Departing Bircham Says Gianni Forced Him Out

The following article by Yann Tear appeared in the local Gazette last Friday:-

Marc Bircham insists he bears no hard feelings after being dumped by the Club he loves but blames the breakdown of his relationship with Chairman Gianni Paladini for his departure. The 29 year old midfielder also claims Rangers will never progress while the Italian is on charge. Paladini said that the decision to release Bircham was made entirely by boss John Gregory and expressed surprise at the claim.

Bircham’s five year stay at Loftus Road has come to an end after the Club decided not to offer a new contract when his old one expired at the end of the Season. He is currently eyeing a potential move to Toronto FC in Canada, the country for whom he has played for 17 times at full international level. Back in February, Bircham pleaded for another year but now says he was probably not wanted because of a determination by the Chairman to purge the Club of any legacy from the Ian Holloway regime. “It was time to go”, Bircham admitted to the Gazette. “I have no bad feelings towards the Club, because it’s QPR, although it’s obviously disappointing. The way I was treated in the final year, I knew I’d only be staying until the end of my contract. It was a big stumbling block not seeing eye to eye with the Chairman. You are always swimming against the tide.”

“I suppose if you ask him, he’d say he had no problem with me, but it’s not true. I think it’s rooted in his decision to get rid of Ian Holloway. I think he thought I was close to Ian in the same way that Kevin Gallen was and he knew that I didn’t agree with what happened to Ian when he was put on gardening leave. I felt that after all he’d done for the Club, Ian deserved to be treated professionally. Gianni claimed that Ian was cheating on him by wanting to talk to Leicester. But he didn’t do anything wrong.”

Looking back to when things began to go wrong for him, Bircham said, “I was suddenly put on the transfer list at the end of the Season before last. They said it was because of money troubles I had to go and Gianni blamed (ex boss) Gary Waddock and Gary blamed Gianni. I was determined to see out my contract and although Gary Waddock said I’d have to see out the year in the Reserves, I said ‘no problem’ because I knew I could get back into the 1st team. I was disappointed with Waddo, I’d known him for years and he just seemed to be doing what the Chairman wanted. I did get back in the team and was happy with my football and that continued when John Gregory arrived and I was made captain, but then injury struck again. I was playing all Season knowing I would probably need an operation and was carrying a problem, but after one hamstring too many, I decided to get it done in February.”

“I asked then for another year’s contract but when they said they wanted to see how the operation went first, I knew it was time to go. Bircham continued, “The relationship between me and the Chairman never really improved. He said that just because a player supports the Club, it doesn’t mean they have the right to play for them which showed how he felt about me. In my opinion, for the Club to move forward, they need a new owner and I think most fans feel that. They need to bring more players in, if they don’t, they could struggle again. I won’t say anything really bad about the Club because I’m not like that, but I did worry that the Club had become a laughing stock off the pitch. We were never in the news for football. It seemed like a new story was out every month, starting with that gun fiasco before the game with Sheffield United, it went downhill after that.”

Paladini said he was amazed by Bircham’s allegations and insisted he had no hand in the way the player was treated in his final year at the Club. “I’m the Chairman and it’s not down to me who’s going to play”, Paladini told the Gazette. “John Gregory’s the manager, he decides the players he wants, end of story. He’s not the type of person to be told by me that he will have this or that. John Gregory released him, I didn’t release him, in fact I like him, I don’t understand why he’s having a go at me ? Marcus Bignot was also left out last Season at times but fought back to win a contract. If he was good enough, he would be in the team now. He had enough time to prove to John Gregory he was worth keeping.”

For all the disillusionment, Bircham departs with some fond memories of promotion battles and that famous day at Hillsborough when Rangers were promoted three years ago. “My best memories will be of the goal I scored at Brentford to get us into the play-offs, I’ll never forget that but the best day of my life was Hillsborough, without a doubt”, Bircham revealed. “That was a dream come true. To get promoted in a QPR team was the reason why I started to play football. My dad was there and it was always one of his dreams, seeing one of his sons playing for QPR. At the final whistle, I went straight into the crowd where all my family were behind the goal. It was the first time I’d seen my dad cry ! It made up for Cardiff, which was one of my worst days in football. We were the better team that day in the play-off final and we should of gone through. Mind you, we learned later that it was just as well we didn’t go up or we might have gone bust because we owed so much in bonuses, we would have gone bankrupt.”

