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Hats in the ring for Briatore's circus? Don't bother

PUBLISHED: 12:25 29 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:23 24 August 2010

 Caretaker manager of Queens Park Rangers Gareth Ainsworth talks to Flavio Briatore
Coca Cola Championship
Reading v Queens Park Rangers
Credit: Matt Bright

Caretaker manager of Queens Park Rangers Gareth Ainsworth talks to Flavio Briatore Coca Cola Championship Reading v Queens Park Rangers Credit: Matt Bright

Comment by Ben Kosky DURING the last few days, several people have asked me who I thought would be the next man in charge of QPR. Terry Venables or maybe Sam Allardyce, former World Cup stars Zinedine Zidane or Roberto Mancini, or perhaps the incumbent Ga

Comment by Ben Kosky

DURING the last few days, several people have asked me who I thought would be the next man in charge of QPR.

Terry Venables or maybe Sam Allardyce, former World Cup stars Zinedine Zidane or Roberto Mancini, or perhaps the incumbent Gareth Ainsworth, whose chances must have been boosted by the win over Birmingham?

My answer may have surprised them - the truth is, I replied, it doesn't matter one little bit.

As the brief reign of Iain Dowie demonstrated, the title of manager, coach or whatever the QPR board choose to call it, is now completely irrelevant. All they are seeking is someone to lead training sessions each day.

For every Rangers supporter, the real issue surrounding Dowie's sacking should be not whether you wanted him to stay or go, or to be appointed coach in the first place.

It's whether you consider it acceptable for one man with tinted shades, a colossal ego and little understanding of football to wreak havoc with the club you have loyally followed for years.

Flavio Briatore has hidden under the cloak of 'ambition' ever since he first swaggered into Loftus Road with promises of a boutique club, global brand... oh yes, and Champions League football.

It's hard to think of any struggling Championship club that has ever come close to realising those dreams by changing the bulk of its playing squad every season and its manager or coach every few months.

What exactly does Briatore expect of his coaches? Luigi de Canio was given six months in charge, during which he hauled Rangers from the relegation zone to mid-table and produced some attractive football along the way.

But, let's be clear, whatever nonsense was spouted at the time about communication difficulties and homesickness, De Canio was sacked because Briatore felt not enough progress had been made.

Ninth place in the Championship - a position Rangers have NEVER bettered since they dropped out of the Premier League 13 years ago - and reaching the last 16 of a major cup competition might seem reasonable progress to a reasonable owner.

Especially when you consider Briatore, along with sporting director Gianni Paladini, had foisted unwanted additions to the squad on their coach instead of funding the signing of the proven goalscorer QPR have long been crying out for.

While fully aware of that situation when he arrived, Dowie had been led to understand that team selection would be, as he put it, the 'holy grail' - and, when that proved not to be the case, his position became untenable.

So the question has to be asked: who in his right mind would want to manage/coach QPR right now?

Who could accept having his line-up and tactics dictated by the interference of an owner with no football background - not even an ex-pro turned director of football - yet still being held culpable for poor results?

There are only two options open to Briatore. Either find someone with no management experience, so grateful for a job that he will do it under any circumstances... or, swap the expensive jacket and designer jeans for a tracksuit and do it himself.

It isn't without precedent. Ron Noades appointed himself manager just down the road at Brentford and Michael Knighton - a man whose grip on footballing reality was about as tenuous as Briatore's is - did it at Carlisle.

Kevin Keegan would be a perfect appointment. He has already managed a soccer circus - and that is what QPR have become under Briatore.

So out of touch with ordinary football supporters that he thinks £50 is a fair price to watch Derby County play and so out of touch with the game that he thinks promotion automatically follows from giving the stadium a lick of paint and bringing in West End caterers.

When the new man is appointed, he will no doubt be expected to spout bland rubbish about ambition and expectation.... and do little more than put out the cones at Harlington each morning.


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