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QPR back in the big time

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Paul Fletcher | 22:23 UK time, Saturday, 30 April 2011

At Vicarage Road

The bold white print on the specially designed blue T-shirts said it all - "Rangers, back in the big time."

And it was for the time being at least, true. At Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon, QPR defeated Watford to end a 15-year exodus from the top flight of English football.

A tight and edgy contest was settled by late goals from Adel Taarabt and Tommy Smith, and ensured that Neil Warnock's team will be promoted as champions.

The coaching staff embraced in the dug-out, the players hugged on the lush turf and more than a few supporters appeared unable to heed the increasingly desperate appeals for them to stay off the pitch.

Since Ray Wilkins' Rangers slipped sadly out of the top flight in 1996, the west London club has appeared to lurch from one crisis to another, often becoming a laughing stock along the way but also beset by tragedy.

There has been administration, guns in the boardroom, a spell in the third tier of English football, a steady flow of managers (with the exception of Ian Holloway's five-year spell from 2001-2006) and several owners. In May 2006 youth player Kiyan Prince was murdered and the following year promising teenager Ray Jones was killed in a car crash.

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But in the spring sunshine on Saturday, Rangers returned to the division where they feel they belong and boss Warnock was quick to place the scale of the achievement into perspective.

"There are Rangers supporters who will have never seen their team in the Premier League," said Warnock, who was celebrating his seventh promotion with six different clubs.

"Coming to Loftus Road next season will not be easy, but isn't it absolutely exciting that the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United will be playing there."

Rangers' promotion is a personal triumph for the 62-year-old, who took charge of a club languishing 20th in the Championship table and reeling from six defeats in seven fixtures and has transformed them into champions in the space of 13 months.

"This is without a shadow of doubt the best job that I have done," he added.

He became the seventh permanent manager since the 2007 takeover of the club by Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone. It could be argued that Warnock's task was simplified when Briatore appeared to take a less hands-on role after his arrival, but nonetheless the manager quickly constructed a side that has proved to be superbly equipped to win promotion from a tough and demanding division.

His 4-2-3-1 system has provided Rangers with a defensive solidity that has seen them keep 25 clean sheets and concede a mere 30 goals in 45 games.

"Those statistics tell their own story of a manager who prides himself on his team's defensive unit," said holding midfielder Shaun Derry.

Warnock's decision to sign goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, left-back Clint Hill and Derry has been a brilliant success. All of them had played for Warnock at previous clubs and he obviously knew that they would provide some of the backbone and consistency that had perhaps been missing in previous Rangers teams.

What's more, although Warnock cuts a feisty and combative character on the touchline, he has shown a delicate touch with regard to his man-management of Taarabt. He made the Moroccan his captain and gave him a free role to terrorise the opposition - and the Rangers boss has been rewarded with 19 league goals plus numerous assists.

At first glance it might be an unlikely alliance, but Taarabt now talks about Warnock as some kind of father figure and the brusque Yorkshireman is the first manager to draw out of the Moroccan performances of a consistently high standard over the length of an entire season.

Whether Taarabt, who has played in every league game this season apart from away trips to Doncaster and Scunthorpe, will succeed in the Premier League will be an issue of much discussion over the summer. There is no doubt that he has the ability, but the top flight will provide a much sterner examination of his temperament and attitude. There were moments at Vicarage Road when a team-mate's failure to pick him out with a pass prompted a disproportionate gesture and a brief but nonetheless needless huff.

Warnock instructed his players never to give Taarabt the ball in their own half this season but otherwise allowed his skipper the freedom to indulge his talents. He scored the crucial opening goal at Watford but he drifted out of the game for long periods. The Rangers fans chanted "Taarabt's too good for you" but that will not be the case in many games next season and we will find out exactly whether he has all the tools to succeed at the top level.

In fact, there is little doubt that the QPR squad will need overhauling if they are to survive next season. Warnock very quickly knitted together a team to win in the second tier but he has enjoyed a good run on the injury front this season and just about every area needs strengthening ahead of a top-flight campaign. Kenny is an excellent goalkeeper but the defence in front of him arguably lacks pace and top-flight experience. At the other end of the field the club needs a proven goalscorer at Premier League level.

"Ultimately the manager will have to improve the squad," added Derry. "You cannot go into the Premier League with a Championship squad. What is important is that we manage to keep the same spirit."

Rangers have lost just five games this season in the Championship, boast the best home and away record in the division and have led the table for all but a handful of fixtures.

They have played with skill, guts and spirit. I spoke to several players after the victory at Watford and all talked about the togetherness Warnock and his backroom team had instilled at the club. In my opinion, there is no doubt that they deserve their promotion.

However, nothing at Rangers is straightforward and the shadow that hung over Saturday's celebrations was the impending Football Association hearing over alleged irregularities following the signing of Argentine Faurlin. He arrived at Loftus Road in the summer of 2009 and the FA has been investigating the case since September, when QPR asked for permission to buy out a third party that owned his economic rights.

Rangers and its chairman Gianni Paladini face seven charges and the most serious relate to an allegation that Faurlin was owned by an Argentine company for more than a year after joining Rangers in July 2009. The results of the hearing are expected to be announced on Friday 6 May, the day before Rangers end the regular season with a home fixture against Leeds.

There have been recent reports that Rangers face a points deduction. Warnock sounded irritated and frustrated as he discussed the subject after Saturday's match, hitting out at what he described as a "disgraceful" article in the Sun newspaper, which suggested QPR could be docked up to 15 points.

"We are all guessing at the moment," said the Rangers boss. "We will all have to wait until Friday but I am happy with what my barrister has told me."

As Faurlin made his way along the side of the pitch to the team coach after the match I asked him about the situation. The midfielder, a crucial part of his team's success this season, did not seem unduly concerned.

