In terms of football related miracles, Harry Redknapp is something of a managerial messiah.
In terms of football related miracles, Harry Redknapp is something of a managerial messiah. The man who salvaged Portsmouth and took Tottenham from the threat of the Championship to the brink of the Champions League has now been called into action to do what he does best. This time the venue is Loftus Road and the task is incredibly uncomplicated – save QPR from relegation.
On the surface, you could be forgiven for thinking that Redknapp’s appointment means that Rangers will almost certainly survive the drop. After all, they now have the man who many believe should be managing England at the helm, and better still someone who has defined his career in terms of keeping teams in the top flight.
It sounds straightforward enough, but here’s the problem – asking Redknapp to save QPR from relegation is not just asking for a miracle, it is almost asking for the impossible.
One of the primary reasons why Redknapp’s new job is so difficult is that QPR shouldn’t be rooted to the foot of the table. Chairman Tony Fernandes backed former manager Mark Hughes with not only time and space but an incredible amount of cash – both in the transfer market and in his pocket. In fact some sources speculated that Hughes was the eighth highest paid manager in the world.
Hughes spent extremely heavily in the summer and brought in enough players to form an entire new squad without really moving existing players out of the club. The result has been a deadly tonic of new and old, and has ultimately resulted in an unhappy and divided dressing room which Hughes couldn’t control.
Whilst it may appear that a new manager such as Redknapp now has the freedom to walk in and treat everyone as an equal , the reality will be far from that scenario. There are many inflated egos within the dressing room at Loftus Road and it will take time for Redknapp to find a happy medium. Unfortunately it is time that QPR don’t have and despite only being in November, their clock is well and truly ticking.
There’s also the small matter of the maths to consider. Rangers have not won a game this season and are firmly anchored to the foot of the Premier League table. A seven point gap already exists between QPR and Southampton, who currently occupy the ever elusive 17th position in the league.
That’s not to say that QPR can’t win three games. In fact with the talent in their squad it is perfectly conceivable that they have the players to win three games. But when you are in a relegation dogfight, talent goes out of the window and heart, nerve and steel come to the fore. On the basis of what I have seen of Rangers this year I cannot see them being out of the relegation zone before the new year and then they are in trouble.
Fundamentally, QPR’s season rests on their next three games. They face Sunderland, Aston Villa and Wigan back to back, and if current form holds true and wins don’t arrive then it will be hard to see where Rangers will pick up points. My gut football instinct also says that Villa and Sunderland will move away from the relegation mix because they have too much experience and depth, so it is difficult to see who Redknapp’s team will realistically pass in their fight for survival.
This isn’t to say that I don’t want Redknapp to succeed, and if anyone can pull off the impossible then he is definitely the man. However before everyone gets duped by some form of Harry-hysteria, let’s just remember the enormity of the task that he faces.