Redknapp commits, Fernandes slams players – diary
Monday, 29th Apr 2013 23:56 by Clive Whittingham
Harry Redknapp will stay and manage QPR next season despite their relegation to the Championship. Chairman Tony Fernandes wants to see a new ethos instilled in the club after criticising the attitude of some of the current players.
Redknapp, Fernandes and the other board members sat down this morning in the wake of a dire 0-0 draw at Reading on Sunday which relegates both clubs to the second tier. A claim by Sky Sports that an announcement on Redknapp’s future would follow sparked rumours that the experienced former Tottenham manager was set to walk away from the club but manager and chairman soon emerged to outline their plans for a tilt at the second tier in 2013/14 that includes Redknapp at the helm.
Fernandes told the club’s official website: “I have had a positive meeting with Harry. I don’t think there was any point where he was thinking of not being with us and continuing this project he has embarked upon with a third of the season through. Harry is a football man and he knows what he wants in terms of players. Harry will not be forced to sell any players he wants to keep. We had a very good discussion on this. Harry has been very pragmatic and the shareholders have been very pragmatic. There are some players that we really want to keep and we will do our best to keep them. I think we will.”
Fernandes made a point in an interview with the club’s online VoD service QPR Player that he had learnt many lessons from the failed recruitment policy of the last three transfer windows which has saddled Rangers with a number of under-performing high earners and an unhappy dressing room.
Redknapp admitted prior to the Reading game that factions between the haves and have nots in the QPR squad had caused problems this season. Quoted on West London Sport he said: “I’d be a liar if I said there weren’t splits here – there have been. It’s been a problem. If you play at a club with Robin van Persie or someone like Steven Gerrard and you know they’re getting 130 or 140 grand a week and you’re getting 50, you know why – he’s getting that money because he’s that good. It’s a problem when players can look and say ‘He ain’t that good’. People don’t mind other people earning good money if they earn it.”
Fernandes says this must not be allowed to happen again and they will be looking at the character and personality of any future signings as much as their ability and wage demands.
The Malaysian said: “We want players that want to play for us. Players that want to win. Players who get disappointed like I do when we lose. It’s heart-breaking for me when we lose. I don’t want to go out, I just want to stay at home. And I am someone who has dealt with success and dealt with disappointment. But there is nothing I have gone through that is as disappointing as losing a football game. I haven’t said it throughout the season because it wasn’t right to be said, but it hurt me when I saw some of the players who didn’t feel the way I felt. And in fact, in their case, it should be worse because this is their job, it’s their life. It wasn’t a good feeling. It was probably the low point for me when I saw the reaction of some of the players. It has shocked me because it is something that is alien to me. Whatever I have done as a job, for whoever has hired me, I put in 150 per-cent. It’s in my character. If I am taking someone else’s money, then I am going to work bloody hard for that person. It’s an alien concept to me that someone takes someone’s salary, doesn’t put 100 per-cent in, thinks: ‘Oh, we lost. No big deal. What club are we going to tonight?’ That is an alien concept to me. It wasn’t right to say anything during the season, but I noticed everything and I am a little bit wiser for it now.”
Redknapp said: "We're going to give it a real good go next season though and hopefully get this club back to where it belongs. We've got to re-build and get a team together that can be really competitive in the Championship. I've always said, so many times, how good the people are who own this club - they're different to anyone else I've worked for. They came in this morning and were so positive, when they could have been suicidal. They're backing us all - the management, the staff, everyone. It's unbelievable. When you work for people that are like that, it means everything. I don't think people realise, and I'm sure some of the players don't really realise, how lucky they are to have a group of owners like we've got.”
Whether that Championship team features Bobby Zamora or not remains to be seen. The Fulham Chronicle reports that the hip problem which has dogged Zamora throughout the second half of the campaign requires surgery which is likely to rule him out for a calendar year. With his contract due to expire at the end of the 2013/14 season that would effectively mean Zamora has already played his last game for the club. QPR are said to be considering asking the former Fulham man to postpone the op until the end of next season and continue playing through the pain barrier during a 46 game Championship season before releasing him. Bodes well.