"We are confident that nothing will happen but we will have to wait and see," he said. "I had nothing to do about it; I just do my show on the pitch."

After waiting so long and enduring so much, Rangers fans must be hoping that the outcome of the FA hearing does not prevent Faurlin and his team-mates from doing their show on the pitches of the Premier League next season.

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    As sick as this sounds, there would be added (and needed) drama if QPR get docked points and have to go into the playoffs.

  • Comment number 3.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the transfer dealings (and everyone is innocent until proven guilty) once again it will be the fans who suffer. This QPR team have played excellent football this season and in terms of on the pitch issues deserve to go up. However, if there has been wrongdoing then their league position shouldn't excuse them from a suitable penalty.

    The FA have a lot to answer for though. Why on earth has it taken so long, and been left to this advanced stage of the season, for this issue to be resolved? It is unfair on fans that there is any uncertainty over the celebrations of promotion. These are rare and special occasions and shouldn't be spoiled by off the field issues which have been left for so long to sort out.

    I don't want to fill the page with this (see my full thoughts at ) but needless to say I think this is a farcical situation thanks to the FA - and was totally avoidable. Let's hope there is never a repeat of this.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thank you Paul a well written article. As a Rangers fan for more almost 40 years I have seen my fair share of disappointment and depressing moments but finally we are back in the big time. QPR aren't a perfect club in fact we are a bit of a soap opera at times but I'm glad I support them. Sometimes enduring the lows makes the good times all the more sweeter. I'm sure many a football fan can connect with that. Tonight the realisation that we've done it has sunk in and I've almost got a tear in the eye but I wouldn't have it any other way.

  • Comment number 5.

    If the FA don't deduct QPR points then what incentive has any club got to follow the rules. How many is a tougher question, but in most sports you would expect to lose every match in which you field an ineligible player, so it has to be meaningful.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    See you next season.

  • Comment number 8.

    If there is any justice at all in the F.A. then QPR cannot possibly be allowed to get away with this, after what happened to West Ham over the Tevez affair, and, as S.U. was allowed to sue WH in civil court and get a huge settlement, then neither would it be fair and just not to allow any club who feel their own chances were affected by this man playing for the club during a far longer perod than Tevez played for WH.

  • Comment number 9.

    I quote warnock after the Tevez business...“I just feel very bitter than I am not a Premier league manager still,” Warnock said. “If you only knew how much hard work it was in the seven years to get the team up to the Premier League, it was a bitter disappointment knowing Tevez shouldn't have been in the team the last few weeks.
    Well Mr Warnock Your tone has changed now the boot is on the other foot. What about the manager that will miss out even though QPR used an illegible player for a whole season. Oh the irony...

  • Comment number 10.

    You mean exile not exodus

  • Comment number 11.

    At the end of the day, rules are rules. Even if they didnt break them on purpose they still broke them. How can a multi-million pound business not know the rules they operate in??????

    If they are aren't punished then it will show that the rules are only there for teams without the cash/stature/correct inside board member.

    The FA will show it's self as nothing more then FIFA unless they hit with the maximum penalty.

  • Comment number 12.

    Whatever the governing body decides, that should be it. Footballing outcomes should be decided on the pitch, so a fine should be enough - a BIG one that cuts into (maybe eliminates) the new gained PL profits.

    In any event, none of this should end up in a court room. That's a disgraceful path to follow and never brings an end to anything, which just suits the lawyers fine. Sheffield United have got a lot to answer for, now that litigation is brought up every 5 minutes.

    My solution for the Tevez thing was that West Ham should have got fined the coming season's PL payments and had to make do with a parachute payment in the PL. That would be my solution again for QPR now. And YES, I know QPR are loaded, but that's football! Not all clubs are equal, so some punishments bite some clubs harder.

  • Comment number 13.

    I feel inclined to agree with the comments that QPR have played the football to prove they merit PL football, irrespective of backroom dealings - intentional or otherwise, and as such they should still be promoted. A fine therefore would be the correct way to go - but make it a BIG one. At the end of the day, a monetary punishment was imposed on West Ham after Tevezgate, so the precedent is established - The FA (quite correctly) ruled that Sheff Utd's relegation was of their own doing - since no-one forced them to perform so badly that season, regardless of how West Ham performed - there were a further 16 teams above West Ham, and Sheff Utd were merely clutching at straws in desperation.

    Still, QPR have now added to the number of teams playing in "London Derby" matches - just as Sheff Utd have now contributed to the creation of at least 2 "Sheffield Derby" matches next season!

  • Comment number 14.

    Ive been a QPR FOLLOWER SINCE 1966 so ive seen a few ups and downs, so fingers crossed,the FA just impose a fine .

  • Comment number 15.


  • Comment number 16.

    Everyone should remember, the fee paid to the agents that owned the players economic rights went through and was sanctioned by the FA. To add to that, Alejandro Faurlin was signed before the new third party rules were introduced and both the FL and FA sanctioned the deal!!!!!! SO WE ARE DESERVEDLY CHAMPIONS!!!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Fletch - Taarabt missed one game this season. Away at Barnsley. Rangers still won.
    To all those making comparisons to the Tevez affair and demanding the docking of points, you are comparing apples and pears. And furthermore, you don't even know the facts of the case. Not even the large circulation tabloids appear to know them either. Let's wait for the hearing and the verdict. But one thing is certain - the best team in the Championship this season, by a country mile, has been Queens Park Rangers; they deserve to be promoted.

  • Comment number 19.

