Speculation was fuelled around ten days ago when Greg Adams of the Star questioned Les Ferdinand about a possible return as head of the QPR Academy. Les was quoted as saying: “The club is in my blood and will always have a special place in my heart. If there’s an opportunity to go back at some stage then I’m sure I would.”
And then last Sunday Les was at Upton Park seated next to Tony Fernandes and his return to QPR then looked a nailed on certainty. It was then finally confirmed by the club yesterday in the following media release:
Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club is delighted to confirm the return of legendary front-man Les Ferdinand to Loftus Road, in the role of Head of Football Operations. ‘Sir Les’ – as he was affectionately known during his time here as a player – will be charged with overseeing the structure of the footballing side of the club, focusing on improving the football philosophy at all levels.
As part of his role, Ferdinand will have a coaching presence at all levels, helping nurture young talent from the club’s academy through to the first team. He will provide a direct link between the footballing side of the business and the Board of Directors, as well as chairing monthly Technical Control Board meetings.
QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes believes the arrival of the 47 year-old will significantly improve the footballing side of the business. He said: “Football has changed considerably in recent years and I firmly believe there is a role at every football club for this kind of position.”
“Les is a fantastic QPR man and I know the fans will join me in welcoming him back to a place he has had great fondness for.”
“The footballing philosophy and nurturing young talent are high on our agenda and Les’s experience of working with players at all levels, combined with his undoubted passion for the club, will help us build and improve.”
A delighted Ferdinand told http://www.qpr.co.uk: “It’s incredible to be back here. The club holds a special place in my heart. Everyone knows what it means to me, so when the opportunity to return here in this role came up I jumped at the opportunity.”
“Tony and his fellow shareholders know the passion I have and the experience I’ve gained since retiring will really stand me in good stead for this role. There’s nothing I want more than for QPR to be successful in the short, medium and long term and I’m excited about the challenge ahead.”
He added: “It’s about time we started producing players that come through to the first team from the academy. QPR always had a tradition for doing that, but it seems to have gone away from it in recent years. I know the owners would like to get back to that, and they want that side of the club to develop.”
R’s manager Harry Redknapp said: “I’m pleased to welcome Les back to the club. There’s no doubting the qualities he’ll bring to the role, having enjoyed a great time here as a player. But beyond that, he understands the game.”
“I brought him in at Tottenham as a coach, and he did a great job for me there. Having someone like him involved with the club, someone who understands the history of it, can only be good for QPR.”
With Harry Redknapp coming under increasing pressure and the departure last month of Richard Allen as the Head of the Academy, I wondered what Les’s role and job description would be?
Interesting, also my mind went back to the Gerry Francis/Rodney Marsh saga in 1994.
Welcome back Les and good luck from the Indy R’s.