The best and worst of Redknapp at QPR

by James Nolan

Earlier this week, Queens Park Rangers gaffer, Harry Redknapp, handed in his official resignation, cutting ties with the Londoners after just over two years in charge.

The Englishman states that his reason for leaving his post is due to an impending knee replacement surgery. A statement from Redknapp reads;

I have had such a fantastic time at QPR. I would like to thank the board, the players, all my staff and especially the supporters, who have been absolutely fantastic to me since I arrived at the club for their tremendous effort.

 

Sadly, I need immediate surgery on my knee, which is going to stop me from doing my job in the coming weeks. It means I won’t be able to be out on the training pitch every day and if I can’t give 100 per cent, I feel it’s better for someone else to take over the reigns.

Harry went on to say that his relationship with owner, Tony Fernandes was one of the highlights of his tenure and that he parts the club on good terms. Now, the conspiracy theorists among us believe that Redknapp’s statement is a load of hogwash.

 

Some are questioning the veteran’s true reasons for parting ways, whether it be the lack of activity in the recent January Transfer Window or maybe he believes he is unable to pull Queens Park Rangers out of the sticky predicament he has left them in.

The R’s are second from bottom in the table after all. However, these preachers look to be just a vocal minority.

In general, the 67-year-old has experienced a journey jam packed with ups and indeed downs as manager of QPR. From failing to beat the drop to the last second goal worth millions, Redknapp’s time has been eventful to say the least.

In November 2012, Harry Redknapp was announced as Mark Hughes’ successor at Loftus Road. The R’s were sitting at the foot of the table with just four points from 12 Premier League outings when Harry first took over at the helm of the club.

On 27 November 2012, QPR drew a blank in Harry’s first outing as Rangers boss as they were held to a scoreless draw at the Stadium of Light versus Sunderland. Redknapp’s inaugural victory came on 15 December 2012.

Rangers battled hard to earn a 2-1 win over Fulham at Loftus Road. This result proved not to be just Redknapp’s first win, but also the club’s first triumph of the 2012/2013 campaign.

However, there was one result that made the entire league sit up and take notice. On 2 January 2013, Harry’s QPR side earned a 1-0 away victory at Stamford Bridge over reigning European champions, Chelsea.

The result, which turned out to be QPR’s first away win in the Premier League since November 2011, sparked real hopes of survival amongst the Loftus Road faithful.

Despite the bright start to life at QPR for Redknapp, he proved unsuccessful in his attempt to keep Rangers afloat in the English top flight. A 0-0 draw with fellow relegation beckoned side, Reading, was enough to relegate QPR to the Championship with three fixtures remaining to fulfil.

After two seasons in the big time, QPR were back to the ever tricky league that is the Football League Championship. Many wondered at the time if Harry would stay and try to lead the R’s back into the top flight.

He eventually decided to stay put and fight for promotion with his squad but not before having a rant about certain individuals at the club.

Harry took to the press to rage a war of words at some of the stars that were brought into the club during the reign of Mark Hughes;

I don’t want to spend the owners’ money really. I’ve got to be honest with you. I don’t want to see the owners have their pants down like they have in the past. A lot of agents have made and awful lot of money out of them.

 

I fined a player last week and he was earning more than anybody at Tottenham, so that tells you everything thing. We’ve got a stadium that holds 18,000 people and shouldn’t be paying big wages.

 

Newcastle’s ground holds 55,000 and I bet you most of their players won’t be earning what our players are. So that is a problem.

Of course, it is well known that the player fined by Harry was none other than a former Champions League winner from his time at Chelsea, Jose Bosingwa. The Portuguese defender was fined for refusing to sit on the bench for an encounter with Fulham. Said Redknapp;

He didn’t want to be a substitute so he went home. He has been fined two weeks wages – £130,000. Not bad for two weeks is it? Not too bad for playing on a Saturday.

Another moment to forget of Harry’s first few months on the job would also be the £12 million acquisition of Christopher Samba from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

On paper it looked a good deal for Rangers but the man mountain of centre back flopped in his six month stay in London and by the season’s end, he was sold back to Anzhi for the exact same price he had previously arrived for.

It was not the finest piece of business Redknapp have ever done in his long managerial career.

Following relegation from the Barclay’s Premier League, Redknapp managed to keep himself very busy ahead of their bid to secure a return to the Premier League on the first time of asking.

Experienced stars such as Richard Dunne, Karl Henry, Danny Simpson, Gary O’Neil, Aaron Hughes and Yossi Benayoun. Goals were added when Charlie Austin was purchased from Burnely and the presence of youth and flair was brought to the club with the acquisition of Matt Phillips from Blackpool.

