QPR president Harold Winton loses cancer battle
By Dave McIntyre HAROLD Winton, QPR s honorary president who funded the club s signings of Dan Shittu and Marc Bircham, died on Monday afternoon. Winton, who had been suffering from cancer, paid for Rangers signing of striker Doudou in 2001 along with so
By Dave McIntyre
HAROLD Winton, QPR's honorary president who funded the club's signings of Dan Shittu and Marc Bircham, died on Monday afternoon.
Winton, who had been suffering from cancer, paid for Rangers' signing of striker Doudou in 2001 along with sons Matthew and Alex.
That year he was also part of a consortium which attempted a takeover of the club but failed to reach an agreement with former owner Chris Wright.
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After Rangers came out of administration, he continued to provide financial assistance and worked on behalf of the club during difficult times.
Winton funded Shittu's arrival from Charlton in 2002 and agreed to provide cash to bring in Bircham, who realised a lifelong dream by signing for the Rs.
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After a spell as a QPR director, Winton resigned from the board in 2004 following a series of behind-the-scenes rows, and was given the title of honorary life president in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the club.
Along with two other major shareholders, Winton later agreed to help fund the signings of Andrew Davies from Middlesbrough and Lee Camp from Derby, but deals to sign them collapsed at the last minute.
Previously a close ally of Ian Holloway - who he battled to keep in a job on numerous occasions - Winton was instrumental in him being axed as manager in 2006.
He publicly called for Holloway to be replaced after failing to persuade chairman Gianni Paladini to remove him.
Winton had a tempestuous relationship with Paladini. Despite being supportive of the Italian, he was vehemently opposed to the Paladini-led coup of 2005, which led to the ousting of Bill Power as chairman and chief executive Mark Devlin.
Winton pointed to serious problems at Wimbledon and Stoke City after those clubs came under foreign control, and unsuccessfully attempted to broker an agreement between the warring factions.
He also had serious concerns about the Flavio Briatore-led group which took over the club in 2007.
At the time, he was the largest shareholder outside of the Italian/Monaco-based owners and tried in vain to stall Briatore's bid to take total control.
Power last night described Winton as "a unique, lovable rascal who can never be replaced.
"His infectious love of the R's and how he and his boys helped us was what brought me to the club. He was a man who just wanted what was good for QPR."
Devlin said: "He cared deeply and passionately about QPR. He was a real old-school gentleman, and great fun to chat with. The club has lost one of its foremost characters, and will be the poorer for Harold's passing.