    We are CHAMPIONS by right,
    All the folk on here who say we played an illegable player should check their facts before jumping to conclusions,all making 2+2 = 5.
    Our case to be heard next week is nothing like the Tevez affair in any shape or form.
    The statistics will show that we were the best club in the division by a country mile and no matter what the outcome of the hearing is ,i think most genuine FOOTBALL FANS will agree we deserve to be in the premier league for what we did on the pitch.
    As the saying goes "every dog has its day" and today folks was and is our day.
    So am looking forward to next season when once again we mix it with the big boys and hopefully show a few of them that you don't have to be a "massive" club to succeed in the big time.
    Thank you Mr.Warnock for making a QPR fan of over 40 years standing a very hungover but very,very happy man .

  • Comment number 20.

    @turkishhoops - the stats do indeed prove that QPR are the best team in the division, and they have played exceptional football (except against Millwall...). If they are adjudged to have broken rules however, they will deserve to be punished. Fielding an illegible player causes points deductions in many cases (two League 2 teams were deducted points earlier this season for not having transfer paperwork completed in time, and the players in question had only played one game).

    As many have said, this saga has rumbled on since September, it is ludicrous to have to wait until the very end of the season to resolve this...

  • Comment number 21.

    As a Leicester City fan, I remember Neil Warnock being very vocal about Leicester getting a points deduction after going into administration in 2002/3. The rules were different then but had a points deduction been applied, his then club Sheffield Utd may have achieved automatic promotion at Leicester's expense.

    So it's somewhat ironic that he faces such a penalty himself. That said, for the sake of the fans, I hope it doesn't come to that. QPR are deserved of promotion and the Championship this year. Well done.

  • Comment number 22.

    Well West Ham got fined and lost no points over the Tevez affair, so logically QPR will get the same ? Or do the FA make up the rules as they go along ?

  • Comment number 23.

    @PaulyBoy thanks for agreeing we were the best team in division but, along with all and sundry you are still convinced we played Faurlin illegally WE DID NOT.
    Faurlin's transfer was ratified by both the F.A. and the Football League and he was again cleared by both authorities when he was given a contract extension,and having this clearance allowed us to play him.
    Do you think if there was the slightest doubt he was illegible the club would have still played him knowing the consequences of doing so, i think not.
    This continuing saga about Faurlin only comes to the fore when lazy journalists who have nothing else to write about need to justify their places on "the back page" of whatever paper they write for,Remember these are the same people who every 4 years build the national side up prior to big tournaments and then proceed to drag up every little misdemeanor commited by players to undermine them.
    These so called football experts always "quote" their source at such and such club etc tells them the inside scoop, in my honest opinion the only "Sauce"(source) any of them have is either the red or brown variety they put on their bacon butties prior to writing stories to fill the back pages and sell papers,to be honest if half of them told me today was May 1st i would still be a bit suspicious and would need to check the calendar.
    So remember it's their job to fill space on a page and if it means writing sensational "scoops" to do this they will.
    We are QPR and we are up and no amount of paper talk will change that.

  • Comment number 24.

    We won it fair and square. Put the sour grapes away Cardiff and Norwich and Hull fans. It's a shame other teams show a lack of class in not showing any respect towards the Champions. When WBA won it at ours a couple of seasons ago we clapped them off the pitch, same with Newcastle last year (even in that gold away strip). We got nothing from the Watford fans yesterday, just "we hate QPR" songs.
    We may have a "small, grubby stadium" but at least we've got some atmosphere. I look forward to some decent London derbies next season and actually playing some good football. Swansea and Forest to come up with us please.

  • Comment number 25.

    "Faurlin's transfer was ratified by both the F.A. and the Football League and he was again cleared by both authorities when he was given a contract extension,and having this clearance allowed us to play him."

    The ratification of an ineligible player only took place upon the basis of incorrect, for which read 'untruthful', information supplied by the club. Be that as it may, a fine will suffice.

    I think R's fans should be much more worried by the disgraceful violent scenes at Watford yesterday. For a team and fanbase in their position it was a remarkably stupid demonstration of how a team can alienate any existing good will towards them.

  • Comment number 26.

    As a QPR supporter since the 60's in the heydays of Rodney Marsh it is great to see the club back in the PL. Neil Warnock has done a fantastic job and it is wonderful to see how much he has enjoyed it - smiling his way through the season in great spirit. The players have performed superbly but I think it is down to Warnock as the man of the season. Bring on the PL. And what a rotten article by The Sun, in particular you should be ashamed Shaun Custis for putting your name to it - I will not feel the same listening to you on the Sunday Supplement again, in fact I will turn you off. Come on you R's!! And Paul, a great article, enjoyed reading it, thanks.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think it would probably be unfair for QPR to be docked points at this point - perhaps they would have pushed more in their last few games instead of playing out to draws (Hull an example). Having ten less points a few months ago would have totally changed the mentality of a team that was at that point already near-certain champions.
    It is also slightly ridiculous that the F.A have taken so long to spot this 3rd party business and chase it up.

  • Comment number 29.

    if rules are broken then the club in question must be punished .....points deduction?

  • Comment number 30.

    Well done to QPR on their promotion. Thought they were really rather average yesterday and quite fortunate to get the win against a game Watford side who really were not helped by the referee but c'est la vie. They've obviously played much better throughout the season than they have twice against Watford and if you look at the league table, they obviously deserve to be Champions. The FA appear to have wanted QPR to win the league by about 12 points, so they could remove 10 next week and it not make a difference - but they've done nothing and now it would be wrong to take away any points that would stop QPR going up. Shame their hooligan element was in full throttle yesterday though - suspect that any sympathy a lot of other Watford fans would have had for the points deduction situation has vanished....

  • Comment number 31.

