The shocking Championship table since Mick Beale left QPR

Queens Park Rangers have gone from promotion hopefuls to relegation battlers over the course of a wild 2022-23 campaign. The key turning point was when head coach Michael Beale left the club to take up a job offer at Rangers in November.

Beale had turned down an offer to take over at Premier League club Wolves, but he couldn’t resist a return to Ibrox when Rangers came calling a few weeks later.

The 42-year-old, in his first role as a head coach, guided QPR to a brilliant start to the season, particularly with a stellar run of five wins from six matches in November – a run that put them top of the Championship table after 16 matches.

QPR fell down to seventh by the time his departure was confirmed, but they remained well in contention for a play-off spot.

“Naturally we are hugely disappointed to lose Mick,” director of football Les Ferdinand said in a statement at the time.

“Our extensive research when we were looking for a new head coach highlighted him as being very much aligned with the direction we are moving in as a football club.

“The start to the season we have made, coupled with very attractive football being played, gave us cause for optimism as we looked to build on the previous three seasons.

“That optimism remains but there is no doubt it is a blow to lose Mick so soon into his tenure.”

Beale had served as Steven Gerrard’s assistant when Rangers ended Celtic’s stranglehold at the top of the Scottish Premiership. They went unbeaten in the 2020-21 campaign, ending 25 points clear of their rivals and notching a historic 102-point tally.

“At the time I spoke that was with honesty in that moment,” Beale explained of his decision to leave for Rangers back in November.

“I was honest about my feelings towards QPR, the club, the owners and the direction they were going. This came out of nowhere and I had a decision to make but this is a wonderful football club.

“It’s an institution, it was Europa League finalists six months ago. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and it was an opportunity I didn’t want to turn down. I wanted to come back and work with the board and the players here and unite that with the fans.

“I apologise for disappointing the people down there as I think it’s a really good project but this was one I wasn’t willing to walk away from.”

Former Blackpool manager and Liverpool youth coach Neil Critchley was appointed Beale’s successor but he struggled to deliver results. Under Critchley, QPR won just one of 11 league outings and he departed the club after just four months in February.

Gareth Ainsworth, who had served as Wycombe Wanderers’ manager for over a decade and made over 100 appearances for QPR during his playing career, was appointed QPR’s third manager of the season. However, he’s been unable to arrest the slide and QPR find themselves just two points clear of the relegation zone. They’ve won just once since Christmas and have lost nine of their last 11 outings.

Since Beale left the club in November, QPR have won just two of 20 matches, drawing six and losing 12.

They’ve scored just 14 goals across those games (only Wigan have scored fewer over the same period) and conceded 40 at a rate of two goals per game. That’s by a distance the worst defensive record in the division, and a shocking drop-off since Beale.

Here’s the shocking league table since Beale departed QPR. All teams have played 20 matches unless otherwise specified:

1. Burnley – 49 Pts, +31 GD [Played 19]
2. Middlesbrough – 41 Pts, +21 GD
3. Luton – 41 Pts, +14 GD
4. Sheffield United – 38 Pts, +9 GD [Played 19]
5. West Brom – 34 Pts, +6 GD
6. Sunderland – 31 Pts, +5 GD [Played 21]
7. Millwall – 31 Pts, +3 GD [Played 21]
8. Preston – 31 Pts, -2 GD
9. Coventry – 30 Pts, +3 GD [Played 22]
10. Norwich – 29 Pts, +6 GD
11. Bristol City – 29 Pts, +2 GD
12. Hull City – 28 Pts, +5 GD
13. Stoke – 27 Pts, +11 GD
14. Blackburn – 26 Pts, -4 GD [Played 19]
15. Huddersfield – 24 Pts, -11 GD [Played 21]
16. Watford – 23 Pts, -4 GD
17. Swansea – 22 Pts, -2 GD
18. Birmingham – 22 Pts, -10 GD
19. Rotherham – 19 Pts, -7 GD [Played 19]
20. Cardiff – 18 Pts, -5 GD [Played 19]
21. Reading – 18 Pts, -12 GD
22. Wigan – 14 Pts, -18 GD
23. Blackpool – 13 Pts, -15 GD
24. QPR – 12 Pts, -26 GD

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