The following article appeared in ‘The Telegraph’ earlier in the week:
‘In a frank assessment of the club’s calamitous Premier League season, the QPR skipper also said the squad assembled by Mark Hughes last summer was woefully unbalanced, packed with players who had no experience of playing for “smaller” clubs and overloaded with midfielders.
“I’m not sure what the manager (Hughes) was thinking of,” Hill said.
Hill insisted he and the other less expensive members of the QPR squad would have no issue with their team mates earning wages of £60,000-a-week and more – if only they had produced the skill and effort to justify those salaries.
QPR owner Tony Fernandes had openly questioned the attitude and commitment of some of the club’s players, while manager Harry Redknapp said he feared the club could be relegated next season if major changes are not made.
Now the captain Clint Hill has added his voice to those warnings. He told Telegraph Sport: “If you can get £60,000 or £70,000 a week, fair play but what you need to do to justify that money is show an effort, a spirit, and togetherness on the pitch.”
“What players get wages-wise has never been an issue to me for as long as I’ve been in the game. People get different money for different abilities, but you need to show 100 per cent effort on the pitch no matter what you earn, be it, £5,000, £10,000 or £60,000. It’s about fans seeing everyone putting that effort in and that’s been one of the main concerns.”
QPR, who narrowly avoided the drop at the end of the 2011-12 season, bolstered their squad during last summer’s transfer window with a dozen players, including Champions League winners Park Ji-Sung and Julio Cesar, arriving at Loftus Road.
“The lads that were recruited have won European Cups, Premier Leagues and FA Cups, you name it,” continued the 34-year-old central defender, who is expected to agree a new one-year deal with Rangers.
“Those players needed to come in and give us help because their experience was invaluable but for whatever reason it just didn’t click. Whether we were playing the wrong system I’m not sure. You need players with good ability and skill in any team, but you also need a few dogs of war to battle and I don’t think we’ve had the right mix from day one so that’s been the most frustrating thing really.”
“Some players have come in from some of the biggest clubs in the world where they’ve been used to having a lot of the ball so it’s been foreign to them when they’re spending huge parts of matches digging in or having to defend. Some are really good players who in other sides would’ve been outstanding.”
“When you look at the players we used during the first 2-3 months it was a struggle,” added Hill who admitted that he had been “embarrassed” by QPR’s failure to win a league match until mid-December.
“We couldn’t find our best 11 because we had too many players and there was constant chopping and changing trying to find that. You need consistency to get anything in football so our problems built up from those first few months.”
“Looking at it we were heavily loaded in midfield but we only really had 3 out-and-out strikers, Bobby (Zamora), Andy Johnson and Djibril Cisse and the whole thing has been frustrating.”
Hill stressed that the players alone did not deserve to take the blame for the club’s failings.
“With so many changes to personnel, you can’t expect them to gel that quickly in one of the hardest leagues in the world. It doesn’t work like that,” he added.
“Don’t forget many of those arriving needed time to adapt not only on the pitch, but to a new language and a new culture so it was always going to be difficult. I’m just not sure what the manager (Mark Hughes) was thinking at the time trying to integrate so many new faces.”’
Steven Sutcliffe – The Telegraph