    27. At 09:27am 1st May 2011, Supernorwich23 wrote:

    Your comments re millionaire backers: it has been like this for at least 50 years - I can recall when in 1963 Arsenal and Spurs 'bought' Dundee's (Scottish League Winners) best players (Ure and Gilzean) and that was the end of that successful era. Fast forward and Dundee were in Administration this season despite the millionaire backers! So it is not the money men that are the problem (we are always going to have them around), it is how a clubs finances are run that is key, hence Chelsea who lets face it are only having the success they are due to Abramovich. Chelsea are losing millions and millions, season on season, but do the fans care? He could have taken over Norwich and then you would have been smiling!!

    Come on you R's!

  • Comment number 32.

    Interesting read. As far as I understand the QPR irregularities is that the club did not hold his economic rights - I.e. The players advertising rights. Are you telling me that ALL footballers have the same agent for their contract (salary) negotiations and for their advertising rights? I think not. I bet the likes of Messi, Beckham etc have a company that look after their off-the-field activities.... It all sounds like a storm in a tea cup and the FA should have resolved before the business end of the season.

  • Comment number 33.

    Mr Norwich23, so you think the team i suport, QPR are corrupt & would cheat & do underhand things to get what they want ? I think you will find Norwich were found guilty of poaching Paul Lambert from Colchester, i do know Norwich received a heft fine, for doing things they shouldn't, so i would think in future what you write about, pot & kettle spring to mind, we are QPR & we are going up.

  • Comment number 34.

    err guys.. i'd just like to point out the analogies between the westham/sheffutd and this situation dont apply. the precedent set by the fa was to fine west ham and not deduct them points, so if any wrongdoing has occured then it should be a fine
    one other thing.. many sheffield united fans myself included thought we should have taken it on the chin and the actions by our money grabbing chairman were embarassing and have dragged the reputation of a great club through the mud

  • Comment number 35.

    The FA puts rules into place after the Tevez affair reference third party ownership of players and illegal agents. They have applied them once already this season to Hereford and Torquay.

    The rules clearly state 3 points per match, and 10 points for an illegal agent. They are NOT making them up as they go along in this case, they are on the books.

    In QPRs case, if proven, thats 18 point (6 games) for the illegal player and 10 point for the illegal agent. So either 28 points, 18 points or 10 points will be deducted if proven.

    The get out of 15 points (as rumoured), would be "making up the rules" applying what happened to Leeds and if that happens that is a cop out.

    What this comes down to is did they break either rule, if they broke them the points as stated SHOULD be deducted, or else, any team can break the rules.

    As a Leeds fan I can tell you I expect, given the love that all teams had for us given administration (when we were already down!) and our -15 points, we won't have any sympathy for QPR. Rules are rules.

    It wouldn't surprise me given results yesterday, Ken Bates will probably be watching the events with Leeds barristers too.

  • Comment number 36.

    After 15 dark years the club has returned to English football's VIP table. And we did it by playing great football. No matter what those bunch of Lords "Ive never played professional football" and other useless types at the FA decide to do now they cant take that away from us. We are Champions because we played great football and only lost 5 games, 25 clean sheets and a massive team spirit. If the FA decide to punish us and take 15-20 points away then that is a massive travesty especially after the club nearly folded during its administration years. If they've got any sense they'll ignore the moronic calls by non-QPR fans on here for us to be given "the maximum punishment". Most of these seem to be fans from Premiership clubs who have not gone through the same dark times as us Rangers fans.

    I can accept comments from Norwich and Cardiff fans as based upon a similar recent history to QPR, but they merely smack of sourgrapes: if your boys had worked harder then you would have won the league and not us, so keep schtum and start making your plans for the playoffs. Cardiff have some the most disgraceful fans in the history of football in hooligan terms, and Norwich have a superiority complex based on Jeremy Goss' winner against Munich but thats it. I cannot accept any comments by Hull, a team that in 2005 came down to Loftus Road and taunted Londoners with chants about the 7/7 bombs-call us cheats, well at least we're not scum. We worked the hardest this year, we played great football and we won the majority of our games. Thats what we should be judged on, not for some excuse to use to make an example of a small club, because the FA know they can. Lets be honest, corruption is rife in the top flight. Agents run the game and clubs give in to player demands. All you fans of big clubs have no right to get on your high horse and wag fingers at the likes of Rangers, accusing us of breaking rules when most of you are owned by some of the dodgiest characters on the planet. We should be treated the same as West Ham, fine us by all means, but you never docked them points so you have no right to dock us points.

    If you do Mr Bernstein, then we'll just have to go and prove you wrong and win the play-offs. If that does indeed happen then I hope its Cardiff and I hope we get a golden goal style screamer deep into extra time to send those limp bluebirds on a wingless trip back to South Wales and the rain......

    COME ON YOU R'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Now then,

    Thanks for your thoughts so far.

    Ed (post 15) - I guess nobody knows how long Neil Warnock will remain in charge. That is just the way of things at Rangers. As Warnock himself said after the match: "You do not plan too far ahead at QPR."

    In terms of what QPR have done this season, there is no question that they have been the best side in the division. It is great to read the comments above of people who have supported the club for a long time and for whom Rangers' return to the top flight obviously means a lot.

    As for the million dollar question - will QPR suffer a points deduction? I agree with the people who quite rightly suggest that at this stage we are dealing purely with speculation.

    We do not even know for sure yet whether Rangers will be found guilty. Warnock has insisted over and over again that he is happy with what he has heard from the barrister representing the club. Having said that, the mood music appears to have changed slightly. Warnock is now talking in terms of everybody having to wait and see what happens. There seems to be an increasing amount of speculation that points could be deducted. Of course, at the moment that is all it is - speculation.

    There will now be several more days of rumour. The hearing is scheduled to start on Tuesday and the verdict is expected on Friday.

