23rd November 2012
By BEN HOLT
While Abramovich demonstrated his cruel impatience by dismissing Roberto Di Matteo, Tony Fernandes has, up until this morning, shown a refreshing but overly lenient approach with Mark Hughes. The QPR owner has continuously backed his underfire manager despite the club remaining winless this season and not really showing any signs of improvement. But defeat to Southampton in front of the Loftus Road faithful left him with no option but to seek an alternative.
And that alternative is/looks to be (delete where appropriate depending on time of reading) Harry Redknapp. Appearing on Match of the Day last weekend, host Gary Lineker quizzed him about the possibility of replacing Hughes – and Harry played it cool, sensibly saying it would be unfair to talk about it. Whoever made the banner ‘Harry Come and Save Us’ which prompted Lineker’s question, is getting their wish.
Who would have seen this coming twelve months ago? Redknapp’s Tottenham were flying, 3rd in the Premiership, with Harry proclaiming “if we keep up our form, we’ll win the league”. Then Capello quit as England boss, with Redknapp looking a certainty to replace him; Spurs, clearly distracted by the rumours went on a dreadful run; Hodgson got the England job; Spurs missed out on a Champions League place; Harry got sacked, and five months later here we are. In other words, Capello is to blame/thank for all of this. Well actually, it’s John Terry’s fault for initiating the whole racism scandal which resulted in Capello quitting. When in doubt, blame John Terry.
It’s all fairly irrelevant now – Redknapp’s at QPR, and despite their lowly position, having mustered only four points from twelve games, they’ll be favourites to survive the drop. Tottenham fans don’t need reminding that when he took over at the Lane, Spurs had managed just two points from eight games. Two years later and they were playing Champions League matches at the San Siro. Now obviously QPR fans won’t expect to be making trips to Milan is the near future, but a steady climb up the table will be warmly received.
Redknapp is famous for ‘getting the best out of players’ – his man management skills are unrivalled and with the likes of Esteban Granero, Adel Taarabt, Djibril Cisse and Julio Cesar at his disposal, he’s got a very decent group of footballers to work with. On paper, it’s a squad that could finish in the top ten this season, even after such a torrid start. The quality of the squad actually makes it more astounding that Hughes kept his job as long as he did.
So QPR fans rejoice, you won’t be at the bottom of the table for long. You’ll discover that Cisse actually can hit a cow’s arse with a banjo; the goals will start coming along with the wins, and a mid-table finish, maybe even top ten position awaits. Fans of Southampton, Reading, Aston Villa, Norwich, Wigan and Sunderland: be concerned – you can no longer have QPR down as a dead cert for relegation.