Harry Redknapp could have left Queens Park Rangers at any moment in the last two years, and yet he has picked the worst one.
Rangers are in a desperate position, second from bottom, with 15 games left. The transfer window shut yesterday, depriving them of the chance of improving their squad.
Last night’s failures to bring Emmanuel Adebayor or Matt Jarvis marked the end of Redknapp’s Loftus Road tenure, regardless of what was said in this afternoon’s website statement. Redknapp may well have had one look at his remaining players, another look at his remaining games, and decided this was a fight for someone else.
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.
The fact that it should come at a moment of maximum inconvenience to QPR should be no surprise, even if Redknapp’s departure had felt lingeringly near for years. It did not take long after he replaced Mark Hughes for it to be clear that – even after spending £20million on Loic Remy and Christopher Samba – his team were going down.
There was so little fight in those final months that it would have made sense, even then, to replace Redknapp with someone who wanted to direct and inspire the team again.
Redknapp did not make it obvious that he did. Instead, they waded their way through the Championship, and through sheer weight of players they managed to clamber past Wigan Athletic and Derby County in the play-offs. Had QPR lost to Derby – as they very nearly did – Redknapp would have left. Even after victory, he could have been replaced by someone with the enthusiasm to take on the Premier League.
Instead, Rangers have limped through this season just as they did the last two, devoid of any plan, any purpose, any direction, any of the things that Redknapp was paid to provide.
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