Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey are not as naive as some think, for two so-called “inexperienced” men, they undermined and ousted Harry Redknapp and his backroom team in a coup so sly it went undetected and unnoticed by many. This is Harry – one of the craftiest and experienced operators around.
Now Neil Warnock, another masterful player at these things, has simply completed the merry-go-round and done it back to them. Football.
But pulling cotton wool over naive supporters’ eyes or each other is the done thing at Rangers these days. It’s easy – whether it’s Fernandes, Warnock, Redknapp or someone else. They’re all at it. It shows we have a weak board with little standards or direction.
Warnock presided over some of the worst signings this club has made in its history – players like Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton, Anton Ferdinand and Luke Young to name a few. But he kept his stock high and did well in other areas, and led you to believe none of that was his fault.
Redknapp arrived at a rubbish tinpot club and treated it so. It was beneath him, but he had Fernandes and co by the balls the minute he walked through the door and told everybody they’d had “their pants pulled down”. Ironically though, Redknapp was the one who pulled their pants down. He undermined them from day one with a part-time work ethic, and spending lavishly on ridiculous players or the likes of Yossi Benayoun.
When Redknapp’s stock fell with supporters and they realised performances were not much different from what came before, he became an easy target for Ferdinand and Ramsey to exploit. Ferdinand’s arrival, a legend in many fans eyes, was another deflective tactic by Fernandes to take the heat off himself, but even he didn’t realise what he’d done or how he’d undermined Redknapp with that move.
When Redknapp suggested the kids or squad players weren’t good enough, and sought for high profile reinforcements, Ferdinand and Ramsey told Fernandes otherwise. They got in his ear and destabilised Redknapp’s standing further as a result. And true to form, Fernandes fell for it, but not before the wily old Harry got his final shot in with as blatant a “Fuck you” as you’ll ever see, and walking out after the transfer window shut.
But of course, while Ferdinand and Ramsey meant well and had Rangers’ best interests at heart, at least more than some of the others, the quality wasn’t in the building and those kids were simply nowhere near the level required. That’s not to under-estimate the work done on developing many of those players, who have improved, but they can only take them so far and it was never going to happen that quickly.
And so that stuck and became a stick Ramsey got beaten with. While the others mastered the art of deflecting blame, that wasn’t Ramsey’s game. It became his downfall. Nobody listened when he backtracked and told supporters he wasn’t on a crusade to throw the kids in. And it’s a good job he didn’t, we’d probably be bottom if he did.
The latest predicament at Rangers is just a sad inditement of football governance and how things work in the game that threatens to destroy the soul of many football clubs up and down the country, including ours, which has seen its image and reputation tarnished and dragged through the mud more times than I can bear.
The bipolar nature of the board simply proves that everybody is protecting their own position and interests first. It’s their own stock they’re worried about, not the needs or interests of the football club and in their eyes we’re just a small football club without anything going for it – especially if you take away high profile managers and players, multi complex stadiums in affluent areas, Premier League football and so on.
The board and owners at Rangers are the one common denominator in all of this too, it’s really they who ought to take the brunt of the “you don’t know what you’re doing” chants. The lack of direction is because they simply don’t know what they’re doing – and they try to make you believe they do. They think they’ve saved us and that we should be grateful to them.
There have been so many unfulfilled promises and deflection tactics, that it saddens me to say that it’s us, the supporters, who are the ones having cotton wool pulled over our eyes and our pants pulled down. It’s us. We’re the fools here for accepting and putting up with this shit.
Fernandes arrived on the back of promotion to the Premier League, he played no part in that, and then proceeded to blow what was potentially our once in a generation promotion money on high profile signings to fuel his own ego, agenda and global portfolio. That was our money – QPR’s money – money we made before he arrived, not his. It was money we earned together through hard work, sweat, bucket collecting, fans putting money in, players waiving signing on fees and tears.
And you know what, Fernandes, an accountant I remind you, repeated this twice and thrice, blowing truly staggering amounts of money – all while not putting a spade in the ground on the promised training ground, academy improvements or new stadium. Barely a dime has been spent on infrastructure or laying foundations. What other side has spent two spells in the Premier League and been left worse off for it?
To make the mistake once is bad enough, especially on the back of our history and dices with administration, but twice and thrice? It’s unbelievably bad on an indescribable scale. He said he would step aside if he failed, and he did, on every account but remained.
It took Fernandes over 2 years before he even decided to read up on Rangers’ history. If a football club was important to you, would you wait until then after spending the thick end of £30m odd to buy it in the first place? That lack of due diligence is not only crass incompetence, it’s a serious lack of respect to what is supposed to be an institution. Football and QPR to people like me and you, is religion.
While Fernandes has been sidelined in the most recent board set-up this season – it’s just another method to deflect the brunt of criticism and blame away from the board.
That Warnock is back on the scene only proves that the owners have not learned any lessons at all. Warnock deserves to be remembered fondly – but he’s an opportunist using his experience to strike and get what he wants and they’ve let it happen, again.
In fact, what it proves is that the owners are incapable of learning those lessons and that the football clubs best interests are not first on the agenda. That they allow this type of carry on and constantly get involved in it themselves, says it all really, it’s just a plaything to them. They’ve blown an awful lot of our money over the years, the reality is, they’re unlikely going to want to spend a lot of their own, which they’ll need to do for a long-term rebuild.
We have reached a point where the malaise at Rangers runs so deep it’s filtered from the top right the way through the club and out onto the pitch, but also now to the fans. Our behaviour this season towards our own hasn’t covered us in glory at all. If that lack of standards and lack of pride remains, then we are in serious, serious trouble.
But what goes around comes around. It’s been largely the managers and players to get their fair share until now, but we’re reaching a point where it will eventually come around for the board too and when it does, there will be no hiding place or escape for them.
It’s time for us to wake up and realise. I’d even go as far as to say, it’s about time we made a stand.