The Football League has this week sensationally made strides to show that it can match the Premiership in every possible way. Unfortunately this demonstration has not manifested itself in a manner which would be seen as favourable for the lower leagues. Incredibly, only a few days after the alleged altercation between Stoke’s James Beattie and manager Tony Pulis, a similar incident has occurred at Championship level. Following QPR’s defeat at Watford on Monday, Rangers boss Jim Magilton has been suspended by the club, pending an internal investigation.
Altercations between managers and their players are not as rare as we may think in the modern game, but to have two similar incidents within a matter of days is certainly noteworthy. Early suggestions- regarding the aftermath- of the Stoke incident were that Beattie would not play for the club again and although his future remains unclear it appears the Potters are keen to put the incident to bed swiftly. The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) even offered to step in to mediate talks between the two parties, but the offer was politely declined.
The situation at Loftus Road is a somewhat different affair however. Following the bust-up between Magilton and Hungarian international Akos Buzsaky – it has been reported that many of the players have sided with their colleague – hence it is Magilton who has been suspended. Something was evidently afoot at Vicarage Road following the final whistle, as Buzsaky was seen still in his kit waiting by the pitch, while his team mates received a dressing down from the gaffer. The result of this incident is that once again, QPR appear to be falling short of the potential that they have. Considered one of the richest clubs in the world due to their owners, Rangers have been tipped by many to make an overdue return to the Premier League but have yet to make that final leap. There is a wealth of talent at the disposal of the manager but perhaps there have been too many of these in cases the last few years.
Magilton is the fourth man to hold the Loftus Road hot-seat since the arrival of Flavio Briatore. Clearly there is a lack of continuity and consistency in West London. Players perform better when they know that there club is in good hands. Obvious examples would be Manchester United and Arsenal. Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have held their positions for far too many seasons to recall and just look how the clubs have developed. Of course they have had disappointing campaigns in that time but the bosses have kept their jobs and the clubs have bounced back.
Continuity is one thing, but a lack thereof goes no way to explaining the immediate situation at Rangers. Magilton has been suspended by the club pending their own investigation with which, the former Ipswich boss has said he will co-operate fully. Further to the manager’s suspension, reserve team bosses John Gorman and Keith Ryan have opted not to work while the investigation is carried out. Marc Bircham and Steve Gallen will take charge of first team affairs. Buzsaky meanwhile, contrary to reports, has not handed in a transfer request – instead insisting that he is concentrating on the club’s next fixture.
The alleged incident could not have come at a worse time, as Rangers find themselves deep into a run of poor form. Having shown much early promise this season, the club have picked up just one victory in their last seven matches, resulting in a slide to 12th in the table. Of course, there is plenty of football to be played this season and there is no reason why this unsavoury incident has to spell the end of the club’s campaign. What is unfortunate for the supporters however, is that with Rangers’ recent record of hiring and firing managers, it would not at all come as a surprise if Magilton has taken charge of the first team for the final time. As already alluded to, QPR are a side with the potential to reach the Premier League sooner rather than later. Less than two decades ago, they finished as the highest placed London side, above the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea, a stat that will show you just how far they have fallen in recent years. With this in mind, it is imperative that all quarters of the club are working in the same direction if the club are to fulfil their potential and meet their goal. Rangers’ fans will want a manager in the dugout soon, working in harmony with the playing staff. Whether this will be Magilton again remains to be seen.