Time for QPR to be daring in manager market

Harry Redknapp’s abrupt decision to resign as Queens Park Rangers manager could be the catalyst for the West London club to reinvent themselves.

Redknapp opted to leave Loftus Road due to an ‘upcoming knee operation’, just one day after the often described ‘wheeler-dealer’ manager failed to sign anyone on transfer deadline day, which many associate the 67-year-old with annually – whether he likes it or not.

In Redknapp’s tenure, QPR picked up an unhealthy reputation of signing players on high wages who did not have either the talent, desire, or both, to earn the big salary.

The R’s were relegated from the Premier League in the 2012/13 season with the likes of Julio Cesar, Christopher Samba, Tal Ben-Haim, Samba Diakite, Park Ji-Sung, Adel Taarabt, Estaban Granero, Stephane Mbia and Loic Remy all on their books.

Not to forget Jose Bosingwa who was pictured smiling when he left the pitch as QPR’s relegation was confirmed following a 0-0 draw at home to Reading. Samba joined Rangers from Anzhi Makhachkala for £12.5 million in that January, earned a reported £100,000 a week, then rejoined the Russian club six months later for £500,000 less.

No laughing matter: Bosingwa epitomised the poison dressing room at QPR

No laughing matter: Bosingwa epitomised the poison dressing room at QPR

They were expected to bounce back to the Premier League easily due to their financial backing from Tony Fernandes, but hopped rather than bounced, finishing 4th, however winning the play-offs – beating Derby 1-0 with a last minute Bobby Zamora strike, although Derby dominated proceedings at Wembley for large periods.

Despite Charlie Austin blossoming, QPR languish in 19th this time around, losing every single away match to date as well. Which is why it’s time for them to make a bold appointment.

Tim Sherwood is currently the bookies’ favourite to succeed his fellow former Tottenham manager and that would not be such a bad choice.

Sherwood boasts a 59% win rate as Tottenham manager, more than anyone else in the club’s history (Redknapp’s was 49%), and Sherwood is a young boss who has only fairly recently left the greatest game on earth, not something Redknapp can claim.

Sherwood was arguably unfairly dismissed by Spurs just six months into his 18 month contract in what was the worst kept secret in recent Premier League history. He won 14 of his 28 games in charge.

QPR coach “Sir” Les Ferdinand is also in the frame, but legends have been used before as inspiration to guide a club to greater things and examples such as Alan Shearer (Newcastle) and Stuart Pearce (Nottingham Forest) has not worked. Garry Monk at Swansea has had great success, however, Monk had been at the Swans for 10 years. Ferdinand may not get the same backing from a dressing room he has only known since last October.

Glenn Hoddle too is in the fold, despite being out of work since resigning from Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2006. He revolutionised English football with the success of the 3-5-2 system, long before Louis van Gaal, taking Swindon Town to the Premier League, then getting the England job after continuing the success at Chelsea.

The risky safe options: Les Ferdinand and Glenn Hoddle

The risky safe options: Les Ferdinand and Glenn Hoddle

Comments suggesting the disabled were punished for acts they did in a past life led to his sacking though, and his career has never really recovered. Punditry for ITV has begun the rebuilding work, but it may be all too late. Hoddle’s ideas on and off the pitch seem out of touch.

A more left field and ambitious appointment would be that of Real Madrid assistant manager Paul Clement. The relatively unknown 43-year-old spent time as the academy coach at first Chelsea, then Fulham, before moving onto a brief coaching role at the Republic of Ireland.

He returned to football in 2007, back at Chelsea, working with the youth team and then joined the first team set up under Guus Hiddink in the 2008/2009 season as the Blues won the FA Cup. He stayed on for Carlo Ancelotti’s time at Stamford Bridge, winning another FA Cup as well as a Premier League title before working with a less successful manager, Steve Kean, at Blackburn.

The damned life at Blackburn was swapped for the Notre Dame when Ancelotti signed him up for his Paris Saint-Germain side that would go on to romp to the 2012/13 Ligue 1 title by 12 points.

Dream Team: Paul Clement (right) with Zinedine Zidane (left) and Carlo Ancelotti (centre)

Dream Team: Paul Clement (right) with Zinedine Zidane (left) and Carlo Ancelotti (centre)

Carlo came calling again, this time for none other than Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, and the rest of the Galacticos are under the mentorship of Ancelotti and Clement. Madrid are now La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League holders, after finally clinching La Decima.

Madrid’s sunny shores may be too tough to leave for Clement, but he has expressed a desire to become the figurehead of a football club, and, being the son of QPR legend Dave Clement, he may not be completely out of reach.

Manchester United 4-0 Queens Park Rangers

A rejuvenated Manchester United strolled past Queens Park Rangers, winning 4-0, as they intend to make Old Trafford a fortress again.

The rout started 24 minutes in when Angel Di Maria’s flighted free-kick went all the way in with Robert Green left clutching at thin air as Di Maria’s attempted cross flew past him.

Fellow summer signing Ander Herrera doubled the hosts’ advantage on 36 minutes when he swept in from the edge of the box from Wayne Rooney’s pass as a result of a rampaging run by Di Maria.

It was three just before the break when goalscorer of the second Herrera turned provider, assisting Rooney who took a touch before lashing the ball past Green from just inside the area, beating the former England goalkeeper at his near post.

Off the mark: Ander Herrera scores his first goal for his new club

Off the mark: Ander Herrera scores his first goal for his new club

Today was a day in which everything went right for Louis Van Gaal’s side, none more evident than when a totally unmarked Juan Mata turned in a wayward shot by Di Maria for 4-0 with 58 minutes on the clock.

QPR chances were few and far between but deadline day signing Niko Kranjcar came close three minutes after half time but his shot as saved by the boot of David De Gea.

