QPR’s backs-to-the-wall play-off final victory was seen as a triumph for their manager, Harry Redknapp. After spending exorbitant amounts of money on fees and wages, anything less than promotion would have been seen as utter failure.
Bobby Zamora’s last minute goal sealed their return to the big time but I can’t help shake the feeling football was the ultimate loser with this result. Redknapp’s men were made to look pedestrian by Steve McClaren’s vibrant young Rams’ side for much of the game and yet succumbed to a last minute sucker-punch.
Rangers have stumbled and stuttered their way back into the Premier League with a squad full of veritable has-beens. Instead of seeing the likes of Will Hughes strut their stuff next season, we’ll have to endure the likes of Clint Hill, Karl Henry, Joey Barton and Kevin Doyle once more; footballers, frankly, who have had their time on the main stage.
It was more than just a defeat for Derby; it was a defeat for football.