The Sweeper: Is Managerial Instability at QPR Deliberate?

Big Story

The Flavio Briatore revolution continues at Loftus Road, and that door sure is revolving fast.  News emerged yesterday that Paul Hart has resigned as manager of Queen’s Park Rangers (reports here, here, here and here).  That would make him the sixth manager to depart in the two and a half years since Briatore has been club chairman (and that doesn’t include caretaker managers).  While most dailies haven’t speculated on why Hart left so soon after arriving, the Daily Mail posits Hart resigned over a disagreement with on-loan Moroccan midfielder, Adel Taarabt, while the Guardian cites a possible disagreement with the board over player transfers.

Both the Independent and the Telegraph have done short-managerial stint retrospectives to cash in on the schadenfreude of passers-by, but one could argue that QPR, currently tenth in the Championship and four points off a play-off spot for promotion to the Promised Land, have done well despite frequent changes in personnel.  One might even suspect Briatore likes it this way.  Certainly there was nothing about Hart’s appointment that felt long term.  Having been fired from financially-troubled Portsmouth at the bottom of the table, Hart was given a contract through to the end of this season, hardly the sort of pedigree of a long-term manager for a club with QPR’s stated aspirations.

While BBC blogger Paul Fletcher bemoans the continued instability at Loftus Road, his assumption, shared by others, that Steve Coppell or Alan Curbishley are “obvious candidates” to replace Hart seems increasingly naive.  With Briatore choosing to run QPR like a Serie B club, creating a hazardous environment for any would-be talented English football managers, money and the chance to lead a possible future London-based Premier League club likely won’t be enough to lure the sort of managers Hoops’ supporters expected after Briatore took over.

Worldwide Stories

  • The 2010 MLS SuperDraft went off without a hitch yesterday.  For a complete roster of all the weird new names you’re going to have to get to know (or not as the season goes on), click here. Also, increasingly-bearded Don Garber had some very interesting things to say about the MLS collective bargaining agreement in an interview with ESPN.  A must see for Garber interpreters.
  • Jozy Altidore says he will go to Haiti to help look for family members he has been unable to contact since last week’s devastating earthquake.
  • Preki and Thomas Dooley are going to be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
  • Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez continues to be “under-fire” without anyone actually promising anything concrete one way or another, except for owners vowing to give him the once-over at the end of the season.  In preparation for his end-of-May job evaluation, Benitez plans to flail about in January buying players.
  • When Saturday Comes looks at how England might follow MLS’ example and play games in the summer.
  • The Independent with a wrap-up of yesterday’s Africa Cup of Nations games and a look forward to the match of the day: Ivory Coast v. Ghana.

Richard Whittall writes A More Splendid Life. Tom Dunmore will return.

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