QPR going through massive transition
Club call for patience as they go through massive transition, with focus on the academy
REPORTING FROM LONDON
It is not a good time for English Championship side Queens Park Rangers.
They are currently 12th in the 24-team standings and have won only three times this year, and hopes of climbing back into the English Premier League further diminished after a 2-0 loss to relegation-threatened MK Dons last week.
The club are 11 points away from a promotion play-off position and look destined for another season in the English second tier, and the situation might not get better any time soon for the West London side.
Under the watch of co-chairmen Tony Fernandes and Ruben Gnanalingam, the Hoops are in the process of a large-scale metamorphosis.
"Tony and Ruben have asked us to improve on good things we've done before, and change things that are not working. This transition period is a difficult time now, with players who are not suited to the system that we want," said QPR technical director, Chris Ramsey.
"We are expanding that (change) to all areas of the club, at all levels. It's more and more difficult, there's a culture of wanting instant success, and clubs tend to buy people to get that."
"We want to build (from within) and that will allow us to spend more effectively, maybe put more into getting specific marquee players," he added.
Ramsey was speaking on the sidelines of a week-long clinic for eight young players - from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China - who were selected from AirAsia-QPR Coaching Clinics conducted last year.
QPR have endured a roller-coaster few years, rising to the Premiership in 2011, relegated in 2013, then returning to the top flight at the first attempt, only to drop immediately back to the Championship.
The first team have lost players like Joey Barton, Steven Caulker, Bobby Zamora and Charlie Austin, with 10 new players coming into the squad before this season's kick-off.
Ramsey is acutely aware that looking in from the outside, the club look like they are struggling, but he believes that changes must be implemented.
"At QPR, we've got a history where no one's made it from the Under-9s to the first team, no one in the last 20 years, and the board has asked us to change that," he revealed.
The club are also implementing a playing philosophy from their youngest trainees through to the first team, and Ramsey is hoping for patience from the Hoops' faithful as they work to make all the moves pay off in the long-term.
"I'm hoping that they (QPR fans) are as patient as Southampton, Tottenham and Everton fans have been as those clubs have developed players.
"Academy players don't cost the club money, and that allowed them to spend money on (marquee) players that they otherwise wouldn't," said Ramsey.
"If you're looking from the outside, all you're looking at are results and, based on that, it doesn't look like we're doing very well... but we've got to bring in players, and that takes time, and it's about managing expectations."
QPR's Under-18 and professional development coach Murray Jones explained that a technique-based playing style is key to Ramsey's vision.
"It's a unique playing and coaching philosophy to guide how the boys develop.
"We're looking for high-level technique in the younger age group, along with game understanding," said Jones, who pointed to a four-cornered approach that aids the development of young players' technical ability, tactical understanding, and psychological and social development.
QPR's coaches will also have to up their game, with their education also a facet that Ramsey will pay close attention to as part of the club's metamorphosis.
Kes Casely-Harford, the Hoops' Under-15 coach, is hardly fazed that the academy is about to come under the microscope.
"There is a coaching competency framework set up by the head of coaching," he said.
"There will be videos of sessions that we conduct and feedback (on our work) every three months.
"But the pressure doesn't come from the top, the pressure comes from ourselves.
"We're highly motivated, and the pressure from ourselves is enough."
But the size of the task and its quantifiable results are not lost on Jones.
He said: "The proof is: do our young players go on to the first team?"
*Shamir's trip was made possible by AirAsia.
FFA to fund marquee names in A-League
Football Federation Australia said yesterday that it will provide financial backing to help lure marquee players to the A-League, as it outlined a new vision to boost the domestic game.
"This is the shop front and the engine room of Australian football week in, week out, and FFA shares a common view with club owners that the A-League is nowhere near reaching its full potential," FFA chairman Steven Lowy said.
"FFA will undertake a refresh of the A-League brand and commit more resources to marketing."
The decision comes with the Chinese Super League throwing huge amounts of money into the game with a record-breaking spending spree this year, attracting players such as Alex Teixeira and Jackson Martinez.
It also follows Socceroo star Tim Cahill blasting the FFA this month for its perceived lack of vision towards the domestic league.
Cahill was critical of the governing body for failing to capitalise on its past star players such as Alessandro del Piero, Shinji Ono and Dwight Yorke.