Gary Penrice’s appointment as QPR chief scout is expected to be confirmed in the next few weeks.
The former R’s striker’s return is part of a behind-the-scenes revamp at the club.
Penrice spent four years as a player at Loftus Road and was assistant manager for part of Ian Holloway’s first spell as Rangers boss. He was previously Holloway’s right-hand man at Bristol Rovers, where they were team-mates as players prior to being reunited under Gerry Francis at QPR.
What will change?
Penrice will take the role of a traditional chief scout – a position director of football Les Ferdinand has been keen to fill for some time.
Penrice, who is currently employed by West Brom, has previously scouted for Everton and Wigan, where he worked with Kevin Reeves.
Reeves, a former Manchester City and Norwich striker who twice played for England, has been offered a role at QPR, where he is set to link up with Penrice again.
Four things about Kevin Reeves
• At Swansea, he played a major role in the club’s signings of Angel Rangel, Jordi Gomez and Ferrie Bodde
• At Wigan, he was largely responsible for the signings of James McArthur, James McCarthy and Arouna Kone
• He has frequently scouted in Scotland, alerting Swansea to Jason Scotland, who was at St Johnstone, and Wigan to McArthur and McCarthy, who were both at Hamilton
• Reeves was a Manchester City team-mate of former QPR star Clive Wilson
Rangers have not had a chief scout since Kevin Randall was given the position by former manager Neil Warnock.
Prior to that, sporting director Gianni Paladini, advised by former Napoli boss Gianni Di Marzio, oversaw the club’s recruitment – there was very little emphasis on scouting opposing teams.
And under Warnock’s successor Mark Hughes, Mike Rigg as technical director oversaw scouting and recruitment.
More recently, Ian Butterworth has had the position of scouting coordinator, but in practice that role has increasingly been carried out by Andy Belk, an analyst who has had a growing behind-the-scenes influence at QPR in recent years and works closely with Ferdinand.
Butterworth has therefore been deployed in a different scouting role, which the club plan to retain him in under Penrice.
This is all great news, right?
Potentially. But it’s important to bear in mind that changes like these happen at all clubs and go largely below the radar.
QPR are somewhat unique in that their weak infrastructure and resultant failings in the transfer market have been well documented and have become a hot topic.
Any changes on the scouting side therefore tend to be pounced on as a sign of major progress and positive, radical change and a more diligent approach. This was the case when Rigg and others were lauded in the past – scouting changes are a PR winner for the club.
Any strengthening of a scouting system is a step forward, but ultimately a manager bringing in a chief scout or someone in an equivalent role is just part of the game, however much it might be portrayed as something more significant. There is no doubt though that Holloway and Penrice have worked well together in the past.