Fulham show why the QPR model is one to ignore

Bryn Lennon

While their local rivals sit bottom of the Premier League, Fulham continue to establish themselves as worthy contenders, while putting themselves into a far more financially viable position.

The more Queens Park Rangers stumble and the more Mark Hughes pulls them back into a state of quite dramatic disarray, the greater the feeling of content at Fulham FC must surely become.

Not, simply, because the two clubs are local rivals. It may play a part, of course, but the disdain at what is going on at Loftus Road extends far, far further than that.

It extends to the way the club is run - their wage bill, their financial outgoings and their insignificant income. As we speak, approximately 150% of turnover is spent funding the likes of Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson and second choice goalkeeper, Robert Green.

Green claims £50,000 per week, sitting on the bench. Zamora rakes in an estimated £72,000 and is thought to be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Is that how to run a football club?

Whatever way you twist it, QPR are in a perilous state and as much as you may think this gives Fulham fans ample opportunity to ridicule, there are also valuable lessons to be learned.

The most simple of which is that money isn't - despite some evidence to the contrary - the be-all-and-end all in football. There needs to be a base from which to build on, some substance with which to expand.

Manchester City have that, and Rangers do too, but not to the extent that they can blow all their income, and more, on some distinctly average players.

They draw a gate of under 18,000 and they cannot boast the worldwide fandom that the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool can extract so much money from. Park Ji-Sung may have been a brain-wave to that end, but it hasn't really paid off, has it?

Quite simply, they have got just a little too big for their boots.

And this is where Fulham have never gone wrong. Mohammed Al Fayed, despite his uncanny suggestions of creating a "Manchester United of the south", has never pumped money in unnecessarily. He's never had ideas above his station.

Instead, we are one of few Premier League clubs that can turn a profit. We're a club that can support, and attract, the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, and not get carried away.

Our wage bill is large, just like any other established top tier English side but, and this is vital, it's not uncontrollable. We have structure and we know there are limits.

And, with Financial Fair Play beyond it's looming stage, this stability is what is required. It's not quite self-sufficiency - who can truly perform that feat in football these days? - but it's certainly not sheer neglect. It's just clever. Just forward thinking.

Does it hold us back, though? Yes, probably. Al Fayed could easily afford another Berbatov here, another three Ashkan Dejagahs there. And we're not going to stop him.

But your accountant would, and that's what football is, unfortunately, becoming.

It's where money, ultimately, dictates everything. It's why the Premier League are in the process of agreeing £5 billion rights to its TV coverage. It's why Carlos Tevez carries home a pay slip worth just under £800,000, every month.

And Fulham are acting accordingly. In fact, we always have done.

We will still progress as a football club, albeit slowly, and we will continue to make inroads into the top ten and, perhaps, the top eight.

But we won't spiral out of control, sacrificing our solid footing. That would probably leave us exactly where we don't want to be, and exactly where QPR are at.

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