Six signings and a mid-table mastermind as manager point to a bright future
While glee-drunk fans were dragged off the Etihad Stadium pitch, blue and white ribbons applied to the Premier League trophy and comedy hats assembled, Mark Hughes was occupied by one man and his Dictaphone in a nearby corridor.
He said of his relegation-dodging QPR side: “I’m really happy for everyone at the club because, as far as I’m concerned, we will never be in this situation again while I am manager.”
It looked like a hardly rare example of a manager expressing impenetrable faith in his own ability. A few months on though, it can be assumed that he had held talks with owner Tony Fernandes about their plans for the summer by that point to top up his confidence meter.
With over a month still to go before the start of the season, the Hoops have already replenished their squad with six shiny new faces, each one progressively more enticing than the last.
No position has been ignored as they have found room for a new goalkeeper (Robert Green), centre back (Ryan Nelsen), full back (Fabio da Silva, loan), midfielder (Samba Diakite, formerly on loan), winger (Park Ji-Sung) and striker (Andy Johnson).
With most of their bottom-half rivals too busy either replacing managers or shielding their boss from eager admirers to find time to properly explore the transfer market, it is no surprise that QPR have crept in to 7/2 for a top-ten finish.
Also fuelling hope of such a successful season is Sparky’s record of five top-half finishes in five complete campaigns as a Premier League manager with Blackburn, Manchester City and Fulham.
Their chances of at least ending August in such a position are heightened by a start that sees them host Swansea then visit Norwich.