Tony Fernandes seemed to be the only person who genuinely thought that Harry Redknapp could take over national team duties in Ukraine. It forced his hand in regards to Mark Hughes so will Redknapp continue his Artful Dodger ways in the transfer market?
Tony Fernandes has come out and stated that he would have potentially stuck by Mark Hughes if it were not for the availability of former Tottenham Hotspur gaffer Harry Redknapp. QPR were languishing at the foot of the table after a summer of heavy investment that had many pundits and fans talking of a potential top ten finish for the Loftus Road side so many would argue that Fernandes was more than justified in his decision to relieve the Welshman of his duties so it wasn’t a statement born from necessity.
Here is what Fernandes actually said when speaking to QPR’s official website:
'Harry is a special manager. If he wasn't available, I would probably have persevered with Mark, but Harry is a fantastic manager. I've known him for years going back to when he was at West Ham. Harry being available swung it for us.'
So if this was the case why did he only move for Harry Redknapp when he did? Why not earlier? And why not wait a little while longer to appoint him?
Despite Fernandes talking of his friendship with Redknapp stemming back to the West Ham days it does look a lot like he was hooked in by one of the oldest tricks in the book. Rightly or wrongly Redknapp has earned a reputation as something of a wheeler dealer; using every means necessary to get the right signing in a very astute and clever way.
In this case it appears he wanted the QPR job. While on the face of it he was often coy; refusing to speak about the availability of the job while Hughes was on the QPR payroll there were other overtures that would have got Fernandes’s whiskers tweaking at the thought of losing his number one contender; the overture of Ukraine.
In hindsight you can begin to see just how ludicrous an idea it was.
Harry Redknapp managing in Ukraine? Really? The man who recently claimed he was practically illiterate in a court case over tax issues potentially learning a completely different language and taking in games from Kharkiv to Dniproprovetsk to assess his talent pool.
At the time Redknapp said of the job:
"It's a fantastic job… I am serious about it. They are an up and coming football country with some very good young players, some great teams like Shakhtar and some great stadiums. I will talk to them and see if we can sort something out. I'm definitely interested, without a doubt."
That was the 22nd November. Two days later on the 24th Harry was appointed the manager of Queens Park Rangers football club.
Tony Fernandes fell for the oldest trick in the book; not that QPR fans will be complaining. Redknapp has slowly started to better the results at Loftus Road and their first win of the season against Fulham propelled them above Reading and off the foot of the table.
If Redknapp can wheel and deal in the same way that got him the QPR job come January then expect to see QPR bringing in plenty of situational quality for a relegation dogfight.
Do you think Redknapp was ever serious about the Ukraine job?
image: © curiouslypersistent