QPR veteran Hill warns spineless players: If you don't want to fight, get out now
22:02 GMT, 29 December 2012
Queens Park Rangers defender Clint Hill has laid bare the dressing-room tensions at the Premier League’s bottom club ahead of the team’s crucial clash against Liverpool.
Hill revealed the discontent that the players who helped the club win promotion to the top flight felt when they were cast aside by previous managers Neil Warnock and Mark Hughes for a series of big-name signings, most of whom have failed to make any real impact.
And the 34-year-old veteran questioned whether the club’s imports had the desire to fight for Premier League survival.
Back in favour: Clint Hill (left) was overlooked by Mark Hughes at QPR
‘Of course, I was hurt when I was dropped,’ said Hill. ‘And I’m not the only one. There were another 10 or 11 players who had done well for this club, bringing them up from the Championship. To see players who had fought for everything [discarded] is hard to take. We’re not nave enough to think that we didn’t need change, it’s just how much change.’
QPR have won just one game all season and are bottom of the table with 10 points. With games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham looming, they are likely to remain rooted at the bottom well into 2013.
New manager Harry Redknapp has already lambasted some of his best-paid players, claiming they are not giving value for money, and he fined Jose Bosingwa, a Champions League winner with Porto and Chelsea, 100,000 for refusing to sit on the bench for the recent clash against Fulham.
Hill, made captain by Redknapp for the game against West Bromwich Albion when Ryan Nelsen was absent, backs the boss’s stance on Bosingwa.
Bad books: Jose Bosingwa (left) was fined for refusing to be a substitute
Hill said: ‘If you don’t want to go on the bench, then do you want to be here Do you want to fight Do you want to be in the scrap with your team-mates
‘We’ve all been on the bench, we’ve all been dropped, we’ve all been told we can go. But we all earn good money. If you can’t sit on the bench, there has got to be something wrong.
‘You want to be in this together. You want people next to you fighting for the cause. If you can’t sit on the bench and support the lads, then what are you doing here
‘We’ve got to be together and up for the fight. If you don’t fancy it, then January is round the corner, so off you go!’
Redknapp’s punishment of Bosingwa revealed the full-back’s 50,000-a-week wages and exposed the gulf in earnings between new signings and the pre-Premier League team. But Hill insists money is not an issue.
‘If you can get that money, then good for you,’ he said. ‘I’m more anxious about what players do on the pitch.’
Too much, too soon: Mark Hughes signed a whole new team in summer
The first wave of signings came when current owner Tony Fernandes bought the club in August 2011, with Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Armand Traore, Luke Young and Anton Ferdinand soon arriving.
When Warnock was sacked last January, Hughes brought in Nedum Onuoha, Samba Diakite, Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse during the transfer window, before almost an entire team was signed in the summer. Hughes bought Bosingwa and Nelsen along with Andy Johnson, Park Ji-sung, Esteban Granero, Rob Green, Julio Cesar, Junior Hoilett and Stephane Mbia, with Fabio Da Silva arriving on loan.
Of these, only Nelsen, now club captain, is an unqualified success. QPR also paid almost 7million in agents’ fees, the third highest in the Premier League behind Liverpool and Manchester City.
Hill suggests Hughes tried to build a new side too quickly. ‘When you look at the other teams that came up with us, Swansea and Norwich, they’ve done it gradually and brought big players in when they needed it,’ he said.
Struggling: Esteban Granero (right) has failed to live up to his billing at QPR
‘The players who came up from the Championship weren’t given enough trust. I think they could have done a job in this League. But all managers have their own transfer policies.’
Hill was voted player of the season by fans and players in 2011-12 but thought he would be sold on until Redknapp arrived five weeks ago and restored him along with Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackie from the promotion team.
Hill added: ‘I’m 34 and I’ve played most of my career in the lower leagues. You’re talking about a Champions League winner [Bosingwa] here and people who have won the Premier League and FA Cups. You hope there’s a desire within them. We need that as a team, as a unit. Everyone is frustrated and everyone is different. But it has to be hurting you to be bottom and to have won one game. If it isn’t, I’ve got to question them.’