Redknapp ready to take reins at QPR
Harry Redknapp is poised to become the manager of Queen’s Park Rangers following Mark Hughes’s dismissal by the Premier League’s bottom club yesterday.
The 65-year-old returns to work five months after being let go by Tottenham Hotspur, despite guiding the club to fourth in the table.
Redknapp’s representatives were still holding talks with QPR last night but his appointment is expected to be confirmed after today’s trip to Manchester United, where he will watch his new club from the stands.
Hughes’s exit came as no surprise after he had failed to guide the team to even one league victory this season despite lavish investment during the summer, yet the timing of his dismissal was curious.
Changing manager on the eve of a match away to United hardly constitutes ideal preparation. QPR’s owner, Tony Fernandes, agonised long and hard over whether to give up on Hughes. Last Saturday’s emphatic defeat by Southampton left the club with only four points from 12 matches.
Since appointing Hughes in January Fernandes had been vociferous in his backing of the manager, continually extolling the Welsh man’s acumen and the merits of stability. The defeat to Southampton, in a match that he had billed as a must-win and which produced a performance that Hughes admitted was the worst since he arrived, led to the owner questioning his faith like never before.
Hughes appeared to have survived a board meeting on Monday but Fernandes, who is in Malaysia, spent the last few days on the telephone listening to the opinions of staff at Loftus Road – including several players – as well as his fellow shareholders, Amit Bhatia and Ruben Gnanalingam.
Hughes may have feared the chop but was still caught off guard. He was scheduled to oversee training yesterday before hosting a press conference to preview the trip to Old Trafford but instead he arrived for work and was told by the club’s chief executive chairman, Philip Beard, that his time was up.
“Queens Park Rangers Football Club has terminated the contract of manager Mark Hughes with immediate effect,” read a statement on the club’s website.
Within hours the club began negotiating with Redknapp to take over. They held talks in the afternoon, with Redknapp declaring that he would like his long-time associates Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond to be brought on board too.
QPR are five points from safety already and have the worst goal difference in the league as they head to second-placed United.