With Queens Park Rangers recently acquiring the services of former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, I, for one, am salivating at the thought of such an established, reliable centre-back starting at the heart of our defence next season.
Our last showing in the Premier League, if you could call it that, was nothing short of an utter embarrassment. From terrible signings to appalling tactics, it wasn't enjoyable. Bundles of cash was spent on transfer fees and wages and there was little to no return on any of it. Writing this now brings back horrific memories. Saturday's weren't enjoyable, we were the laughing stock of the country (understandably) and most QPR fans couldn't wait for the season to end, even if it resulted in relegation, which was inevitable.
This season though, with Harry Redknapp at the helm from the start of the new campaign, alongside the experience of someone like Rio Ferdinand means I'm a tad more optimistic than I was.
Rio Ferdinand has been there and done it. He knows the league, has worked with Harry Redknapp before, which seemed to sway things for him, and is returning home to London which can only help his overall mood and happiness in and around the place. He'll be a mainstay in our side, providing injuries don't hold him back, and the appeal of first team Premier League football undoubtedly played a massive part in persuading Ferdinand to sign for us. He's hungry and he 'wants it'.
A few eyebrows have been raised over the acquisition but with Steven Caulker signing, their pairing could be as good as any in the Premier League. Redknapp has also suggested that he could play a back three this season, with Caulker, Rio Ferdinand and Richard Dunne forming that back line. Once again, that could also work. Caulker's pace alongside Dunne and Rio Ferdinand's experience and positional sense could prove a tough nut to crack. Of course protection in front of them will be key, but with a long way in the window to go, we'll still add a few more.
Rio Ferdinand's signature will not only have on the field benefits but off the field benefits also. Youngsters will love playing alongside him, he's supposedly a good character in and around the dressing room and, most importantly of all, a big name signing, no matter how old he is, of Ferdinand's stature can only impress any other potential recruits.
It's a long hard season and it's impossible to predict where QPR will finish, but with Harry Redknapp signing players such as Rio Ferdinand, stability and Premier League experience seem to be the key ingredient this summer.
QPR are back and this time we seem to be doing things with a bit more thought and professionalism.
By Gerry Phelan - QPR fan