Rumours of Mark Hughes’s demise at QPR have been exaggerated. So are accusations that Lord McAlpine is to take over. Tony Fernandes’s votes of confidence are anything but confident, and QPR have made the worst Premier League start to a season since 1995.
This is dismal stuff and it’s not like the R’s came up, as have so many recently, with a workmanlike bunch of triers who might graft out a couple of results and hang on to the precipice. No sooner are they up but Sparky starts splashing around the cash like Donald Trump at a Tea Party convention.
You look at his acquisitions and apart from the shit-off-a-shovel pace of Junior Hoillet, he’s bought nowt. Jose Bosingwa has all the defensive abilities of a spineless hedgehog. Ryan Nelsen is a worthy but weary veteran. There are ten others who are barely worth a mention but who all suggest that the Loftus Road Chief Scout is not so much Akela but a lowly ranked seconder who wouldn’t know a necker from a woggle.
Players who have worked with Hughes insist he is a top manager. I don’t see it meself. Since he left a relatively successful stint with Wales his only marginal successes have been with Blackburn Rovers – and they were what commentators euphemistically call ‘a physical side’ (they kicked fucking lumps out of you).
The sacking at Man City seems to have indelibly hacked a chip in Sparky’s shoulder and he’s not exactly renowned for his loyalty. Then again he is represented by Kia Joorabchian, an agent for change, as it were. It’s unlikely that Kia would be encouraging a graceful exit when there’s more cash to be made from a sacking. That’s if Rafa Benitez’s benchmark millions from his departures from Liverpool and Inter are anything to go by.
Of course Benitez’s bank manager is supposedly warming his hands on some Russian gas-fired millions this morning after the announcement of Roberto di Matteo’s excision. Ironic that a lucky one-off Champs League winner might replace the other.
It must be a special kind of hell working for Roman Abramovich.
“Secretary! There is minor spelling mistake in email to ex-Missus! You are fired!” “Groundsman! Why this blade of grass 2mm longer than rest of blades? Are you try to make us lose? You are fired!” It must be hard for Roman to look himself in the mirror and not say “Nine managers in nine years. You are shit owner with no faith in own decisions. You are fired!”
Then again, they all sound a bit logical to me. There’s every chance that Roman will hire Benitez and sack him later in the afternoon so that he can say he is “first man ever to sack two Champs League winners in same day!”
So Chelsea have been a bit ropy recently. It’s no coincidence when Lampard, Terry and Drogba haven’t been around. For the first dozen matches, the likes of Hazard, Oscar and Mata were marvellous, and if Roberto can’t fathom out what’s happened to the errant Torres then he’s not the first, is he?
Torres continues to spurn easy opportunities like an anorexic at an all-you-can-eat buffet and it’s no surprise that Di Matteo left him out at Juve. Villas-Boas’ appointment last year seemed to point to the end of an ageing generation of mighty servants of the club, only the ageing generation weren’t having it. Now, when Di Matteo has no choice but to play the new breeds, Abramovich chucks him into the queue outside Loftus Road like he’s a trampled copy of Metro. The decision-making at the club has, for a long time now, been based on the owner playing ‘eeni-meeni-miney-mo’. (But let’s not extend that playground rhyme as Chelsea have had quite enough of that sort of thing in the past year or so.)
The spectre hanging over all of this is one Pep Guardiola. Never has a one-year career break been so lasciviously analysed. Even then, you’d think an interim manager for six months would be a pretty potty idea. John Terry as player manager has been floated which isn’t as daft as it sounds given that he already thinks that’s what he is.
Anyway would Guardiola be given the time to nurture a side into something that might mirror Barca? Would Pep pop over to pip others for the signature of, say, a Messi? Preposterous, maybe, but then there is nothing about Abramovich that fits into the normal scheme of things.
In the meantime, interim suggestions include: Sven-Goran Eriksson (lock up your daughters); Benitez (lock up your Rioja); Rijkaard (dreadlock up your Dutchman); Avram Grant (Return of the Dead-Eye); Harry Redknapp (quids in and it keeps his S); Mitt ‘g’is a job’ Romney; Danny Baker (he’d take ‘em down quicker than a whore’s knickers); and my mate Tony Thompson who reckons it takes the intelligence of one of them elephant’s that can do a painting to run that club.
“All you need is a marigold glove and enough KY to grease it and Roman’ll do the rest” he says. It’s not a nice image, but I think he’s right.