So Neil Warnock is back in charge of QPR. Around three years after leaving Loftus Road for the first time (amid a fair amount of controversy, it must be said), the Yorkshireman is set to take charge of the Hoops once again.
To be honest, this has looked fairly inevitable ever since Warnock arrived, originally as a consultant to outgoing Chris Ramsey in the early autumn, after being encouraged to return from Tony Fernandes. Many Rangers fans will be pleased with the change, believing that Warnock is the type of experienced head that can steer the West London side up the league and into the promotion picture.
However, I personally disagree, and believe that this is a step backwards from Fernandes and the QPR hierarchy. Warnock is an extremely divisive figure who will not necessarily restore the calm and order that QPR need, and it should be added that his recent managerial appointments since his Loftus Road sojourn have not exactly gone according to plan.
Warnock took over for the first time in March 2010 and in his first full season instigated a brilliant turnaround from QPR, who won the Championship title thanks in no small part to mercurial genius Adel Taarabt. At this point his squad looked good, with experience alongside quality alongside youth. In short, Warnock looked to have all the boxes ticked. However, it was in the summer of 2011 that their troubles first started, with Warnock not able to sign the players he originally wanted, and the first signs of financial trouble at the club emerging.
The following few months did not go well at all for either Warnock or his team. QPR initially started reasonably well in the Premier League, but soon sank to a position that reflected his sides abilities and performances, and found themselves entering 2012 in 17th position.
This was too close to the relegation zone for Fernandes, and Warnock soon found himself heading out of Loftus Road, unhappy with the circumstances but perhaps accepting that the ends (QPR stayed up on the final day of the season) justified the means.
His time in charge of Leeds was also, to say the least, eventful. During his year at Elland Road he had to deal with plenty of off-field upheaval, as well as a fairly mediocre squad and unrest amongst the fanbase. Mid-table finishes were realistically as much as most managers could have done with Yorkshire’s sleeping giants, but was still not enough to save him from the axe in the spring of 2013. Then followed a long stretch out of the game, and many would have assumed that Warnock’s time at the highest level of management was finished. How wrong they were.
He reappeared at Crystal Palace in summer 2014, after Tony Pulis suddenly left on the verge of the new campaign. His time there was generally unhappy and fairly unsuccessful, with the fans not particularly taking to him. They had slipped perilously close to the relegation zone by the time he was unceremoniously shown the door in January, when Alan Pardew took over and seemed to immediately revive spirits, both on the terraces and in the dressing room.
In short then, I believe that Warnock is a regressive appointment for QPR to make. He has at several points over the last few years expressed his intention to retire at the end of whatever job he was in possession of at that time, and yet still he seems to spring up again at the slightest opportunity.
I cannot see that he has that much left to offer Rangers, and going back to a man they got rid of four years ago just makes it seem like Rangers are going backward. Maybe Warnock will be successful, and silence those critics.
If he does so, I will be amongst the most surprised of all.