Call me simple. Call me naïve. But didn't the Championship clubs agree Financial Fair Play rules in 2012 that broadly stipulated that any club posting a loss in 2013/14 of more than £8m would be subject to sanctions? Didn't they do this to "reduce the levels of losses being incurred at some clubs and, over time, establish a league of financially self-sustaining professional football clubs". Weren't Forest, Blackburn and Leeds hit with transfer embargoes because they breached the limit? And, OK, Queens Park Rangers were promoted so the rules said they should be fined instead. And, of course, as a Premier League club they were outside the jurisdiction of the Football League last year. But it was less than a year ago that the Chief Executive of the Football League (Shaun Harvey) was saying that QPR could be refused entry to The Championship if they failed to pay their fine.
Now? QPR "reduced" their losses for 2013/14 from nearly £70m to £ 9.8m by writing off £60m of loans, although it is clear that equity was limited under FFP as well as loans. And they have challenged the very legality of the FFP regulations. In a joint statement the club and Football League said: “Legal proceedings are ongoing between Queens Park Rangers and the Football League. QPR challenges the legality of the Football League’s Championship Financial Fair Play Rules and any charge against QPR (if any) for breach of FFP Rules shall not be commenced pending the outcome of that challenge".
So, instead of starting their season with a derby at Welling or Bromley, QPR are allowed to turn up at The Valley on Saturday full of righteous indignation about how unfair it all is.
They have managed to off load some of last season's under achieving high earners. Caulker has gone to Southampton. McCarthy to Palace. Joey Barton, Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora and Shaun Wright-Phillips have been released. They have also received a massive windfall from the Raheem Sterling sell on clause. They have brought in Jay Emmanuel-Thomas from Bristol City, Jamie Mackie from Forest and James Perch from Wigan as well as capturing the Swindon duo Massimo Luongo and Ben Gladwin. Paul Konchesky has just joined on loan from Leicester. The worst news however is that Charlie Austin is still there. It is unlikely that Austin will remain at QPR beyond the end of August and it is unfortunate that one of his few appearances will be against us.
Charlton's team on Saturday will contain a number of debutants and we are hoping that the new screen will list the players as well as following the game. There have been some impressive performances from the new boys in pre-season friendlies and the club has been boosted by Jordan Cousins and JBG signing contract extensions. The loss of Stephen Henderson in goal is a big blow but it does offer Nick Pope an opportunity to make a statement.
Charlton start the season with the bookies confidently predicting relegation. In fact, Sporting Index only expect Rotherham to finish below us. The first five games of the season do present us with a massive challenge and we shouldn't expect a high flying start like last year. However, might we dare to hope that our combination of foreign "unknowns" and Academy products could gel into a formidable outfit? Could Tony Watt be as unstoppable as he was last March? Can Nick Pope keep clean sheets in The Championship like he did in League 2? Can our new centre back pairing keep Charlie Austin in their pockets? There's only one place to be to find out.
Prediction: Charlton 1 QPR 0 (result subsequently expunged from records when QPR are thrown out of the League for non-payment of massive "palpably unjustified" fine)