A week on from Ian Holloway’s dismissal and Queens Park Rangers are yet to find his replacement. Steve McClaren remains the bookies favourite to take over at Loftus Road, but fans and former players have taken to social media to air their lust for a fresh, young manager, or as former QPR defender Paul Parker put it, the next ‘Terry Venables’.
I fear the inevitable appointment of Steve McClaren
It was in a BBC London Sport interview that Paul Parker said QPR now need an “up-and-coming, younger version of a Terry Venables”, and whilst a carbon copy of the man who qualified QPR for the 1985 UEFA Cup is wishful thinking, Parker does strike on an important matter.
‘Up-and-coming’ is the key word here. As the game continues to evolve, the days of tough-loving, cigarette-smoking, Adidas Samba-wearing football managers are long gone. Today’s manager is typified by a young, charismatic and insightful type – usually hailing from Germany and sporting glasses.
Holloway’s dismissal has split the fans. Many feel he should be leading ‘his’ team into next season, and that he actually did a good job given the circumstances at QPR, whilst others, myself included, feel he has long past his prime in football management, and that change is necessary. I do, however, fear the inevitable appointment of Steve McClaren, which is expected to be announced by the end of this week.
As the days pass, the rumors of McClaren heading to QPR continue to linger in my newsfeed like a bad odour. But circulating amongst this mist are talks of a potential outsider coming in to Loftus Road, the likes of Gareth Ainsworth being mentioned and called for by fans.
The former R’s midfielder made more than 140 appearances for the club between 2003 and 2010, and has managed them on a caretaker basis twice. His managerial repertoire has been made at Wycombe Wanderers, where he achieved promotion from League Two this season.
Also mentioned in the depths of social media is Darrell Clarke. The current Bristol Rovers manager is 40 years young and has just guided Bristol Rovers to a 13th place finish, after successive promotions at the club. An appointment such as this would go down a treat with QPR fans – a fresh manager with an already impressive CV.
Give me a glasses-wearing German
But neither Ainsworth nor Clarke are glasses-wearing Germans. The Championship has become a haven for managers from Europe to play their exciting style of football, with successes in David Wagner at Huddersfield and more recently Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves.
Appointing the unknown is always a risk, and it was rumored that QPR had a bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Under-23 coach, Jan Siewart, rejected. The 35-year-old German guided Dortmund’s second team to 4th in the Regionalliga West in his first season in charge. But this rumour is tenous and doesn’t seem likely to evolve more than it already has.
What to expect for QPR fans is anyone’s guess. Tony Fernandes is a man who has confidence in his own footballing knowledge, and this confidence can drip-down to fan level if he can inspire them with a bold appointment in the next week or so. The fact that McClaren was immediately said to be ‘in talks’ with QPR after Holloway’s departure, and that he still isn’t, maybe suggests that Fernandes has reacted to the (majority of) fans that think it would be a lacklustre, uninspiring appointment.
This summer is as important as any for QPR
Back in November 2016, Fernandes took a risk in appointing Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink, whom he gave money to spend. For a brief period of time, this looked to be a clever move. But the Dutchman’s charm quickly faded, and he was soon gone. After that, Fernandes opted for Ian Holloway, a safe pair of hands who knows the club, despite strong rumours of then Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett being interested in the vacant job.
This summer is as important as any for QPR. Whoever it is that comes into the club, they will be tasked with further developing a team that Holloway has left. There is Premier League quality at QPR, for sure, and a whole host of fresh talent that just needs to be directed, and looked after properly. But to do this we need a manager that is on their level. This should be someone who is in touch with the modern game and has their whole career ahead of them – not another Ian Holloway.