Redknapp jumps before he's pushed as Sherwood waits in the wings
Harry Redknapp quit as Queen's Park Rangers manager yesterday before he was pushed, with the club having no intention of renewing his contract at the end of the season and the 67-year-old tired of the constant insecurity around his job.
Redknapp gave extensive media interviews yesterday in which he cited his upcoming knee surgery as the key reason behind his decision to leave the club, who are 19th in the Premier League with 15 games left to play. He has been mulling over the decision for more than a month as the team has struggled badly.
Redknapp has denied that the club's failure to agree a single permanent deal for a new player in the last transfer window - they signed Mauro Zarate on loan from West Ham and Ryan Manning from Galway United on a free - was a major factor in his decision.
Yet, by the time of the deadline on Monday night the club's reluctance to make any major signings had spelled out to him their attitude on his future.
Many QPR players had already lost faith in Redknapp's approach following a dismal run of 11 successive defeats away from home in the Premier League season. Their fear that he had run out of ideas and energy was backed up by Redknapp's admission that his knee problems meant he could no longer devote all his time and attention to the job.
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood is the favourite to replace Redknapp at Loftus Road.
In the meantime the head of football operations Les Ferdinand will be in charge of the team with Chris Ramsey, also brought in recently from Spurs, assisting him.
One of Redknapp's assistants, Joe Jordan, also departed last night and the likelihood is that Kevin Bond will follow. Glenn Hoddle was not a full-time member of staff and quit last night saying in a statement he was "a bit shocked and surprised" by the decision but believed that QPR could stay up.
Ferdinand's power is considerable. As well as his input into appointing the new manager, he is charged with building a better infrastructure for the club including the academy which has failed to produce a single player for the first team in some time - Raheem Sterling was sold to Liverpool before he could make a senior debut - despite an excellent catchment area.
The QPR chairman, Tony Fernandes, had floated the idea of a new contract for Redknapp in September but that was shelved as the team's performances failed to improve. The arrival of Ferdinand and then Ramsey, both of whom had worked as Sherwood's assistants at Spurs last season, further contributed to the insecurity around Redknapp.
Redknapp told Sky Sports that after an "uncomfortable night" in a London hotel he called Fernandes at 5.30am yesterday morning to tell him that he wanted to quit the club.
It is not clear whether the remaining six months of Redknapp's deal have been paid up but certainly the outcome has suited both parties, to an extent. Fernandes had been close to sacking him more than once and neither side wanted to go through a protracted and damaging parting of the ways.
For now Redknapp has presented his exit from Rangers as an amicable parting of the ways.
"Tony backed me 100 per cent in the summer," he told Sky Sports.
Redknapp said that his knee problems had made it impossible for him even to control a football. "The players must look at me and think, 'Look at the old crock.' It's not ideal," he admitted. However he isn't this wasn't the end of the road for his career.
"I still don't think I'm finished with football. When I've had the operations, I'll be looking for work again, I know that. I can't imagine my life without it. But right now, I've got to make my health the priority." (© Independent News Service)
Redknapp's QPR record
Appointed - 24 November 2012
P 105 W 36 D 26 L 43 Win% 34.3
Unable to prevent relegation from the Premier League in 2012-13 but led them back last season via the play-offs.
Odds on his successor
1/8 Tim Sherwood
6/1 Glenn Hoddle
10/1 Les Ferdinand
40/1 Eddie Howe, Dermot O'Leary, Claudio Ranieri, Karl Robinson, Gianfranco Zola
Next five games
Saturday Southampton (h)
10 February Sunderland (a)
21 February Hull (a)
4 March Arsenal (h)
7 March Tottenham (h)
Independent News Service