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Friday, January 15, 2010

Club Cries Out for Stability: Various Responses

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- Ten Shortest Managerial Reigns in England

League Managers Association (LMA) - HART RESIGNS AS MANAGER OF QPR
- The LMA confirms that Paul Hart has resigned as Manager of Queens Park Rangers FC.
- LMA Chief Executive Richard Bevan said:
- “I am able to say that Paul Hart has left the football club. I understand that he was very unhappy with certain situations which have to remain confidential and felt that resignation was in the best interests of all concerned.

“Paul wants to thank his staff and the fans for their support during his period at the club and wishes them, and the club, well for the future”. LMA

Sky Harford - No time scale
LMA confirm Hart departure as Harford named interim boss

By Jamie Casey Last updated: 15th January 2010

Mick Harford claims there has been no time scale put on his new role as Queens Park Rangers boss.
It was thought the former assistant manager would take charge only until the end of the current campaign in the wake of Paul Hart leaving the club.

However, Harford has repealed such claims. Asked to confirm his new role, he told Sky Sports News: "It's as manager - manager of Queens Park Rangers.

"There's been no time scale said, they've said 'Mick, you take charge of first-team affairs and see where it takes you'.

"Hopefully I'm here for a long time, if I'm here a long time it'll mean we're having some sort of success.

"Paul decided to leave - we're all very disappointed about that. He's a good man and he's great to work for.

"I don't know the waffles of Paul's departure but I just want to wish him all the best - it was an absolute pleasure to work with him and I was shocked as anyone that he decided to leave."

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan has since confirmed that Paul Hart resigned as manager of Queens Park Rangers on his own accord.

He said: "I am able to say that Paul Hart has left the football club. I understand that he was very unhappy with certain situations which have to remain confidential and felt that resignation was in the best interests of all concerned.

"Paul wants to thank his staff and the fans for their support during his period at the club and wishes them, and the club, well for the future."

Harford has been in charge at Loftus Road before after briefly taking up a caretaker role after the departure of John Gregory in 2007, and he believes he knows the club well enough to be up to the job.

"It's a club I know about, I know how it's run, I know the people, I know the players, I know about the situation," he said.

"I've always had an association with Queens Park Rangers. (Flavio) Briatore, the chairman, is a personal friend of mine, I've known him a long, long time.

"The last time I was here I was here for a short period of time. I thought it was for the best interests (to leave) as QPR got on with their business in the way they wanted to do.

"We left on good terms and I still have a fantastic relationship with everyone at Queens Park Rangers and when Paul asked me to come back I was absolutely delighted to try and change their fortunes around."

Despite huge investment in recent seasons, QPR have struggled to gain consistency to make them a strong force in the Championship and currently occupy 10th place in the table.

Four points separate the side from the play-off positions, and Harford realises the task he has taken on.

"It's a massive challenge, I've only just been thrown into this challenge," he said.

"I was told I had the opportunity to manage this football club and take control of first-team affairs, albeit with a bit of sadness in my heart I have to say with Paul's departure.

"But we need to be positive, we need to be on the front foot, we need to be buoyant and we need to start winning football matches." Sky

Evening Standard
Flavio Briatore should not be the driving force at QPR

Amid the furore surrounding Flavio Briatore's role in F1's Crashgate' scandal, the Italian faced the prospect of proving he fulfilled the Football League's fit and proper' owners' test but after the latest Loftus Road catastrophe, those questions will resonate louder than ever before.

Paul Hart today became the sixth permanent manager to leave Queens Park Rangers in the 26 months since Briatore took control and saved the club from financial turmoil in November 2007.

Briatore, with co-owners Bernie Ecclestone and Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal has revolutionised the club's commercial operations, yet time and again has revealed a fatal flaw that ultimately undermines their chances of reaching the Premier League.

The story of Hart's departure is a depressingly familiar one for their supporters. Hart was appointed on a short-term contract with the immediate task of restoring harmony in the dressing room following the tempestuous and often confrontational spell under Jim Magilton.

But Standard Sport understands that as early as two matches into his reign, rumblings of discontent surfaced among senior board members that Hart would not play ball.

It is thought that Briatore continued to seek an active role in team selection but Hart wanted to stamp his authority in on-pitch matters.

A power struggle quickly developed and manifested itself in Hart's decision to release two Italians signed largely on Briatore's advice — Matteo Alberti and Alessandro Pellicori — having decided they were not up to Championship standard.

Following Hart's departure, both were at the club's Harlington training ground this morning.

Hart's spat with Adel Taarabt over his lack of first-team football was little more than a sideshow to the dramatic deterioration in relations at boardroom level as Briatore is thought to have already decided earlier this month that Hart would not be offered any extension to his six-month contract.

Managers operate under strict constraints in Shepherd's Bush and the relationship with Briatore had soured to the extent that it is understood Hart's solicitor phoned club officials yesterday to confirm his client was leaving and that “if there is a problem, we will see you in court”.

It is believed that Hart had become infuriated with Briatore's interference both in the dressing room and in the club's transfer policy and believed his position had become untenable despite being in charge for just 28 days and five matches.

