Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Staggering Cost of QPR's [Pounds Sterling]10mlifeline; the Crippling Repayments on Vital Loan Are a Huge Threat to Club's Future

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Staggering Cost of QPR's [Pounds Sterling]10mlifeline; the Crippling Repayments on Vital Loan Are a Huge Threat to Club's Future

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT HUGHES

QUEENS PARK RANGERS are flying at the top of the Second Division but there is a real danger they lack the resources for real lift-off.

The club have failed to find new investment since a controversial [pounds sterling]10million loan enabled them to come out of administration 19 months ago.

The euphoria surrounding Ian Holloway's energetic and enterprising young team has helped mask their financial problems but, make no mistake, Rangers are in real peril.

On the surface things could scarcely be better. Rangers have lost just five league games all year and are on course to emulate Rodney Marsh's team of 1967 by winning their division and a cup in the same season - even if the LDV Vans Trophy is not quite the League Cup.

Holloway said: "We've made a decent start but need to keep it going. We're only halfway through the marathon and you don't win anything after 13 miles."

He is expected to name an unchanged side for tomorrow's trip to Oldham.

Success on the pitch has got the crowds roaring back, and this season's average attendance of 14,000 is higher than when they were in the First Division. The club have changed since the indulgent days of former owner Chris Wright, and Holloway's gospel of hard work runs through Loftus Road.

Rangers are undoubtedly better for having trimmed the excess fat. The first-team squad has been reduced from a high of 61 to 24, the wage bill cut from [pounds sterling]6.7million to [pounds sterling]2.3m and losses are down from [pounds sterling]5.5m to [pounds sterling]2m. With the increase in gate receipts and television revenue that promotion would bring the club hope to break even if they reach the First Division - but therein lies the rub. Rangers are banking on promotion, a risk they cannot afford.

Chairman Nick Blackburn said: "The worst case is that we survive, but we want to push on. This team can win promotion.

"If we don't get promoted we'll find it difficult to keep our best players.

The manager will stay as he loves it here and is committed, but players are different."

Rangers may not even get that far. …

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