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Mark Hughes has found plenty to be frustrated about at QPR.
It’s not a good start to your contract when the chief executive of the football club sits next to you at your inaugural press conference and infers your job is under threat should the team be relegated.
That’s exactly what happened to Mark Hughes in January. When asked about the managerial situation if relegation became a reality, Philip Beard offered a less-than-ringing endorsement of the new manager:
I look at business plans all the time and contingency plans. I hope what we've done over the last couple of days means that I don't have to get those numbers out. But I'd be crazy to say that I haven't even thought about what we'd be doing if we didn't stay in the Premier League (via The Guardian).
As we know, Hughes was successful in his bid to keep QPR in the top flight—barely. The team avoided relegation by one point on the last day of the season, despite losing to Manchester City in the incredible match that saw City clinch the league title in injury time.
Hughes’ job was safe, but his team’s results this year won’t have eased his mind as the season began. Draws with Chelsea and Norwich have been the high points so far, despite a good performance in the defeat to Tottenham.
The difference between QPR and, say, Norwich—who currently sit one point above them—is that the Loftus Road team can afford to sack their manager and Norwich can’t. The pressure on Chris Hughton to emulate Lambert’s success is there, certainly, but his job isn’t in jeopardy should he fail.
QPR have the money of Lakshmi Mittal to spend and have definitely not been shy in doing so. The additions of Park Ji-Sung, José Bosingwa, Robert Green, Junior Hoilett, Andrew Johnson and Ryan Nelsen showed that the club is betting a lot of money on short-term success.
That sort of lineup cannot be maintained, especially as the club’s status is still somewhat small.
The turnover has to be in indirect proportion to the wage bill, and relegation would deprive them of the financial benefits that Premier League status provides. It's not a viable strategy in any sense.
Hughes would be one of the first to go, with any new manager tasked with thinning out the squad and getting results in a tough Championship.
If anything, that’s an even worse proposition.