David Wilkinson's QPR boardroom notes

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another sold out Kenilworth Road.


As I write, today’s opponents, QPR, are riding high on equal points with Sheffield United and Norwich, who we play on Tuesday. We haven’t beaten them since 2006, a run of eight games, so we can expect another stern test today.

We always like to welcome a former player back to Kenilworth Road, and sitting in the Press Box today is Sam Parkin, working as a co-commentator for TalkSPORT.

Better known to ourselves as a striker for the Hatters, Sam makes no secret of the fact he’s a QPR fan on various media on which he gives his expert opinion, so there’s bound to be some divided loyalties for him today.

There is no doubt that Sam is building a terrific second football career for himself, and a recent scouting report on the Town for the ‘What The EFL?’ podcast was shared with staff and players at The Brache during the international break.

Sam spoke glowingly about Carlton Morris, understandably, seeing as it was September and Carlton was on his way to winning the Sky Bet Championship player of the month. By the way, congratulations Carlton from all of us at the Club. Thoroughly deserved.

In my last notes I mentioned XG, and Sam also picked out some of those fashionable stats on our play in general, most notably that we were fourth at the time in the Championship table for key crosses into the box (we finished 12th last season) and that James Bree puts in the highest number of accurate deliveries.

Sam also stressed the amount of quality chances that were being created this season, and how although he hadn’t scored at that point, Elijah Adebayo’s goals would come. He was right and congratulations to Elijah for his recent brace against Huddersfield.

Keep up the good work Sam - but be careful what you’re saying on the radio today!

Talking of stats, and bearing in mind we’ve faced teams with no manager, a new manager and one about to lose his job in our last three matches, one of the most bizarre ones of the season so far is the man in the QPR technical area today, Mick Beale, who is now the 11th longest serving manager in the Championship. He has been in the job at Loftus Road for less than four months!

Third on the list is our very own Nathan, who is two years and five months into his second spell with us and about to celebrate his 300th match in charge overall.

How appropriate would it have been for Nathan to reach that milestone next Sunday at a club that has become synonymous for the managerial merry-go-round, as would have been the case if the Stoke game hadn’t been called off last month?

Congratulations in advance for the Sunderland game Nathan. it’s been some journey; here’s to the next century.

Whether our hosts next Sunday will ever have a manager reach three figures again remains to be seen, but we are all looking forward to the first derby with supporters in attendance for more than 16 years. Such a great pity that we only received 1,996 tickets, because we could have sold several times that amount.

We are glad that the decision has been taken to allow the game to be streamed, so that everyone can watch it wherever they are in the world. Please also remember that the Club receives the revenue from £10 match passes bought on iFollow Hatters, so you will be helping support the club financially at the same time.

Perhaps this is the most appropriate time for me to remind everyone attending next week’s derby to support the team with passion, vigour and volume, but to also do so respectfully. Please bear in mind that however differently our Clubs’ cultures are, our class needs to remain intact and any serious negativity at the game could compromise the hard work we’ve all built over recent years.

These notes should have been written by Gary, but it has been a hectic week on the development front, so it has fallen upon me and Stuart Hammonds to help.

Gary and Mike Moran have been busy engaging with important stakeholders to outline our current plans and look for support.

It is hard to imagine a more difficult political, financial or commercial scenario in which to achieve our objectives. Since putting our plans out there first we have had to contend with Brexit, Covid, the collapse of physical retail, a dramatic rise in inflation due to excessive printing of money (quantitative easing) leading to increased cost of borrowing and reduced availability of capital.

Every one of the above has had a detrimental effect on our plans, which have always been intrinsically interlinked. Plans for the stadium are dependent upon value being generated from residential plans at Power Court and therefore the values of residential property in Luton, and it is important to understand that they do not stand alone.

We are keen, as we always have been, for our plans to be good for Luton socially and financially, but we are not as fortunate as clubs like Brentford (who also weren’t on the rough end of a judicial review) meaning they could develop at a property peak and in a location where apartments can be sold for seven figure values.

We can’t choose our location, and neither would we wish to, but it is up to all of us to encourage confidence in the town which will ultimately improve our values. It is our plans, along with those being promoted in Town Centre regeneration, which will make it a place where people are keen to live.

This week, our friends at St Mary’s Church linked arms with Gary and Mike, to talk to a large entourage of delegates from Historic England about our combined heritage assets and a great aspiration and harmony that will exist when we move.

What they saw was a busy Power Court site as extensive exploratory and preparation groundworks continue, while at the same time UKPN were on site surveying the relocation of the sub-station, which is the first step to making way for our stadium.

Additionally, with the sale of Newlands Park and since finalising all payments to Luton Council for Power Court, our ownership titles are now complete and intact creating a tidy basis to proceed

Despite the beyond-our-control difficulties we are currently experiencing, we are absolutely determined to press on with the project even if we will continue to fight any delay of eventual completion by the current economic climate and supply chains.

I can absolutely assure you that we have a greater desire to get construction underway than anyone as any football financial losses the Club may endure at Kenilworth Road would be mitigated whilst bolstering our ambition. But we also must be alive to the hurdles that hinder any straight sprint in this case. For the town, our plans are so exciting, so positive and now is such a gargantuan opportunity to give the town the boost it needs and deserves, that everyone now needs to pull together to make it happen.

As part of the EFL’s Safer Gambling campaign we are dedicating today’s match to The Big Step campaign to kick gambling sponsorship and adverts out of football. So many clubs (including some nearby) have staked themselves to a gambling sponsor on the front of their shirts, which we believe is socially damaging and, for this reason, we have turned down many lucrative sponsorship offers over the seasons. It isn’t my intention to preach about gambling rather than to urge a respect for its use, and to prevent it from being promoted to the vulnerable. Please read the words from the campaign’s founder, James Grimes, on page 9 of today’s programme. We wholeheartedly support James and the bereaved parents who set up the Gambling With Lives charity, and are currently the only one of 24 Championship clubs to put our name to it. Please be proud of the stance we take in doing our bit to prevent further harm.

“Gambling is a family disease. One person may be addicted, but the whole family suffers.”

Enjoy the game



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