x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Redknapp talks to begin after Hughes exits at QPR

Coach sent packing as club are bottom of table after 12 games with fans looking up to former Tottenham coach to rescue the club.

QPR fans made their preferred choice known by displaying banners of Harry Redknapp, right, to replace Mark Hughes at Loftus Road.
QPR fans made their preferred choice known by displaying banners of Harry Redknapp, right, to replace Mark Hughes at Loftus Road.

LONDON // Queens Park Rangers and Harry Redknapp are to begin talks about the vacant manager's position at Loftus Road after the club dismissed the winless Mark Hughes.

A spokesman for Paul Stretford's company said: "Contact has been made between QPR and us as Harry Redknapp's representatives.

"Talks will be beginning shortly." The West London club said in a statement on their website that Hughes had left the club with immediate effect after drawing four and losing eight matches so far.

"This decision has been taken after careful consideration by the board of directors, following numerous meetings over the last few days," the statement said.

"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."

Many fans had become increasingly opposed to the Welshman Hughes remaining in charge, displaying banners in favour of Redknapp, the former Tottenham Hotspur manager, at the club's Loftus Road ground a week ago.

Speculation has mounted after QPR remain the only winless club in all four professional divisions in England. They narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League last season.

Tony Fernandes, the club owner, had publicly backed Hughes, although there was a change in tone after Saturday's home defeat to fellow strugglers Southampton which left them four points adrift at the bottom of the table.

"I feel gutted," Fernandes wrote on Twitter. "I have put my heart and soul into this with my other shareholders.

"And done all we can to give support to players and all management. I can only apologise to the QPR fans. We keep fighting.

"Let me tell you fans come first. Everyone including me let the fans down. Many of us need a hard look at themselves."

Hughes joined the club in January and after ensuring the club's top-flight status, embarked on a squad overhaul in the summer which saw the South Korea national team captain Park Ji-sung sign from Manchester United, the midfielder Esteban Granero join from Real Madrid and the winger Junior Hoilett move from Blackburn Rovers, among several others.

However, many of the new arrivals have failed to settle, while injuries have also affected the team.

Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki will take charge of the Premier League game against Manchester United at Old Trafford today, the club said.

"The board will now be working actively to put a new managerial structure in place as soon as possible." Redknapp has a wealth of experience having previously coached West Ham United, Portsmouth (twice), Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur.

He was dismissed by Tottenham in the summer despite leading the clun to a second fourth-placed finish in three years and narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification.

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