Harry Redknapp quit as Queens Park Rangers manager today before he was pushed, with the club having no intention of renewing his contract at the end of the season and the 67-year-old tired of the constant insecurity around his job.
Redknapp gave extensive interviews today in which he cited his upcoming knee surgery as the key reason behind his decision to leave the club who are 19th in the Premier League with 15 games left to play. The Independent understands that he has been mulling over the decision for more than a month as the team has struggled badly.
Redknapp has denied that the club’s failure to agree a single permanent deal for a new player in the last transfer window – they signed Mauro Zarate on loan and Ryan Manning from Galway United on a free – was a major factor in his decision. Yet, by the time of the deadline on Monday night the club’s reluctance it make any major signings had spelled out to him their attitude on his future.
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood is the favourite to replace Redknapp although as of 8pm tonight no agreement had been reached. In the meantime the head of football operations Les Ferdinand will be in charge of the team with Chris Ramsey, also brought in recently from Spurs, assisting him.
The likelihood is that Redknapp’s assistants Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond will also agree severance packages with the club. Glenn Hoddle was not a full-time member of staff and quit tonight saying in a statement he was “a bit shocked and surprised” by the decision but that he believed that QPR could stay up.
Contenders to be next QPR manager
Contenders to be next QPR manager
1/6 Michael Laudrup
There is huge respect for Laudrup on these shores following his stint with Swansea during which he led them to League Cup success in 2013 playing a stylish brand of football on a tight budget. The former Barcelona player also enjoyed success with Brondby and is currently manager of Qatari team Lekhwiya, though he is unlikely to be available until the end of the season.
2/6 Tim Sherwood
The Independent columnist has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham at the end of last season. The former Blackburn player came close to taking the job at West Brom last month and has been linked with almost every vacancy going since becoming available, but pulled out of the race to replace Harry Redknapp on Tuesday 10 February.
3/6 Les Ferdinand
Another contender already at Loftus Road, Ferdinand held the role of head of football operations before he was appointed director of footba;;. The striker also played for QPR in the early stages of his career, scoring 80 league goals for the Hoops. That might make him a popular choice with fans but he has no management experience.
4/6 Steve McClaren
The former England manager held a coaching role at QPR before he was appointed to his current position as manager of Derby County. With the Rams currently in one of the automatic promotion spots in the Championship it might be difficult to tempt him away.
5/6 Gianfranco Zola
Links with local rivals Chelsea might not endear him to supporters although the Italian is a likeable character and could turn opinion around. Had a mixed spell as manager of West Ham and nearly guided Watford to promotion from the Championship in 2013. Was only recently appointed as manager of Serie A side Cagliari.
6/6 Chris Ramsey
The current caretaker manager appears to a be a likely candidate to remain in charge until the end of the season. Ramsey made 100 league appearances for Swindon Town and joined Rangers' coaching staff in November last year.
Ferdinand’s power is considerable. As well as his input into appointing the new manager he is charged with building a better infrastructure for the club including the academy which has failed to produce a single player for the first team in some time – Raheem Sterling was sold before he could make a senior debut – despite an excellent catchment area.
The QPR chairman Tony Fernandes had floated the idea of a new contract for Redknapp in September but that was shelved as the team’s performances failed to improve. The arrival of Ferdinand and then Ramsey, both of whom had worked as Sherwood’s assistants at Spurs further contributed to the insecurity around Redknapp.
Redknapp told Sky Sports that after an “uncomfortable night” in a London hotel he called Fernandes at 5.30am this morning to tell him that he wanted to quit the club. It is not clear whether the remaining six months of Redknapp’s deal have been paid up but certainly the outcome has suited both parties, to an extent. Fernandes had been close to sacking him more than once and neither side wanted to go through a protracted and damaging parting of the ways.
For now Redknapp has presented the parting as an amicable parting of the ways. “Tony backed me 100 per cent in the summer,” he told Sky Sports. “There were one or two who had injuries. I have not been able to get Sandro on the pitch as much and one or two lads, there’s more to come from. I think there’s a decent squad that can stay in the Premier League.”
Redknapp said that his knee problems had made it impossible even to control a football. “The players must look at me and think ‘Look at the old crock’. It’s not ideal.”
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