Warnock: Victim of Expectation

After taking Queens Park Rangers from the odyssey of mid table in the Championship to the Premiership in little over a year, many would have been forgiven for thinking Neil Warnock would be given time in the limelight of the Premier League. Think again.

Eight days into 2012 and Queens Park Rangers’ New Year’s resolution to supply stability to the club has faltered, axing Warnock from his managerial position. 

QPR currently lie in 17th position – admittedly not a spectacular stand point come January – but glancing at the three teams situated below them, there was no need for panic, and certainly no need for a dismissal. 

Whilst Blackburn and Venky’s chase the likes of Del Piero and Raul their Premier League status slides by the second, and with Wigan adding a FA Cup defeat to League Two Swindon to their poor record, relegation hardly seems a blasphemous word around Loftus Road. 

The summer additions with the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joey Barton mean that they boast several ‘big’ names over the fellow teams in the relegation battle, and with funds readily available – emphasised by the £5 million bid for Blackburn’s stalwart Chris Samba – things were only going to pick up for Rangers. 

There were not and there are not many missing parts to the jigsaw in QPR’s side, lacking just a goalscorer and solid defence, something easily soothed by the arrival of Samba and any one of the copious goal scorers to be found across football. 

Any manager who comes in (tipped to be Mark Hughes) will have the same problem to address as Warnock, finding a striker and capable defender, but will then be challenged with winning the support of a dressing room fully behind a man who had taken them to the ‘big time’ of the Premier League in Warnock. 

Whilst the action of sacking Neil Warnock is questionable the way in which owner Tony Fernandes has handled the situation is impeccable, not only justifying the flexing of his sacking muscles but also replying to the scores of QPR supporters left bewildered by the decision, all via the means of Twitter.

Although the sacking may be said to be down to their league position, it may be that Tony Fernandes disliked Warnock’s brash, old-school approach (after it had got his club to the Premier League), and instead wants to opt for a stylish suit-wearing manager to match the rejuvenated club of Queens Park Rangers, both on and off the pitch. 

Without expectation there is no pressure to succeed, but unrealistic expectation is delusional. the chances of QPR finding themselves in the relative calm of mid table come January was never likely, not with the quality of teams in the Premier League now, but the Rangers hierarchy seem to think differently.

Whatever the reasoning may be it is undoubtedly harsh on a man who excellently led his side to the Premier League, and if QPR are to go down (which I don’t believe is ever likely) then there is no better man than Warnock for negotiating the tricky waters of the Championship, Tony Fernandes should know that.

Alex O’Loughlin @AlexOLoughlin18      

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