The following article by Dave McIntyre appeared in the local Gazette last Friday:-
A Carling Cup defeat to Leyton Orient was the least of QPR’s worries on Tuesday night. The Club faced the very real threat of administration…or worse, after their Monaco-based owners refused to relinquish control. That appeared to wreck Chairman Gianni Paladini’s hopes of a buy-out by a group purportedly headed by Renault boss Flavio Briatore and left Rangers’ future in the balance.
By kick-off time, what had been an increasingly strained relationship between Paladini and major shareholder Antonio Caliendo, had developed into all out war. The pair, who two years ago combined to seize control of the Club, have more recently been at loggerheads to such an extent that they have barely been on speaking terms. Despite months of takeover talks, Caliendo issued a terse statement on the Club website saying that QPR was not for sale. That potentially left Rangers on the brink, with no hope of paying a tax bill of around £1m due at the end of the month.
Paladini and his allies now feel they could yet be able to unveil Briatore as the new owner. Paladini, who is in line for a lucrative contract to run the Club should the deal go through, believes it would make Rangers one of the biggest Clubs in London. Having seemed dead in the water on Wednesday morning, talks resumed and by last Thursday, Caliendo and fellow shareholder Franco Zanotti, appeared to be ready to sign their shares over to a new Italian regime. But Caliendo was also in talks with three other interested parties, all of which are believed to be offering him more money.
There are also fears that Caliendo may be prepared to take QPR to the wall, believing he could salvage something from any sale of the Club’s Ground. Even Paladini’s enemies – and he has many – who remain close to events at QPR, privately admit that the Briatore bid offers by far the best financial package for the Club. But it offers Caliendo – who is owed several million pounds having loaned the Club money over a long period – relatively little and although the champagne has been put back on ice within Loftus Road following Wednesday’s apparent developments, it is Caliendo and his backers who will ultimately decide QPR’s fate.