Djibril Cisse, Jay Bothroyd, Tal Ben Haim, DJ Campbell, Rob Hulse, Chris Samba, Jamie Mackie, Jose Bosingwa, Anton Ferdinand and Shaun Derry all moved in the opposite direction, out the Loftus Road exit door.

Joey Barton also returned from a loan spell at Ligue 1 side, Marseille. QPR were clearly well equipped to take on a gruelling Championship schedule.

 

The season that followed, which was QPR’s 125th since their formation, was generally good for Rangers. The side spent much of the campaign sitting in the automatic promotion spots and it was only a slump in form at the halfway point of the season that saw them miss out on the top two.

After 46 games, QPR sat in fourth place in the league with 80 points to their name. Harry knew if he was going to lead his side back into the big time, he would have to do it the hard way through the play-offs.

The R’s disposed of Wigan Athletic in the semi final of the play-offs, winning 2-1 on aggregate after two legs. The win set up a much anticipated clash at Wembley versus a red hot Derby County side. Many punters around the UK were betting against QPR and Harry Redknapp this time around but they would soon lose out.

A closely contested final looked like it was heading to extra time before Bobby Zamora popped up out of nowhere in the dying seconds of the tie to hammer home the sole goal of the game and send Redknapp’s side straight back up to the Premier League.

Harry may have failed to achieve his original objective of keeping QPR in the top flight the season before but he had more than made up for it with this success.

 

Another pre season, another busy summer of transfer activity for Redknapp with a whole host of players coming in and going out of the club as QPR prepared once again for life in the Premier League. Mauricio Isla, Eduardo Vargas and Niko Kranjcar were all recruited on loan.

Rio Ferdinand, Steven Caulker, Jordon Mutch, Leroy Fer, Jack Robinson, Alex McCarthy and Sandro were all tied down to permanent deals. However, Andrew Johnson, Aaron Hughes, Stephane Mbia, Luke Young, Ji-Sung Park, Esteban Granero, Gary O’Neill, Julio Cesar, Danny Simpson and Loic Remy all departed London in favour of other ventures.

In October 2014, a month and a half into the new campaign, Redknapp would become involved in yet another controversial spats with one of his squad members. On the wake of a defeat at the hands of Liverpool, Redknapp attacked Morocco forward, Adel Taarabt, calling him fat and lazy.

He’s not injured. He’s not fit to play football unfortunately. He played in a reserve game the other day and I could have run about more than he did. I pick people who want to try, who come in every day and work, train and show a good attitude.

 

If he starts doing that, if he ever can, maybe he’ll get a game. I can’t protect people who don’t want to run and train and are about three stone overweight. What am I supposed to say? Keep getting your 60, 70 grand a week and don’t train?

Of course, Mr Taarabt was not willing to lie down and take this criticism. The Moroccan raged war on his boss by continuing to post photos of himself, sometimes topless, on his Instagram account. Redknapp realised from this that Taarabt was not worth the time and effort.

On the pitch, Redknapp’s side have had a topsy turvy season thus far. A few good results here and there against the likes of Manchester City would often be overshadowed by a silly result somewhere else. Earlier in the campaign, Rangers had a fairly solid home record that kept them steadily above the drop zone.

However, in recent months that has been extinguished and now the side based from Shepard’s Bush in London, are in real of jeopardy of being relegated for the second time in the space of three seasons.

Blows were dealt in the recent January transfer window as Harry failed to secure the signatures of top targets, Emmanuel Adebayor and Matt Jarvis. Much to the disappointment of Redknapp, the loan signing of Mauro Zarate from West Ham would be the only business Rangers completed in the mid season window.

 

That brings us to the present day. On Tuesday, 3 February 2015, Redknapp handed in his letter of resignation to the QPR board, stating that he required immediate knee surgery which would  leave him unable to fulfil all the duties of his job to full standard.

Again, many people question if this is the veteran’s true motives. Harry Redknapp leaves QPR sitting in 19th place in the league with 19 points gained from 23 outings. He departs the club leaving them in a very similar situation to the one he met when he first took to the helm at the tail end of 2012.

All in all, Harry Redknapp enjoyed some mixed fortunes in just over two years at Loftus Road. There was some good moments such as the promotion and some bad ones like, the player scandals and the relegation.

Redknapp truly left his mark on the club and his tenure has turned out to be quite a memorable one. Long time right hand man, Joe Jordan and Glenn Hoddle have since followed suit by departing the club.

Fan favourite, Les Ferdinand has taken temporary charge of first team proceedings until a permanent replacement is found. Tim Sherwood remains the bookies favourite to take to the throne at Loftus Road.

1 Response

  1. Jack Cadwell says:

    good article just like the rest keep it up

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