No sooner had it been confirmed that Queen’s Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes had been sacked, than reports were springing up on television, social media and the internet that Harry Redknapp was being interviewed by the club.
It is hard to avoid the feeling that the dismissal of Hughes has been a week-long affair. On Monday, when it was falsely announced that the Welshman had been given his marching orders, there was clearly no smoke without fire.
With all the rumours surrounding Redknapp and the mysterious “job offer” from the Ukraine, behind the scenes one would imagine that Phil Beard, Tony Fernandes and Amit Bhatia had secretly been buttering up the former Tottenham Hotspur boss, if you will pardon the awful image the phrase generates.
For his part, Redknapp has been acting rather coy throughout all this. Like the teenage girl that does not wish to indicate she likes the jocular boy in her maths class, the media darling is saying he “might be talking to the club” or “could be interested in the job”.
Behind all the PR though, Redknapp is desperate to take over from Sparky and ride in on his golden chariot to rouse the troops and transform the miserable shower that would struggle to fight their collective way out of the proverbial paper bag.
Yet let us not pretend for one moment that the R’s are now back on the straight and narrow and that everything will be fine, because that would be wishful thinking of the highest order. Redknapp may have an excellent track record, but throughout his managerial career has not been known for being anorexic – either personally, or with his spending in the transfer market.
He will be expecting Fernandes to delve once again into his moth-ridden wallet and find another £20million-plus to strengthen the squad. And who could blame him, given what he has to work with at the moment ? Even though the new gaffer is known for his motivational skills, will he be able to get the current abysmal shower of mediocrity to play for him, and quickly enough so that Rangers are not cut adrift by the time certain players awake from their lazy slumbers ?
A majority of the current starting X1, the so-called “Big Time Charlies”, were appallingly willing to hang Hughes out to dry by turning in performances so sub-par they were an affront to the profession.
It is not only hard to imagine figures such as Ji-Sung Park, Esteban Granero, Djibril Cisse, Jose Bosingwa and Julio Cesar turning over a new leaf any time soon – but it would be sickening to watch them do it given what happened to Hughes.
Fans cannot imagine any footballer, no matter how disillusioned they are with life at a certain club, or the way their career has panned out, being this disinterested in the plight of a team they are a member of. It is staggering how little some of them care.
One of the main criticisms that could be made of Hughes was that he cut out the passionate, committed, driven, focused players that had slaved away to get the club back to the Premier League. In their place he brought in big-names including Park, rising stars like Granero, dubious figures such as Cisse and multi-million pound panic buys, notably Cesar.
There is now no spine at QPR, and certainly no backbone to speak of. There were only three players fit to wear the shirt against Southampton – Jamie Mackie, Adel Taarabt and Ryan Nelsen. That trio alone cannot save Rangers from oblivion. Nor can the inspiration and personality of Redknapp. When a side goes 12 matches without looking anything like winning a game of football it is clear something is wrong, badly wrong.
Manchester United are 80/1 to put seven goals past the R’s without reply tomorrow. The worst part of this is that those odds are rather tempting, simply because Hughes’ departure simultaneously means everything and nothing.
QPR may be rid of the manager, who almost always is the scapegoat but in this case was deservedly fired, but the players remain the only ones able to get the Superhoops out of the mess they played the decisive role in creating. While many may consider this an absurd statement, there are only 26 Premier League matches left this season, and Rangers currently have a mere four points to their name.
This means that the same team which have taken three points from a possible 60 on the road must pick up an average of 1.4 points per game from now until the end of the season, starting at one of the most fearsome grounds to play in the country.
Good luck Harry, you will need it.
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Originally published on Indy R’s on Friday November 23 2012.