Fernandes: I've been exploited
Published 04/05/2013 | 08:56
QPR chairman Tony Fernandes believes the harshest lesson of his club's slide into relegation has been the realisation he has been exploited since taking over at Loftus Road.
Fernandes estimates he has sunk £50million of his personal fortune into the club since he took over in August 2011. Despite that QPR will return to the npower Championship next season with Fernandes, who has made his wealth in the airline and music industries, admitting he has paid over the odds.
The 49-year-old is determined not to make the same mistakes again despite admitting he has had to learn to deal with people inside football who would "sell their grandmother to do something". "I don't think I will be exploited any more," he told various newspapers.
"I think I allowed myself to be exploited but that's my choice. Agents are trying to get the best contracts and there's no two ways about it, I had to pay premiums.
"I've seen all of the parts that make football quite - maybe immoral is a strong word but they would sell their grandmother to do something. It's all part of the football ecosystem."
Fernandes highlighted letting controversial midfielder Joey Barton join French club Marseille on a season-long loan as one of the club's major mistakes this term.
"We missed Joey," he said. "We needed a workhorse midfielder and we tried to get Scott Parker. "We missed a real leader. We tried to get Michael Dawson. To be fair to (former manager) Mark Hughes he said we needed two centre-halves. This has been a tragic season in many ways. It is a Shakespearean play in the making."
Fernandes also revealed that boss Harry Redknapp and "60 per cent" of the squad would be forced to take a pay cut following relegation.
"Do we have relegation clauses? Yes. Do all the players have them? No. But at least 60 per cent do," he said.
Asked about Redknapp, who the club confirmed last week will stay on, he added: "Yes. His salary goes down as well. We have been made out not to be sensible, stupid. Guys on TV have torn me apart. We are not stupid."