Tony Fernandes 'shocked and hurt' by attitude of QPR players

The Queens Park Rangers chairman, Tony Fernandes, will back Harry Redknapp to restore the club to the Premier League at the first attempt after expressing shock and disappointment at the attitude of some of the players who have dragged the team into the Championship.

Redknapp will oversee next season's attempt at a revival after a "positive" meeting with Fernandes and other board members at the club's Harlington training ground on Monday. There is an acceptance that a different kind of player will be needed to secure promotion next term, with the hierarchy, while pledging to allow the manager to retain the players he wants, keen to move on some of the underachievers to ease the wage bill.

Fernandes admitted mistakes had been made during his two-season chairmanship, not least the faith that was placed in Mark Hughes to rebuild last summer, when 12 players were signed. But there was disgust, too, at the behaviour of some of the squad whose relegation was confirmed at Reading on Sunday. "We are two years wiser than when we arrived," said the chairman. "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. There is nothing I have gone through that is as disappointing as losing a football game. It hurt me when I saw some of the players who didn't feel the way I felt. 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.

"It's an alien concept to me that someone takes someone's salary, doesn't put 100% 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."

Redknapp met Fernandes and the non-associate director Ruben Emir Gnanalingam, together with the chief executive, Philip Beard, and the chief operating officer, Mark Donnelly, to discuss the squad for next season. "I have had a positive meeting with Harry," said Fernandes. "I don't think there was any point where he was thinking of not being with us and continuing this project. Harry is a football man and he knows what he wants in terms of players. He will not be forced to sell any players he wants to keep.

"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. We may not get everything we want but I am comforted by the fact we have a plan."

High-profile departures are anticipated, with Tottenham Hotspur one of a number of clubs expected to trigger the £8m release clause in Loïc Rémy's contract. Esteban Granero, a £9m signing from Real Madrid, will attract interest from Spain despite stressing he has three years to run on his contract. Júlio César, Junior Hoilett, Rob Green and Christopher Samba, who earns between £62,500 and £100,000 a week after joining from Anzhi Makhachkala in January, may also be coveted, though moving on the likes of José Bosingwa or Djibril Cissé may be more problematic given their salaries.

The club will be as anxious to rid themselves of the underused squad players in a slightly lesser wage bracket as they seek to restructure. Radek Cerny, Brian Murphy, Tal Ben Haim, DJ Campbell and Rob Hulse are all out of contract, but the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Samba Diakité and Luke Young remain on the books, betraying QPR's haphazard transfer policy since they gained promotion under Neil Warnock in 2011.

Redknapp, who is contracted until 2015, described the season as "a disaster" but remains committed to rebuilding in the hope their stay in the Championship is brief. "We're going to give it a real good go next season and, hopefully, get this club back to where it belongs," he said. "We've got to rebuild and get a team together that can be really competitive in the Championship. [The board] 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."

Powered by article was written by Dominic Fifield and David Hytner, for The Guardian on Monday 29th April 2013 20.51 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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