The club are thought to be surprised by Hart's decision and have no replacement lined up, leaving assistant Mick Harford to take the reins for tomorrow's trip to Blackpool.

Harford was in temporary charge when Briatore first arrived at the club and out of the wreckage of the latest managerial debacle comes a chance to earn a permanent appointment.

After all, the team lie 10th but only four points outside the play-offs.

“I am going to try and get the team back to winning ways and get us climbing the table,” said Harford. “I got a phone call late last night asking me to take charge. This is something I have to prepare very quickly for. I thought Paul did a great job in terms of organising the players.”

Such is the reputation Briatore has built in footballing circles, it is difficult to see anyone other than a yes man' or a foreign manager used to outside interference taking on the job.

It is unclear at this stage whether Hart will sue over a potential breach of contract but Briatore is walking a fine line — Kevin Keegan walked away with £2million after winning a case of constructive dismissal against Newcastle.

Briatore has brought wealth to Loftus Road beyond QPR supporters' wildest dreams and created impressive revenue streams yet appears unable to trust a manager with the commodity that matters most: the players.

Changing managers with such frequency will never create the stability needed for promotion and then achieve consolidation once in the Premier League. No fit and proper person would argue differently. Standard

PFA's Give Me Football/Dave Smith - Anybody else fancy the Rangers job?
Paul Hart becomes the latest victim of Loftus Road lunacy

- Hart’s relationship with QPR sugar daddies soon turned sour.
- Queens Park Rangers might claim to be one of the richest clubs in the world but they’ll never get anywhere until their wealthy Italian owners address their managerial policy.

I’m not sure about the reasoning behind Paul Hart’s exit from Loftus Road – after just five games – but it seems to be a case of him jumping before he was pushed.

Whatever the situation, Rangers, for all their apparent wealth (and we’ve seen precious little of it so far), are in danger of becoming a laughing stock.

How many managers have come and gone since Flavio Briatore breezed in F1-style just over two years ago? Hart was the sixth – and that doesn’t include caretaker bosses! Ludicrous.

How can you build a club on such a hap-hazard, hire and fire basis? History tells us, it just doesn’t work.

Mick Harford has been put in temporary charge as the search begins for ANOTHER manager, and there are plenty out there looking for work.

Alan Curbishley has already been linked with the job but the big question is....would he, or any other right-minded manager, want to work under the current regime?

They’d probably be looking for another job come the end of the season given the shelf-life of previous bosses at Loftus Road.

It’s sad for the Rangers fans that the football – and the primary aim of getting out of the Championship – has become a side show to the main event...the well-oiled revolving door." Give Me Football

BBC Blog/Chris Charles - Review of the week
Post categories: Football
- I got lost on the way to work this morning (Friday) - it's difficult to see where you're going with a paper bag over your head.

Alas it didn't work. I'd barely got through the door when the ribbing started: "How's life at the comedy club?" "Five games?!" "Who's next - Mickey Mouse?"

My colleague Honest Frank gleefully texted me with the news of Paul Hart's departure from QPR late Thursday night - anything to deflect attention away from the shenanigans at his beloved Hammers. As a Rangers fan you get to the stage where nothing surprises you any more, but even by our own sub-standards, that's some going.

The usual suspects - Curbishley, Coppell etc - are already being touted as replacements, but can you seriously see any of the big guns taking on a club whose motto is 'You don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps'?

Paul Hart - blink and you missed him
As for Hart, word has it he's been approached by Danny Boyle to take the starring role in a remake of the director's 28 Days Later - the period of time that elapsed between the former Pompey boss strolling into Loftus Road and packing up his troubles. Boyle may also consider a movie about the life and times of QPR co-owner Flavio Briatore - working title Hangdog Millionaire.

Mick Harford is expected to take charge for the rest of the season (but don't hold your breath) in what will be the 11th managerial change since Britaore rode into town a couple of years back.

Harford's first game is fittingly at Blackpool, land of amusements, donkeys and roller-coaster rides - and you can bet Ian Holloway will be only too keen to show his former club exactly what they have been missing.
- Hart's final match in charge was the FA Cup defeat by Sheffield United (three of his five games were against the Blades) - a defeat that stretched QPR's winless run in the competition to a remarkable 13 games. To put that into context, the last Rangers won a game in the Cup, Who Let The Dogs Out was in the charts, the Queen Mum was still alive and Wayne Rooney was still at school" BBC

BBC/Paul Fletcher - QPR crying out for stability
Friday, 15 January 2010
Queens Park Rangers long ago became a watchword for instability - and although the news that Paul Hart has left the club after just five games in charge might feel wearyingly depressing it hardly rates as surprising.

Hart lasted 28 days and is the sixth full-time manager to depart Loftus Road since Flavio Briatore moved in at the club in August 2007.

The Italian quickly dismissed John Gregory, while Luigi De Canio, Iain Dowie, Paulo Sousa and Jim Magilton have also come and gone. And then there is Mick Harford, Gareth Ainsworth and Steve Gallen, who have had temporary spells in charge.

