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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Six Months Ago II: The Fan Forum with Paladini & Gregory

Six months ago, this week, Chairman Paladini and new manager John Gregory took part in the fan forum. Below is a reminder of what was said. [This was the last open, occasion, Paladini has had with the fans in general; there have been private meetings with fan groups which have been reported on; there have been press interviews; there have obviously been individual encounters, etc. But no comparable interview such as this (or the comprehensive interviews and Q&As the Chairman had last year)

See Also:
October 12, 2006 - Clive Whittingham/QPR Rivals "Fans Forum Round Up"
Fan Forum

Part I:
Part II:

There was talk of finances, transfers and even tears at Thursday evening's Fans Forum.
Hosted by BBC London's Tom Watt, Chairman Gianni Paladini and gaffer John Gregory answered a series of questions in front of an audience of 100 QPR fans.
Here's a selection of what they said...

JG on his group of players: I really couldn't have asked anything more from them. They've worn the shirt with pride and they've done themselves and the Club very proud indeed so far. Without wanting to get carried away, I'd say they've been first class.

GP on the John Gregory appointment: We were in a desperate situation after the defeat to Port Vale. I was looking for a reaction from the players at Vale Park but there was nothing, so we needed to make a change. I've known John for years and I'm convinced it's a fantastic appointment for the Club and for him. The two results since he arrived have been fantastic and the morale within the whole Club has lifted.

GP on the gaffers tears: I walked into his office an hour or so after the Hull victory and he was sitting in his office in pitch dark with a bottle of beer. There were tears rolling down his face and that's when I realised just how much this Club meant to him.

JG on his tears: That afternoon was a two finger salute to the rest of the footballing world bar QPR. It was me saying 'go and do one the lot of you.' It was a huge day for me and things have gone from strength to strength ever since.

JG on the future: I honestly believe that the 24 Club's in this division are fighting a relegation battle. I spent the day with Dave Jones (Cardiff manager) on Wednesday and even though they're riding high at the top of the table, he's still focused on getting to the magical 52 point barrier. No Club can afford to go down - the financial implications are just too great. There's no reason why can't dream of a return to the Premiership, but it's just a question of time. With the right kind of infrastructure we can achieve our goals.

GP on finances: Since this board took over here last September we've paid £14m of bills, creditors and loans to the club. The directors, they will take no interest back on this until the club can afford it. If things go badly then we lose our money. When we first took over last September we paid £4.9m to creditors straight away - we county courts, winding up orders and creditors that I didn't know about left right and centre. Without the directors we'd have gone into administration right then. This summer we've got some money from Danny Shittu and another £600k coming from that in August next year. We got £750k from Danny to spend on £500k on Blackstock, £200k on Rehman, Stewart and Nicky Ward. Then we paid £250k to Charlton as part of their, you know, and 5% to the Football League and the rest went straight to the tax man. The problem is, if you say to people we desperately need this money they won't give you a million, they won't even give you half a million. We're £1.2m down on season tickets which hasn't helped cash-flow, but I'm not worried. If we can be successful under John people will come back and the cash-flow will increase.

JG three weeks in: The last three weeks have been a dream. I've lad to pinch myself at times. All the staff are pulling together in the right direction, yet despite two wins on the spin, we need to keep our feet on the ground.

JG on transfers: I've looked at the squad and we've got 35 players, which is far, far too many. It's not there fault but we need to make some drastic changes. The playing staff needs to be reduced as soon as is possible and we need to improve the strength in depth in terms of our overall quality. Maybe if we can get one or two out on loan - to join the three already of course - then we can do a few deals in January. There are 16 or 17 lads here that are more than good enough to not only keep us in this league but to push on and finish in the top half of it. Keeping them fit isn't easy of course - we've got eight games in 30 days coming up. We may have a little money to spend in the transfer window and we are targeting Premiership clubs in the vicinity for loans

GP on AKUTR'S: I didn't take this man to court. People think I take people to court because the coffee is too cold. There was nothing in the Evening Standard about our win at Southampton, not one line, but there was a big report on the police. We took action against them last season and won and they don't like us because we beat them. The magazine, I never said I would take them to court, I wanted a chance to respond to serious things that were said about me in that magazine, he never had the decency to get in touch with me for a discussion and my side, I'm talking about the journalist here not the man who edits the magazine. If you don't do anything about this, you're guilty. The allegations he made against me are wrong. If they are true then I shouldn't be the chairman. If they are right I'd resign tomorrow.
QPR Official Site

QPR OFFICIAL SITE re Fan Forum - Friday October 13, 2006
Later today ALL QPR fans will be able to watch highlights from last night's Fans Forum for free.
Here on qpr.co.uk we will bring you a ten minute highlight package before providing full audio coverage on Monday.
Due to the length of the Fans Forum, it is extremely difficult to provide full coverage via the website due to the size of the file.
However, as we speak, our friends at BBC London are busy downloading the entire audio from last night onto CD so that we can provide you with full coverage on Monday once the big game against Norwich has been put to bed.
Once again, QPR would like to thank BBC London for all their help in organising last night and also all of the supporters who turned out to make it a successful night

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