Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Opinion: Rudderless QPR have paid a heavy price for Harry Redknapp mistakes

Harry Redknapp failed to deliver after backing from Tony Fernandes. Photo: Reuters

Burnley went down fighting on Saturday and QPR responded by dropping into the Championship with a whimper today.

The contrasting performances speak volumes about what they stand for, with QPR's woeful 6-0 capitulation underlining the lack of direction at a club sleepwalking from one mistake to another.

Tony Fernandes took over at Loftus Road in August 2011, but despite spending more than Borussia Dortmund on wages, he has made no progress.

When QPR were relegated in 2013, he must have wondered how the millions pumped into player recruitment and wages conjured up the most disjointed squad of misfits in Premier League history.

Fernandes felt compelled to dismiss Mark Hughes in November 2012 after being led a merry dance by the Welshman's technical director, Mike Rigg, and a collection of opportunistic agents eager to profit from his desperate naivety.

It was crystal clear that should QPR return to the Premier League anytime soon, the club would need honest players, a much clearer strategy and the prospect of minimal upheaval if they suffered relegation again.

Fast-forward two years and what – if anything – has changed?

QPR have been relegated to the Championship for the second time in three years. Credit: PA

Once again, QPR have dropped into the Championship with players signed by a manager who is no longer in charge. Once again, they are faced with a summer of chaos and the inevitability of wholesale changes.

Considering QPR's financial clout and the fortunes that Fernandes forks out on wages, there is simply no excuse for their current plight. He must shoulder some of the blame for Harry Redknapp's mistakes in the transfer market.

Redknapp signed Rio Ferdinand to play in a 3-5-2 formation that was abandoned after two weeks, and the former Man United captain has played only three matches in 2015. Maurico Isla was recruited to perform as wing-back in the same system and hasn’t proved to be a competent full back.

Eduardo Vargas arrived on loan, but Redknapp insisted on using him out wide. He spent £6m on Jordon Mutch and sold the midfielder to Crystal Palace after six league appearances. He bought injury prone midfielder, Sandro, for a club record £10m and guess what? The Brazilian has been fit for less than half of QPR's matches.

Redknapp resigned citing knee problems of his own after failing to make even more unimaginative signings in January. Quite simply, he bottled it.

Redknapp's handling of Mauro Zarate was a complete farce. Credit: PA

Less than 24 hours before he threw in the towel, there was time for something even more farcical than Joey Barton flicking Tom Huddlestone's testicles.

Redknapp tried to swap Mauro Zarate, the forward he had signed on loan three weeks earlier, for Matt Jarvis on deadline day, only to discover it was against Premier League rules. Fittingly, this proved to be his last act.

The chairman’s hands-off approach to football matters leaves QPR in desperate need of a visionary manager. They require the antithesis of a Redknapp, who only ever possessed the kind of short-term goals at odds with stability and development.

Who knows whether Redknapp would have kept QPR up? Why does it matter in the wider picture? It's precisely this type of slapdash mentality that continues to hamper the club's progress.

The board have a tough decision to make about Chris Ramsey's future. Credit: PA

Les Ferdinand’s appointment as director of football in October 2014 came too late to prevent a series of costly mistakes last summer, even though he did manage to stop Redknapp wasting another bucket load of cash in January.

The club has an opportunity to change these principles by hiring a manager capable of looking beyond the next transfer window, but first they must carefully consider QPR's long-term strategy. What style of play do they want to see? What is the transfer policy going to be? How will they find quality players who want to play for the club?

It remains to be seen whether Chris Ramsey, who is popular with the players and boasts Ferdinand's support, is the man to help answer these questions. Today's dismal performance at the Etihad will do him no favours.

With uncertainty surrounding the manager's position and no CEO in place following Philip Beard's departure, QPR are a club lacking any visible direction for next season, let alone the next ten years. The future will be shaped by pivotal decisions made in the days, weeks and months that lie ahead.

The worry for supporters is that Fernandes has been making these decisions for nearly four years, and there is nothing to show for it.