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Warnock Delighted At Takeover News And £10 Million Kitty

Football News 24/7
Tony Fernandes, the multi-millionaire owner of Air Asia has finally concluded the buy out of QPR in a deal worth £35 million.

Neil Warnock hailed the deal,  as "momentous", the manager saying it would give him the platform to keep the club in the Premier League. "It's a fantastic day for me personally. As a manager, results determine if you get the sack. You hope you are given a fair crack of the whip and have an opportunity to try."

Fernandes, whilst pledging a £10 million kitty for Warnock has made it clear - he is no mug benefactor and his intention is to run the club on a profitable basis. He has vowed to review contentious ticket price rises before the club's next home match and to reconnect with disenfranchised fans as two early priorities.

Warnock will now target players including West Ham United's Scott Parker. "Up to today I did fear if we had enough structure to progress. To be on a level playing field with a third or two-thirds of the Premier League is a great opportunity for me, my staff and my players."

The news will ensure Warnock is a busy man in what's left of the Transfer Window as it was clear from the opening day defeat to Bolton, that QPR will need new blood if they are to survive.

Fernandes, with a personal fortune estimated at more than £200m, underlined his support for Warnock and promised to back him in the transfer market, with a renewed bid for Parker already under consideration. The Malaysian, a lifelong West Ham fan who has failed in two attempts to buy the East End club and in the process fell out with David Gold and David Sullivan, said he had always had a "soft spot" for QPR, having lived on the Uxbridge Road for "many years".

"My whole life has been building things. At AirAsia I bought the airline for £250,000 and it was two planes and losing lots of money," Fernandes said. "In the first year we did 200,000 passengers and 10 years on we're doing 32 million. I think football is a fantastic business if run well and it's a fantastic brand-building business for the things that we do."

His long-term business partner, Kamarudin Bin Meranun, has also invested in the deal and will join the board. Fernandes said QPR were a "rough diamond" in a "fantastic location" and had "huge potential to develop into something special".

Amit Bhatia, who resigned as chairman in May will return to the club as vice chairman. Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian steel magnate with a £17.5bn fortune, has retained his 33% stake in the club. Phil Beard, who was director of marketing for London's successful 2012 Olympic bid and oversaw the Millennium Dome's conversion into the O2 arena, will be the club's new chief executive.

One thing looks certain with the make-up of the new board and that is a bigger emphasis on sponsorship and commercial deals with comapnies in Asia - where the appetite for Premier League football seems insatiable. Expect a new sponsor on QPR's shirts in the near future.

JB

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