Have QPR fallen back on bad habits this summer?
SEE MORE: Greatest football team of all time! Check out the best XI of the 21st Century
Premier League football can be a harsh game at times. It’s a game that rarely takes prisoners, a stage where any mistake is punished.
Eighteen months ago, when Queens Park Rangers were completing their quiet slide down to the Championship, the critics were quick to mock the club’s approach to life in the Premier League.
Fast forward to this coming season, and Harry Redknapp’s side are at risk of falling by the wayside once again.
After scraping survival twelve months earlier, the club’s disastrous 2012-13 campaign is not one that will live long in the memory of many fans.
Both Mark Hughes and Redknapp after him put their faith in names: big-money players who all spectacularly failed to deliver – the likes of Jose Bosingwa, Christopher Samba, and Park Ji-Sung – the list goes on.
Rangers’ supremo Tony Fernandes paid out huge transfer fees and huge wages that he and the club could not afford; they spent aimlessly, bringing in player after player in an attempt to put right their problems.
All they actually managed to achieve was to alienate the players that had originally earned them promotion. Shaun Derry, Clint Hill, Paddy Kenny and many others were slowly forgotten, and were replaced by players who, at best, were hopelessly out of form and, at worse, were simply there to collect their money and move on.
The playing squad was changed from top to bottom, while virtually every other area of the club – the facilities, the backroom staff etc. were neglected. When you see a new face in the changing room each week, it can’t help the morale of those seeing things fall apart around them.
Now, back in the Premier League – promoted via the play-offs after being heavy favourites to win the Championship with ease – and everything is feeling worryingly familiar.
Their squad is still littered with players who have all, arguably, seen their best days come and go. Are Richard Dunne, Joey Barton, Karl Henry, Jermaine Jenas, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Bobby Zamora still Premier League quality players?
Perhaps only time will tell. While the additions of Steven Caulker and Rio Ferdinand look impressive on paper, the former was relegated with Cardiff City last season, while the latter is now 35-years-old, and spent most of his summer as a TV pundit.
Keeping hold of Remy would come as a surprise boost, but his wages would be a terrible drain on their resources, while the £6m fee they recently paid for Cardiff’s Jordan Mutch also seems a little on the steep side.
The term ‘over the hill’ is not one that is nice to hear in football, but if Redknapp fails to recruit some fresh, young talent before the start of the new season, that phrase could be referring to his team’s Premier League chances.
A 0-1 defeat to Hull City on the opening day of the season leaves QPR already on the back foot.