QPR CHAIRMAN Tony Fernandes wants to forget the past and focus on the future – with plenty of positives on the horizon for Rangers supporters.
Fernandes has openly admitted relegation from the Premier League has come as a ‘major blow’ for him and his fellow shareholders, but typical of the man himself, the forward-thinking R’s head honcho is excited about the challenge that lies in wait.
Plans for a new state-of-the-art training complex at Warren Farm were approved last week and with talks on-going regarding a potential site for a new stadium, Fernandes – who turned 49 today (Tuesday) – is in optimistic mood.
“We inherited a club that was actually in a pretty poor shape – no training ground, a stadium that is clearly too small, and a squad that wasn’t up to the Premier League,” he told www.qpr.co.uk
“There are certain elements of a football club that you have got to plan out, and we can’t stay at Harlington forever.
“We have the youth side located at The Concorde Club, and the first team at Harlington. It’s not right.
“The current training ground is one of the things we inherited. We were trying to do things as quickly as we could. We never, never bargained on being relegated. But that doesn’t stop us from continuing on the roadmap, and hopefully developing players that can come through the various age groups.
“Warren Farm is a massive statement of intent and something we’re all very excited about."
Honest as ever, Fernandes admits mistakes have been made along the way, but he insists he is ‘two years wiser’ for the experience and is determined to bounce back.
“Much can be said about the buying process, but no one could argue that we should have kept the squad as it was when we took over,” he said.
“The game before I took over, we lost 4-0 to Bolton. The manager came to me afterwards and said he thought we should buy this player and that player.
“There’s no doubt – and hindsight is a wonderful thing – that some of our buys haven’t worked out, but at the time we went with what the management believed in and if you believe in the management, you listen to what they are saying.”
He added: “Going down is a major blow. We never expected to be relegated this season but you learn and you become stronger.
“Nothing we’ve experienced has killed us. It’s going to be very hard in the Championship but we’ve got to all stick together, go out there and get ourselves out of this mess.
“If you want things in life, you get them. I’m no footballing expert, but when you see players walking back or appealing for something when the ball is still in play, as a 12 year-old I wouldn’t have done that. It’s difficult to comprehend when you see that.
“I went to many games and having spoken to Ruben, Din and Amit, we always felt we could get out of it if the players wanted it enough.
“I want to say one thing though – relegation wasn’t solely down to those players who didn’t care as much as me and the other owners and the fans.
“I think if we had more heart though, we would have fought harder. I don’t think the heart was there from all the players.”