Changing the way things are done at Loftus Road

The challenge facing Mike Rigg is to build an infrastructure that is fit for purpose.

For starters, Rigg, who was recently appointed as QPR’s technical director, inherited a scouting set-up that requires urgent attention.

Significant changes were introduced during Neil Warnock’s time as manager, but everything is relative, and those improvements were made from a very low point.

Kevin Randall, installed as chief scout after Warnock’s arrival, took on a role that had been left unfilled for the best part of five years following the departure of the popular Mel Johnson in 2005.

Rangers’ scouting had become virtually non-existent in that period and involved signing players on the basis of their CV – and the word of various advisors connected to the club.

Sheff Wed academy manager
Chief scout at Blackburn
Technical director for the Welsh FA
Man City technical director
Appointed by QPR last month

The outcome was a host of ill-advised signings and an over-reliance on agents.

“Agents are part of the game, it’s as simple as that. There have been times when working with an agent has saved a club millions of pounds,” Rigg told West London Sport.

“But what’s important is that the club has the infrastructure to identify the right players themselves. It’s about putting that structure in place.

“Otherwise, you have players being brought in on an agent’s say-so rather than a club identifying that player.

“The question I get asked most is ‘What kind of players are you looking for?’ because agents are often used to finding players for clubs.

“When that happens, it’s not the agent’s fault – it’s the club’s. The agent is doing a job. And make no bones about it, working with good agents helps you bring in good players and save money.”

Rigg managed a team of more than 30 scouts during his time at Manchester City, where he worked with QPR manager Mark Hughes.

That network included the likes of former Norwich defender Rob Newman and ex-Wimbledon player Andy Sayer.

Hughes was keen to install Rigg.

The plan is for a similarly strong set-up at QPR – and there is a lot of work to be done.

“It’s an area we’re certainly looking to strengthen, because we really need to,” Rigg added.

“At the moment I’d say QPR is very similar to Manchester City when I started there. There are some great people and a real willingness to build the club.

“There are some differences, obviously. We won’t be paying someone like Yaya Toure a couple of hundred grand a week. In that sense, like at every club, we’ll cut our cloth accordingly.

“But the will is there to build a successful club for the long term. The likes of Tony Fernandes and Amit Bhatia have been incredibly supportive.

“I haven’t once come up against a brick wall. Everything we’re trying to do they’re receptive to and you can’t really wish for more than that.”

And Johnson, who has since been chief scout at Tottenham and is now with Liverpool, believes QPR’s owners have made a wise move by enabling Hughes to bring in Rigg.

“Rangers have got themselves a good man there, no doubt about it,” Johnson said.

“I’ve known Mike through the scouting scene for years and seen him around the world. He works really hard and will do a great job for the club.

“I’ve got so much affection for QPR and always will have, so I’m really pleased they’ve brought in someone like Mike.

“Scouting and development are so important and I’m glad Rangers are investing in that side of things. They needed to.”


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