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Hart walks out after just five games - breaking news
Hart walks out after just five games - breaking news
Friday, 15th Jan 2010 10:54

Paul Hart has left QPR by 'mutual consent' after just five matches in charge.

11pm - Sky Sports News reports that Paul Hart has left QPR by mutual consent after just 28 games and five days in charge at Loftus Road. Hart won just one of those matches, against Bristol City, and his tactics and substitutions have been routinely abused and booed by the QPR fans.

11.20pm - The Daily Telegraph reports that Mick Harford is ready to succeed Hart at Loftus Road. The paper claims the QPR board still regrets not allowing Harford to continue as manager in 2007 when his successful caretaker spell in charge was cut short by the appointment of Luigi De Canio. The paper also claims a disagreement with Adel Taarabt over his lack of first team action is at the heart of the decision.

Midnight - Sky declare Hart's reign to be one of the shortest ever - beaten only by Leroy Rosenior at Torquay (ten minutes) and Dave Bassett at Crystal Palace (four days). Steve Coppell's infamous spell at Man City lasted five days longer than Hart's 28 days at Loftus Road.

9am - The club confirms to subscribers of its official text messaging service that Paul Hart has "decided to leave" the club with immediate effect.

The former Portsmouth manager took over from Jim Magilton in December but has only lasted for five games. Strained relations between Hart and midfielder Adel Taarabt, are believed to behind his departure, with the 20-year-Moroccan unhappy at only making the starting line-up twice. Mick Harford, who was Hart's assistant manager, is expected to takeover as caretaker manager for this weekend's game against Blackpool. - London Evening Standard

9.30am - The club's official website confirms that Paul Hart has "decided to leave" the club after five matches in charge and he is to be replaced by Mick Harford who will be in charge for the game at Blackpool on Saturday.

10am - The Ealing Gazette, normally a paper with excellent connections at QPR, reports that Hart's preference for long ball football cost him his job at the club.

The former Portsmouth manager was never the board’s first choice anyway when they appointed him on December 17. But it’s understood main targets Alan Curbishley and Steve Coppell both wanted a pot of transfer cash to sign on the Rs’ dotted line – a demand too far for Briatore, who’s stubbornly refused to part with big transfer fees despite the club’s three millionaire backers.

Although a row with midfielder Adel Tarrabt was first cited as the reason Hart was shown the exit, his route one tactics that employed striker Patrick Agyemang as target man and thus bypassed a midfield including £3.5 million record signing Alejandro Faurlin, was seen as a factor in the manager's short-lived stay.

An insider said: "QPR haven’t got the players to play long ball – it was suicide for Hart, and no good for the club’s ambitions." - Ealing Gazette

3pm - League Managers' Associaition CEO Richard Bevan said: “I am able to say that Paul Hart has left the football club. I understand that he was very unhappy with certain situations which have to remain confidential and felt that resignation was in the best interests of all concerned. Paul wants to thank his staff and the fans for their support during his period at the club and wishes them, and the club, well for the future”.

3.49pm Tonight's Evening Standard again cites boardroom inteference in on the field affairs as a reason for Paul Hart's departure.

Standard Sport understands that as early as two matches into his reign, rumblings of discontent surfaced among senior board members that Hart would not play ball. It is thought that Briatore continued to seek an active role in team selection but Hart wanted to stamp his authority in on-pitch matters.

A power struggle quickly developed and manifested itself in Hart's decision to release two Italians signed largely on Briatore's advice — Matteo Alberti and Alessandro Pellicori — having decided they were not up to Championship standard. Following Hart's departure, both were at the club's Harlington training ground this morning.

Hart's spat with Adel Taarabt over his lack of first-team football was little more than a sideshow to the dramatic deterioration in relations at boardroom level as Briatore is thought to have already decided earlier this month that Hart would not be offered any extension to his six-month contract.

Managers operate under strict constraints in Shepherd's Bush and the relationship with Briatore had soured to the extent that it is understood Hart's solicitor phoned club officials yesterday to confirm his client was leaving and that “if there is a problem, we will see you in court”.

It is believed that Hart had become infuriated with Briatore's interference both in the dressing room and in the club's transfer policy and believed his position had become untenable despite being in charge for just 28 days and five matches.

The club are thought to be surprised by Hart's decision and have no replacement lined up, leaving assistant Mick Harford to take the reins for tomorrow's trip to Blackpool.

Let us know what you think - use the commenting facility below, e-mail loftforwords@yahoo.co.uk, or post on the message board thread.

Photo: Action Images

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