Warnock will stay with QPR, insists Ecclestone
Monday 23 May 2011
Bernie Ecclestone yesterday insisted Neil Warnock would lead the Championship winners QPR into the Premier League, dispelling speculation surrounding the 62-year-old's position. Ecclestone, speaking in Barcelona where he was attending the Spanish Grand Prix, said: "He's staying, 100 per cent. We've never discussed anything about him leaving. He's never wanted to leave and we don't want to get rid of him. He's absolutely taking the club into the Premier League."
Uncertainty has grown about Warnock's future since Flavio Briatore revived his interest in the club, which went through a series of managers after he and Ecclestone bought a controlling interest in 2007. Marcello Lippi and Claudio Ranieri head an (entirely foreign) list of putative managers while Warnock has been linked with the vacant West Ham post. However, Warnock, Ecclestone and other leading figures at the club met last week to discuss the new season and appear to have agreed on QPR's approach. Whether this means releasing serious funds to strengthen the team remains unclear.
Much may depend on how the ongoing ownership issue is resolved. Ecclestone yesterday sought to rebuff Lakshmi Mittal, the leading minority shareholder. At the weekend the billionaire Indian steel magnate said he would make a bid for Ecclestone's 62 per cent shareholding but Ecclestone, drawing an analogy with speculation that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is going to take over Formula One, said: "Mittal put a statement out to say he was going to buy all the shares on Monday. But it's a bit like these Murdoch people saying they're going to buy CVC [Formula One's commercial rights holders]. They have forgotten to ask if it's for sale."
However, in the past Ecclestone has indicated his shareholding is for sale, albeit at what looks an inflated £100m. He also said it would depend on Briatore who, said Ecclestone, "has first option". There are doubts, though, over whether Briatore, who earlier sold his stake to Ecclestone, has the required funds.
Since much of the day-to-day management of QPR is in the hands of Mittal's son-in-law, Amit Bhatia, the apparent animosity between Mittal and Ecclestone does not bode well for Rangers, who have noted that their recent success has coincided with a rare period of stable management. Warnock, who took over in March 2010, is the club's longest-serving manager since Ian Holloway left in 2006.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview: I need to prove myself again at Villa, says Scott Sinclair
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings: David Silva saves the day but which City star stole the show at Stamford Bridge?
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
Serena Williams wins Australia Open 2015: American beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets to claim a sixth title in Melbourne
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election