The Four Year Plan (2011)

The Four Year Plan (2011) tmdb posterIn this incredibly revealing fly-on-the-wall documentary, Director Mat Hodgson recorded the in-office dealings of the QPR Board as they tried to raise the team from bottom of the Championship to EPL promotion with The Four Year Plan.

Queens Park Rangers FC (QPR) emerged from administration (analogous to Chapter 11 bankruptcy), and in 2007, it was purchased by wealthy Formula One auto racing magnates. If you watched the end of the 2011-2012 EPL season, you saw the spoiler role QPR almost played in Man City’s league championship. And if that were all you knew about QPR, you would have assumed The Four Year Plan was some kind of feel-good Moneyball success story. Its not.

In the stands, when the team won, the Board members jumped to their feet, cheered, and hugged. But when the team regularly lost, tickets sales disappeared. Fans complained obnoxiously and chanted at the games, “We want our Rangers back.” The Board, led by Flavio Briatore, was disdainful, saying that the fans spent 10 pounds on the team while they spent 30M.

The Board thought they knew more than the manager or the fans. Their meddling took them through a succession of 8-10 managers in 3 years. Flavio told a manager what the lineup should be, and at one point, he joked he would text instructions to the manager during the game so that people wouldn’t see him calling his cell. They also loaned out their top striker without telling the manager, and when the manager related this to the media, they fired him for releasing confidential information.

The only way the team found its way back to the EPL was when Flavio stopped meddling and Amit Bhatia–a more level-headed Board member–took over. Amit brought in Neil Warnock, who turned the team around very quickly. The film was very complimentary towards Warnock.

In researching this movie, I discovered that Flavio Briatore is similar to Donald Trump. He even had his own Apprentice show. According to Wikipedia, Flavio has been convicted of criminal activity (phony card games), accused of fixing a Formula One race, banned from Formula One racing, and fined for an illegal player transfer to QPR. Also very surprising for such an ugly guy, he is the father of Heidi Klum’s first child. Goes to show how sexy you can be with half-a-billion dollars.

After watching this film, how anyone can remain a fan or a player of QPR befuddles me. But in all probability, this is what goes on in your soccer team’s boardroom. Your 10 pounds or $30 is fueling a big toy for these Board boys. I resolved never to watch a QPR game again.

In English with subtitles; many conversations are in Italian.

SoccerMovieMom Rating = 7


Release Date: 2011-11-16 (Netherlands)
Director: Mat Hodgson