With QPR about to play their last game in the top flight for at least a year, we ask which players will still be at the club come August?
I was tempted to simply write “None” and leave it at that. But that would be harsh. Surely some of Harry Redknapp’s side will remain to assist the difficult and unpredictable climb from the Championship.
And yet at the end of a season in which the club’s players have voted the fans as their Player of the Year, perhaps there really isn’t a member of the squad deserving of a starting place in next season’s new-look side.
In announcing the Player of the Year award, a statement from QPR said, “Following a difficult season on the pitch the players felt that there had been one consistent performer throughout the season – you, the QPR supporters.”
It was a nice, if slightly hollow touch. But it doesn’t make my job any easier. I am no closer to deciding on a single player worthy of a stay at Loftus Road.
For their part, the fans voted for defender Clint Hill as their standout player. And yet understandably he admitted he was “embarrassed” to receive it at the end of such a disappointing campaign.
But the club captain is surely a certainty to stay, and rightly so. With his contract expiring in the summer, Redknapp has already hinted that a new one will be offered. In light of this campaign and the one to follow, that must happen.
Hill’s experience, drive and honesty will be crucial as the beleaguered side look to return to the top flight. He may be 34, but he is also the heart-and-soul of the club.
Robert Green is also likely to stay, with Julio Cesar almost certain to leave this summer. The former West Ham ‘keeper will feel rightfully aggrieved that Cesar arrived in the first place. But now he will have the chance to stake his claim as number one a year after arriving as just that.
Defender Nedum Onuoha and strikers Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson are likely to stay, while Shaun Wright-Phillips’ return from injury will show if he still has the fight to be the player he once was.
And personally I have always been a big fan of Jamie Mackie; more so apparently than his managers.
With loan deals expiring and expensive recruits sure to leave, I can’t name many more players who are certain to remain at Loftus Road beyond the summer.
Or perhaps they should all leave except for Hill. His honesty and pride in the shirt mark him out as the one man QPR need.
Speaking last week he said, “I think it would be easier to accept relegation if we had gone down fighting and every one of us had given everything we had.
“For whatever reason as a team of individuals we have not performed to the standards required to stay in the Premier League.”
That phrase – “a team of individuals” – says everything about why predicting who will be there next season is all but impossible.
Who do you think will still be at Loftus Road next season? And who should Redknapp swiftly usher towards the exit?
image: © p_a_h