The surprise resignation of Harry Redknapp from QPR has been met with the usual slice of skepticism from the British media who struggle to believe his reasoning. On the morning after the January transfer window closed, with QPR failing to add further bodies to their squad, the belief was that Redknapp had quit in frustration and was simply softening the blow with a cover story about an urgent knee replacement. However those close to the 67 year old have added credibility to the explanation, citing several incidents where Redknapp has looked frail and struggled to walk. The former Tottenham and West Ham boss has been putting off surgery on both knees for a few years now but now the pain and discomfort has become so severe that he cannot ignore it anymore. His resignation, albeit at the worst possible time for the club, was a long time coming with Redknapp now set for surgery and a long recovery time. Despite his disappointment at quitting QPR, Redknapp has insisted that he is not done with management and will be back once he is fully recovered.
Redknapp’s resignation was hardly the news that owner Tony Fernandes wanted. The Air Asia boss, who has been dealing with the aftermath of the tragic crash of Air Asia flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea in December, received a call mid morning yesterday informing him of Redknapp’s decision. Fernandes has acted quickly by handing the reins temporarily to Les Ferdinand, Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond as the hunt for a new manager starts. He has also announced a restructuring at the club which sees Ferdinand, a former QPR player who returned to the club as Head of Football Operations, promoted to Director of Football. The former Tottenham, Newcastle and England striker will look after all aspects of football at the club and will play a significant part in the hiring of a replacement for Redknapp. That news bodes well for Tim Sherwood who worked with Ferdinand during Sherwood’s spell as Tottenham boss. Having impressed many during his brief spell in charge at White Hart Lane, Sherwood is available and is keen to get back in the driving seat. His energy and fresh ideas could be exactly what QPR needs and have since made contact with him about the possibility of taking over.
Whilst Sherwood remains the bookies favourite, there are other potential options including Derby’s Steve McLaren and Real Madrid assistant manager Paul Clement but neither are likely to give up their current jobs for a relegation dogfight. McLaren has been strongly linked with Newcastle who after Alan Pardew departed for Crystal Palace are too looking for a new manager. Unlike QPR they have decided to wait until the summer to appoint a new boss with John Carver acting as temporary manager until then. Glenn Hoddle’s name was also mentioned as an option given that he was already part of the QPR backroom team but he has effectively ruled himself out by quitting the club late yesterday. His departure, along with Joe Jordan was unexpected but given his close relationship with Redknapp and the likelihood that a new manager would want his own men, it’s hardly surprising.
Regardless who takes over at Loftus Road, they will have a job on their hands. With a mish mash underperforming squad, QPR have slipped into 19th in the league only two points above Leicester who prop up the table. They have the worst defensive record in the league having conceded 42 times in 23 matches and have only managed to win five games in that same timeframe. Those wins came against sides in and around them – Leicester, Aston Villa, Burnley, Sunderland and West Brom which will give them hope of a turn around. However all of their wins and indeed the four draws too have come at home so it’s their away form that is in desperate need of a quick fix. Away from Loftus Road, QPR have leaked 27 goals and have scored only six times making them one of the worst teams on the road in the league. Up next is Southampton on Saturday at home followed by winnable matches against Sunderland and Hull on the road. Fernandes will be hoping to have his need manager in place before the Sunderland match so is facing a race against time to chose and hire them. Whilst the story looks bleak at present, all is not lost with the gap between the bottom three and mid table only 11 points. A draw against Southampton and two wins against Sunderland and Hull could have QPR back on the mend and flying up the table once more. For Redknapp, his journey will be the same – two knee replacements in the next few weeks followed by bed rest over several weeks could change his season too and have him back in management before too long.