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17:30 29th April 2013

by @OfficialQPR

Tony on relegation and his meeting with Harry, plus his ‘shock’ at players who lacked desire

TONY FERNANDES is already keen for the new campaign to begin so that he and QPR can ‘move on’ after relegation from the Premier League was confirmed by Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Reading.

Fernandes told “We’ve got to move on and in a strange way I am looking forward to next season and trying to recover what we have lost.

“I’m a bit numb but when we drew with Wigan, that was the worst day. That and probably Aston Villa. They were the two lows. We should have been 4-0 up at Villa at half-time and we went in at 1-1. 

“So by the time yesterday happened, I actually just wanted the season to be over so we can move on. So I am in that ‘moving on’ phase right now.”

Fernandes spent several hours with R’s boss Harry Redknapp earlier today, and it was a meeting which has left both men feeling positive as they get ready for the challenge of the Championship next term.

“I have had a positive meeting with Harry,” Fernandes confirmed. “I don’t think there was any point where he was thinking of not being with us and continuing this project he has embarked upon with a third of the season through.

“Harry is a football man and he knows what he wants in terms of players. We had a good discussion today with Ruben (Emir Gnanalingam), Philip (Beard, CEO) and Mark (Donnelly, COO) on the kind of players we want next season.

“Harry will not be forced to sell any players he wants to keep. We had a very good discussion on this. Harry has been very pragmatic and the shareholders have been very pragmatic. There are some players that we really want to keep and we will do our best to keep them. I think we will.

“It was a good meeting because we are all very clear on the timelines, we’re very clear on what to do. We may not get everything we want but I am comforted by the fact we have a plan.”

Like Fernandes, Redknapp has been left hugely disappointed by relegation, and he admitted: “We're all very sorry with the way this season has ended.

"It's been a disaster really, a really disappointing season for everyone - the owners, the staff, the fans; everyone associated to the club.

"We're going to give it a real good go next season though and hopefully get this club back to where it belongs.

"We've got to re-build and get a team together that can be really competitive in the Championship.

"I've always said, so many times, how good the people are who own this club - they're different to anyone else I've worked for.

"They came in this morning and were so positive, when they could have been suicidal.

"They're backing us all - the management, the staff, everyone. It's unbelievable.

"When you work for people that are like that, it means everything.

"I don't think people realise, and I'm sure some of the players don't really realise, how lucky they are to have a group of owners like we've got.

"I think the supporters know what they're like, and I honestly don't think the club could be in better hands.”

As Fernandes and Redknapp prepare to build a squad for the rigours of the Championship, the R’s chairman admitted: “We are two years wiser than when we arrived. 

“We want players that want to play for us. Players that want to win. Players who get disappointed like I do when we lose.

“It’s heart-breaking for me when we lose. I don’t want to go out, I just want to stay at home. And I am someone who has dealt with success and dealt with disappointment. But there is nothing I have gone through that is as disappointing as losing a football game. 

“I haven’t said it throughout the season because it wasn’t right to be said, but it hurt me when I saw some of the players who didn’t feel the way I felt. And in fact, in their case, it should be worse because this is their job, it’s their life. It wasn’t a good feeling. It was probably the low point for me when I saw the reaction of some of the players.

“It has shocked me because it is something that is alien to me. Whatever I have done as a job, for whoever has hired me, I put in 150 per-cent. It’s in my character. If I am taking someone else’s money, then I am going to work bloody hard for that person.  

“It’s an alien concept to me that someone takes someone’s salary, doesn’t put 100 per-cent in, thinks: ‘Oh, we lost. No big deal. What club are we going to tonight?’ That is an alien concept to me.

“It wasn’t right to say anything during the season, but I noticed everything and I am a little bit wiser for it now.”

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