The quiet man

If the aim is for QPR to start making more noise on the pitch than off it, Tony Fernandes started as he means to go on.

His introduction as majority shareholder could hardly have been more different to Flavio Briatore’s self-generated fanfare four years ago.

Whereas Briatore talked of the Champions League and creating a world brand, his successor could barely be heard by most in the room as he was unveiled at Thursday’s press conference.

As Fernandes was taking his seat at the top table, the heavens opened and much of what the new owner then said was bizarrely drowned out by the sound of torrential rain pounding against the building.

Once I could pick up some of what he was saying, I clearly misheard it.

It sounded very much like talk of improving training facilities and the youth system, and creating a club that would have a good infastructure long after he’s gone.

QPR owners do not say things like that. In fact, in recent years, they’ve tended to boot out anyone who did.

“I came to the club and everything seemed so right, I thought it was all too good to be true,” Fernandes later remarked.

“Yeah, we thought the same about you,” Neil Warnock quipped. And even a cynic like me could see why.

With the new man hogging the limelight, Amit Bhatia attracted relatively little attention when he arrived – and the man who arrived with him attracted none.

That man was Ishan Saksena, whose exit as company chairman and managing director in May led to Bhatia falling out with the previous regime.

Although unlikely to be formally involved under the new set-up, Saksena works for the Mittal family on a number of projects and may well have some input on QPR matters in the future.

As the three men in the spotlight fielded questions, Saksena stood near the back of the room, arms folded, having no doubt enjoyed riding back into town alongside Bhatia for the big day.

This was the same room in which Ray Hocking, having just been appointed as QPR’s administrator, gave a press conference to sum up their chances of survival.

Ten-and-a-half years on, the talk was of re-establishing Rangers as a top-flight club to be reckoned with.

There were obvious questions about transfer budgets, targets for this season and beyond, Scott Parker, Warnock’s job security and plenty more.

But one moment encapsulated the day – indeed, QPR’s entire summer – more than any other. It was a split-second I’m not sure anyone else noticed. A moment that said more than any soundbite or photograph.

It was the moment, as Fernandes began speaking, that Bhatia made eye contact with Saksena and smiled, and his friend responded with a nod.

That said it all really.

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