QPR or Ukraine to playing beloved League One strugglers in 10 months

Next season QPR will take on Bournemouth; a scenario Harry Redknapp would never have thought possible when he took the job in November.

At the start of this season Harry Redknapp found himself working with AFC Bournemouth in an advisory role to the clubs then manager Paul Groves. Groves had stepped up from the youth team manager’s role and took over from Lee Bradbury who had been sacked in March 2012.

In October Groves was also dismissed after a dismal start to the League One season. After the first 11 games of the campaign The Cherries had managed to pick up just the one victory; a season that was supposed to be full of promise instead looked like descending into relegation mire.

When Groves was sacked Redknapp was even reportedly considered for the role himself; although it was then made clear that he had taken time away from the advisory role seemingly to cook up tales of a potential coaching role with the Ukrainian national team.

At that point I can almost guarantee that Redknapp never had the slightest of inklings that he would be facing off against his beloved Dorset club next season; yet here we are.

Bournemouth pulled off a coup when convincing Eddie Howe to return for a second spell at Dean Court after he became frustrated with the stagnation at Burnley. He then led the side on a 15-game league unbeaten run that propelled them into automatic promotion contention. Then, after another less envious run of five straight defeats, he countered with an unbroken eight consecutive wins.

After Brentford could only draw with Hartlepool at the weekend Bournemouth were promoted making Eddie Howe only the second ever manager to take the club into the second tier of English football. The other? Well Harry Redknapp of course.

For all his efforts the former Tottenham boss has not managed to perform Mission Impossible and keep QPR in the Premier League since taking over from Mark Hughes in November.

Now he must face up to the reality that he will have to face the team he played for over 100 times in two separate spells and managed for 11 years in his first steps into management. The 66-year-old is also a resident of the area and a keen follower of the club that he gave so much throughout his career.

It is a remarkable show of how quickly things can turn around in football. One month you are out on the golf course every day mingling with the rich and nearly famous while your beloved club toils at the foot of the table; the next minute it is you that is toiling away in a seemingly impossible job with the other club in question flying high amidst a haze of champagne joy.

Needless to say QPR v Bournemouth will be a fixture to look out for next season.

image: © curiouslypersistent

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