With QPR finally relegated on Sunday, Fernandes unloaded yesterday with his true feelings on the embarrassing performances this season of a squad who, collectively, are estimated to have the eighth highest wage bill in the Premier League.
“It has shocked me,” Fernandes said. “It’s an alien concept to me that someone takes someone’s salary, doesn’t put 100 per cent in, thinks, ‘Oh, we lost. No big deal. What club are we going to tonight ?’ Whatever I have done as a job, for whoever has hired me, I put in 150 per cent. It’s in my character. If I am taking someone else’s money, then I am going to work bloody hard for that person.”
“I haven’t said it throughout the season because it wasn’t right to be said, but it hurts me when I saw some of the players who didn’t feel the way I felt. In their case, it should be worse because this is their job, it’s their life.”
“It was probably the low point for me when I saw the reaction of some of the players. We want players that want to play for us. Players that want to win. Players who get disappointed like I do when we lose. It’s been heart-breaking for me when we lose. I don’t want to go out. I just want to stay at home.”
Fernandes did not mention names but QPR have not concealed their annoyance at the behaviour of certain players. Jose Bosingwa refused to sit on the bench for one match shortly before Christmas because he was unhappy at being a substitute. He was fined two weeks’ wages (¬£130,000) and, according to manager Harry Redknapp, is on a higher salary than any player at Tottenham.
Bosingwa was also caught on camera smiling as the QPR players left the pitch after drawing with Reading on Sunday, although Redknapp did later excuse that gesture.
There was further anger from some at pictures last week of Julio Cesar going to David Luiz’s birthday party dressed as the Chelsea defender on the night QPR’s relegation could have been sealed.
Allegations also emerged in March – furiously denied by Redknapp – of a training trip to Dubai that was likened to a “stag party”.
Redknapp did say in December that he had seen things which “disturbed” him in the attitude of some of his squad and claimed that the club’s owners had “their pants pulled down” with what they were paying certain players.
While Fernandes’s blunt appraisal yesterday will earn some sympathy from supporters, it still reflects badly on his own performance in the transfer market.
There is also the question of how the team will react to Fernandes’s outburst, with many of the players likely to remain at the club next season after being put on lucrative long-term contracts.
Much of the damage was clearly done under Mark Hughes when the club began the season by picking up only four points in 12 games and Fernandes now wants Redknapp to lead the club out of the Championship.
“I noticed everything and I am a little bit wiser for it now,” said Fernandes, who had a two-hour meeting with Redknapp on Monday, during which Fernandes re-affirmed the continued commitment of his fellow shareholders who crucially include the billionaire Mittal family.
Loic Remy, who has an ¬£8 million release clause, will almost certainly be sold and QPR will listen to offers for many other players, although it will clearly be difficult to find clubs willing to match their wages.
Steve Cotterill, who has been assisting Redknapp, will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.
There is a desire to keep defender Chris Samba, who admitted that he had struggled to find fitness after joining QPR in January from Anzhi Makhachkala.
It will leave QPR facing an enormous challenge to meet financial regulations in the Championship that require clubs not to lose more than a total of ¬£8 million a year. QPR lost ¬£23 million in the last accounting year.
Jeremy Wilson and Ben Rumsby – The Telegraph