'Right man to take the club forward'
QPR are hoping the arrival of new manager Jim Magilton will win over sceptical fans who have yet to sign up for next season. Fewer than two thirds of last year's season ticket holders had renewed their seats...
QPR are hoping the arrival of new manager Jim Magilton will win over sceptical fans who have yet to sign up for next season.
Fewer than two thirds of last year's season ticket holders had renewed their seats ahead of last week's announcement that the former Ipswich boss would succeed Paulo Sousa at Loftus Road.
But that uncertainty has been eased by the appointment of Magilton, who is expected to confirm John Gorman, the ex-England assistant manager, as his number two later this week.
Rangers' deputy managing director Ali Russell told the Times: "The board feel that Jim is the right man to take the club forward. He's got experience and a good understanding of this league and we're really excited that he's joined us.
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"I think there's no doubt that confirming who the manager is, what shape the team's going to be in next year, who's coming and who's going, are aspects of the game that excite fans.
"That excitement, we're hoping, will build and build towards the start of the season and people will want to go out and make their commitment to getting involved next year.
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"This time last year we'd only just launched season tickets for the season ahead and we're now far ahead of where we've ever been at this stage of the summer.
"I personally appreciate the commitment people are making - the support we're getting from season ticket holders helps us to remain ambitious and go for what we want, which is promotion to the Premier League.
"One of the first things Jim will do is sit down with the board, look at the team and look at his needs and talk through that very logically with them."
Rangers finally settled on their man almost two months after Sousa's sacking and the 40-year-old Ulsterman becomes the eighth person to take charge of the team since Ian Holloway was dismissed in 2006.
Interestingly, Magilton - who played for Oxford, Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich - is the first of them since John Gregory to hold the title of manager rather than coach.
A key player in the Ipswich side that won promotion to the Premier League under George Burley and qualified for Europe in successive years, Magilton hung up his boots to take over the manager's role from Joe Royle back in 2006.
The Tractor Boys finished mid-table in each of his three seasons at the helm, narrowly missing the play-offs in 2008 and failing to improve on that last year, which resulted in his sacking in April.
Passing football was always one of the hallmarks of Magilton's Ipswich sides, though - and the new boss should find it easier to reproduce that at Loftus Road once the new pitch is completed.
"QPR have always played attractive football and a key part of that is having a good surface," added Russell. "But we had some horrendous weather conditions last year.
"That, coupled with heavy usage, is bound to affect the pitch. So we're spending significant funds on having it redeveloped and dealing with some components that have been problematic over a number of years.
"We need to get the surface up to scratch and protect it - and we have moved the reserves away from Loftus Road for the coming year to give the pitch as much of a break as possible.
"We want to be able to use the pitch at the end of the season for different organisations and fan groups and that's all part of being a club for our local community, giving people an opportunity to play there.