Harry Redknapp is the new Queens Park Rangers manager after the club finally decided to sack Mark Hughes.
Rangers fired Hughes after they failed to win any of their 12 Premier League games this season, putting their place in the top flight at severe risk.
The club go to Manchester United tomorrow sitting four points adrift of Southampton at the bottom of the table and the board insisted they had no choice but to terminate his contract.
A club statement said: “This decision has been taken after careful consideration, following numerous meetings over the last few days. Mark has shown integrity and professionalism throughout his time here, but ultimately the circumstances we find ourselves in have left the board with very little choice but to make a change.”
The Evening Standard revealed at the start of October that QPR were prepared to give Hughes two months to turn the team’s form around.
But the club’s woeful 3-1 home defeat to relegation rivals Southampton last Saturday sparked talks among board members that they had to act sooner. There was also concern they could miss out on Redknapp, whose representatives have been in Ukraine this week speaking about the possibility of managing the national team, and they quickly made their move in the past 48 hours
Redknapp always preferred to stay in England and QPR fans have made it clear they want him at Loftus Road.
The 65-year-old has a good record of turning struggling clubs around, including Spurs, where he helped them recover from earning just two points from their first eight games in 2008-09, to a top-10 finish.
Redknapp was sacked by Tottenham in the summer and will surely look forward to facing his former club at Loftus Road on January 14
It is believed that former striker Les Ferdinand, who is on the coaching staff at Spurs, could be persuaded to cross London to be part of a new set-up.
Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki will take charge of the team for the trip to Old Trafford but Redknapp is expected to watch that game from the stands before officially taking over on Sunday.
Chairman Tony Fernandes will give him money to spend in the January transfer window but has already gone on record to say there is only enough funding for a two or three additions as he believes the squad is strong enough to stay up.
Rangers, who have one of the biggest squads in the top flight, are also expected to raise some funds by selling some players.
One of Redknapp’s priorities will be to heal a growing divide in the squad, with some of the players who won promotion under Neil Warnock frustrated by the effort put in by some of the new arrivals in the summer.
Rangers are desperate to maintain their top-flight status, as they have a high wage bill after making 12 signings in the summer. There is also the danger of missing out on the finances the new TV deal will bring next year. After facing United the club have games against fellow strugglers, starting with Sunderland on Tuesday before facing Aston Villa and Wigan.
Hughes was sacked just 10 months into a two-and-a-half year contract and will receive hefty compensation, given that he is on £3 million a year.
The damage to his reputation is sizeable, having quit Fulham after just one season last year in the hope of getting a bigger job elsewhere.
He replaced Warnock at QPR in January but managed just six League wins from a possible 30 and may face a long wait to get another top-flight job.
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