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Friday, October 31, 2008

Analysis of Briatore and QPR'S Managers...QPR Seeking but not Finding Manager - Except Ainsworth...Ainsworth on Team Selection

Ealing Gazette - Five managers in a year - and counting
- Flavio Briatore's taste for change since becoming owner and chairman must make the QPR hotseat the least secure posting in English football in the past 12 months.
- Perhaps only Newcastle United have known such instability in recent months.
- Iain Dowie was in charge for only 15 games, which is a far cry from the start of the decade when Ian Holloway ruled the roost for 252 matches and lasted five years (2001-6).
- With a winning record (53 per cent) not matched any of his predecessors since he was in charge for two matches in 1998, Dowie was clearly not ousted because of results.
- The widely accepted explanation is that Briatore was unhappy with Dowie's team selection - and in particular his reluctance to grant Daniel Parejo a regular starting role.
- Briatore announced Parejo's arrival on loan from Real Madrid amid great fanfare and it was noticeable then just how much the chairman enjoyed his coup - and the public parading of his close contact with Madrid president Ramón Calderón.
- Rather than allow Dowie to conduct the press conference, the manager was forced to stand at the back of the room as a beaming Briatore - dark shades firmly in place - took centre stage in front of the cameras and assembled journalists.
- It was a humiliation Dowie was prepared to swallow, along with the continental-style system which gave him little say over who came into the club.
- When Alan Curbishley quit West Ham and Kevin Keegan walked away from Newcastle earlier this season, it was because they were at the mercy of directors of football deciding who joined the squad.
- Dowie was never going to follow suit over any of the men Gianni Paladini and Briatore recruited as long as he was still in charge on match day, but that still brought him into conflict with his bosses.
- "I've always said that as long as I'm in charge of team s ele c t ion , I ' m happy," he told the Gazette a few weeks ago.
- "The game's changing and you either resist it or go with it. Team selection is the holy grail for me."
- But that was the trouble. Briatore was unhappy that Parejo was being overlooked along with striker Samuel Di Carmine, while Italian midfielder Damiano Tommasi - another big-name recruited by Briatore - had yet to feature.
- No sooner was Ainsworth appointed as caretaker boss for Saturday's 0-0 draw at Reading than Di Carmine was drafted in in place of top scorer Dexter Blackstock and Parejo was given a starting role.
- "Flavio has put a lot of money in the club and wants to know how his investments are going," Gareth Ainsworth neatly summarised after conceding that Briatore likes to discuss team matters with his coaches.
- We can probably take with a pinch of salt the hugely popular Lancastrian's insistence that there is no overall interference.
- "I have the final input on who goes out there. He doesn't discuss the strategies," Ainsworth said of Briatore.
- But there is such as thing as unspoken pressures and it clearly is interference to a degree that is alien to the British game, albeit one which coaches are having to stomach to stay in work.
- For a new kid on the mangerial block like Ainsworth, that means taking it on the chin more than an experienced manager with no financial worries.
- Briatore's determination to assume control over all matters on and off the field was evident again last week when he clashed with vice chairman Amit Bhatia over pricing policy at Loftus Road.
- Bhatia, the son in law of Lakshmi Mittal, whose family own 20 per cent of the club, is unhappy about the recent matchday price hikes and Briatore was unhappy that Bhatia went public over his disapproval.
- According to Paul Finney of the fans' website indyrs, many Rangers will be feeling disillusioned this week, in spite of the club's undoubtedly sound financial footing.
- "The club is just becoming a rich man's plaything and there seems to be no regard for the culture and history of the club," Finney told the Gazette.
- "It doesn't bode well for the future when football people are being sacked. We are fed up with being a showbiz club." Ealing Gazette

London Informer/Paul Warburton - Only Gaz fancies manager's job
- There are no takers for the QPR manager's job even though 10 different candidates have been sounded out following the sacking of Iain Dowie last Friday.
- Not one of a prestigious who'swho of coaches will consider the post while chairman Flavio Briatore insists on a role where he also has a say in team selection.
- Sam Allardyce, Steve Cotterill and Terry Venables are just three of the 10 who have given Loftus Road the thumbs down, while insiders have discounted the possibility of moving for Darren Ferguson at Peterborough.
-Heartened by the creditable 0-0 draw at Reading last Saturday, Briatore made it plain he intends to leave well alone by jointly managing Rangers with caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth for the next three games at least.
- Matters came to a head when Dowie's second spell with the club ended last Friday after Briatore told the coach he appointed 15 matches ago what his starting line-up was to be against Reading.
- It was the final straw for the former Northern Ireland international, who briefly managed the club as caretaker in 2001 prior to Ian Holloway's appointment.
- But the 58-year-old chairman is confident the club he saved from bankruptcy with fellow formula one supremo Bernie Ecclestone can be run more efficiently with the current coaching staff - or an outsider willing to accede to Briatore's involvement.
- A QPR source said: "There was a time when Flavio thought QPR was a burger bar, but now he's involved it's become his life's work - and he genuinely believes he has what it takes to help manage the team." London Informer

Ealing Times/Simon Mail - Ainsworth enhances QPR job credentials
- Queens Park Rangers caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth enhanced his credentials for the permanent job after guiding them to a 1-0 win over promotion favourites Birmingham City on Tuesday night....
- It capped a memorable end to a turbulent week at Rangers which saw Iain Dowie dismissed as first-team coach on Friday. QPR also battled to a goalless draw at highflying Reading on Saturday and the two results mark Ainsworth out as a potential candidate for the managerial hotseat.
- Dowie was sacked at the club's Harlington training ground last Friday after allegedly refusing to accept owner Flavio Briatore's interference over the team to face Reading.
- The QPR board have had a major say in recent team selection, but Ainsworth insists he has the last word on the lineup and also believes the consultation between them is a good idea.
- Ainsworth said: "I would be lying if I said it was 100 per cent down to me. It is my job to discuss players and push forward my case.
- "At the end of the day I have the final input on the team. I am very open and listen to the case of other players. It is me at the helm. Any talk of people shouting down orders is not true. We are very professional and I had to make serious decisions at half-time against Birmingham.

