With the oft-traveled Harry Redknapp poised to take over, perhaps as soon as this weekend, Queens Park Rangers — winless in EPL competition this season — fired manager Mark Hughes early Friday. While Hughes presided over QPR’s narrow escape from relegation last spring, he’s been unable to accomplish much of late, despite ownership giving him, in the words of The Guardian’s Scott Murray, “a blank sheet of paper only to create a folly so staggeringly unfit for purpose that even the designers of Portmeirion village might have raised one or two questions about its everyday practicality.”
Hughes has been sacked by QPR, where he’d spent the last few months purchasing several big-name stars, such as Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero, then deploying them randomly about the pitch with the help of a complicated selection system featuring a hat, several scraps of paper, another long strip of paper, some tacks and a big drawing of a donkey with no tail on it yet. It’d not been working that well, truth be told, to the point that Granero was openly witnessed ignoring tactical instruction during last weekend’s thunderingly inept home defeat to fellow strugglers Southampton, a result that has eventually done for the hapless manager. “Mark has shown integrity and professionalism throughout his time here, but ultimately the circumstances we find ourselves in have left the board of directors with very little choice but to make a change,” a club apparatchik parroted this afternoon, as Hughes was sent skittering down South Africa Road on his backside, those amply padded buttocks which helped him shield the ball so well from defenders once again coming to good use.
All this upheaval, brouhaha and emotional tumult comes on the eve of QPR’s trip to Old Trafford, where home side Manchester United are almost as adept at scoring goals as the Rangers are at letting them in. Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki will be the fall guys in charge of this particular rout, although the day might not be a total write-off for the Rs, with it looking very likely that ‘Arry Redknapp will be analysing the team from the stands having agreed to become their new boss. It’ll also be the first game at Old Trafford since the unveiling of a new statue of Sir Alex Ferguson, and this might get them thinking. Fergie was, after all, installed as United manager after a buffoon got sacked in the wake of a shellacking at the hands of Southampton. A wondrous omen for Redknapp, then? Probably not, actually, it’s tenuous nonsense, with the 65-year-old Redknapp highly unlikely to win 27 trophies in a 26-year spell at Loftus Road. But QPR fans have had it rough of late, so let’s not rule it out completely. Leave them something to cling to.