By Andy Ward
Harry Redknapp swapped his comfortable place on the Match of the Day sofa this week for the altogether more pressurized cauldron of uncertainty that is the Queens Park Rangers hot seat.
Nearly as many managers have come through the revolving doors at Loftus Road as players in recent years, quite an achievement when you consider that the R’s have assembled virtually a new team in each of the last three seasons.
Anyone studying the Free Bets Online this season will note how Mark Hughes was the latest occupier of the position, bringing in big names such as Júlio César and Park Ji-Sung in what was meant to be a bright new dawn for the West London outfit.
So optimistic was César of achieving success upon his arrival from Inter Milan that he proudly announced that QPR would be playing in the Champions League by the time his four year deal at the Club expired.
He may yet get his wish, if he swaps ‘League’ for ‘Ship’ at the end of his statement.
Because unless Redknapp can work another miracle, The Championship is where QPR are heading.
In truth, the way in which Rangers have gone about their business has left a lot to be desired since returning to the Premier League.
During their promotion season in 2010/11, Neil Warnock put together a team built on a foundation of great team spirit and willingness to work for each other.
Despite their industrious nature, they still possessed that X Factor needed to set themselves apart from their rivals with the likes of Adel Taarabt and Alejandro Faurlín inspirational in guiding them to the Promised Land.
Of course, the squad needed strengthening once promotion was secured, a 4-0 opening day defeat to Bolton Wanderers really brought that fact into sharp focus, but the Hoops seemed to forget all of the values that brought them to the Premier League in the first place. Perhaps indicative of modern day football, QPR splashed the case without little thought.
Players that had battled so hard to lead Rangers back to the top flight were gradually moved on and being replaced by the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Bobby Zamora. There is no doubt that such players have been effective in the Premier League in years gone by but are they really the type of players that are going to dig in in a relegation scrap?
In contrast, QPR’s promotion rivals in the shape of Swansea City and Norwich City went down a different road upon their arrival in the division, instead choosing to attract young, hungry players and keeping the core of their successful Championship teams together. The pair finished 11th and 12th respectively, and never looked in danger of losing their status.
You would have thought that the success Norwich and Swansea would have served as a stark reminder to Rangers that maybe they should re-think their strategy, but after avoiding relegation by the narrowest of margins last time out it appears that nothing has changed.
Again, big names whose better days are well behind them have arrived at Loftus Road during the summer and once again QPR are struggling.
Cemented to the bottom of the Premier League table with only five points to their name and still win-less after 14 games, Redknapp’s side need a miracle.
Despite this, there is still time to put things right. Redknapp still has a selection of hard working players at his disposal that will die for the cause if given the opportunity.
Jamie Mackie, Shaun Derry and Clint Hill may not have the ability that a Djibril Cissé or a Junior Hoilett does, but what they lack in quality they more than make up for in endeavour and fight.
If Redknapp can reignite that desire that allowed QPR to become a Premier League outfit in the first place, all may not be lost. If they continue to be driven by money and greed, Hoops fans may as well start setting the route planner for trips to Championship grounds next year well in advance.
When it comes to Sports Betting Offers, who is going to back Redknapp to be gone by the end of the season?!