Date:Wednesday May 7 2008
In a season of transition at Loftus Road, it has been well-documented that the changes have been numerous, here we take a look back at the comings and the goings as the Rangers Revolution gripped W12.
After a blistering end to the 2006/07 campaign, which saw Rangers win 4 of their last 7 games to secure safety, manager John Gregory dipped into the transfer market in the summer. Albeit shopping in the bargain basement, Gregory brought in Chris Barker from Cardiff City following his achievement as Player of the Season whilst on loan at Colchester.
Gregory also moved to bring ex-Manchester United full back John Curtis in following his release from Nottingham Forest, he would join fellow ex-Forest defender Danny Cullip at the back following his stout defensive performance in the season preceding.
Two became three in a short space of time when, in what seemed the biggest coup of the summer so far, Gregory managed to lure out of contract Barnsley and Ex-Manchester United youth player Daniel Nardiello to the R`s, when he was moments away from resigning with the Tykes.
Rangers were then forced to concede defeat in a bid to keep trailblazing winger Lee Cook, and he was sold down the road to Fulham, for an initial £2.5m price tag, which in the short-term was a club-saving measure as the R`s were looming dangerously close to administration.
With that news in mind, Michael Mancienne was brought back to the season he had a successful short-term loan period, this time he was here for the duration of the 2007/08 season. Whilst a Jimmy Smith loan deal was no longer pursued, Gregory instead punted for Chelsea striker Ben Sahar on a short-term loan deal, until Christmas.
In a busy few days of business Rangers secured deals for fans favourite Lee Camp from Derby County, and Simon Walton from Charlton Athletic. Camp signed for the R`s after two highly successful loan spells for a fee of £200k; Walton costing the R`s £300k, as Rangers were looking to build on a good end to the previous season. Akin to this Rangers brought in loan signing Hogan Ephraim from West Ham United.
Rangers then lost a player in tragic circumstances when young striker Ray Jones was killed in a car crash on Saturday 25th August 2007, the subsequent game against Burnley was postponed, a tragic loss of a forward for Rangers and a tragic sense of loss for the deceased friend`s and family.
Due to some stalling by Antonio Caliendo in selling his shares including a notice on the website stating the club was not for sale, Rangers had merely a few days with which to secure deals with the arrival of the new investment now unofficially installed. Mikele Leigertwood was brought in, for what at the time was a staggering £900k, from Sheffield United.
John Gregory then paid the price for poor results and Mick Harford was installed as caretaker manager of QPR, and immediately made his impact signing Rowan Vine on loan from Birmingham City after failing to make an impact in the Premier League, and Jason Jarrett on loan from Preston North End. Harford also brought in England U-21 defender Martin Cranie from Portsmouth.
Harford signed off with an excellent 1-0 away win against Charlton at the Valley, and Italian Luigi De Canio became Rangers 4th manager in 4 seasons, following Ian Holloway`s 5 year reign. He wasted no time in bringing in Akos Buzsaky on loan from Plymouth Argyle with a view to a permanent striker.
With Hogan Ephraim`s loan spell coming to an end, Gigi moved to sign Scott Sinclair on a short-term loan from Chelsea to address this situation. With Martin Cranie picking up a broken leg in the game against Coventry City, Gigi moved fast to bring in Derby County central defender Bob Malcolm on another short-term loan.
The first game of the new year had come around with the announcements that Rangers had signed Gavin Mahon on loan from Watford with Aidy Boothroyd stating they wouldn`t need him in the Premier League, this deal would be set to become permanent. Whilst Kieran Lee would sign for the R`s on loan from Manchester United in time to make the upcoming Chelsea cup tie at Stamford Bridge, a deal that would keep him at Loftus Road until the end of the season.
In the January transfer window the R`s vast amounts of transfers both in and out of the club, three of the loan deals previously made were made permanent, firstly Akos Buzsaky signed from Plymouth Argyle, and Hogan Ephraim signed from West Ham United, all deals from here on in were dealt with as Undisclosed.
Matthew Connolly, who was having a good season on loan at Colchester from Arsenal, also signed for Rangers in a deal believed to be around £1m. He was accompanied into the squad by Ghanaian striker Patrick Agyemang from Preston North End, and arguably the signing of the window, central defender Fitz Hall from Wigan Athletic.
The final of the trio of loanee`s to make their deal permanent was Rowan Vine, after much negotiating with Birmingham, they let him go to QPR for a deal believed to be around £1m. Rangers then also moved to strengthen other weakened areas later in the January transfer window when they secured deals for Hull City full-back Damien Delaney, and American goalkeeper Matthew Pickens from Chicago Fire.
There was however a mass exodus from the club, with Adam Bolder, Simon Walton and Daniel Nardiello all leaving on loan to Sheffield Wednesday, Hull City and Barnsley respectively. Nardiello was to head back up north with his tail between his legs after rejecting a deal with the Tykes to come down south to Rangers.
The free transfers ensued as Marcus Bignot and Sampsa Timoska were relieved of their contracts. As were centre backs Danny Cullip, Dominic Shimmin and Pat Kanyuka. The rest to depart were Nick Ward, Kieron St Aimee, Shabazz Baidoo and Stefan Moore.
Adam Bolder`s move away from the club secured a captains role for Gareth Ainsworth, Rangers longest-serving player, with Martin Rowlands, having joined the club on the same day.
Most recently Rangers opted to release 5 players from the first team set-up, Stefan Bailey, Matthew Pickens, only signed as a short-term measure, last season`s winner of the Kiyan Prince Award Aaron Goode, rookie Goalkeeper Sean Thomas and finally full back Andrew Howell.
From the transfers outlined above, there were 25 players coming into the club, of which 11 were loan deals (not including extensions). There were also 19 exodus` from the squad, including 3 loan deals away from the club, (Not including the youth team free transfers). Therefore there was a stunning 44 deals to and from the club in a season of transition at the club.
Rest assured that during the summer there will undoubtedly be more changes, however, a staggering amount such as the transfers outlined above will not be seen again for a very long time.
Were there any missed out from the above? What do/did these changes mean in context with the direction of the club? We want to know YOUR thoughts!
To have your say you can comment in the space provided below, or chat about it on the forum.
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Date:Wednesday May 7 2008
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