When Harry Redknapp decided to jack it all in as QPR manager just hours after the myriad of fax machines had stopped whirring and jamming on Deadline Day, this announcement set many more tongues a wagging than your normal managerial denouement.
On the surface of it, many would have been forgiven for assuming that ‘Arry was hurling his toys out of the pram after landing a net total of zero signings in the last knockings of February 2nd. What transpired was a forlorn and toiling Redknapp citing that he literally could not take any more. The pain from his constant knee issues had curtailed Harry’s love for getting up in the morning and running QPR’s training sessions. So much so, that he could only stand for minutes before needing to rest.
No doubt these issues would have been enough for most men of his age, but when you add in the predicament of how the season has unraveled for QPR, one can have much sympathy for the 67 year old. This season, especially away from London, has been a heinous travail for the Hoops. Victory this week against Sunderland was their first points away from home, let alone a win.
Enter Chris Ramsey. No, not the comedian hailing from near Sunderland, but a former Tottenham coach that most fans would barely be aware of outside coaching circles. I think we can all be forgiven not knowing too much about the newly appointed manager (for the time being at least) of QPR is!
Ironically, after obtaining their first win, the immediate talk was not of QPR’s worthy win but of owner Tony Fernandes’ tweet that he’d (almost) landed his dream manager. Whilst the timing was pretty poor, it did take the gloss off what Ramsey’s team had achieved. Kicking a guy when he’s on the up, you could say.
Now that Ramsey has been named as manager, how long he will hold onto the managerial position still remains to be seen. He was adroitly non-committal, as he batted away questions during his post-match glow prior to being given the nod just two days after the win at the Stadium of Light. The name of Michael Laudrup, successfully once of Swansea City, and now trousering a not insignificant amount at Leckwiya in Qatar was the first name mentioned, despite the win.
Laudrup now looks not to be the man who Fernandes described as his ‘dream manager’ within the tweet, and maybe rightly so. Surely, Laudrup would be more suited to steering the ship into a dry dock for a complete re-fit than merely keeping the vessel afloat? However, that ship appears to have sailed with the appointment of Ramsey.
One would doubt that Laurdrup would even want to plunge into such murky territory as a relegation dogfight, in any event. The mere risk of having to possibly manage in the Championship (heaven forfend!) would be enough for the Dane to delay his chances of returning to the Premier League, should he again aspire to, once the dust has settled on the season.
For QPR, the question the underpins all of this would be, why should they change now? If the timing of Harry’s departure was a little unfortunate but nonetheless unpreventable due to his physical and perhaps mental situation, then now would appear not to be the time where the baby need hurling out with the bathwater. Keeping faith with Ramsey, who would obviously have the knowledge of the squad, what they are capable of and what they are not, would make perfect sense, even if only for now.
If Fernandes has his way, as seems to be suggested, then Ramsey could be returning to his former role in the summer regardless of if QPR stay out of the relegation zone. If Ramsey is indeed Ferdandes’ ‘Dream Manager’, he can be thankful that he needn’t look far for his man, at least. It would take a brave betting man to think that Fernandes wouldn’t have a more grandiose appointment up his sleeve, however.
On the surface of it, QPR are not a bad bet to stay in the highest echelon. Beneath them, Leicester City, with their beleagured boss, Pearson being willing to ‘giving it some’ out with an opposition player. Burnley, who will fight to the bitter end, and the of course, the hapless and currently managerless, Aston Villa. Above them Hull and, again, Sunderland, with 4 wins all season, do lurk. QPR do have something to build on after removing the monkey that clung onto their back of ‘nil point’ away from Loftus Road.
At least now, their path for the remainder of the season is clear and without ambiguity of any managerial shenanigans for the foreseeable future, and that could be enough of a catalyst to keep them where Harry would have wanted.