Harry Redknapp arrived at Queens Park Rangers in November billed as the man to save them.
At the time, the R’s were struggling at the bottom of the Premier League without a win in their first dozen games, and Redknapp signed a two-and-a-half year deal at Loftus Road with one immediate objective – to keep the Londoners in the top flight.
It was deemed by many as an astute appointment from Rangers’ chairman Tony Fernandes; after all, Redknapp had led Tottenham Hotspur to the Champions League in 2010 and was on the brink of the England job before Spurs chairman Daniel Levy decided to ask to for an inflated compensation package for the services of his team’s manager.
The former Southampton and Portsmouth boss claimed the chance to manage a club propping up the Premier League was “too good an opportunity to turn down”.
Just a few weeks into the job, Redknapp announced that it was time to dispense with the players who were only at Loftus Road for wages that were being given. Having seen the club’s fans and owner being taken for a ride by cash-grabbing mercenaries, Redknapp decided it would be him who would put a stop to such behaviour.
“I don’t really want to see the owners have their pants taken down like they have in the past. A lot of agents made money out of them,” declared Redknapp just before Christmas.
“I fined a player last week (Jose Bosingwa) and he was earning more than any player earned at Tottenham. You shouldn’t be paying massive wages when you’ve got a stadium that holds 18,000 people.”
The stance was admirable; Redknapp was riding in on his white horse to save the despairing QPR from a bunch of chancers and charlatans – except, Redknapp is doing the exact same as the players who his ire was aimed at.
Redknapp took over in November with the club in 20th position in the Premier League, four months on the club is still in the same position, only after spending £20m in the January transfer window.
Former Blackburn Rovers defender Christopher Samba moved from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for £12m and French striker Loic Remy was brought in for £8m from Marseille, in an attempt to stave off the threat of relegation.
Despite being in the job just under two months, Redknapp had smashed the club’s transfer record – twice.
Make no mistake, for a club at the bottom end of the league to spend such a sum in the winter transfer window is unprecedented. So far, the transfers have done little to help the cause and if QPR are demoted to the Championship in May, then the carefree nature of January’s spending could haunt the club for years.
Of course, Redknapp has previous for this spendthrift attitude to transfer dealings. He led Portsmouth to the 2008 FA Cup with a squad that contained many of his signings; players such as Peter Crouch, Glen Johnson, Sulley Muntari and Sylvain Distin.
Three are still performing admirably on a weekly basis in the Premier League, whilst Muntari currently plies his trade in Italy for AC Milan. Five years on Pompey sit rock bottom of League One, plagued by financial trouble stemming from their indulgent attitude of the last few years.
When discussing the fine given to Bosingwa after his refusal to be among the substitutes in a game against Fulham, Redknapp said:
“[Bosingwa] has been fined two weeks’ wages, £130,000. Not too bad for two weeks – decent isn’t it.”
Musing on the amount of money to be earned at Loftus Road is perhaps what he meant when he claimed that the opportunity was “too good to turn down” on his arrival at the club.