    I tend to agree with exiled_geordie (post 3), who notes that it will be the fans who end up suffering. I guess the question is, which group of fans? If Rangers are found guilty but handed a fine and not a points deduction, how will that sit with Norwich and Cardiff supporters?

  • Comment number 38.

    Faurlin has been arguably their best player, quietly going about his business in midfield, leaving Taraabt to get the headlines, and playing most games this season. If rules have been broken deliberately and then covered up (I'm observing the charge list) the penalty should be removal of every point earned with Faurlin in the side and down to League 1 they go. They could have left him out knowing there was a doubt but chose not to. If not guilty, congratulations to them. QPR have been very lucky avoiding injuries to key players unlike many other teams. They have been very hard to beat however. I would agree with other posters though that the hypocrisy coming from Warnock is nauseating - I and others totally supported him over Tevez and Sheff Utd are still in freefall as a result (I'm not a Blade), I desparately hope IF guilty the punishment is devastating or football will be continuing it's slow demise in the eyes of many traditionalists. ps, just realised if QPR get put down to League 1, Sheff Utd may stay up. Oh, what fantastic irony, I live in hope for the Blades out there......

  • Comment number 39.

    I'd add to my previous post that a fine is totally pointless given the wealth of their benefactors, and the rules WERE changed post Tevez so that precedent is irrelevant.

  • Comment number 40.

    Paul Fletcher: "I tend to agree with exiled_geordie (post 3), who notes that it will be the fans who end up suffering. I guess the question is, which group of fans? If Rangers are found guilty but handed a fine and not a points deduction, how will that sit with Norwich and Cardiff supporters?"

    I'll tell you how it can sit with the Cardiff fans at least: after getting promoted a year before us when beating us in the Play-offs in 2003, they can 'sit' at home and watch us play Premiership football against the big boys. Cardiff fans are no angels, they are known for the hooligan sect, and one of their fans set off fire alarms at the Rangers players hotel the night before the aforementioned Play-off final, he interestingly won his appeal [ ], but I smell a rat even there.

    As for Norwich, a fan of theirs once wrote a book called "Norfolkngood", which if said very quickly tells you exactly how good they are. Whilst on a personal note, I knew a Norwich fan, who was a close friend, he plagiarised his essays on his BA in History, and only got found out halfway through his MA. He then turned his back on all his mates. For that reason personally, the whole of the Canaries can be tarred with the same brush: they can 'sit' in the play-offs for all I care.

  • Comment number 41.

    Steve Kelly: of course you want us to go down to League One! Cos that's where your beloved Burnley will be in a couple of seasons. Another club like Hull who taunted us with chants on the 7/7 bombs. Another club, like Hull who were not good enough for the Premiership. Move over cos now its our turn. Put your sourgrapes to some good use and get behind your team, cos they'll need it next year. Say hello to Scunthorpe for me when you play them in 2012.

  • Comment number 42.

    As a West Ham fan, I think it's the ultimate irony that a side managed by Neil Warnock faces a points deduction for using an alegedly illegal player. He was the driving force behind West Ham's huge fine over the Carlos Tevez affair.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hereford and Torquay were docked 3 and 1 points respectively in April for 'minor' clerical indrescretions in just one match. Make of that what you will.

  • Comment number 44.

    As a Norwich City fan, I have a very keen interest in developments coming from the FA hearing.

    I don't agree with some of the QPR fans' comments on this blog about how they are the best team in the division - based on the games that I have seen this season, both Swansea and Cardiff reach greater heights than QPR on their best days, but QPR have been without doubt the most consistent team over the course of the season. They are worthy champions and I feel they deserve the title for the manner in which they have secured it.

    The FA hearing leaves me with something of a dilemma - I am naturally keen to see Norwich City get promoted, but I wouldn't want us to be in a position where a points deduction for QPR made us champions by default. It would be a tarnished trophy, and for that reason I am hoping that any points penalty deemed appropriate by the FA would be applied from the start of next season.

  • Comment number 45.

    "The FA (quite correctly) ruled that Sheff Utd's relegation was of their own doing - since no-one forced them to perform so badly that season, regardless of how West Ham performed"

    This kind of complete tripe is typical of the diatribe doled out by West Ham Sycophants time and time again. Sheffield United were relegated by one goal of goal difference by West Ham. Carlos Tevez scored a hatful of goals for West Ham as an illegal player. The point is, is matters not one iota how badly you play in any league in the entire world as long as you don't finish in the relegation places. West Ham didn't absolutely nothing to make Sheffield United "perform so badly" that season, 100% correct there , but they did play an illegal striker for the whole season who scored enough illegal goals to ensure they did not fall into the relegation places, by one goal. The Football authorities, rightly or wrongly, decided what they decided. But don't pretend that is was anything other than it was, which was cheating to improve their league position at Sheffield United'sThe FA (quite correctly) ruled that Sheff Utd's relegation was of their own doing - since no-one forced them to perform so badly that season, regardless of how West Ham performed, 100% correct there, but they did play an illegal striker who scored a numner of illegal goals in their way to illegally avoiding relegation by one goal of goal difference.

    The football authorities, rightly or wrongly, decided what they decided. But don't pretend it was anything other than it was. Cheating to improve their league position, ultimately in favour of Sheffield United.

    Hereford and Torquay were docked 3 and 1 points respectively in April for 'minor' clerical indrescretions in just one match. Make of that what you will.

    I rest my case.

    Well done the Super Hoops.

  • Comment number 46.

    Dear Every uninformed nitwit claiming Faurlin was ineligible. HE WAS NOT! None of the charges related to fielding and ineligible player. Understand?!?

    And to those claiming it's ironic that Warnock is now in charge, it's not! He was well within his rights be aggrieved after the West Ham fiasco, and if anything, the fact he was ignored then should give him more ground to argue for consistency. It would be ironic if the FA ruled against him then by not giving a deduction, and then changed their minds to also rule against him now by giving out a deduction.

