. With a sports development background, he might well on his way to proving to be the most efficient chief executive employed to date. Not, it has to be said given the calibre of previous appointments, that’s too difficult.

All the same, lucrative friendlies against Celtic and Chelsea didn’t just drop out of the sky. And with season tickets running at record levels, clearly the club is making progress off the field. The big test will come on it, of course. But so far – and not before time – it seems that Ian Holloway’s transfer dealings are being met with more positive murmurings than negative ones.

The current thinking, as described to us by David Davies, was that QPR should be much more of a community club, concentrating on trying to attract more support from the immediate local community; and indeed shifting our scouting networks in line with this. He reiterated that there have been too few players making it through the ranks and too many on lucrative contracts; also that there were far too many professionals at the club – so this summer, administration or otherwise, there would still have seen a large cut in the playing staff, although perhaps on a smaller scale.

Perhaps the most positive piece of news to come from our meeting was confirmation that whereas we had gone into administration to protect ourselves from creditors, the sale of Peter Crouch had allowed the club to satisfy PAYE, who were the last remaining creditors in a position to wind us up. The only debts QPR owe now are to Chris Wright.

All of which begs the question, with the first roots of recovery starting to show for QPR and with funding now assured for the whole of the season, is it really the right time to sell at all?

If you have a view or a comment on any of the above issues, why not send them to info@qpr1st.co.uk