Spanish midfielder Esteban Granero is another with an uncertain future. He’s been poor since a summer move from Real Madrid and is likely to be earning a wage that QPR would be happy to shift from their balance sheet ahead of a season at the lower level. Southampton are said to be interested but Granero told the London Evening Standard: ““I signed my contract here for four years. I was not thinking about going to the Championship when I joined but that is the reality now. I like life in London. We now prepare for life next season. The club will have to decide, not me. We hope we learn from that and next season we do it another way. It was difficult for us yesterday but let’s finish the season properly for the fans. They have been outstanding for us this season and we have felt them behind us from the beginning.”
Most fans would be happy to see the back of Portuguese full back Jose Bosingwa, who regressed from recent improvements in his form to turn in a dreadful performance at Reading and then compounded matters by laughing as he walked down the tunnel at the end of the game with relegation confirmed. Redknapp may talk a lot about getting “the right sort” of player at QPR from now on, but continues to defend Bosingwa and was quoted on West London Sport saying: “To start throwing that one about is completely out of order. He was only laughing because one of their players – another foreign lad – came up and said something to him.”
So far the only departure has been youth team graduate Bradley Simmonds who packed his bags today and headed abroad to join Icelandic outfit IBV Vestmannaeyjar following loan spells with Staines and Woking.
The planning approval of the club’s new training ground at Warren Farm by Ealing Council was always likely to be the highlight of last week and so it proved. Just three matches still to go.
Typically Joey Barton wasn’t short of a word or two on Rangers as their demotion to the Championship was confirmed. Taking to the Twitter (where else?) Barton said: “I can’t believe QPR have just been relegated and Boswinga was walking down the tunnel laughing! Embarrassing. Show some guts man. Gutted for the club. Too many wankers amongst the playing staff. All brought in by Hughes. Some good lads but not enough. Too many maggots. Hope they can get a load out, if not they’ll end up in a Wolves situation because trust me that Championship is a fucking hard league.
“It’s the club an supporters I feel for. They don’t get the chance to move club or switch alliances, they are left to pick up the bits. Lot of those within that dressing room, have to have a good long look in the mirror. Spoke to a few of the better lads over the course of the season and it seems things just became ridiculous in the end. It seems an awful lot must change if they are to have any chance of turning it around next year. The club needs to change from top to bottom. I wish them every success in doing that.”
Barton says he has an offer to stay in Marseille where he has spent the season on loan. He says he will sit down with his family and both clubs at the end of the season to decide where his future lies.
In his pre-Reading press conference manager Harry Redknapp said: “Joey Barton has done well, he’s had an excellent season for Marseille. If you see where Joey lives in Marseille I think it would be very difficult to get him back here. Joey has a nice lifestyle there, I'd be surprised if he wanted to come back. He's done very well out there, he'd be a good player for us. I'm not saying I don't want Joey back, he's a good player who is playing very well in France. He's under contract so if he has to come back he'll come back.”
With four games to go Marseille are nine points off leaders Paris SG after the weekend matches. Barton came on as a sub for the final seven minutes of Marseille’s 1-0 win against Lorient.
Of the other four QPR players on loan in foreign parts of the world Djibril Cisse scored for Al Gharafa in their 2-2 AFC Champions League draw with Al Ahli; Anton Ferdinand was robbed of the chance to follow up his two recent impressive performances for Bursaspor by an ankle injury; Ale Faurlin was an unused sub as relegation haunted Palermo shocked Inter Milan 1-0 and moved out of the drop zone; Hogan Ephraim was withdrawn injured at half time in Toronto’s MLS game at New York Red Bulls which finished in a 2-1 defeat for Ryan Nelsen’s side.
In the English lower leagues Tom Hitchcock scored his third goal in four matches for Bristol Rovers as they finished their League Two season with a 3-3 draw at Torquay. He later won a penalty that was missed by former QPR trainee Lee Brown.
Bruno Andrade made the twenty sixth and final appearance of his loan sell at Wycombe – replaced 15 minutes from time by player manager Gareth Ainsworth as he retired from the game after 600 professional appearances. Michael Harriman was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with already promoted Port Vale.
In League One Angelo Balanta will remain at Yeovil for the duration of their play off journey. He came off the bench with nine minutes remaining of a weekend defeat at already relegated Bury that had little impact on the final placings – The Glovers will now face Sheffield United over two legs.