    That said, we're forgetting that Faulin was signed before the 3rd party ownership rules were decided upon and long before NW was at the club!

  • Comment number 47.

    Another big issue - will Adel Taarabt be a success next season? Honestly, I reckon I know more people who think he will be a big flop than a success.

    It is easy to imagine how it might go very wrong for Taarabt, who will not have the same freedom in the top flight. He will have to show discipline, willing and a maturity to withstand testing times and opposition.

  • Comment number 48.

    I think it would be very unfair on QPR, who I used to go and watch in the 70's when I worked in London, although my team is Mansfield Town.

    HOWEVER, it would be even more unfair on all the other teams (including my own Mansfield Town who last year were deducted points over eligiblity issues) if Rangers are found guilty but didn't suffer a points deduction.

    And yes, they appear to have played the best football by a country mile

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    If QPR knowingly played a player that was ineligable, then they deserve all they get. One player doesn't make a team and QPR should never have taken the risk.
    Sad for the fans but that's just the way it goes.

    As someone mentioned previously, the rules were changed after Tevez, so his case cannot be used as an example for punishment.

  • Comment number 52.

    The FA has been 'investigating' the matter since September.

    What was there to investigate?

    The matter should have been dealt with by Christmas (and certainly to take more than six months smacks of incompetence or ulterior motives at play), and the absence of a timeous outcome seems certain to result in legal challenge (by any one of four or more clubs).

  • Comment number 53.

    I live in Mexico and I am a 60 year Forest fan. It seems to me that any contract disputes should be sorted out before the player plays his first game.
    It means that the league management has to get off their arses and take care of matters now and not put it off.
    Also I cannot understand why the league has not adopted goal line video. It works well in the NFL, especially as the viewers and spectators see what the refs see. There is too much money at stake to not give the officials the best opportunity to make , or correct a call.

  • Comment number 54.

    Curious that my comment at #5o has been deemed in breach of House Rules, but no communication to me to clarify which such Rule.

    I have reviewed those Rules and I am satisfied that there was NOTHING in my comment which was in any way in breach thereof.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to libel a corporate entity!!!!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    We had the same situation a few years ago when Swansea couldn't celebrate their promotion because they were waiting for the Leeds appeal. At the time everyoe said that it should never happen again. And here we are again. The people who run football are completely out of touch with reality and an absolute disgrace. They drag everything out until the last moment and only act when they are forced to act. Perhaps they were hoping that QPR fininished in a position where a pints deduction didn't make any difference. How on earth can a decision like this be left until the day before the last games of the season. Football fans should get together and run these people out of town. If the people of Egypt can get rid of their leaders, then I'm sure football fans can get rid of this hopeless bunch.

  • Comment number 56.

    Whatever the FA's verdict on QPR, two things stand out a mile:

    For a matter that dates back to 2009 and was brought to the FA's attention in September 2010, their slowness in resolving the issue is a complete disgrace. If the matter results in a points deduction, it is so timed that QPR can do almost nothing about it. A points deduction at the start of a season gives a club time to react and recover; one at the end does not.

    More importantly, points deductions are almost never a suitable punishment. This is for three reasons:

    (a) Much of the time they result in no punishment at all - a mid-table club stays mid-table. Occasionally they result in a punishment that is out of all proportion to the offence - placing a club in a lower league. Any punishment which randomly varies between ineffective and hugely draconian is fundamentally flawed.

    (b) Most of the punishment is felt by people who have no role in the offence - they players and fans. Those who committed the offence, usually the club's directors, get off practically scot-free.

    (c) As well as unfairly punishing a club, points deductions, especially those that affect promotions or relegations, unfairly benefit another club who are totally unconnected. If QPR have enough point deducted to fall into the play-offs, then the club which was third (Norwich or Cardiff) will gain automatic promotion. Why? What have they done to deserve it? And the other 3 clubs in the play-offs will have to play and beat the best side in the division to go up, not the third best. Why should they face a harder task?

    Points deductions are never fair and much of the time totally unjustified. If the FA had any sense of justice they would act quickly against those who commit offences - the directors of the club. They should be banned and personally fined (don't fine the club, fine the guilty directors). Only if directors are personally liable for breaking the rules will they learn to keep them.

  • Comment number 57.

    no points deduction you won well done QPR see you there CARDIFF supporter

  • Comment number 58.

    I've been an Rs fan since seeing Simon Stainrod score an amazing goal in a 2.0 win against Cardiff in 1982 and have enjoyed the few ups and many downs. And d'you know what, if the clowns in our boardroom are found guilty then I don't want to go up and be tarnished.

    Not because we're not worthy champions, not because we're not the best team in the division (and we have been by a country mile), but, because it would be wrong and that's not what QPR are about.

    QPR are unique, with our old fashioned tinny stadium in which the top comes off when we score, , our hoops and memories of Marsh, Bowles, plastic pitch, Jim Gregory, El Tel, the near merger with Fulham, Sir Les and now Adel. Whatever happens I'll hold on to that, as the song goes, whether we play Liverpool or Hartlepool next year.


  • Comment number 59.

    My guess is that QPR will get fined and will get points deducted. The FA must know they have mucked up again with the delay in handling this hence why they have left the decision to be on almost the last day if the season. The FA will deduct enough points to be deemed as punishment buy not enough to put QPR in the play offs, so expect a 6-7 point deduction.

  • Comment number 60.

    For the sake of QPR and their fans I hope their punishment is no more than a fine, but as a West Ham fan I can't wish good fortune on Warnock after his moaning over the Tevez affair when he was at Sheffield United.

