QPR must learn lessons of lucky escape

IT’S something of an understatement to point out that QPR fans have had their emotions fed through the wringer in recent weeks.

Anxiety lingered almost until kick-off on the final day that their team’s astonishing, relentless advance to the Football League title might yet be nullified.

It’s not surprising that an outpouring of relief and joy, held in check for the previous week, greeted the FA’s timely announcement that the club would face no points deduction.

And, although euphoria is still at a high level, sooner or later the Rangers faithful might want to reflect on why this uncomfortable, embarrassing episode ever came to pass.

So far, many supporters have lashed out at the FA who – while their handling of this matter leaves a good deal to be desired – have actually displayed extreme leniency in the sentence they handed down.

A total fine of �875,000 and a warning? Hardly worth mentioning when QPR are guaranteed somewhere in the region of �60m as members of the Premier League next season.

All credit to the club’s legal team that they ensured Rangers escaped with such a minimal punishment. Yet the fact remains that they were found guilty on two counts – seeking to use an unauthorised agent and bringing the game into disrepute.

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Not for the first time, the name of Queens Park Rangers has been dragged through the mud. And mud sticks.

Who is responsible for that? Not the FA. Not the media, as some seem to think.

It’s well past time that the Loftus Road board learned some lessons, took responsibility for restoring QPR’s reputation and ensured that the club are never involved in this kind of murky affair again.

That means insisting that transfers are the province of the manager, NOT chairman Gianni Paladini.

Maybe when Luigi de Canio, a coach with no knowledge of the English league, was in charge, it made sense for Paladini to recruit players, but it’s a very different matter now.

Not only is Neil Warnock one of the most experienced managers in the English game, he even appointed a QPR chief scout for the first time in years.

Getting the players Warnock wants has been key to Rangers’ success this season, but they have still continued to sign others he doesn’t particularly want. Pascal Chimbonda and Giorgios Tofas come to mind.

Yes, there have been some Paladini signings that have worked – but those are dwarfed by a lengthy list of disasters including Zesh Rehman, Nick Ward, Matteo Alberti, Alessandro Pellicori and literally dozens more.

How much more expensive could those blunders be at Premier League level? Make no mistake, it will be the manager, rather than Paladini, who shoulders the blame when things go wrong.

And let’s not forget who decided that the club could afford to dispense with their long-serving, well-respected secretary Sheila Marson – on whose watch the Faurlin fiasco would surely never have happened.

Incredibly, Paladini still seems to think he did nothing wrong. But the findings of the independent regulatory commission suggest otherwise – and have given QPR a second chance to put their house in order.

The club’s owners should be grateful for that. Now they are dining at the top table, they need to smarten up their act – and that means sidelining Paladini right now.