Rafa Benitez Really Is Tonight’s Hot Topic!

Being the only team in England this season without a win to their name is not a tag that will warm the hearts of any QPR fan. The tone and manner of their capitulation to fellow strugglers Southampton on Saturday will give grave cause for concern to their loyal band of followers, and perhaps provide the catalyst to spark a flurry of activity on this years managerial merry-go-round.

Tony Fernandes et al have so far shown a great deal of patience and loyalty towards Mark Hughes and his fellow Taffia cohorts. But could their relatively short incumbency be reaching its almost inevitable nadir?

As anybody with a passing interest could testify, the modern game demands results with a sometimes unforgiving immediacy that is rarely seen in any other area of life. The current league table, although on occasion might be economical with the truth, very rarely does it tell a bare faced lie, and so the predicament that QPR find themselves in, is not one that can or will be tolerated for much longer. Nobody will be more aware of that than Mark Hughes himself.

So what of the possible options going forward? The ‘Harry Come And Save Us’ banner held aloft by a section of fans on Saturday was a clear indication of how they believe the situation would be best resolved. And who could blame them? Redknapp’s record speaks for itself. He is arguably the best motivator and man manager in the game. He also has experience of completely reversing the fortunes of a side that looked destined for The Championship.

Admittedly the circumstances when he took over at Spurs were slightly contrasting to QPR’s current plight, and the pool of talent available for selection would by far eclipse that of the current QPR squad, but nevertheless the turnaround was some achievement and should be recognised as such.

The only potential spanner available to this theory of works, is that for me, along with Pep Guardiola,Harry is possibly the best manager in Europe currently without employment and twiddling his thumbs. The question has to be asked though ‘Why would Harry want the job at QPR?’ ‘Would he not be better off waiting for a more glamorous opportunity to present itself?’ The strongest case against such an argument, I believe, is simply that Harry has a genuine desire and passion to be involved in football, and as a result would probably consider any opportunity that might offer a speedy route back in to the game.

Recent reports in Italy are suggesting that there may well be another alternative to Redknapp in the shape of former Anfield supremo Rafael Benitez. Having been out of work since parting company with Inter Milan in 2010, Rafa is very keen to get back in to the managerial saddle and has been posturing to engineer a move back to The Premiership for some considerable time. Whether he is a natural fit for a club like QPR I am not so sure.

There is a world of difference between vying for supremacy at the top of the table and being involved in a relegation dogfight. On this basis I believe Rafa would amount to nothing more than an extravagant punt should he be given the job.

As for Rafa himself, unquestionably he would snatch the hand from Mr Fernandes. Despite never winning the league with Liverpool, his time there can only be categorised as a period of success, and a period that will have contributed massively to his desire for a return to The Premier League. Whilst admittedly not suffering from Repetetive Strain Syndrome as a result of all the incoming offers he has had to bat away, the securing of his services would still represent a major coup for a club like QPR.

It’s very difficult to feel anything other than sorry for Mark Hughes in all of this. One could argue that he has been terribly let down by the performances(or lack of) from his players in recent weeks. It seems second nature to find fault in the manager when things start to go wrong, but surely the current crop of Rangers players must shoulder a great responsibility should the head of Hughes end up on the chopping block.

Rangers next game will see them take on current Premiership runners up Manchester United. Whether this fixture is to herald the start of a Loftus Road Renaissance or condemn Mr Hughes and Co to hang in an already well stocked gallery of QPR Pre-Rafaelites we will just have to wait and see.

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