- "The team selection is my final input but there are discussions. They (board) want to know how the players are doing, not just in matches but also in training. I think it's a good thing because they are looking after their investment."
Ainsworth has always had his eye on management and the fans' favourite would relish the opportunity to continue the role on a full-time basis at Loftus Road.
-But he admits he does not know if the board have interviewed anyone for the role. Roberto Mancini is the favourite for the job but other big names such as Sam Allardyce, Terry Venables and Gianluca Vialli are also believed to be in the running.
- He said: "I love the club and I didn't think the emotion of winning promotion could be beaten but being caretaker manager is something else. I'm really enjoying it, I'm just taking it game by game.
-"It is fantastic, I've always had ambition. I took the reserve job at the start of the season with the ambition I would one day be the manager but didn't think it would happen as quickly.
- "The lads have been absolutely fantastic and have given me 100 per cent. I have had a massive response from them and that has been a big help." Ealing Times

Ealing Gazette/Yann Tear - Gaz stakes claim
If gritty backs-to-thewall wins with 10-men count for anything in the new era of glitz-driven ownership, Gareth Ainsworth is on his way to securing his first fulltime managerial job.
For all the talk of big names parachuting in from foreign climes to take over from Iain Dowie - Roberto Mancini, Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Donadoni have been mentioned - it may be that Flavio Briatore turns to the rock and roll kid from Lancashire to oversee the next phase of his QPR project.
On the evidence of Tuesday night, he could do worse.
Ainsworth was given his first taste of the nightmares you can encounter from the touchline when he had Mikele Leigertwood sent off for a high challenge on Lee Carsley on the stroke of half time.
But he managed to inspire a famous 1-0 win against Birmingham City - the deposed Championship leaders appearing not to share Rangers' appetite for a scrap in a Loftus Road blizzard, or indeed Ainsworth's appetite for an early and unexpected foray into management at the age of 35.
"I'm really proud every game I go out at the helm for QPR," said the caretaker boss.
"It's an honour and of course I've got a taste for it.
"I wouldn't have agreed to be reserve team manager if I didn't have ambition. It's something I want to pursue in my career, but at the moment it's game by game.
"I've been given no indication about my long term chances. All I want to do is focus on QPR and whatever capacity I'm in, you'll get 100 pe r c en t f r om Ga r e t h Ainsworth."
Talking about a week which began with him stepping into Dowie's shoes just 24 hours before the 0-0 draw at Reading, the man who fronts a rock band said: "It has all been very sudden, very quick.
"The games are probably a good distraction at the moment. They are coming thick and fast and I've not really had time to think. I'm just getting on with it, and the boys have been fantastic.
"The day-to-day role has changed. I have to take the sessions and create them and put things on for the boys that I think are going to be relevant to the upcoming games.
"It's an experience for me and it's an experience for them and it seems to be going well.
"There will be discussions again with the other parties over team selection before the next game. I put my case forward for players and other people put their case for certain players, and then the final input is mine.

"I don't want to comment on Iain's departure too much. I've got too much to think about with the caretaker manager's job and that's all I wish to say on that."
Dowie was apparently axed for not picking Daniel Parejo and some of the Italian players brought to the club by Briatore, and it turns out two of them had a big say in Tuesday's win.
It was Damiano Tommasi who won the tackle in midfield which set up Samuel Di Carmine for the blistering 25 yard which settled the contest in the 54th minute and both did well throughout.
But if the suspicion remains that he has no choice but to play the men favoured by the chairman, the inspiration was all Ainsworth's own work.
He kept faith with an attacking approach as much a possible after losing Leigertwood, although he shored up the midfield by replacing Lee Cook with Gavin Mahon.
Yet it was the resolute defending which impressed and a tribute to the organisation that Radek Cerny was never really tested after the break - the keeper having done his work early on with fine saves to deny Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips.
"I said to the boys at half time: 'I believe in you and I believe we can go on and win this game.' The commitment they've shown is the reason we've won."
Praise for Tommasi will not harm Ainsworth's cause with the paymasters, but it was justified, given the former Azurri international's impressive debut.
"I thought he was outstanding today," Ainsworth said.
"He was everything I expected of him and more. He's come to the club amid all sorts of rumours of why and how and what, but on Saturday at Reading, although he never got on he said afterwards: 'Gaz, I'll be ready when you need me,' and that's Damiano through and through.
"Today, I really think he was outstanding in central midfield. You can see his contribution to Italian football throughout the years and he's a great pro to have, a fantastic asset for QPR.
"Not many have the experience he's got and that will only add to what we have at the moment." ..Ealing Gazette

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