The four year plan is a fly-on-the-wall documentary tracking QPR’s progress from being a mid-table Championship side to becoming a Premiership football club. Beginning after Flavio Briatore takes over the football club, saving it from bankruptcy, The Four-Year Plan sheds light on the farcical way in which QPR were run during the period the documentary was being filmed. As we know QPR did eventually win promotion to the Premier League but you get a sense, whilst watching the documentary, that it almost happened by accident. The film sees Iain Dowie, Gary Ainsworth, Paulo Sousa, Jim Magilton, Steve Gallen and Marc Bircham (together), Paul Hart, Mick Harford and Neil Warnock all act as manager or caretaker-manager of the team and all, with exception of Neil Warnock who was fired shortly into the season after filming ended, end up being fired, often having done nothing significantly wrong.
The film brilliantly captures the ineptitude of Briatore and co. with one particularly good scene demonstrating how they meddled with the first team by loaning out their top scorer, Dexter Blackstock, to Nottingham Forrest, a Championship rival, without the consent of the manager Paulo Sousa- who informed the press that he had no hand in the deal and was promptly sacked. Another thing that shines through are the egos of those in the boardroom who at times seem to be so caught up in their own hype that they can’t comprehend the possibility of failure. If the people in charge of your club have ever made a bizarre decision that you can’t comprehend then this film will provide you with an interesting look into the psyche of the power crazed men that seem to be a dominant force in the running of most British football clubs.
Ultimately however QPR do pull of promotion to the top-flight, which in the context of the film provides a fantastic illustration of the randomness of football, as well as providing a strange vindication of the Briatore method (spending money and firing people until you accidently get it right). As a documentary The Four-Year Plan is unique in its portrayal of a football club and, although most of the action takes place in the boardroom and at financial meetings, for those that are interested this film provides an exclusive insight into how football clubs operate. On the other hand if the business side of football does not sound particularly appealing then parts of the film may feel as though they are dragging slightly.
Soccer Sphere rating- 4 out of 5