Eduardo Vargas too came close, he shot wide late on after seizing on a poor back pass by Marcos Rojo.

Marquee signing Radamel Falcao came on for his Manchester United debut in the 67th minute, replacing Mata.

The Colombian had a chance to extend United’s lead ever further but he could not convert Daley Blind’s rebounded effort.

Manchester United: De Gea, Evans, Rojo, Rafael (Valencia ’67), Blackett, Di Maria (Januzaj ’82), Herrera, Blind, Rooney, Mata (Falcao ’67), Van Persie

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Shaw, Fletcher, Pereira

Queens Park Rangers: Green, Isla, Caulker, Ferdinand, Hill (Traore ’45) Kranjcar, Sandro (Henry ’74), Fer, Phillips, Austin (Vargas ’59), Hoilett

Subs not used: McCarthy, Onouha, Zamora, Taarabt

Man of the match: Angel Di Maria

Feature: The rise and rise of Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin’s first Premier League goal was not like most others this weekend, his strike against Sunderland symbolized how far the striker has come in the last five years.

Austin, now 25, is a million miles away from the life he had at Poole Town in 2009 where he played in front of just 200 people. At QPR’s Loftus Road he is strutting his stuff to a loyal London crowd of 20,000, when Manchester United away comes around, that amount will quadruple to 80,000.

It was humble beginnings for Austin, released by Reading in 2004 for being too short he was out the game for three years before joining Berkshire based Kintbury Rangers in England’s 10th tier where he netted 20 goals in 27 games in his one season at the club.

A move to hometown side Hungerford Town followed but this spell was less fruitful, Austin found the net just five times in his 30 games there.

He relocated to Bournemouth after his unsuccessful season at Hungerford and joined Poole Town where he scored 48 goals in 42 games over the space of a season and a half whilst being a bricklayer as the day job.

Building for the future: Bricklayer Austin scores for Poole

Building for the future: Bricklayer Austin scores for Poole

Bournemouth themselves, then in League Two, tried to sign Austin in the 2009/10 season after the striker’s successful trial at Dean Court but a transfer embargo put an end to that transfer.

Shortly after, Swindon Town a division up offered Austin a trial after Swindon chief scout Ken Ryder “stumbled across Charlie (Austin) playing for Poole Town…and he scored four goals…and then the following week he scored three or four”.  Austin scored a hat-trick against Swansea reserves and was snapped up immediately.

His Football League debut came at Carrow Road, coming on as a 70th minute substitute against Norwich City where he did not score but the wait was not long, his first goal coming in his first start away at Carlisle United after just three minutes.

Goal number two came soon after, in his home debut three days later, nabbing a 59th minute winner against Huddersfield Town.

During his time at Swindon, Austin forged a superb working relationship with Billy Paynter. They played together once for the reserves against the Reading equivalent and both scored two. League One’s finest strike partnership was born.

Paynter ended the season second top scorer in League One with 26 goals behind a certain Rickie Lambert on 30 while Austin himself grabbed 20.

Swindon reached the play-off final that year, losing 0-1 to Millwall at Wembley, it might have been different had the cruel turf at England’s national stadium not prevented Austin with a goal, the ball bobbling before Austin could pull the trigger leading to an uncharacteristic miss.

He did score in the first leg of the semi final against Charlton Athletic however.

Rocking Robin: Austin during his breakthrough Swindon years

Rocking Robin: Austin during his breakthrough Swindon years

The following season was a more frustrating one for Austin, suffering a dislocated shoulder in September but when back on the pitch, goals duly followed, 12 of them in fact which led to him joining Burnley in January after he failed to agree personal terms with Ipswich Town.

Former club Swindon were relegated and despite Austin’s January departure, he remained their top scorer that season.

Burnley beginnings were tough for Austin, a relapse of his earlier shoulder injury dampened his start, playing just four games in the remainder of the season, scoring zero.

It was business as usual the next season though, scoring 16 goals and finishing at the top of the team’s scoring charts.

In his third term at Turf Moor Austin became a club record breaker. A brace against Bristol City saw him equal Ray Pointer’s 1958 club record of scoring in eight consecutive appearances and a fortnight later Austin became the quickest Claret to reach 20 goals in a season and ended the campaign with 25.

Austin is of course now a Premier League player but the top flight have been calling since last summer. Hull City had a bid accepted from Burnley but Austin failed his medical and instead joined QPR for £4 million.

Once again Austin was the top marksman for a club, scoring 17 in 31 as QPR were promoted back to the Premiership at the first time of asking via the play-offs.

If he can adapt to the play of the Premier League in the same ilk as he has done with League One and the Championship then Austin may well be in with a shot of making the England team.

Big time Charlie: Austin will relish Premier League life

Big time Charlie: Austin will relish Premier League life

Lambert has made the step from League One to England national team and Austin is six years younger than his former third tier counterpart.

The world is at Charlie Austin’s feet, and his feet have treated him well so far.


QPR look to lead race for Cardiff’s Caulker

Newly promoted Premiership side Queens Park Rangers hope to beat a number of established top flight clubs to the signing of Steven Caulker according to the Express.

Caulker, 22, is also attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool and Southampton following Cardiff City’s relegation back to the Championship.

The Cardiff defender is reportedly most keen on a switch to Goodison Park.

Southampton are believed to lodge interest in the former Tottenham man should they lose Dejan Lovren this transfer window while Arsenal and Liverpool want to add more English players to their squads.

QPR however will be hoping their ability to offer a lucrative wage will be enough to bring Caulker back to the capital.

Harry Redknapp’s side were promoted to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs this season thanks to Bobby Zamora’s last minute winner against Derby at Wembley.