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Thursday, September 13, 2007

QPR Chairman Paladini Interviewed - The Complete Interview (Questions And Answers)

QPR Chairman Paladini was interview by QPR fan, Pete at his WeAreTheRangersBoys website
The complete four-part Q&A is being reprinted here, with permission.


First of all, I would like to thank the chairman of Queens Park Rangers Football club, who gave up his time to speak to myself and a fellow QPR fan on September 11th 2007, exclusively to wearetherangersboys.com...

(Q) Did you play for Napoli, Juventus and the Italian National squad

(Answer) So many people make a big things about this, everyone knows me in Italy, all Italians know my connection with football, my father wanted me to play for Naples, I was there at a very early age ( Napoli), until I broke my knee-cap. I was their for 7 years, from about 13 years of age until 21. I went to the army in that time and come back during that period. It was the time when everyone wanted to come to England, the time of The Beatles, the mini-skirt etc, I toured with Napoli with 7 or 8 other players and we played friendlies against clubs like Aston Villa. That was roughly 1967. Someone put up that I was an Italian superstar, that was absolute rubbish, that got me into so much trouble it was publicised on all web-sites. That was absolute bull...Never Juventus and Italy. I was never a big star

(Q) Did you get married over here?

(Answer) We got married over here , then moved back to Italy, then soon after, moved back again.

(Q) When you finished playing you then got into property, is this true?

(Answer) I have never been in property, absolute rubbish. My first love has always been football. At one stage a friend of my wife, he had nightclubs in Birmingham. Thats how I made a bit of money and met Gordon Cowans and Paul Rideout in 1981.

[b](Q)[/b] How did you become a football agent

(Answer) I was working with Dennis Roach, the best agent around at that time. Only FIFA agent at that time. ( I worked also for him as a interpreter) The first player, I did with him was Romario the young Brazilian to PSV Eindhoven at the age of 18 after the World Cup, I also worked on Liam Brady to Juventus. Platt, Elliott from Chelsea, plenty of players.

He had top players like Glenn Hoddle, Mark Hughes also at the time. I was making good friends in the football world.

I realised money to be made in being a football agent, then started to get involved myself.

People say I was involved in property, but the truth is I bought/invested in properties, through the work of being a football agent. In those days you could make a bit of money. I would buy a house and the club would pay the rent for the player.
Like for Ravennelli for example. After 2-3 years, the property is bought.

I was involved in the Gattuso deal with Glasgow Rangers and WBA player that was a very good deal
(personal note PD, hard to translate the WBA player Gianni mentioned)

(Q) You then decided to you wanted to be a chairman of a football club?

(Answer) No, not true. I retired. I went to my house in Lanzarote in the winter, and my place in the midlands in the summer. My daughter had a child who has cerebral palsy, he cannot walk. Nobody can understand unless it happens to you, my wife had to help and life was very difficult. I do not want sympathy, but this has happened to me in a relative short space of time

My wife had double cancer and needed chomeotherapy
My daughter has child with the cerebral palsy
My son was hit by car and broke his back, and has to have injections for the rest of his life
The court case, where we all stood like criminals
My mother died before the Leicester game that was a very sad day, very emotional. We won that day, but the score was irrevelent
The court case, where we all stood like criminals.

(Q) did you wear bullet proof vest?
He then goes to the side- door to show me the vest in question

(Answer) If the gun didn't kill you this vest would kill you, its so tight and uncomfortable

(Q) Did you ever think to yourself that you would just get up and leave and it was not worth the hassle

(Answer) It was a terrible time, the police said to me if you leave they win. For the good of the club you stay on. The police told me , I would be alright. I had the love of my family.

I came here to be part of the club, never to be chairman of the club

(Q) Some people would say that you planned to oust Bill Power from the club, so you could be chairman?

With all respect, when I took over with Antonio we let Bill Power and Mark Devlin run the club. I trust Bill with all my heart. I spend more time with him, then all my family put together. I respect the man and I feel sorry that things did not work out at Swindon Town, he lost money with that venture.

(Q) What about bringing Dunga over for a boardroom coup?