Of the managers appointed since Briatore arrived, fellow Italian De Canio has lasted the longest, managing 35 games at the helm before leaving for personal reasons.

Sousa was there for 26 games, Magilton 24 and Dowie 15. Is it really surprising that Rangers remain a Championship club?

Hart started the season in charge of Premier League Portsmouth

I was at Vicarage Road in December when Akos Buzsaky went walkabout in his kit after the dressing room-row that led to Magilton's suspension and eventual departure.

It was a surreal sight and only added to the sense that QPR have become a footballing soap opera that promises guaranteed drama but lacks some of the ingredients essential to a successful club.

Arguably, none of Briatore's appointments have lasted long enough to mould and shape the squad they inherited. Furthermore, although time is a precious commodity for any manager, a good chairman must appreciate that a modicum of patience is required while a boss imprints his footballing philosophy at a club.

It is often said that the most important relationship at any club is between the chairman and manager. I wonder whether Briatore has enjoyed a closeness or mutual respect with any of the ones he has employed?

What we have at Rangers is a crippling lack of continuity. Briatore ought to be a chairman craving a long-term managerial appointment, or as a starting point, someone who remains in charge for an entire season.

As an Italian, Briatore should know that Rome wasn't built in a day - and a successful QPR won't be either.

Of course, much is made of the revolving door since Briatore arrived at the club but the predilection to install a new man in the dugout can be traced back before his arrival.

Ian Holloway had almost five years in charge but his dismissal in February 2006 was the point at which the ceaseless cycle of arrival and departure started.

Gianni Paladini was in charge when Holloway left - and the Italian appointed both Gary Waddock and Gregory prior to Briatore's arrival.

Paladini is now the sporting director at Rangers in addition to his role as chairman of the football club (Briatore being chairman of the holding company that owns QPR).

He is responsible, in part, for the club's scouting network as well as the buying and selling of players. But the exact specifications of his role are difficult to define.

The same can be said of Briatore, the former Renault Formula 1 team boss who recently had his lifetime ban from motorsport overturned.

There have been rumours of Briatore interfering with team selection and moving significantly outside the boundaries of what defines a typical owner/chairman. Perhaps he should manage the team himself for a while to fully understand the size of the task.

Hart arrived on a six-month contract shortly after his dismissal from Portsmouth, citing his desire to return to work and intention to steady the ship.

A 2-1 home win over Bristol City in his second game in charge was to be his only victory. Rangers ended that match with six defenders on the pitch, with Gary Borrowdale on the left of midfield and Matthew Connolly sitting in front of the back four.

The defensive tactics did not sit well with the supporters, who appreciate attractive, attacking football - and Rangers were booed from the field after that match.

Hart never really had the chance to win over the fans, who have been subjected to significant season-ticket price increases since Briatore took over and could be forgiven for expecting a brand and level of football commensurate with their annual outlay.

Nonetheless, the fact that Hart has opted to quit after such a short period in charge hints at something beyond the fact that he wasn't popular with some of the club's support.

There have been reports that a bust-up with Adel Taarabt contributed to his premature departure, while it has also been suggested that he wanted to sell several players and bring in new faces but that his idea was given short shrift.

Obviously, something at Rangers so disturbed Hart, who tried to stick it out at Portsmouth despite all the problems at Fratton Park, that he felt compelled to quit, with his assistant Harford taking temporary charge.

Briatore now has the depressingly familiar task of appointing a new manager - and Steve Coppell and Alan Curbishley are two names that are certain to be mentioned.

Rangers are 10th in the Championship table and four points shy of a play-off place. There is clearly still everything to play for in a season that could yet end up with promotion.

But nothing is straightforward at Rangers and with 22 league games left I wonder what twists and turns are left in another season of uncertainty at Loftus Road.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher BBC

BBC - [Bradley] Allen calls for stability at QPR after Paul Hart exit

- Former QPR striker Bradley Allen has called for stability at the club after the departure of manager Paul Hart.

Hart, the ninth man to manage Rangers since Flavio Briatore became chairman in August 2007, left on Thursday after just five games in charge.

Allen told BBC London 94.9; "The supporters need somebody of experience who can handle the whole situation.

"If whoever they bring in is not given time I think this hiring and firing is going to continue to happen."

Rangers currently lie 10th in the Championship - four points off the play-off places.

Hart, 56, took over at Loftus Road on 17 December following the departure of Jim Magilton.

He was given a contract until the end of the season but has left after managing just one win in his five games.

Allen added: "It's not going to help QPR on or off the pitch.

"There does seem to be a little bit of confidence lacking amongst some of the players, a bit of uncertainty about who's in charge and who is making the decisions.

Assistant manager Mick Harford has been placed in charge for Saturday's game with Blackpool, with Allen adding that Rangers should be looking for an experienced man to replace Hart.

"It needs somebody with rhino skin," said Allen. "Somebody who can deal with the people in charge and hopefully stamp their authority on the football club.

"I'd be very surprised if they choose a younger guy again because it really needs somebody of note and experience.

"QPR do have the money to attract someone but whether that sort of manager will be prepared to go into that situation remains to be seen."


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