Football is a funny old business. You can be top of the league, going great guns and looking real promotion contenders and then Flavio Briatore gets involved. Neil Warnock has come in to Queens Park Rangers and changed things. They have a steel about them, motivation and a drive for success. Added to this they have some very promising players – just look at the performances of Adel Taarrabt – and the club have played very good football under Warnock. So why on earth would Flavio Briattore come out and suggest that if QPR reach the Premiership he will appoint his friend, Marcello Lippi as manger?
Does the circus continue at Loftus Road or can these comments be nipped in the bud as quickly as they were spoke. Queens Park Rangers have issued a statement saying ‘we have no intention of appointing Marcello Lippi as manager’ but you feel that is not quite the end of it. Neil Warnock will not walk away after hearing these comments but it must ring alarm bells for him. It isn’t a secret that Briatore wants the best at his club – he has been through over ten managers in three years and demands success.
The question is will Warnock hang around and wait to be replaced should he gain the club promotion to the Premiership. The likely hood is that he will be fired if they aren’t promoted (after the start they have had) and now it seems he could be surplus to requirements even if they do. Its a situation Warnock must think long and hard about, and receive every reassurance that this is not a possibility. The problem is Briatore is no stranger to making such rash decisions in the sporting world, QPR have almost become a laughing stock and it wouldn’t surprise most if it happened.
The character of the man, and who he befriends is a worry in this situation. In his Kinghtsbridge office – he has no pictures of Queens Park Rangers or Neil Warnock, but pictures of himself with the likes of Francessco Totti, Ginaluca Zambrotta and Marcello Lippi. There is no doubt that ultimately he wants QPR to attract these types of personnel. The fear for many fans must be that once they are in the Premiership, he will use that leverage to oust an unfashionable manager in Warnock and replace him with Marcello Lippi.
This is just speculation of course. QPR haven’t gained promotion and are a long way from doing so. Neil Warnock has done a terrific job so far as manager, and would be heart broken if he didn’t get another shot at the Premiership. Ex Crystal Palace Chairman, Simon Jordan spoke of Neil Warnock last week. He described him as a ‘great Championship manager.’ Whether this was meant to sound as derogatory as it sounded, only Jordan will know. However does he speak what others feel? Is this the reason a Premiership club have not taken a gamble on Warnock? More worryingly, do comments like these make Britaorre think – long term does he want a more fashionable manager?
Can Neil Warnock continue doing well at QPR only to be shown the door once he has achieved the desired success. Without a doubt he will continue to lead QPR to success in the Championship for as long as his job is safe. Such speculation will not affect him, he has been through it before and will no doubt go through it again. Warnock needs to seek strong reassurances over his long term future at the club – a new contact could put these rumours to bed.
It would be humiliating for Neil Warnock if this was to happen. Warnock’s dream is the same as Briatore’s – to get the club to the Premiership. The two men, so different in character actually suit one another and for the sake of the QPR fans, Flavio Briatore needs to remember he has a very talented manager – a manger that deserves another crack at the Premiership. Of course, he must get them there first.
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