As far as I can see, Tony Fernandes seems a decent enough bloke. He is also a good business man, having made a reputed £450 million ($710 million). But by the time the January transfer window finally closes, that figure will be greatly reduced.
Harry Redknapp, the Queens Park Rangers manager, seems intent on single-handedly stimulating growth in Europe by spreading Fernandes’ cash far and wide. Although Fernandes is obviously a shrewd business man, I don’t believe he had any idea of what he was getting himself into when he took on QPR. He has already fired Mark Hughes, Redknapp’s predecessor, who spent wildly on expensive dross, and failing to get a single win. Redknapp has steadied the ship, gaining a couple of wins and a few draws, but QPR is still bottom.
With the further increase of revenue into the Premier League next year, Redknapp has told Fernandes that he will have to spend even bigger to stand a chance of getting it. As much as Fernandes’ business brain will be screaming to cut his losses and get out, his heart will be advising him to spend even more and hope for survival. He is now in a situation like a compulsive gambler, throwing good money after bad, in ever increasing amounts, in the hope of one day recuperating it.
It is worth reminding ourselves that QPR is a very small club, in Premier League terms. The capacity at Loftus Road is just over 18, 000, which is about half the capacity of a medium sized club; so unless the expensive gamble pays off, securing the Premier League money, Fernandes is going to be in big trouble if QPR is relegated.
They have brought in six players in the January transfer window, with just two of them costing over £20 million ($31.6 million). Christopher Samba’s wages are reputed to be around £95, 000 ($150,000) a week.
Fernandes is not Roman Abramovich, and QPR is not Chelsea. I hope Fernandes can get out of the situation with some money left in his account, but I also hope that QPR is relegated as it is becoming a grotesque circus under Redknapp.