Max Ehmer made an early substitute appearance for Stevenage as they lost 2-0 at home to MK Dons. No outing for Rob Hulse who was not in the Millwall squad for their 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest; Mo Shariff Michael Doughty who was an unused sub for St Johnstone, or Jordan Gibbons who wasn’t selected on the opposite Inverness side in that match.
Two former QPR strikers made their respective Teams of the Year at the PFA Awards in London last night. Leon Clarke was rewarded for a fine campaign where he scored 21 goals in 29 appearances for Scunthorpe and Coventry during separate loan spells with a place in the League One side. Meanwhile Jamie Cureton, who has bagged 21 in 42 appearances for Exeter at the age of 37 made the League Two selection.
Gareth Ainsworth made the six hundredth and final appearance of his career in a 1-1 draw for Wycombe against Port Vale on Saturday. Ainsworth signed a two year managerial contract at Adams Park prior to the game and spoke to The Mirror about the grounding he got in coaching during a turbulent time in QPR’s recent history.
He said: "It's something I didn't want to do until very late in my career. Luigi was the first person who told me that I should coach and do my badges. Getting the caretaker job at QPR really gave me some good grounding because the chaos behind the scenes there, well, I don't think I will ever experience that again in football. It was crazy - even more chaotic than I thought. I was right in there and there were things going on around me that I was not aware of. It was probably the first time I had seen political things at the club that happen at all clubs but you are not aware of as a player. I learned the other side to transfers. Results. Reporting to the chairman. It was just an eye-opener. It gave me a really good grounding. I'm thankful but I was pleased to get out and now I want to do it my way. Any football matters have to be the managers and my time at QPR has rammed that home more than ever."
Coincidentally, the chairman who oversaw Ainsworth’s two temporary spells in charge Flavio Briatore has also been speaking about his time at Loftus Road this week. He was quoted in London 24 saying: “It was a disaster. There was a lot of talk and people writing things that were wrong. We took QPR from the bottom of the Championship. There was a four-year plan and we took them into the Premier League. I don’t understand the fuss. We did it with not much money. I believe we did it quite well but, I tell you, it was no fun at all.
“You need to treat football like a full-time job and not like an investor. There were too many people; the manager, the assistant manager and, always, you were dealing with the agents. In the end, we sold it. If you don’t fire these coaches, you never go up. When you understand someone is not good enough to do the job, it’s better you fire them immediately rather than waste another six months. I felt we were going nowhere with these guys. In the end, we made it. The most important thing in sport is the result.”
Premier League Shorts
- Aston Villa gave their survival hopes a huge shot in the arm with a 6-1 home win against fellow strugglers Sunderland tonight. Christian Benteke scored a hat trick as Paul Lambert’s side moved onto 37 points, level with the Mackems and Newcastle who were beaten 6-0 by Liverpool at the weekend. Wigan are four points behind with a game in hand after their weekend draw at home to Spurs.
- Benteke can perhaps count himself unfortunate not to have won the PFA’s Young Player of the Year award. That, and the main prize, both went to Tottenham’s Gareth Bale at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
- Roberto Martinez believes his Wigan side will escape the drop with another late show, despite the deficit and games running out. Alan Pardew didn’t seem quite so confident about his side’s chances following the weekend mauling. He said: “We need to show some discipline. A guy got sent off and we completely lost our way. It was a day that started badly and we never really recovered. There were poor goals and defensively we were not good enough.”
- Reading owner Anton Zingarevich believes his club is well set to bounce straight back to the top flight after they were relegated along with QPR at the weekend. He said: “We are in a good place financially. The club was run in a prudent way before [he took charge] and that is how it will be run in the future."
The following tube and train closures are in place this Saturday as QPR face Arsenal at Loftus Road:
- No Circle Line service between Hammersmith and Edgware Road. The Hammersmith and City Line is running on that section though (no idea how that works) but is suspended between Barking and Moorgate and the District is suspended between West Ham and Tower Hill with replacement bus services operating.
- No Metropolitan Line between Uxbridge/Northwood and Wembley Park.
- Northern Line replaced by buses between Edgware and Hampstead.
- No Overground from Highbury and Islington to either Stratford or Shadwell. No trains to new Cross either.
- Evening disruption to Southern Rail services between Shepherd’s Bush, Watford Junction and Milton Keynes Central.
Pictures – Action Images
Photo: Action Images
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