Year Flashback: Briatore "Involvement" & Ainsworth Oct 31, 2009 7:18:13 GMT
Post by QPR Report on Oct 31, 2009 7:18:13 GMT
A Year ago
A Look at Briatore Involvement and Impact at QPR ...Briatore on Wanting Ainsworth-
The Times/Kaveh Solhekol - November 1, 2008 - Flavio Briatore keen to make Gareth Ainsworth manager-
Flavio Briatore wants to make Gareth Ainsworth the manager of Queens Park Rangers. The QPR chairman has been so impressed with Ainsworth since he became the caretaker manager last Friday that he is preparing to offer him a full-time contract. “I want to work with Gareth,” Briatore told The Times yesterday, “He has done a perfect job so far.” QPR beat Birmingham City 1-0 on Tuesday despite playing the second half with ten men and drew 0-0 with Reading in Ainsworth's first match in charge last Saturday.
- “The commitment of the players since last weekend has been fantastic,” Briatore said. “This is the QPR I want to see. Everyone says that we need someone with experience but sometimes you have to give someone a chance to get experience.”
- Ainsworth, the 35-year-old player-coach, was thrust into the spotlight when Briatore dismissed Iain Dowie after their relationship broke down. Briatore has been accused of making Dowie's position untenable by telling him which players to pick but the Italian insists that he did nothing wrong.
- “I was not happy with results and the football we were playing,” he said. “Surely I'm allowed to ask the manager why don't you play some of the players we signed in the summer? This is not picking the team, it is just normal discussion between people in sport.” The Times
The Independen/Matt Bright - Briatore's hands-on approach to running QPR-
When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea he splashed out £110m on Juan Sebastian Veron, Claude Makelele, Joe Cole et al. When the Abu Dhabi United Group bought Manchester City they signed Robinho for £32m, made an offer for Dimitar Berbatov and inquired after Fernando Torres. When Flavio Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal, combined wealth estimated at £50bn plus, acquired Queen's Park Rangers last autumn, their first transfer window resulted in £5m expenditure on seven players. The big signings were Matthew Connolly and Rowan Vine at £1m apiece.
- Clearly this was one billionaire takeover that was not going to be a flashy, arriviste, crass, subversion of footballing values. Instead, explained Briatore, the £14m takeover aimed at a steady development. "QPR is a very nice story," he said. "You start from the bottom and reorganise the club. It's much more sexy to take a Championship club up [to the top]."
- Outsiders may be surprised but many QPR fans applauded this outlook. Dave Thomas, veteran founder and editor of the two-decade old fanzine, A Kick Up The R's, explained: "We all had a good laugh about being 'the richest club in the world' and all that, but once we thought about it most people thought, 'We don't want to sell out our soul, we don't want to become another Chelsea'. A lot of what Briatore said about running the club along proper economic lines made sense."
- However, the mood at Loftus Road has soured. This campaign season-ticket prices were raised significantly then, three matches into the season, so were match-day admissions with the most expensive tickets costing £50, a new mark in the Championship. There was a sense that this was not value for money, either on the pitch, where the summer signings were largely free transfers, or off it. The ground has been treated to a lick of paint, and the corporate areas given a stylish makeover, but most of the seats remain cramped with many suffering from partially obstructed views. A fans' protest has since brought a reduction in ticket prices but at the cost of revealing an apparent split in the philosophy of the club's owners. Briatore, who is a mere multi-millionaire, is seen as the man behind the increase. Amit Bhatia, son-in law of the unfeasibly rich Lakshmi Mittal and vice-chairman of QPR Holdings (Briatore is chairman), is regarded as proposing the reduction. Ecclestone, meanwhile, appears to have lost interest.
- Of the three, Briatore is the most heavily involved. He is the visible presence at matches, at the training ground, and in the dressing room. He is the man who brings celebrities and glamour models to Loftus Road and, it is alleged, has pondered changing the club's name to London Rangers, or Queen's Park City, to capitalise on its location. It has been noted that the words "Loftus Road, London" appear on the redesigned crest.
- Briatore has spoken of wanting to create "an international brand" and a "boutique club". QPR, he boasts, is the talk of the F1 paddock. Having run a successful F1 team [Benetton] he obviously relishes now having a football club. Defender Peter Ramage said of Briatore, "I have never encountered an owner who is so hands on." That involvement, it is now suspected, extends to having a say on team selection. Briatore is on his fourth manager. Having worked his way through John Gregory, Luigi de Canio and Iain Dowie he is now weighing up caretaker Gareth Ainsworth's suitability. To cynics Ainsworth's chances are growing, not because QPR have taken four points from two daunting fixtures – away to free-scoring Reading, and at home to then-leaders Birmingham – but because he has done so with a team which appears heavily influenced by Briatore. The chairman already appeared to dictate transfers.
- De Canio, having come from Serie A, intimated he was happy to defer to others but it is understood Dowie's pre-season spending plans were abruptly dismissed by the board. One player who did arrive was Daniele Tommasi, the 34-year-old former Italian international, on a free transfer from relegated La Liga club Levante. He failed to play under Dowie but made the bench at Reading last Saturday and started against Birmingham in midweek. The scorer of that game's only goal was Samuel Di Carmine. Another summer arrival, on loan from Fiorentina, the Reading game was his first league start.
- Back in the team at the Madejski was Daniel Parejo, on loan from Real Madrid. It was his first start since September. Another presumed Briatore recruit, Emmanuel Ledesma, on loan from Genoa, was in the team against Birmingham. It is widely believed that Dowie, who won eight and drew four of 15 matches in charge, left following a row with Briatore on team selection. "I don't pick the team," said Briatore subsequently. Ainsworth said, after the Reading game, "I picked the team. There are discussions about the team and individual players with Flavio Briatore – he has put a lot of money in the club and wants to know how his investments are going – but I have the final input on who goes out there." It may be that, as with Roman Abramovich, Briatore merely wants to be kept in the loop and feel an insider among football professionals.
- Or he tells Ainsworth: "You pick the team, just make sure these guys are in it." Either way it is working. On the message boards of QPR fan websites outright dissent is now mingled with admiration for the team selections, whoever is making them.
- Rangers, who are at Ipswich today, are on the brink of the play-off places. But so are most Championship clubs. It is unlikely that Terry Venables, Roberto Donadoni, Roberto Mancini or Gianluca Vialli, all of whom have been linked with the post, would brook any interference. Nor would they take kindly to Briatore shouting instructions to the dug-out from the directors' box, which eyewitness accounts suggest happened on Tuesday. Thomas, whose dedication is such he commutes from Bolton to games, said: "No one is burning effigies but there's now an enormous amount of cynicism and mistrust of Briatore. There is a perception that he is only interested in his celebrity friends. We're a bit uneasy now."
- New faces How Italian has influenced the line-up
*Iain Dowie's last starting XI (21 Oct, v Swansea, 0-0)
*Ainsworth/Briatore's first starting XI (25 Oct, v Reading, 0-0)
Samuel Di Carmine (right)
*The new introductions
Matthew Connolly (signed January 2008 from Arsenal – Undisclosed)
Samuel Di Carmine (July 2008 from Fiorentina – Loan)
Daniel Parejo (August 2008 from Real Madrid – Loan)