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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hart Not Worried By Possibility of Axe

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- Giant QPR in The Snow Photo

- Bernie Ecclestone's Sense of Humour

- Year-by-Year Comparison of QPR's points at Year's End and Season's End (and ten managers - six permanent, four acting - in twenty-seven months

MIRROR/Jim Hughes - Paul Hart: I'm not worried about the QPR axe
It must rank as the one of the most memorable sporting images of 2009.

Paul Hart, then manager of Portsmouth, was captured celebrating his struggling team’s first win of their troubled season at Molineux. The 56 year-old boss punched the air with delight. After a run of misfortune the Pompey boss and his staff could finally savour the taste of victory – and boy, was it sweet.

Seven weeks later Hart was sacked as the third owners in his nine month reign as Pompey boss proved to be one regime change too many.

Yet far from being sickened by the cynical world of big-time management, Hart stepped back into the fray last week to become QPR’s ninth manager in the two years Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone have been in control at Loftus Road.

Hart is adamant he’s neither mad nor a masochist. He said: “I’m not concerned by the turnover in managers or the fact that initially I’m only here to the end of the season.

“I’m here because I really fancied the job. I’ve always liked their style, their history and have fond memories of when a fine football man called Dave Sexton was in charge here.

“I truly believe this is a club that go somewhere. If you get the time you can go through this club and build something. Look at the job Roy Hodgson is doing at Fulham and the way Alan Curbishley transformed Charlton in the past.

“I spoke to the players last Thursday on my first day at the club. I told them that if they work together and believe in themselves we can achieve the target of making ther promotion play-offs this season.

“And despite the rumours I’ve been assured by the owners that as the manager I pick the team. Nobody else will.”

The future looked bleak for Hart at Fratton Park once Avram Grant was parachuted into the club as director of football. Grant stayed away as he awaited work permit clearance.

Hart eventually paid the price after a 1-0 away win at Stoke in which Pompey missed an early penalty.

“How many managers have been sacked after two successive 4-0 home wins which included reaching the last eight of the Carling Cup?” he said.

“But I’m not bitter and twisted by events down there. I worked with some really good people.

“Hand on heart, given the way the players were fighting for one another and dealing with the adversity they faced I honestly believe we’d have stayed up. In fact, I’m convinced of that.

“I experienced highs and lows there. The highs were in keeping Pompey up last season and working with Brian Kidd on our coaching staff as we got the team to be dogged and determined.

“The lows were discovering we didn’t have the budget that was planned for building for the future. We knew we had to make huge savings and bring in transfer revenue. But the May budget and master plan had gone out of the window by July when we discovered we couldn’t bring in the people we wanted.

“I had to tell the players their wages were delayed but I never told them a lie. Out of that adversity a bond developed between us.

“And when I was asked questions by the media or our staff I didn’t tell lies or camouflage the facts. I think people appreciated that.”

Hart has recruited former Rangers boss Mick Harford as his assistant. During their playing days the duo regularly went to war. Hart, the defensive enforcer; Harford, a battering-ram of a striker.

Hart said: “I played against Mick a few times. That’s why I look like I do!” - Mirror

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