The QPR hierarchy are in the process of looking at options for the relocation of the club away from their Loftus Road stadium which has been their home for 95 years.
If the club are now to progress from this season’s flirtation with relegation, a long term strategy which includes a new ground is essential.
Stability in the top division is the most important factor, and while the board should be applauded for their vision, they also have to be aware they do not go down the route of so many other clubs who have moved to new stadiums only to suffer relegation.
So while Mark Hughes will be allowed to strengthen and mould the squad to take on his characteristics, he will also be entrusted with the task of producing a team that will cast an eye to the future and the fruition of a plan which has barely gotten off the ground yet.
Avoiding relegation last season meant that the first deliverable has been achieved. Steady progression up the league, a squad which can be more competitive and have the strength in depth required for more than just survival will be the next steps along the road of stabilisation and improvement for a club and owner who now have genuine aspirations to be a big player in English football.
Moving away from Loftus Road could be the biggest challenge that the club will face though. No one can deny that an 18 thousand seater stadium is not big enough for the Premier League, but if the club is to stick to its roots and stay in the immediate area, finding the required space in one of the most populated parts of the country will be nothing if not challenging.
The noises coming from the Rangers top brass indicate they will be looking to build a stadium which will be able to hold a capacity of 45 thousand.
This more than doubles the capacity of their current home and sends out an indication that they want to but the club on a footing for which relegation should never be an issue again.
Among the mooted sites have been the old White City site, or part of the BBC broadcasting site now that the corporation is moving a lot of its operation North to Salford Quays. These options would certainly keep them in the area that they want to be, but whether either would be viable is still open to many a question.
Fulham shared Loftus Road while Craven Cottage was being revamped, so it is possible that if Chelsea do go ahead with their plans to redevelop the Battersea Power Station site, Fulham and QPR could look to share a ground?
It would make sense for both clubs, but again where would it be located?
Despite being located close to each other, the two clubs have a very different demographic but in the interests of tacking both clubs forward, it would make a compelling business plan.
The days when a football stadium can be viable only from match day income are long gone, and a ground funded by the sales of two stadiums well past their best which would host 38 games a season plus concerts and conferences would have to be much more viable than each individual club going on their own.
The footballing landscape in West London is definitely changing. With Chelsea’s European success and three Premier League clubs all vying for supremacy means that West London is now on course to challenge North London and the North West as a dominant footballing area.
If QPR and Fulham do have the initiative and the guts to come together and ground share, it will be unique in English footballing culture.
Could it be what is needed for smaller sides to compete with the bigger clubs, or is English footballing tradition too engrained in rivalry for a ground share on such a scale to occur, even if will give both sides the foundation for a concerted push for success?
image: © Tom Cuppens