    If QPR go up (and I hope they do) then any honourable man in his position would stand down as manager. You can't have it both ways, mate...

  • Comment number 61.

    Am I being cynical, or has the FA been waiting to see how the division has been shaping up before deciding what punishment to inflict?

    In other words, the FA has long decided where QPR are to be placed in the division, and will apply a points deduction accordingly.

    If it were not, then a decision would have been reached earlier in the season, so that all the teams in contention knew where they stood as the season progressed.

  • Comment number 62.

    I am a completely biased QPR fan, but I have to point out:

    1. Based on what we know currently, Warnock is NOT hypocritical because of his comments on Tevez. Tevez singlehandedly saved West Ham from relegation. There is no question about this. Faurlin did not singlehandedly get us promoted. Far from it. Yes, he has many good games. He's also had some shockers. Yes he is among our best players but hardly indispensible and almost never a matchwinner individually. If it was Taarabt in question, you could well argue that he made the difference for us this season.

    2. Yes rules are rules, and i fear we will get punished severely. But given that Faurlin's status was resolved before the entire season we've just had, it is not fair to punish us now with a points loss which affects us at a specific point in time. A fine would still hurt. Millionaire owners hate losing money.

    3. It is not yet clear whether there was wilful deceit as opposed to just some idiotic clerical mistakes.

    4. Those who say QPR have not been outstanding this year are correct. But we have been incredibly consistent, and just a bit better than everyone else. If Cardiff or Norwich wanted to be top, they needed to have that same consistency and team spirit - they had their chances, and didnt take them. We had no unfair advantage in terms of personnel, and indeed those two other teams have better squads man-for-man. If QPR do still go up and those clubs take legal action, it will not be justified but will be sour grapes and nothing more.

    5. Spare a thought for the fans....
    We have suffered for 15 years, seeing not just some awful football, but scandals, weird goings-on, the death of a great player, endless managerial changes, general mayhem and until this season, no end in sight. Yes some morons invaded the Watford pitch and most QPR fans will condemn them for it. I would bet you also that most QPR fans, like me, felt very badly for the likes of Luton and Leeds fans when their teams lost points. It's a grim way for the FA to take action unless they really have to, and not something proper fans should wish on each other's clubs.

    Much respect to the Leicester and Sheff Utd fans above for their dignified and kind comments above.

  • Comment number 63.

    Sorry I may be being abit thick.

    But as I read this, this has been going on for a while. Normally if something illegal has been happening and the authorities know about it, it is stopped ASAP.

    So the FA have allowed this to continue and QPR could have points deducted for each game the "illegal" player has played in. Hmmm, the only thing I see is very large barristers' fees!

    Should have been sorted out as soon as the problem appeared! No any decision is a problem multiplied.

  • Comment number 64.

    That should read "Not to make any decision..."

  • Comment number 65.

    Congratulations. Don't worry about the FA they have shown previously that they have no spine to make difficult decisons and will fudge the issue meaning QPR will go up without the need for protracted legal battles; which the FA will lose because they have not done their homework. If Reading go up via the play-offs will it be the first time 2 teams in Hoops have played in the top tier of English football?

  • Comment number 66.

    I have no allegiance to any of the teams involved and am certainly no fan of Warnock, but I would consider it especially harsh on him if the FA did not apply the same rules to QPR as they applied to West Ham in the Tevez saga.

    I note the remarks above stating that the FA have changed the rules. Why? Why did they change the rules AFTER the Tevez affair? Cripes, they had long enough to make that decision in the first place.

    Did the FA subsequently investigate their own decision and conclude that they had made a big ol' mistake? If so, where's the apology from the FA? That's something I'd like to read.

  • Comment number 67.

    If Taarabat is snatched up by a major premier league club, I would expect to see the likes of Carrick or Joe Cole there keeping a QPR premier league status for at least one season. I could see them being better than Blackpool.

  • Comment number 68.

    West Ham weren't docked any points.

    Why should QPR be docked?

  • Comment number 69.

    This case isnt as straight forward as some people are inclined to believe and it surprises me how many people dont no the rules involved with football.

    A third party controls his economic rights , thats ok if it only applies to non-footballing economics , but if it applies to part of his salary from QPR , that is part of his salary is there directly or specifically added to ,go to the third party that is against FA rules . West Ham werent dock points with the Tevez affair because a points deduction was not in place for such an offence at the time .

    QPR can get docked the points and be fined , but as the FA would have to dock points over two the two seasons involved , which they cant go back a year , a token points docking ,2-3 points not enough to effect the table but a gesture so if it happens to another club they can increase this without casing a conflict of outcome, a fine and a warning should be the outcome .

    Somebody mentioned barristors ? The action of bring the FA to court is a hard one , not least because any club that does so can be expelled from the league , its in the rules . Not only this the FA involved can be removed from their association (UEFA in this case) if this happens , removing all international and club teams competitions if there is a legal case against them .

    So hopefully we can expect a common sense approach from the FA , a smack on the wrist and a nice shiney trophy for QPR . And hopefully ALL clubs will start to fully adhere to the rules and the laws of the game .

