What now for Mark Hughes?

It is hard to imagine him ever at the wheel of a truly big club

The axe finally crashed into the managerial career of Mark Hughes yesterday morning.

It was blunt (the wait to today felt pointless) but there was no outrage, no questioning of Tony Fernandes, the majority shareholder of Queens Park Rangers, no public outcry.

But then Hughes had no collateral. There was not a European Cup success or a grand day out at Wembley, still lurking at the forefront of the memory to provoke anger, or sympathy. It fell the day before QPR faced Manchester United. There was cruelty in that, where Hughes was one of a handful of bullish footballers who dragged that particular club out of the past, but no one cared.

Eight wins in 34 games, 25 per cent of those victories against League One MK Dons (last season in the FA Cup) and Walsall (this season in the Capital One Cup) will do that.

They were fortunate to stay up in Hughes' first campaign, doing so by default, when they lost at Manchester City and Bolton could not win at Stoke. They got smashed for five on the opening day of the current season, by Swansea, after another summer of heavy recruitment (more salary than transfer fee). The tone has been of decline. At some point a boardroom will move into a position where they have to afford change. Hughes could not complain too much. His win ratio from the 30 Premier League games he oversaw was 20 per cent. That level is unsustainable.

There has been change behind the scenes. There is infrastructure. There is an academy network now, where Harry Redknapp will greet 20 staff, rather than the two who Hughes found on his first day. The likelihood of a Raheem Sterling being allowed to leave the youth level of the club for £500,000 is significantly less. There is a scouting system, should Redknapp need one.

None of that matters, not when you cannot buy a win where it matters, on a Premier League match day, but it will mean some of the new manager's work has been done before he cosies into his desk.

For Hughes, bad decisions have carried huge consequences. On February 5, 2011, his lot was rising again. Fulham had just drawn at Aston Villa after recording back-to-back victories against Newcastle and Liverpool. On that day, Robert di Matteo was being sacked at West Bromwich Albion. By the end of the season, Fulham had finished eighth. Then Hughes resigned, and said this; “As a young, ambitious manager I wish to move on to further my experiences.”

It narrowed his possibility. He was out for of the game for seven months, and then came back at Rangers. It always felt a strange fit; a club with aspirations to be Fulham. The experiences have not been good.

He has no desire to leave management, but the decision is no longer his. On that day in February 2011, Tottenham Hotspur were beating Bolton with an eye on a Champions League trip to the SanSiro. They finished fifth. Redknapp was supposed to go to England, not Loftus Road. Di Matteo was supposed to start lower down, not be in a Champions League final 16 months later. Hughes has nowhere to go right now, but the wheel can turn extraordinarily fast in football management. Much of it does not make analytical sense.

It is hard to imagine him ever at the wheel of a truly big club, but then in the last 12 months Stuart Pearce (sacked at Manchester City) has managed (temporarily) England, Robert di Matteo (sacked at West Bromwich Albion) has won the Champions League with Chelsea and Alan Pardew (most recently sacked at League One Southampton) was voted manager of the year for finishing fifth with Newcastle in the Premier League.

They are the strands to which Hughes will attempt to find some comfort today, as he begins his life in the managerial wilderness.

It all began on the international stage, with Wales, back in 1999. Chris Coleman has been in charge of that nation for five games, with only a fortuitous victory against Scotland to show for his troubles. The constant failure of the home nations opens unexpected doors.

For there to be a return to the Premier League, he must hope for a crisis, and they are only ever two bad results away. That he created one at Queens Park Rangers may not deter a would-be employer. The Premier League believes football was invented in 1992. It is a league made for short memories.

Hughes, however, is unlikely to be given an opportunity in the top echelon of English football. Not now, not after what has happened at Rangers. That will hurt more than a blunt axe.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
News
Bey can do it: Beyoncé re-enacts Rosie the Riveter's pose
newsRosie the Riveter started out as an American wartime poster girl and has become a feminist pin-up. With Beyoncé channeling her look, Gillian Orr tells her story
Life and Style
Donna and Paul Wheatley at their wedding
healthShould emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for