I commented, as last season ended how worried I was that a season of mid-table mediocrity, compared to our narrow escape from relegation last season and winning the Championship the season before, would be quite boring. So imagine my relief now ! We’re bottom in the table, without a win to our name and there’s talk of sacking the manager. Phew, I’m glad we dodged that bullet.
So, we’re eleven games in and, you may not have noticed, but things haven’t been going as well as we hoped they might. You’ve probably now seen that: “I can promise we’ll never be in this position again as long as I’m at the club” Mark Hughes quote from after the Man City game, more times than you’ve seen Rob Green play football this season. So with over a quarter of a season gone, no win (I feel like I should put “yet” here, but I’m worried this will be jumping the gun) and, with such terrible form for a team who had such high expectations in a league where a manager who loses a few games gets sacked quicker than a teaching assistant who comes into work dressed as Jimmy Savile, there’s talk of getting rid of Sparky Mark, however, I don’t think that’s a good idea (sacking Hughes that is, although going into work as Savile isn’t advised either).
It’s my theory that results will come sooner by sticking with what we’ve got as opposed to the huge upheaval that would involve getting rid of Hughes. We’ve used nearly 50 different players since the start of the 2011/12 season, two different managers and heaven knows (but probably doesn’t care) how many backroom staff members we’ve gone through during the transition of new managers and new owners. It’s my opinion that the biggest fault with the team (biggest fault, not only fault. Dear Lord is it not the only fault) is that they’re a group of strangers, we need stability and familiarity within the squad, do you ever look at the first eleven and wonder if any of our players on the pitch even like each other ?
I recall, during our run of goodish form last season, just after Barton, Ferdinand and Wright-Phillips joined – you got the impression the players were having a bit of a laugh with each other – I recall one of the players tweeting (if it was tweeted, an educational guess would say that it was probably Barton, but I could be wrong), a picture of a child’s high chair for Shaun Wright-Phillips – which we thought at the time was a hilarious practical joke about how short Shaun was, not, as it would later seem, a hilarious practical joke about how Shaun has trouble standing up.
Bobby Zamora seems to be one of the players who comes in for a bit of stick, he’s an easy target for some fans as it’s not in his game to bust a gut and run the length of the field to win a ball back, so it doesn’t look like he’s trying – personally I rate him, I think he’s a great player – but look at his face. His face is like swampland that’s worried that it’ll be paved over to build a large Nando’s. Have you ever seen him smile ? Would you like to go for a pint with Bobby Zamora ?
I imagine a night out with Zamora would involve sitting at the bar on a Tuesday night, in silence, both of you having a pint while you stare at the TV in the corner of the empty pub (which has the sound on mute) with you both desperately hoping an image pops up on screen that you could try and strike up a conversation about.
Joey Barton, for all his faults, would be a smashing night out, he’s guaranteed to get into a blistering row with at least half the pub and bookies would stop taking odds on him getting into a brawl by 8pm – and he doesn’t even drink !
It’s my opinion that the players need to bond and get some stability. I can’t see how doing what a lot of people on the QPR Facebook page (well those who aren’t South Koreans pleading like a famine ravaged shanty town in front of a news camera for a signed pair of Park Ji-Sung’s shorts) have been suggesting, sacking Hughes and getting in Harry Redknapp, will bring the results. If you sack Hughes, his entire backroom staff will go and you’ll have a repeat of the numerous upheavals that blighted last season.
While Harry might be a better motivator than Hughes (again, I imagine when going for a pint with Hughes, he’d sit in a booth of the pub tutting when the bar staff talked to each other, even when they had no one to serve, because they should be cleaning the pumps or tables and not being sociable), it’s thought Redknapp doesn’t actually know a thing about tactics. A criticism that was sometimes levelled at our last manager.
Harry Redknapp is a rich man’s Neil Warnock and, considering his tax arrangements, said man would have to be very rich. I liked Warnock, don’t get me wrong, but hiring Redknapp would be a step backwards from the step forwards Fernandes wanted to take by replacing Warnock with the relatively young Mark Hughes.
I’ve heard reports of “Hughes has two games to turn it around or he’ll be sacked” for the past five games now, so I doubt his departure is imminent. I think if he does go, it’ll be later rather than sooner – at least until after Christmas, especially if the reports of how much he’s being paid are true (in the top 30 highest paid managers in the world) the severance package to get rid of him would cost more than Frank Lampard’s weekly food budget.
But if we get rid of Hughes and get Redknapp in, I predict we’ll be without a manager again by the end of next season, he’ll either retire, replace Roy Hodgson as England manager or become Jimmy Carr’s accountant full time. And I’m not even going to be personal and immature about Redknapp by making fun of his appearance, but, for the record, I think he looks like what happens when the cartoon dog Droopy has a bastard child with a Cabbage Patch kid. I just don’t think employing him as manager would necessarily be the best thing for the club.
It’s also worth keeping in mind, despite challenging for the title with Spurs, Harry isn’t immune from relegation, he got Southampton sent down in 2005. Redknapp in charge wouldn’t automatically give us 30 points.
But still, good news about avoiding that mid-table mediocrity, right ? I bet Wigan are gutted.
Charles Lawley (@charleslawley)