Malaysian business mogul Tony Fernandes has successfully bought a 66% share in Queens Park Rangers, buying out previous majority shareholders Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone. The 47-year-old intends to work closely with the Mittal family who have a 33% share, having long had a desire to get involved in a London football club. He openly admits to being a lifelong West Ham fan but has had a fondness for the R’s since a young age when he went to watch the Hoops at W12. Fernandes told the
The entrepreneur is the founder of Malaysian no-frills airline AirAsia and already the team principal of Formula One’s Team Lotus. Fernandes’ company Tune Group bought the 66% share for a reported £35 million to add QPR to his long list of business ventures and will become the chairman of QPR Holdings Ltd. According to the Guardian, he intends to make £10 million instantly available to manager Neil Warnock in order to splash out on new signings before the transfer window closes at the end of August. QPR have already had a £4 million bid for West Ham’s Scott Parker rejected but may be able to entice the wanted midfielder with a revised offer courtesy of their new owner, after the Hammers’ revealed they will only consider parting with Parker for a bid of £7 million or more.
It may only be his first day as majority shareholder of Rangers but Fernandes has wasted no time in highlighting other players he believes have the credentials to assist in QPR’s Premier League survival, including Man City’s Nedum Onuoha, with the wounds of Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Bolton Wanderers still fresh. Fernandes has said he has high expectations for QPR in the coming seasons but assured their official website he is not being overambitious so early in the day: “I could easily say we’re going to win the Champions League and the Premier League, but that’s really not my style. I don’t want to make big promises I can’t guarantee.”
QPR’s main priority for the coming months is to ensure they maintain their topflight status for next season and one of Fernandes’ main objectives will be to make sure the supporters stay connected and involved with the club. He already has a Twitter account that he updates regularly which he will use to build a friendly and trustworthy relationship with the fans, a bond he is relishing to introduce to the club: “I want the fans to be proud of what we’re doing and be involved as much as we can. The fans pay good money and are stakeholders, so whatever we do, I want the fans to be proud.”
Fernandes’ first match day involvement as QPR’s majority owner will be away to Everton and he will hope his optimistic intentions can give the players the inspiration they need, to the overcome their early Premier League jitters and get their first points on the table.