(Answer) This is not true, at the time we needed to take the club forward, we needed to pay bills. We decided to put in £250,000 each, at the time it was myself, Antonio, Zanotti, McGrath, Power and Dunga. Bill Power and Mcgrath did not want to do this. We live in a civilised society. No-one forced anyone.

They could have bought our shares. They resigned, but Bill and I get on extremely well, so that was then, this is now. What happened shortly afterwards was that people tried to discredit me on some messageboards, plus certain individuals not involved with the boardroom twisted what actually happened. At least, everyone on the board at that time, knows what happened and that is all that matters.


Q) Do you use email or go onto messageboards?

(Answer) I do read my emails, but I do not go onto messagebaords. In regards to email I will give 2 reasons why I do not respond
(1) I cannot do my job properly, if keep responding all day
(2) My English spelling is not that great

(Q) How has the last 12-18 months been

My main objective has been to take this club forward, I got up in the morning to try and bring investors into the club. People treat you like s.hit because you are QPR, they read newspapers, they know we were in so much debt. It was so depressing, we had 10 million pound debt and people would just waste my time. I wish, I never see these people again. This ABC loan was a joke. I knew we were in debt but not to the extent that after 10 years, we would still need another 10 million!! When I came it was 10% interest, it did go to 12%, but I had to do something.
People like Wright, Blackburn and Davies say they love the club, what did they do?

(Q) Chris Wright is still live president?

(Answer) He will not be life president after the next home game, thats for sure. Life president for what? It is Flavio and Bernie's club now, they have full control on what to do.

(Q) Has the ABC loan been paid?

(Answer) All been paid, the club, the ground belongs to them. All responsibilities lies with them now. Its easier for them to go to their banks and get their own guarantees. We don't have to worry. The club belongs to Flavio and Bernie now.

(Q) Now you have done the deal, why don't you just leave?

(Answer) For me its now a job, I told them I'll give you my money (which I have done). I will move on.

Flavio told me, We buy clubs, we buy businesses, we don't run them ourselves, we need people to run them for us. Flavio has restaurants, boutiques, place in Kenya, New York, Venice.

Look, when you are negiotiating a deal to takeover the club, you do not set an agenda that the only condition for the takeover, is that you keep your job as chairman. To be truthful, they would tell me to f..k off. To be honest, I have more power now then before. I don't have Antonio.

Now, I have Alexandro (my spelling) who is here 2/3 days a week, Flavio rings me all the time. You have to communicate to have a successful business. ( At this point Gianni checks the phone and points out about 5 calls that day)

(Q) What is it like now, compared to before?

Fantastic, no worries about wages, tax bills, invoices not to be paid. It is now not my responsibility. I've had sleepless nights for the last 6 months especially, but this has been ongoing for the last 2-3 years.

(Q) How did you meet Flavio?, Who approached who?

(Answer) I knew Flavio was interested in football. I knew he tried to buy Oxford United sometime back, as I am friends you know with Jim Smith. I then found out, he was also interested in Roma or Parma. I had dinner with a close friend Claudio Raneri ( ex small team down the road manager) I was so desperate for new investors, I even asked, if he was interested!! Through a mutual friend I asked to meet Flavio. No good over the phone, as he would not have time to talk to anyone

(At this point Gianni provides a name of an Italian restaurant and a Sunday Italian TV programme, where they met once or twice, my Italian is useless, so I can't spell them).

They arranged to meet in Flavio's office near Harrods called Billionaire. (The following bit is quiet funny), armed with papers, a brouchure, QPR shirt everything I went to see him at his Billionaire office, that was back In April.

I knew well before that point Antonio was no longer going to put anymore money in, Zanotti, Dunga all finished.

Fortunately, we sold Cook otherwise we would have gone bust. I built the story up a little bit for his sale, being a past agent. We only had one serious offer for him from Fulham. A smaller one earlier on with Derby County. Its unfortunate, he is now out for 3 months. The original operation went wrong and now they have operated on his knee again. I did try and get him back on loan last week.

(Q) What about the £250,000 donated?