Does the future now lie in Toronto for a fit-again Bircham ? “I went over not expecting much”, he admitted. “They paid for the flight and hotel so I could go over and have a look and I was so impressed. The set-up is fantastic, they’re getting crowds of 20,000 a week. The city is going crazy for football, it’s overtaken basketball and is on a par with baseball. Danny Dichio is there, who I’ve known since I was 11 and Mo Johnson’s the manager and I’m really considering it.”

Steve Russell

14 thoughts on “Departing Bircham Says Gianni Forced Him Out

  1. I for one will never forget that goal at Brentford Marc and Kevin helped so much in hard work and tears in the rebirth of QPR.
    Marc thank you so much and good luck.
    Always Queens Park Rangers

  2. “The 29 year old midfielder also claims Rangers will never progress while the Italian is on charge” – Sorry marc, tell us something we hadn’t already figured out long ago.

    Thanks for the five years though. I too was disappointed you’ve been dumped. I think you could still do a good job for this club. Say hello to my sister, she lives 2 hours out of Toronto!! Along with umpteen million others!

  3. I know who i believe . Birch 100% . Gianni comes across as a nice bloke when you speak to him , but i know for a fact he is full of bull .

  4. A great goal against the Bees! Thanks for all the passion you gave to the club & all the best for the future. WE LOVE YOU, BIRCHAM……….

  5. I refuse to believe that Chairman Gianni Paladini had ANY influence over Gary Waddock in either team selection or in any players brought in to QPR. Gianni is THE Man.

  6. good luck marc wherever you go…strange how the “qpr” players who actually support the club are gone, bar cook…
    and also the 2 who gave time for the kids xmas party are both gone…
    the goal at brentford will be long remembered and of course many will never forget hillsboro…7500 away fans! 5000 watching a screen….qpr has potential to progress with numbers like that…

  7. All the Best Marc, its a pity that you as a QPR player and Supporter had to deal with so much crap that went on and is still going on at OUR club. I’ll always remember you playing for Canada v Ireland in Dublin and getting a dig at Graham kavanagh afer the play off final…pure class, also with the Guinness jersey underneath…..

    I won’t say anything really bad about the Club because I’m not like that, but I did worry that the Club had become a laughing stock off the pitch. We were never in the news for football. It seemed like a new story was out every month, starting with that gun fiasco before the game with Sheffield United, it went downhill after that.”

  8. You were picked up by the coach as a kid and when you came back home as a player,you came into the White City Community Centre and told me you wanted to renew your Membership. I will always remember that.
    You gave us a lift and and there were some great memories
    Best wishes for the future and thanks
    You are one of our own

  9. Bird Shit on his head, lion on his arm as Millwall say.Well I gotta the feeling he regrets the ‘Lion’. QPR thru & thru…just like me.Good luck son may the spirit remain.

  10. Don’t feel anything more towards him than most other players we have had over the past 5 years – just seems to have a bigger ego than most.

    To me a limited player who seemed to do just enough to be a top wage earner without ever quite producing the goods. But blue and white through and through. Other than a Millwall tattoo.

    See you Mark, you’ll be remembered.

  11. Whats this lion on his arm stuff about?Who cares?.
    Birch is Rangers end of.
    When the Our QPR thing was going Birch was the only player who helped us out and more than once.
    Marc thank you again and good luck mucker.

  12. Well, another 2 points lost and another happy manager. I don;t understand it. All the managers we get are always talking about how well the lads did… bulls!!! The whole point of the game is to achieve 3 points at the end of it.Maybe I’m still living in the past but NOT ONE player deservers to wear HOOPS right now… We are the SUPERhoops not the pooperhoops which we turing out to be…. Could someone explain to QPR who they are SUPPOSED to be!!!!

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