QPR chairman: ‘I want us to be like Manchester United and Arsenal’

11:55 21 May 2012

Tony Fernandes

Tony Fernandes

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Fernandes vows to give manager Hughes the chance to build a new era at Loftus Road

QPR chairman Tony Fernandes wants to emulate Manchester United and Arsenal by giving manager Mark Hughes the chance to take the club into a ‘new era’.

Hughes guided Rangers to Premier League survival on the final day of the season, four months after he was hand-picked by Fernandes as a replacement for Neil Warnock.

Fernandes is determined to bring stability to Loftus Road after years of managerial upheaval, and believes that former Manchester City, Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Wales boss Hughes is the perfect man to oversee their long-term progress.

And the chairman cited Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, who have been at their clubs for a combined total of more than 40 years, as the example QPR must follow.

“I feel confident that Mark is potentially the man who could take QPR into another era, a stable era, where we become an established Premier League club,” Fernandes told London24.com.

“Mark is immensely impressive. He’s got a great personality, he’s very ambitious, he’s down to earth, has his ego in check and he knows his stuff. He was a player in the Premier League for a long time so he has competed at the highest levels. Every club he has been to he has excelled at.

“I want to be a club like Arsenal or Manchester United, who have had the same manager for a long time, and West Ham as well, when John Lyall and Ron Greenwood were there.

“Stability is important. You can’t build anything without that. You can’t do things if you don’t have time. I’m not saying we want to be champions tomorrow, Europe or whatever, but I think the next stage is for us to be a club which will remain in the Premier League for a long time.”

Fernandes admitted that sacking Warnock in January after QPR’s run of eight games without a win was a difficult decision, but one which was vindicated by Hughes’s subsequent success.

“I had hoped that Neil was that person,” he added. “It was very painful for me to move Neil out, but I had to do what I did. I had tremendous stick for that but I stood up, and here we are now.”

QPR retained their Premier League status despite a 3-2 defeat at Manchester City on the final day, and Fernandes admitted he cast an envious eye around the home of the new champions.

City’s Etihad Stadium holds just under 48,000, a facility which Fernandes, who has made the construction of a new ground a priority, believes QPR could match in the coming years.

“I don’t think we have quite the resources that they have there, but the size of the stadium, the facilities, there’s no reason why we can’t do something like that,” said Fernandes.

“People might ask how we would fill a 40,000-seater stadium, but I built an airline from a few hundred thousand passengers and now we have £32 million. Build it right, market it right, and people will come. We’re in the best city in the world, in the best part of London.”

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