- Four Years Ago Today: Heidar Helguson Announced as Having joined QPR from Bolton. (Then Some "Delays)
Standard's James Olley
“@JamesOlley: Think story is this. Board met, asked Hughes to step down (hence first tweet). Hughes said no (hence second tweet). Apologies for confusion.”
Dave McIntyre/West London Sport
Hughes fights on and is promising change
Under-fire boss Mark Hughes arrived at QPR’s training ground this morning with the club insisting it was ‘business as usual’ despite speculation over his future.
Hughes did not take yesterday’s session at Harlington, where chief executive Philip Beard spent much of the day.
That is not unusual – Beard is there regularly and Monday’s training is usually a warm-down session which Hughes does not attend – but it prompted reports of a lengthy meeting between the pair and suggestions the manager was being fired.
Hughes has made it clear he will not resign and believes he will be given more time by the club’s owners, while his agent Kia Koorabchian last night also denied rumours the Welshman had been dismissed.
Hughes saw Beard on Monday.
Rangers’ board are due to hold talks in the next 48 hours, when Hughes’ future should become clearer.
Tony Fernandes, a friend of Hughes and the man who brought him to Loftus Road 11 months ago, is keen for him to stay.
But the chairman must convince other major shareholders the former Manchester United forward should remain in the job – at least for the time being.
Disgruntled fans want Hughes out, with Harry Redknapp touted as a replacement.
Redknapp, a friend of ex-QPR chairman Gianni Paladini, has been out of management since leaving Tottenham in June and is keen to return to the Premier League.
Hughes, whose team are bottom of the table and without a league win this season, has indicated there will be significant changes if he remains at the club.
Previously placid towards his under-performing players, he read the riot act in the dressing room following Saturday’s humiliating 3-1 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Southampton.
There is support for him among players despite misgivings about some of his signings.
Stalwarts like Jamie Mackie and Shaun Derry are likely to be asked to play an important role in the coming weeks should Hughes cling on.
The return of Stephane Mbia is also seen as important as it would enable Hughes to permanently replace Anton Ferdinand at the heart of his leaky defence – something he has been looking to do for some time.
Ferdinand was increasingly out of favour prior to Mbia’s three-match suspension for a red card in the recent defeat at Arsenal. West London Sport
London 24/Nick Wright
QPR verdict: How Mark Hughes lost his grip at Loftus Road
“As far as I’m concerned, we will never be in this situation again while I am manager,” so declared a bullish Mark Hughes after the astonishing finale to last season.
The Welshman had just watched his QPR side escape relegation by the skin of their teeth at the Etihad Stadium, where his old club Manchester City celebrated their first title win in 44 years after famously overturning a 2-1 deficit in injury time.
At the other end of the table, QPR’s Premier League status was saved by Bolton’s failure to win at Stoke City, prompting Hughes to make his doomed vow to turn the club around.
Six months have passed since that day, and after an ill-judged summer spending spree brought no fewer than 12 new faces to Loftus Road, QPR find themselves in crisis.
Since their disastrous 5-0 drubbing by Swansea City on the opening day, winless Rangers have taken just four points from a possible 33, leaving them five points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table.
The fans have emphatically lost faith in the manager, and if Saturday’s abject 3-1 defeat to Southampton is anything to go by, most of the players have too... That is, if they ever had any in the first place.
Even more worrying for Hughes is that owner Tony Fernandes has declined to offer public backing to his beleaguered manager in the wake of their most recent defeat, fuelling speculation that his time could finally be up at Loftus Road.
Hughes’ poor management has been decisive this season, but the board must also shoulder blame for sanctioning the fevered summer spending which has paved the way for the club’s downfall.
The poorly-planned impulsiveness of QPR’s transfer dealings transmits to their performances on the pitch, where their clumsily assembled mishmash of players resembles a group of total strangers.
Take the arrival of former Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar. Undoubtedly a class act, but signed out of the blue just weeks after the arrival of Rob Green, who became a scapegoat for their dreadful start.
Green joined the club as their new number one at the beginning of the summer, only to be immediately shunted to the bench. How can that decision have affected him? And more broadly, how can it have affected the atmosphere in the dressing room?
Cesar is an upgrade on the former West Ham man, but he came at a cost, and the team has suffered as a result of yet more upheaval, with players now aware that they could be unceremoniously axed by Hughes at any moment.
And Green isn’t the only one to be shut out.
