RANGERS boss Mark Warburton has penned the following for his first programme notes as QPR manager – with Watford our final opponents of pre-season in W12 tomorrow (Saturday)...
GOOD afternoon to you! It is of course a privilege to be writing these programme notes as first-team manager of Queens Park Rangers.
This is the first opportunity for me to pen my thoughts as we approach the new season, however the immediate task must be to highlight the pride I feel in being appointed to this position.
As I have mentioned in the media previously, I was fortunate enough to travel with Frank McLintock and to watch the great QPR team of the late seventies under the guidance of Dave Sexton – truly a fantastic experience and so memorable to watch the team run Liverpool so close for the title.
I have therefore seen the type of football that many of the club’s supporters have been brought up watching, and have a very real understanding of the responsibilities that come with managing such a proud London club. Please rest assured that such responsibilities will never be taken lightly.
Before I talk more about the squad and our thoughts as we approach the start of the new season, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Javi Gracia, his staff and of course his players for this afternoon’s friendly fixture.
Javi did a truly outstanding job with Watford last season and absolutely deserved the contract extension that the club offered him. In recent seasons there has been a high managerial turnover at the club and therefore the fact they have committed to Javi long-term tells you everything about the tremendous impact he has had at Vicarage Road. I look forward to sharing a drink with Javi and his staff post-game today.
You the supporters are well aware of the problems and issues that the club has had to confront and deal with over recent seasons. While we must always learn from such mistakes, our focus must be on the future and ensuring we work to develop a first-team squad the performance and value of which ensures the long-term health and welfare of the football club. To that end there has been a lot of activity over pre-season and I hope very much that the period between writing these notes and our team running out this afternoon will have seen even more new faces join our squad for the forthcoming campaign.
Is it ideal to have such radical ‘surgery’ take place on the squad? In truth any manager would prefer less significant change, however with players out of contract and the need to add both youthful exuberance and seniority, I felt it was necessary to be bold in our team building. Les as director of football and our CEO Lee Hoos have given tremendous support in what has been an extremely busy process, so my sincere thanks must of course be extended to them both.
With such change comes the request for patience from you the fans. We need to bed in new players and continue to develop our younger talents, all while introducing a new style of play to the squad. We will have good days and bad, such is life with a new team. However, we must strive to ensure that the very least our fans can expect from each and every player is absolute commitment to the task at hand. We must go in to every game confident in the knowledge that we have prepared outstandingly well and are ready to meet the challenge presented to us.
Our job as a football department is to make sure our supporters enjoy following their team and we will never lose sight of that fact.
Enjoy the game!
Be sure to pick up a copy of your new-look Hoops matchday programme if you're heading to W12 - copies will be available to purchase around the ground (£3) tomorrow.