Ask the majority of QPR fans what they would have wanted at the start of the 2015/2016 season, and many would have replied ‘stability’. Bizarrely, after what was an inconsistent start to the season, the Hoops are on course to have the very definition of a stable season.
Currently lying in 11th with eight games to go, QPR have no real chance of the play-offs, nor will they trouble the relegation spots.
For the first time in a long time, Rangers fans are going to have to endure a rather boring end to the season, and that’s a welcome. However, there still a few matters at hand that Jimmy and the club need to think over.
1. Junior Hoilett
In the past few months, Hoilett has scored more goals combined than he did in the previous three years at Loftus Road. His improvement has been encouraging and frustrating in equal measure. Did he have a three-year dip in confidence, or now that his contract is due to expire, has Hoilett realised he needed to pull his finger out? Signed during the big spending days of Mark Hughes, the Canadian forward is probably still on a significant financial wedge. Despite his improvements in recent months, his lack of interest over the previous three years make me think that it’s best for both parties if he leaves when his contract expires.
2. Karl Henry
I think I’m in the minority, but I quite like a footballer who is asked to do the job of breaking up opposition play and winning back possession. Henry’s a very good operator, especially at Championship level. When he is asked to do anything more than that, his limitations are clear for all to see. As it’s obvious another season in the Championship awaits QPR, I’d be keen to offer the midfielder another year on reduced terms. However, there are still some sections of the home crowd that will never warm to him and Hasselbaink might think he is better off giving others (Luongo, Doughty perhaps) a longer run in the team.
3. High Earners
I’ve singled out Karl Henry and Junior Hoilett as they have both played some of the best football in an Rs shirt under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, however if the club are keen to cut their cloth more accordingly, then they need to look at the contracts of the following players; Leroy Fer, Matt Phillips and Sandro. Fer and Sandro have both been a huge drain on resources and quite frankly the club are better off without them, on and off the pitch. Matt Phillips in recent weeks has displayed the air of someone lacking motivation. I get the impression he wants out, and if that’s the case let’s take what we can get for him and move him on. This latest model of QPR doesn’t have room for complacency. I hope I’m wrong as I like Phillips, but he has been poor this season.
4. The captaincy for next season
If Clint Hill was eight years younger this would be a no-brainer. If Alejandro Faurlin hadn’t suffered so many career-threatening injuries, he would also have a great shout at taking the armband. The club’s current captain, Nedum Onouha, who I have been critical of in the past, doesn’t act and behave like a captain should. QPR need someone to shout out orders, stay calm and encourage. Nedum seems like a good chap and is decent operator in the Championship, but if Rangers are going to push on next year, they need a more vocal, passionate and inspiring leader.
5. The Stadium
The recent Fans’ Forum, which was attended by Hasselbaink, Director of Football, Les Ferdinand, and CEO, Lee Hoos, was a pretty positive evening, far more serene than the forums when Philip Beard was apparently running affairs. One thing that struck me as interesting was that the new stadium, wherever that may be, is still years away. This led me to think that the club need to do something about the current ground, as I think we’ve got at least five years in Loftus Road. As much as I love the place, it’s cramped, the bar areas and food options are pretty embarrassing compared to other grounds, and the family section is in the wrong place. I don’t know what the solution is but some of these things need to be looked as we aren’t going anywhere for the time being.