Striker Rob Hulse was among those deemed surplus to requirements at Loftus Road during the summer. The 33-year-old was sent on loan to Charlton, where he told London24 he had been one of six senior players sent by Hughes to train with QPR’s youth team as the new signings continued to flood in.
The likes of Hulse, Heidar Helguson and Luke Young may be technically limited, but humiliating experienced pros was no way for Hughes to endear himself to his squad.
And with his expensive wave of signings looking wholly disinterested on the pitch, he might now wish he could call on more old heads to help pull them out of their malaise.
Let’s not forget that at this point last season, Helguson - now at Cardiff - had hit five Premier League goals in seven appearances. Hughes’ toothless side would cherish such a contribution now.
Indeed, it was ironic that Hughes called on old heads Jamie Mackie and Shaun Derry from the bench as he tried to rescue the game against Southampton.
On paper, Hughes’ squad should be comfortable in this league, but it was naïve to think such a ruthless overhaul of the playing squad would not have damaging consequences.
Having turned his back on QPR’s old guard, Hughes is left with a collection of overpaid cast-offs from top clubs who aren’t motivated enough to dig in and turn things around.
Jose Bosingwa is among the chief offenders. Six months ago the defender was winning the second Champions League medal of his career with Chelsea. He has passed his peak and he knows it. Against Southampton he was utterly woeful before his 73rd-minute substitution.
Hughes’ squad is broken, possibly irreparably. His position is surely untenable, but there is no quick fix and a change of manager would not be an immediate solution.
These are disturbing times for QPR, and the thought of taking that sizable wage bill into the Championship makes you worry for the future of the club. London 24
Tony Fernandes wants Queens Park Rangers to revert to basics
• Fernandes was distraught over home defeat by Southampton
The chairman was distraught on Saturday, when he watched his team lose the foot-of-the-table meeting at home to Southampton, with the emotion compounded by the fear that the manager, Mark Hughes, had lost the capacity to motivate key players. It has pressed Fernandes into a bout of soul-searching as he torments himself over whether to sack Hughes.
Fernandes has been hugely supportive of Hughes, whom he appointed last season to keep the club in the Premier League, after their elevation from the Championship the previous spring and, as much as anybody, he wants the manager to succeed. He has repeatedly backed Hughes in comments from his Twitter account, although the lack of support since the 3-1 defeat by Southampton has been ominous. Fernandes had labelled the visit of Saints as a must-win game.
Hughes met the chief executive, Phil Beard, on Monday and he was given no assurances about his future, further darkening the mood. It appears, though, that Fernandes, at least, is ready to give Hughes the United match, with the demand being to show some spirit at Old Trafford. It was notable that Derry and Mackie came on as second-half substitutes against Southampton and they are in contention to start against United.
The aspect that so distressed Fernandes against Southampton was the sight of players not giving their all and the home crowd voiced their anger when they chanted that some were "only here for the money". Fernandes, who is currently in Malaysia, oversaw a summer spree that brought 11 senior players to the club, many of them on huge wages.
Hughes warmed to the theme after the game, when he questioned the mental strength of the players that he had selected and promised there would be changes. He said that the performance had been the worst of his tenure and he conceded that relegation was a real danger. "Given the performance, I picked the wrong players," he said. "That can't be allowed to pass without changes being made."The situation is bleak and the club received another blow on Monday when it emerged that the striker Bobby Zamora faced surgery to correct a nagging hip injury, which would render him a long-term absentee. Hughes and his staff were back in training on Monday, after the players had the previous day off, and it was painted as business as usual. Yet the impression was of a man nervously awaiting his fate, together with his coaching staff.
Hughes has made it plain that he does not intend to resign, despite overseeing QPR's worst ever start to a top-flight campaign. The statistics make for grisly reading: no wins, four points and nine goals from 12 games.
Fernandes is mindful of the potential cost, in compensation, of dismissing Hughes, who is ten months into a two-and-a-half year contract, which is worth £3m-a-year. Hughes has also bought in a raft of additional personal, as he has restructured on several levels, chiefly the coaching set-up, youth academy and scouting network.
Harry Redknapp remains out of work, after his sacking in June by Tottenham Hotspur, and he has been strongly tipped to succeed Hughes. One of his good friends is Gianni Paladini, the former QPR chairman, who retains links to Amit Bhatia, the club's vice-chairman. "Until there is a change - if there is one - it would not be fair for me to discuss it," Redknapp said. Guardian