For many avid viewers of Sky Sports on transfer deadline day, the classic shot of Harry Redknapp doing an interview in his Range Rover has become an established part of the day.
This time round however, Harry looked a shade of his normal self when interviewed by the media. Queens Park Rangers had failed to make any deadline day signings, a day where Redknapp usually thrives on signing players quickly and effectively. Redknapp making no signings on deadline day is almost a sacrilegious offence. Something smelt fishy at Loftus Road, but not many outsiders were expecting the 67 year-old to resign the following day.
By now, the rumour mill was in full swing with the usual list of names that the bookies tipped as Redknapp’s replacement. At the time of writing, the overriding favourite to take over at Loftus Road is Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham Hotspur last summer, and after putting himself out of the running of various jobs including the vacancy at Crystal Palace a few months ago, it’s now expected that he will replace Redknapp.
QPR and Sherwood seems to be a good fit. Sherwood is a London boy, and despite being sacked after only 5 months in the job, he was well liked by Spurs supporters and gained the respect of many neutrals for his passionate persona on the touchline and his abrasive ‘say-it-how-it-is’ style with the media. Old Spurs staff Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey are both now involved in the QPR set up, which should help Sherwood when settling into new surroundings.
His time at White Hart Lane yielded a top-flight win percentage of 59%, which is the best of any Tottenham boss in Premier League history, whilst a sixth place finish meant that Spurs qualified for this season’s Europa League competition. However, there are plenty of things Sherwood needs to work if he aims to establish himself as a respected Premier League manager.
Some critics argued that Sherwood made a rod for his own back and his managerial style ultimately backfired on him. Chairman Daniel Levy grew more and more frustrated as Sherwood began to land himself, and the club, in trouble. Instances such as slating his players in public (after a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea in March 2014) was not something that sat well with Levy.
If Sherwood is to become QPR’s new manager, we should expect to see him tone down his style. He will still be his passionate self, but just less full on. There’s no doubt that QPR’s chairman Tony Fernandes will have a word in Sherwood’s ear about this.
From the outside looking in, it feels as if the whole club needs a boost, and this is exactly what Sherwood’s appointment would provide. Things had turned a bit stale under Redknapp, the spine of QPR’s side was based around players in their thirties.
It felt as though Redknapp was getting rather desperate; he recalled Adel Taarabt from the wilderness merely months after slating him over issues regarding his weight, and throughout January he complained about how “difficult” he was finding it to get reinforcements into the club to help their survival bid.
Redknapp had to dodge questions surrounding his future after Fernandes had given him the dreaded vote of confidence, and possible ‘insiders’ were apparently leaking information to the media about Redknapp and the club.
After frustrations boiled over at Turf Moor when some senior players and R’s fans exchanged words following yet another away defeat, it was probably the right time for Redknapp to call it a day. His health was obviously impacting his work and for QPR to move forward, a young and enthusiastic manager like Sherwood coming in will be best for all parties.
The whole ethos at QPR looks as though it will change with their next managerial appointment. Fernandes has stated his ambition to bring in a young manager with a focus on “nurturing young talent” and Sherwood ticks both of these boxes. At Spurs, Nabil Bentaleb progressed through to the first-team, while Ryan Mason and Harry Kane were both on the cusp of the side before Sherwood’s sacking.
The problem with Redknapp was that we all knew what to expect. The ‘wheeler-dealer’ tag was probably too harsh but he became synonymous with bringing in the same players to the clubs he managed. Fernandes tweeted on deadline day that there would be “no more cheque book”, so ultimately Sherwood will have to use the players currently at the club, which should allow more youngsters to be given a chance in the senior squad.
Fernandes wants to lay the foundations for a long-term plan at QPR, changing the way the club has been operating in recent seasons. The appointment of a young manager developing young talent means things will progress at Loftus Road, but don’t expect everything to improve overnight.