This is a story built up by the papers. ( doesn't actually say if did or didn't)The deal for Cook could reach 4.5 million pounds with Fulham. Okay, it was 2.5 million up front, but we could get extras. People have to understand if you value a player at 10 million you will get less, 2 million pounds you will get 1 million, you know. We will get more from Fulham if they reach top 10 or Europe, plus other incentives. Its not alot but its something.

(Q) When Did Antonio stop putting money in?

Don't get me wrong, without Antonio this club would have gone under, bust 2 years ago, but he was representing 7-8 people all based in Monte Carlo. I was the highest shareholder on their own at 15%. I kept trying Zanotti but he wouldn't budge, I'd say just pay the loan, he kept saying NO.

(Q) But he lost more from the deal then you?

Yes, because he had put more money in. He gets 4.5 million plus 2 million pounds if we get promoted. He could have easily walked away with nothing.

(Q) What About the Statement Not For Sale, on the day of the Leyton Orient game, How did you convince him to change his mind?

(Answer) I was distraught that day, I went mad, I told him all the hard work I had done. I would go to the papers and tell them it was all his fault. We would have been lynched by the fans, I would have had to disappear if this deal had not gone through. I could not show my face again. I had to convince Antonio, if this deal was not done, that he would lose everything. We were days away from administration. Some people were trying to convince Antonio, we had better offers on the table, when in fact that was all s.hit.

(Q) Had you agreed with Flavio beforehand?

They were supposed to get involved with Arsenal, but told me verbally that we would do the deal for QPR if it fell through. When that happened, we then agreed to move forward. They are business people and did not want any lingering problems with shareholders and wanted everything resolved, and set a deadline. We were hours if not minutes away from that deadline. I didn't think it would go through, even right up to the last minute.


(Q)Is the story true that Sunderland want Dexter Blackstock?

(Answer) Yes, but they are insulting my intelligence if they think, I would sell him for 2 million pounds. We don't need to sell now. He is only 20 years of age and has great talent.

(Q) What about Vine and Clements?

(Answer) would you pay £55,000 a week for Clement or £75,000 a week for Vine?. They want assurances that we buy these players in January now. Thats how much it works out. As it stands I would rather not do the deal for these players

What if, we don't want to keep them, what if they don't fit in. I am inclined not to do them. The whole ball game has changed now, teams know we are the richest club in the championship and they are trying to get more money from us. I know karen Brady well, she is my neighbour, but we won't do this deal.

(Q) What about Scott Sinclair?

(Answer) He has been pencilled in for the Coca Cola Cup game, but we should get him at the end of the month?

(Q) What about Holloway at Plymouth?

(Answer) No, we will get him. Mancienne has spoken with him and I have spoken to Brendon Rogers at small team down the road.

(Q) How does loaning or buying players work?

John Gregory wants the player, I'll do the deal with the player and contact Flavio, simple

(Q) Has Flavio met John Gregory and the players

Yes, he spoke to them today and was very frank. Its not a 3 or 5 year plan, he wants to get promoted "yesterday". We know we need 5 players, we need to get into the Play offs at all cost. Next month will be easier to get loans in.

(Q) What about that Southampton game, it was awful wasn't it? Could the week have affected them more then we think?

No, the players should have given more on that day, I was embarassed. You would have expected them to play with more passion and belief.

Then followed fans Questions

(Q) What was your biggest success and biggest failure at QPR?

(Answer) My biggest success was to keep this club going, all that hard work. Dealing with the current investors Flavio and Bernie, to keep this club out of administration with the resources I had. I am getting small memento at end of season from the Football league. The chairman Brian Mawhinny will provide a trophy for the best work done at a club with so little resource.

My biggest failure, To come to QPR and not look at the books. My choice no-one forced me, but I fell in love with the club at Wycombe away game, then the following home game against Luton Town. I did not know the full extent of how much this club was in the s..hit

(Q) Why did joe Gallen get the sack after good work with the Youth Team?

