So that’s about it then. QPR’s defeat against Fulham on Monday night has all but condemned them to Championship football next season.
Following the 3-2 defeat to Aston Villa that ended Rangers’ mini-renaissance, a win at Craven Cottage was imperative. But while they played their part in quite a show, Harry Redknapp’s men remain seven points adrift of safety with just seven games to play.
At a time of the season when form is everything, only Wigan and Southampton appear to be going in the right direction.
But watching QPR in recent weeks, something is becoming clearer by the game: Redknapp is perfect for them.
Common sense prevailed, eventually, when chairman Tony Fernandes appointed him back in November. But that was after 12 games without a win and only four points to show for their efforts.
Under Redknapp, Rangers had six points after his first four (undefeated) games in charge.
Having kept them up the previous season, there was no way Mark Hughes would have been discarded the moment Redknapp became available. But what must Fernandes be thinking now?
Forget Monday’s defensive horror show. There is a spirit in the players rarely seen under Hughes. Errors can be ironed-out. But belief in yourself and your manager is not so easily taught.
Above all, Fernandes must ensure the former Tottenham manager remains for the length of his contract. Two years that will allow him to win promotion from the Championship and maintain their Premier League place the following season.
As if things were that easy!
Redknapp may have taken the job in the belief that he could pull off a Houdini act once again. But in football, some tricks are done over time. He took the job and now he must see it through.
Their season is not yet over. But they must surely win at least five of their remaining fixtures – and all four games in April including six-pointers against both Wigan and Reading – although even that may not be enough.
This season’s managerial-merry-go-round has been crazier than ever, in no small part due to the increased financial rewards for every Premier League side from next season. It is a windfall no one wants to miss out on. While this year’s Championship has proved more unpredictable than ever.
But QPR may now have to accept that they must miss out on one and compete in the other. It is a short-term sacrifice with the hope of long-term success.
You just can’t help but wonder what would have happened had Redknapp been in charge all season.
Where do you think QPR would be had Redknapp taken over sooner? And what do the next few seasons hold for both the manager and the club?
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