Queens Park Rangers confirmed yesterday that Harry Redknapp has been appointed as their new manager, replacing the sacked Mark Hughes.
The former Tottenham boss will take up a two-and-a-half-year deal at Loftus Road with QPR bottom of the Premier League ahead of their match against Manchester United later yesterday.
The 65-year-old Redknapp, who was to be in the stands at Old Trafford to watch his new side, told the club’s official Web site: “I’m delighted to be back in the managerial hot-seat at QPR.”
“When I spoke to the shareholders and they told me about their plans I knew this was too good an opportunity to turn down,” he said.
“There’s no doubt there’s a lot of ability in the squad, but for one reason or another things haven’t gone as well as everyone expected since the start of the season,” Redknapp said. “I can’t wait to get to work and get the results necessary to kick-start our season.”
Redknapp’s appointment came just a day after the sacking of former Manchester United, Barcelona and Wales striker Hughes, who had been in charge for only 10 months.
He managed to stave off relegation for QPR on the final day of last season, but the club have struggled this year, failing to win any of their opening 12 league games and four points adrift at the bottom of the table before yesterday’s Premier League games.
QPR chairman Tony Fernandes said: “Harry was our No. 1 target, the unanimous choice of the board and we’re delighted we’ve been able to attract him to the club.”
“He has a proven track record in the Premier League and has all the characteristics we were looking for to get us out of the current situation we find ourselves in,” the 48-year-old Malaysian entrepreneur said.
“His man-management skills are second to none and we are confident he is the right man to lead us away from the bottom of the table,” he said.
Redknapp was immediately installed as odds-on favorite for the QPR job as soon as Hughes was dismissed on Friday morning and he left no doubt that he would be up for taking on the challenge of reviving the fortunes of the London side.
The QPR job is just the latest for Redknapp in what has been a varied and colorful managerial career
Most recently he enjoyed a successful four-year spell at Tottenham, but surprisingly failed to nail down a new contract after steering the club to fourth place in the Premier League last season and left the job in June.
Redknapp then spent some time back with his first managerial club Bournemouth on a consultancy basis and last week had been linked to the post of national coach of Ukraine, as a replacement for Oleg Blokhin who has taken over at Dynamo Kyiv.
“It was a really interesting job,” Redknapp said of the Ukraine post in a telephone interview on the BBC yesterday. “I had met the people and to be honest it was almost a done deal.”
“Then I got the phone call about QPR and I just couldn’t resist the Premier League,” he said.
Redknapp is now back on the stage he relishes most and will be in the dugout for the first time against Sunderland on Tuesday, before games against Aston Villa, Wigan and Fulham.
Whether or not he can keep QPR in the Premier League though will depend on him being able to bring some inspiration to a talented group of players who had increasingly lost their way under Hughes.
Additional reporting by Staff writer