Battlers Burnley and calamitous QPR’s PL demotions vastly different
Burnley (12/1 with Coral to win the Championship in 2015/16) and QPR (12/1) became the first two clubs to tumble through the Premier League trap-door, and the manner of their respective top-tier demises was certainly an apt snapshot of both teams’ troubled terms.
The cash-strapped Clarets, competing way beyond their means, claimed Hull City’s scalp with a tenacious performance, though it came too little too late, and can look back at campaign in which they undoubtedly gave their all.
Relegation comrades QPR, meanwhile, have certainly had a top-flight return to forget, capped-off by a 6-0 mauling from Manchester City, in which the Hoops lacked heart and defensive nous, two symptoms of their lacklustre season.
East Lancashire club Burnley resisted the urge for a full-scale makeover when promoted as surprise package play-off victors, and Sean Dyche’s hard-working ensemble stayed true to themselves while playing in the Premier League.
It is difficult to criticise where the Clarets went wrong, aside from lack of substantial investment, but 11 league draws that they could not convert into victories, plus lacking sharpness and experience up front, seems to be where they came unstuck.
Dyche does not appear ready to throw in the towel at Turf Moor, however, and can take pride from how his players have performed and kept toiling, even when the rub of the green did not go their way.
“I certainly believe [we can bounce back],” he said. “When I see how the players have performed there is growth. I can only imagine that we will be competitive.
“The energy, the will and belief has been terrific. We have the quality but it’s about finding it at the right times,” added the Clarets coach. “We are a change from the norm. People try to throw money at the problem but we haven’t done that and there are great signs that we can move this club forward.”
Having secured famous results against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, fans could have asked for little more on such a shoestring budget, and the Clarets’ latest foray in to the top flight can, like last time, still be considered a success if it results in investment in infrastructure to prepare for an eventual return.
Used to the physical demands of the Championship and having gained a wealth of valuable experience from their Premier League adventures, Burnley’s biggest challenge ahead will be staving off interest in their current roster.
The Lancashire grafters are already expecting to lose sought-after England Under-21 striker Danny Ings, who had a slightly underwhelming season, despite often being starved of service, and could also fail to retain talented full back Kieran Trippier.
Any compensation fees or sale funds would go down a treat at Turf Moor, however, where Burnley (4/1 to secure promotion from the Championship in 2015/16) have made the most of bargain buys.
Watch Danny Ings’ winner against Hull here:
The same cannot be said of QPR, whose splurge on summer recruits, added to an already strong on paper squad, backfired spectacularly.
Having parted company with former manager Harry Redknapp before promoting inexperienced coach Chris Ramsey, the Hoops, who won just seven games all season, looked set to unravel from early on.
Warning signals were certainly there from the start, but QPR could just not rally, and already looked defeated after Sergio Aguero’s first goal during City’s demolishing of the London club.
Such little fight could be easily attributed to their scatter-gun transfer policy, offering big money for big names, but the Hoops’ problems appear to be inherent throughout the club.
Loan ‘stars’ including Chile wing back Mauricio Isla and his attacking compatriot Eduardo Vargas, plus Argentine Mauro Zarate, will all return to their parent clubs, somewhat reducing the wage bill, while the likes of 30-somethings Joey Barton, Bobby Zamora and Richard Dunne are all out of contract.
This provides the opportunity for fresh faces, and QPR must not fall into the same trap again as they rebuild following a relegation fight that notably lacked bite.
Speaking of his own experiences at the Loftus Road club last campaign, former Hoops and Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas indicated the finger of blame should not solely be pointed at arguably overpaid players.
Writing in his column, Jenas stated: “During my time there, it was not being run as a Premier League club. For too long, the thinking was just to chuck money at the team. There has been no organisation, no vision, and no discipline in the way things were done.
“That is why I think it is unfair to blame relegation on the manager Chris Ramsey, or even his predecessor Harry Redknapp. It is the same with trying to pin it on the players too. There are a lot of good pros in that squad.
“Yes, one or two of them were not quite up for the fight, but most of them did their best – they were just part of a system that was failing them,” said the former Spurs star.
As things stand, the Hoops can at least take a lesson from their disappointing and expensive exploits. Sustained success cannot be rushed or to an extent, be bought, without a solid and reliable set-up. As their defeat at City showed, the Hoops (3/1 to gain promotion back to the Premier League in 2015/16) are far from ready for the demands of being a top-tier team.