We’re at the fag end of the season; what Ferguson famously described as 'squeaky bum time.' For the Scot however, this season is anything but tense and nervous as his United team can metaphorically put on the pipe and slippers, kick back, and coast to the title – not that he’d let that happen of course! At the other end of the table, things are somewhat different, and just as titles and Champions’ League qualification can bring financial benefits and transfer opportunities for the top clubs, relegation – despite parachute payments – can mean strict financial belt-tightening, and an exodus of some of the self-perceived ‘better’ players.
Despite the required defiant and belligerant words to the contrary from the managers, each passing game seems to ensure that the three clubs falling through the Premier League trapdoor this season will be Reading, QPR and one more. Whilst Reading have spent somewhat prudently, and can be argued to already be planning for next year, for Rangers, and their generous benefactor Tony Fernandez, relegation will be a bitter pill to swallow, given the substantial financial outlay on players. Especially so as some players may decide that Championship football is nor for them. A case in point could be goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
When previous manager Mark Hughes secured the services of the Brazilian, having already had Rob Green in his squad, it seemed a strange signing, but the season has seen a string of impressive displays by the ‘keeper, and had all the club’s signings performed as admirably, talk of relegation would be irrelevant. The 33 year old has undoubtedly been one of QPR’s few success stories. Perhaps alongside Loic Remy, he has done as much as anyone to keep the Hoops’ fingertips clinging on to Premier League survival. Talk is now filtering through in the press however that should the seemingly inevitable happen the Brazilian may look for for a way out, with the Rossoneri of Milan apparently interested in securing his services. Indeed, it may be the case even if Harry Houdini pulls an unlikely rabbit from the hat, and keep the club up.
Looking at it from the player’s perspective, you have to sympathise with his aspirations should this happen. He remains Brazil’s first choice ‘keeper and a player of outstanding ability, but it will be terribly hard on QPR, and especially their fans and owner. Relegation can be a harsh reality, and although nothing is sure yet, should QPR be relegated, the loss of Cesar, should it occur, could well be a template followed by others.