QUEENS Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes has confirmed that manager Harry Redknapp will remain in charge despite the club’s relegation and has promised him the final say on which players are sold this summer.
Redknapp has previously stated his desire to stay at Loftus Road, having only taken charge in November, but admitted this month that he would understand if QPR chiefs thought him too expensive to retain.
Rangers, who are around £100m in debt, last season saw their wage bill double to £56m – around 90 per cent of turnover – and have since recruited more than a dozen further players, many on vast salaries.
Their exit from the Premier League, confirmed by Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Reading, is set to cost QPR around £50m in reduced income, increasing doubts over which figures the club can afford to keep.
But Fernandes yesterday eased concerns that Redknapp might be sacrificed and, following a board meeting, insisted the 66-year-old had never thought seriously about walking away from the west Londoners.
“I have had a positive meeting with Harry. I don’t think there was any point where he was thinking of not being with us and continuing this project he has embarked upon with a third of the season through,” he said. “Harry is a football man and he knows what he wants in terms of players. We had a good discussion with [the board] on the kind of players we want next season.”
Redknapp admitted on Sunday that he feared it would be difficult to offload big-earning flops, but AirAsia chief executive Fernandes insisted the manager would not be asked to balance the books by selling players he valued.
“Harry will not be forced to sell any players he wants to keep,” he added. “We had a very good discussion on this. There are some players we really want to keep and we will do our best to keep them. I think we will.”
Redknapp took charge with the club bottom of the top flight, having taken four points from 13 games, but proved unable to revive their fortunes sufficiently and saw relegation confirmed with three fixtures to spare.
“We’re all very sorry with the way this season has ended. It’s been a disaster really, a really disappointing season for everyone – the owners, the staff, the fans,” he said. “We’re going to give it a real good go next season though and hopefully get this club back to where it belongs.”