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Volume 6 No. 212
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Hughes Sacked, Redknapp Steps In To Lead Winless Queens Park Rangers

Mark Hughes "was dismissed as head coach" of EPL Queens Park Rangers on Friday, with the club at the bottom of the Premier League table after failing to win any of its first 12 matches of the season, according to the AFP. QPR, which avoided relegation on the final day of last season, is the only EPL club that has not won a game. A statement on the QPR website read: "This decision has been taken after careful consideration by the board of directors, following numerous meetings over the last few days" (AFP, 11/23). In London, Jason Burt reported QPR Chair Tony Fernandes was "outvoted by his fellow Malaysian shareholders" over the sacking of Hughes. Fernandes had "fought to keep Hughes in his job, but met strong opposition" from QPR Directors Kamarudin Bin Meranun and Ruben Emir Gnanalingam. Fellow QPR Dir Amit Bhatia is "thought to have been less vociferous than the other two in trying to force Hughes out but agreed with the decision." Fernandes was persuaded after new Manager Harry Redknapp set "a deadline of Saturday" for QPR to make a decision. Redknapp insisted that otherwise he would "accept an offer to become the new coach of Ukraine" (TELEGRAPH, 11/25).

FIRST CHOICE: In London, Paul Wilson wrote the only surprise was Redknapp "promising not to spend a fortune in January." Redknapp said, "The players at QPR have not performed to their potential. The players have to be at it, the buck stops with them. I didn't tell the club I wanted money to spend, I have not even discussed that situation. There are some good players here and if we can get them performing then come January, we might not need so much." Redknapp, who will take charge for Rangers' visit to Sunderland on Tuesday, was Fernandes' "primary target." Fernandes: "Harry was our No. 1 target, the unanimous choice of the board" (GUARDIAN, 11/24). REUTERS noted media reports suggested Redknapp will be handed a £1M ($1.6M) bonus if he can "stave off relegation at Loftus Road" -- on top of the £3M ($4.8M) a year he has "apparently agreed with the club" (REUTERS, 11/24).

LONG JOURNEY: In London, Dominic Fifield wrote on the GUARDIAN's The Sport Blog "Not that long ago, the salvage job at Queens Park Rangers would have felt made for Harry Redknapp." This is "an ambitious London club, within daily commute of his home in Sandbanks, Dorset, which is money-flushed yet flailing at the foot of the table, and a team in desperate need of a spark who is not Sparky." Compared to recent seasons, Redknapp's appointment at Loftus Road "feels like too much of a comedown." After all, it has only been six months since his Tottenham Hotspur side finished fourth in the Premier League. A few weeks later, he was "the favourite to take over the England national team." Now, as he returns to club management to oversee the only winless team in the country, he will "feel the weight of the table heavy upon him" (GUARDIAN, 11/23).

BECKHAM ON WISHLIST: In London, Jamie Jackson noted Redknapp hopes to bring David Beckham to Queens Park Rangers with Fernandes "prepared to back the new manager in the January transfer window as he looks to strengthen the bottom-placed club in the bid to avoid relegation." Asked if there was interest in taking Beckham to QPR, Redknapp, who is also interested in players Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Darren Bent, told BBC 5 Live: "I'm sure he could still play in the Premier League. He is a top player and a fantastic person as well. I must admit we had him at Tottenham training and he was amazing around the place -- absolute class" (GUARDIAN, 11/25). Redknapp: “I haven’t discussed it with the chairman at the moment so we’d have to look at that but David could still certainly be a great asset to anybody, showing people how to train, how to look after yourself" (SUNDAY TIMES, 11/25). In London, Matt Law wrote Redknapp will "need all his powers of persuasion" to convince Beckham to snub lucrative offers from other clubs around the world to join the QPR "relegation battle." Redknapp’s bid to sign Beckham on a free transfer will be backed by Fernandes, who ¬≠attempted to sign the former ¬≠England captain last year (MIRROR, 11/24).

A BRIEF HONEYMOON: In London, Roger Blitz noted research has found that "a struggling football club is unlikely to fare any better in the long term if it fires its manager." It seems Chelsea and QPR have "more in common than they realise." Both are west London clubs, have billionaire foreign owners and sacked their managers this week. But according to research commissioned by Warwick Business School for the League Managers Association, the pattern of results generated by a new coach "is the same whichever position in the table a club holds, and has been that way for years." Since the Premier League began 20 years ago, managers taking over from a sacked predecessor enjoy "only a brief honeymoon period, largely inspired by the rejuvenation of players looking to impress" the new manager. The research showed that after a dozen games under the new manager, results "start to tail off." Another six games later, and the average points per game won by the newcomer is "less than his predecessor achieved more than a dozen games prior to his sacking" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/23).