QPR chief executive discusses new stadium and transfer strategy
- Credit: Archant
QPR chief executive Phil Beard insists that the club’s survival in a new 40,000-capacity stadium will not be dependent on participation in the Premier League.
Rangers last week revealed plans for a new ground as part of the regeneration project at Old Oak Common. The stadium could be built in time for the 2018-19 season, and would stand as part of the creation of a commercial and residential project larger than Canary Wharf.
The plans have raised questions over QPR’s ability to regularly fill a stadium of such size if they are not in the Premier League – Loftus Road holds just 18,360 – but Beard believes that the plans are financially sound regardless of the division in which Rangers are playing.
“You have to build a business model around every scenario, which is why this has to be more than just a football stadium,” said Beard. “Our ability to generate income from activities outside football will be important.
“We would look to attract a broader fan-base. There will be 8,000 new homes in the area so you would like to think you would be able to get new fans from the local area.
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“We are not wedded to 40,000. There are opportunities to build a modular stadium, so you might start with a slightly smaller stadium and expand as the club develops.
“There is no point in building a new stadium without understanding what we have to achieve on the pitch as well. Premier League stability is the aim.
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“We sold almost exactly the same number of season tickets this season as we did when we were in the Premier League. We can’t decide not to do anything. Staying here at Loftus Road is a difficult option if you want to build anything going forward.”
Beard conceded that QPR can afford no repeat of the scatter-gun spending in the transfer window that led directly to their catastrophic two-year spell in the Premier League.
The CEO believes that next summer could again prove a busy time of rebuilding, particularly if Rangers are promoted – but he insists that, this time around, the club will take a more measured approach to their dealings.
“There is no question that, with every club that goes from the Championship into the Premier League, there have to be some changes to the squad,” he said.
“It’s fair to say that over the last couple of years we have done too much too quickly without giving it the right time and attention to understand what the changes might result in.
“Harry [Redknapp] is very well equipped in that he can identify the type of player, the type of character he wants.
“I don’t foresee a huge amount of activity in January but what I can see is, if things go well and we get promoted, a lot of activity being planned after that.
“But we will be looking for the right type of character and the right type of squad for the Premier League – talented, motivated players who want to play together.
“We were running very fast without spending enough time analysing every decision that we made. You learn from your mistakes and we have learnt a lot. Hopefully the body of the squad will stay, but Harry will want a squad which can survive at any level.”
Beard confirmed that the site of their current ground will become a residential area. He said: “Loftus Road will be developed and the owners and investors will look at the best return. I think we are looking at about 500 residences.”