  • Comment number 70.

    as a norwich fan this is obviously awkward to comment on without bias as we are 'potentially' caught up in this too. as nobody here knows EXACTLY what the club have done wrong, if indeed they have done anything wrong at all, i find it amazing how many on here seem to know EXACTLY how to approach the situation!

    personally, if qpr have broken the rules they have to be punished. if that means a point deduction because they have say broken all 7 or they have lied about registration or whatever it may be then tough - rules are rules and if you ignore them or cover things up then you have to be punished or what is the point in rules at all? if this is an administrative error and an accident has been made then drop it and lets get on with the football.

    however, if it was this minor, do we really think it would have taken this long? doubtful. if my club norwich win the league or gain 2nd place by default i will be embarrassed but i won't be ashamed. why should i be? we've not made the error!

    this notion that ALL cardiff and norwich fans want them deducted points is a joke. most people would like to think qpr haven't done anything wrong and will be cleared of all the offences and the league will have been contested fairly over 46 games. but if they have messed up, i'm sorry, but they have to be punished for that, or its not a level playing field! whether its the supporters who end up suffering is not going to be taken into account here - when is it ever!!??

    what i would like to ask qpr fans, is are you not embarrassed by your owners having got you into such a pickle as i don't get the impression too many rangers fans are taking this too seriously and i would worry they could be in for a shock. even warnock, a man i simply cannot stand, despite doing a wonderful job this season, has been drawn in - his notion that he had spoken to an outside source (which just happened to be the clubs barrister) made me slap my forehead in a homer simpson style! well, obviously HE is going to tell you what you want to hear - he is defending you!!

    as i state above, i genuinely hope you have done nothing wrong and we can concentrate, on what has been, a very competitive and exciting division drawing to a fair and footballing conclusion rather than in the courtroom.

  • Comment number 71.

    West Ham weren't docked any points, but DID if memory serves me had to pay approx £20m compensation to Sheffield United in an out of court settlement (just checked online reports).

    If QPR are guilty and get away with still being promoted, the sides in third and seventh could almost certainly sue. The resulting settlement should there be one won't be as high as the Tevez one in that it deals more in ifs and maybes, certainly for the side in seventh, but I would expect it to be substantial.

    Post 41 - who has no doubt done some digging and found out I'm a Burnley fan (true) in reference to my earlier post. Can I clarify that whilst we may yet finish in seventh I have absolutely no desire for us to go up instead because being on 67 points we haven't been good enough and based on our Board's experience of a year in the top flight we would probably blow the financial rewards anyway! If seventh does end up becoming sixth I hope it isn't us. So I write purely as a neutral in hoping for a stinging punishment if guilty which would help to clean up football.

  • Comment number 72.

    Surely if there was any serious wrong doing, a decision would have been reached already? As I understand it the FA were approached by QPR regarding the transfer of Fraulin and I assume recieved some guidance regarding the procedure, are the FA saying that QPR then went ahead and broke the rules? Surely where transfers are concerned could there not be a mechanism that ensures each stage of the process is checked by an FA rep so that we don't get to this rediculous situation again.

  • Comment number 73.

    Anyone who wonders why this needs to take a long time should search the BBC archives for crash-gate and read up on what the QPR owners were doing in F1 a couple of years ago and the legal cases that were spawned from disciplinary procedures against the Renault team and its officials.

  • Comment number 74.

    5. Spare a thought for the fans....

    If a disciplinary panel is going to have their hearts melted by fans, who would (undeniably) suffer greatly if promotion was snatched away from them, they have no business on a disciplinary commitee in the first place.

    They are appointed to judge whether there has been a breach of any regulations, not to take pity on Rangers fans who have been deprived of top flight football for fifteen years.

    If there has been an infringement, the club MUST be punished appropriately. If not, what kind of message does it send out to clubs like Hereford, Luton, Bournemouth and many others who have been deducted points and or heavily fined for a variety of rule contraventions.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    Fieldo: I would hate Reading to be in the Prem with us just because of the similar kit, we are after all the Super Hoops :) We may have been in the old Div.1 together, not sure.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well Mr Warnock. Remember all your bleating about the Tevez affair? I hope you get what's coming to you.

  • Comment number 79.

    QPR deserve to be promoted but they deserve to be duducted 15 points aswell, Warnock knows what it's like for the teams like Cardiff and Norwich, it will guarantee them promotion. Warnock got mad about the Tevez transfer to West Ham, and got a load of money out of it, so Cardiff and Norwich will either get automatic promotion or, a load of money!

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    point deduction should take place dont you think? i mean he was an illegible player wasnt he?

  • Comment number 82.

    Where has this 15 points deduction theory come from? I'll tell you where it came from, The Sun. Yes The Sun, who got the scoop from an anonymous source in the FA who have denied that the alleged source speaks for them. Yet this information has been seized upon as gospel by suggestible types across the web and those desperate fans of NPC teams not good enough to win promotion on the pitch. Wait until Friday, the facts will be made public by the FA, and not sneaked out as uncorroborated, unattributable tittle-tattle on the back pages of a low grade daily comic.

  • Comment number 83.

    being a norwich fan (and a happy one at that) i have to say i feel for qpr. this possible 'points' issue would only hurt the fans. also, if the points do come off and you end up in the play offs the club(s) you face are going to be facing a better team than they would have originally. this upsets the whole promotion issue. i feel there has to be a better punishment system and one not felt by the fans of the club.

  • Comment number 84.

    @ anthony
    No he was not an 'illegible' (sic) player. If Faurlin was ineligible do you think QPR would have risked playing him again after the story broke?
    QPR have not been charged with anything worthy of a points deduction. No ineligible players, no financial irregularities, no unfair advantage gained that would have to be corrected in the league table. It's either a fine or not guilty.

  • Comment number 85.

    As a Luton Town fan can I say just how predictable yet slightly nausea inducing it is to see the league and FA make idle threats to the big clubs about docking points, then back out,
    yet have no hesitation in sending smaller clubs to the wall and out of the league by docking disproportionate levels ( 2x15 ) for a combination of 2 offences - one of which was more minor than QPR's - and a lot less corrupt than the West Ham Tevez deal.

    Our FA is a disgrace - only fit for some banana republic. No wonder the premiership clubs want to run their own affairs - between Sepp Blatter and the FA there is not a decent governing authority to have any respect for...

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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