Chris Burton believes QPR deserve to be heading into the top flight as second tier champions.
Last Updated: 09/05/11 3:00pm
Rules are rules and if you break them you have to pay the consequences, but it was refreshing to see common sense prevail when it came to Queens Park Rangers' promotion to the Premier League.
Neil Warnock's men were the best side in the second tier this season by some distance, with their consistency over the course of the campaign unrivalled by even their closest challengers.
They topped the table for almost the entire campaign and never slipped out of the top two.
It is difficult to argue against that record, with any side that can handle the rigours of a gruelling 46-game schedule so effectively more than deserving of their place at English football's top table.
QPR will be able to pull up such a pew in 2011/12, although they were left sweating on their top-flight status until Saturday morning.
Promotion had already been secured by that point, but a Football Association investigation into their acquisition of Alejandro Faurlin hung over their head and threatened to dash their dreams.
Third-party ownership is an issue which rose to the fore during Carlos Tevez's days at West Ham, with it never quite clear who the Argentine was working for - the agency that 'owned' him or the Hammers.
The FA took a dim view of the situation and made it clear that such agreements are in breach of its rules and regulations.
QPR knew this and it is easy to argue that they deserved to be punished for having pushed though a deal for Faurlin regardless.
It is, however, important to note that the Argentine midfielder moved to Loftus Road in June 2009, almost two years ago.
He would have been registered with the FA shortly after his arrival and it should have been down to the authorities at that point to ensure that there were no skeletons lurking in the closet.
Perhaps the fact that QPR were not considered to be promotion contenders at that point helped to sweep the issue under the carpet, with the capital club spending much of the 2009/10 campaign in the bottom half of the Championship table.
Now, all of a sudden, Rangers are on their way to the Promised Land and it is alright to take pot shots at them in an effort to knock them from their lofty perch.
The situation should never have been allowed to get this far. It should have been nipped in the bud back in 2009, but given that it was allowed to resurface in 2011 it should have been resolved much quicker than it was.
Why did it take the FA so long to reach a verdict? And why did it decide to leave announcing that verdict until a couple of hours before the final game of the season?
In the end it found QPR guilty of two of the charges brought against them and fined them a total of £850,000.
Thankfully no points deduction was imposed, as such a sanction would likely have seen QPR bundled back into the play-offs.
That would have given them another shot at promotion but, having seen the golden egg snatched away from them, they would have been drained both physically and emotionally.
Justice then has been served on all counts. QPR have had their wrist slapped and warned as to their future conduct, but they have been allowed to take their rightful place in the top flight for next season.
It would have been a travesty had they been denied their shot at the big time, all things considered, and hopefully that will be the end of the matter, with none of Rangers' second tier rivals having opted to challenge the FA ruling.
End of the road
Lincoln slipped out of the Football League over the weekend, with a 3-0 defeat to Aldershot hammering the final nail into their coffin.
Recent history suggests that the clubs who slip out of the fourth tier find it difficult to bounce straight back, with the likes of Luton, Darlington, Wrexham, Grimsby and Mansfield currently making up the numbers in the Blue Square Premier.
In Steve Tilson the Imps have a young manager with the necessary desire to succeed, but patience may be the order of the day at Sincil Bank.
The same can be said for Stockport, who will be joining Lincoln in the non-league ranks next season and appear to have a major rebuilding job on their hands.