QPR to give youth a chance, says chairman Fernandes

Queens Park Rangers' owner Tony Fernandes celebrates after their Championship play-off final soccer match against Derby County at Wembley Stadium in London May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

LONDON (Reuters) - Queens Park Rangers will change from a buying club to a developing organisation by promoting young talent through their academy, said chairman Tony Fernandes.

QPR, second from bottom in the Premier League, have spent heavily on players in the past but Fernandes is hoping to sustain a more economical method of recruitment.

Premier League high-flyers Southampton have reaped the rewards of a successful youth set up with former academy alumni including Theo Walcott, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and the world's most expensive footballer Gareth Bale.

"The academy is going to be the culture. If that's the last thing I do it is going to be that players come through our academy," Fernandes told the club's website.

"That structure is in place, the people are in place. The culture on the football pitch is that we are not going to be a buying club, we are going to be a developing club.

"We are going to develop players through the system. The philosophy of the club is what you see out there on the pitch, we are going to develop a style of play."

The 50-year-old Fernandes, who has plans to move QPR three miles away from their Loftus Road home to a new 40,000-seater stadium, has endured a topsy-turvy spell as chairman since taking charge in August 2011.

Fernandes sacked manager Neil Warnock after a run of eight games without a win in 2011 and hired Mark Hughes, with the Welshman keeping QPR in the Premier League on the last day of the 2011-12 season.

Despite investing heavily on new recruits, Hughes was dismissed after a poor start to the following campaign and Harry Redknapp took over in November 2012.

With Rangers bottom of the table, Redknapp could not save the club from relegation but he did guide them back into the top-flight via the playoffs last season.

"It's been tough because we have always been on the back foot," Fernandes said. "From the moment I came in Neil Warnock wanted to buy players and then Mark Hughes did a wholesale change.

"You could say with Mark Hughes that we should have bought better but the manager at the time picked the players and we backed him.

"I think we have a better recruitment strategy, it's by no means perfect but it's better," added Fernandes.

(Reporting by Michael Hann, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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