(Answer) Nothing to do with me, I stand by all my managers and it was JG's decision. I did not like the style of football under Ian Holloway, but I stood by what he wanted. His agent, told me he was interested in the Leicester City job and that was that. If, you remember we lost the last 2 games and the fans started to boo. Then, we had Gary Waddock who is doing well now at Aldershot. I admired what he done at reserve level and felt it was good to give him his chance, he would have done a lot better if he had got the help from senior players like Gallen and Bircham.

(the following was my question)
(Q) How do you feel when ex-players like Ferdinand and Gallen say this club would be better without you?

In the case of les Ferdinand, I respect and admire him as a footballer, but we have never met. It is a shame and a disappointment, that people make judgements when you don't even know them.

In regards to Gallen (included Bircham as well) I had a big argument with them after the home defeat against Wolves. They played c.rap. I told them they were thinking more about shopping at Harrods instead of playing football. I never reply to negative comments from those players anymore. I remember they would laugh and joke after we got beat and I didn't like that.
But, i am learning myself, I dont' reply to them now.

(Q) At the AGM you offered to give back your shares, has this been done?
(Answer) I have at 1p a share.

(Q) Any truth In Wilkins and Vialli coming to QPR?

(Answer) No chance

(Q) What Happened to the Italian Suits?

They are coming next week. The reason why the players never got them last year, was because when we returned fom Italy, Gary Waddock got the sack. John Gregory did not want to give the suits to the players, because he knew he would be getting rid of some players. Whats the point of giving them a suit? They would have run off with them. John and I went to Naples last week and the delivery will be made end of next week. The proper blazers, shirts, trousers etc.


This part is more general questions.

(Q) Will We Have a Press Conference?

(Answer) Flavio has done an interview with Sky Sports, they are not the kind of people to sit in front of cameras. The deal is done and that is that. Both Bernie and Flavio will be at the Plymouth game. They will not be able to come after that, as the last Grand Prix's are on the other side of the world, but after the end of October they will be here all the time.

(Q) Do we have the 75% to make the takeover complete?

Yes, one or two more things to do, but its pretty much done. Flavio and Bernie will have 100% control when its all finished

(Q) What About Ground Changes?, Will we have to stay at another ground for one season?

(Answer) No, the first thing is the chnge of reception, changing rooms all changing, then we we build on the roof to get more supporters in. I think Bernie has enough pull to make this happen. Flavio, wants to sit at the back, after all he is the owner and can do what he wants. We have 12-13,000 supporters coming to the games, but it is getting better. We get in Top 10 January, then the crowds will increase. You know, John Gregory is my friend, but you need results. We've had a terrible start, that is my only worry results.

(Q) How long does John Gregory have, 3-6 months ?

(Answer) Its all about results, I would say games. We have to look to improve. We need to be in Top 10 by the end of the year. Everyone knows what is expected. First game, was fantastic but since then its been terrible.

(Q) What about Car Giant, will they stay on as Sponsors?

They are being a little bit naughty, they now want 2 million pounds and we may have to go to court. They have not paid us anyway, for the orginal sponsorship. That will need to be resolved. Look Flavio, can bring millions to the club with new merchandise, shirts etc, we could (could) have this done by the end of the year. Its all a very different problem now.

(Q) What about offers for the club?

People come here with all kinds of stories all timewasters, Ronnie Rosental got so much publicity for what? We are going into administration and he's getting all the publicity!!. I had one idiot come and try and sell me a Mona Lisa and I am trying to sell the club

(Q) What about the people that are always criticising you?

I Don't look anymore. I have done what I promised, what more can I do? I get along with, many strong supporting fans. These people have stood by me from day one. (makes reference to about 6-7 names, but I've decided to leave them out) I have plenty of supporters who appreciate what I do, so really no point getting into silly arguments.

(Q) One last question, can QPR Report do a Q & A with you?

(Answer) Yes anytime

The season starts with Leicester, we need 3 points..!!

We then finished the interview. I then watched QPR beat Millwall 3-2 in a reserve match, where the star was Hogan the West ham loanee.

On the flat site, in the coming 5 days we are hoping to offer snippets of the interview so that fans can listen to through speakers.

Originally Posted
on WeARetheRangersBoys Mssageboard - Reposted here with permission!

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