RELEGATION might not be until May, but the fate of many a Queens Park Rangers player will be decided much sooner, as Harry Redknapp weighs up which men he can rely on to drag them off the foot of the Premier League.
Redknapp knows exactly the type of character he likes, and come January it will obvious to all which Hoops stars fit his criteria, because those who don’t will soon be shipped out on loan or sold.
QPR were right to act when they did and replace Mark Hughes with Harry, because it gives the new manager a handful of games before the New Year to assess his team and prepare for the transfer window.
Hughes could not axe those failing players since he brought most of them in – it would have been a damning indictment of his own judgement. It’s far easier for Redknapp to be ruthless.
Clearly they are light in attack, while they are very shaky in defence. I don’t see Anton Ferdinand or Armand Traore as good enough, so at least two of the back four need replacing.
If I was a betting man I’d back Redknapp to keep Rangers in the top flight, despite their dreadful start. What QPR need more than anything is a good man-manager, and he’s the best in the business.
I think clubs will support the idea of scrapping the Europa League and expanding the Champions League to 64 teams since European chiefs must have calculated it will bring in more cash. The Europa League does not excite the public and no-one remembers who the winners were, although enlarging the Champions League presents its own problems.
Scrapping Thursday night games – a feature of the Europa League that clubs hate, because it leaves little time to prepare for weekend fixtures – would make teams happy but may not be possible with 64 clubs in the main competition.
The name Champions League might also need to be reconsidered. It’s bad enough with the top three or four teams from each country qualifying, but the top seven would make a mockery of the title.
Eventually I expect we will see a full-time European super league, although there are too many obstacles in place at the moment and I have my reservations.
The Premier League’s popularity depends on its many local rivalries; it’s why fans care about and go to games. Liverpool not playing Everton every season, for instance, would wreak huge damage on our football heritage.
Trevor Steven is a former England footballer who now works as a scout and media commentator.