Harry Redknapp appears to have laid the blame for Queens Park Rangers' relegation from the Premier League at the feet of his "naïve" chairman and advisers.
Tony Fernandes, a West Ham fan, bought a majority stake in the club from Bernie Ecclestone in August 2011 and Redknapp, who is still employed by Fernandes at QPR, claims that the CEO of Air Asia was nice but "naïve".
This, Redknapp felt, had left him with a squad that was "poorly balanced, undisciplined and short of confidence" - that not even the mercurial talents of Jose Mourinho could have kept in the division.
The revelations do not stop there, however.
The former Tottenham manager goes on to tear into what he has described as the "most toxic dressing room in football" with players on "astronomical wages watched by crowds of 18,000 at Loftus Road."
Chief amongst his hit-list is Jose Bosingwa, who "wasn’t going to give his all", Redknapp writes in his new autobiography, which is being serialised in the Daily Mail.
As was well-documented at the time, Bosingwa - a Champions League winner with Chelsea in 2012 - refused to be a substitute against Fulham. Redknapp admits that while he has had problems with players before, Bosingwa’s actions were "disgraceful".
But that wasn't the worst of the Bosingwa debacle – that came when he fined him, with Harry revealing that his salary was "ridiculous".
That proved only to be the tip of the iceberg, however. Players he could rely on were jumping ship.
Ryan Nelson, a 35-year-old New Zealand international, was, according to Redknapp, his "best player", but he had had enough, telling Redknapp, "You've got no chance, not a prayer. This is the worst dressing room I've ever been in in my life. You haven’t got a hope with this lot. I don’t know how you solve it."
Everything stank, Redknapp continues, as he sets about a squad that he is still in charge of.
"The attitude stank. Attitude towards the game, attitude towards training. I can’t remember a worse one," he said.
The prevailing attitude in the dressing room was one of arrogance that had ingrained "a culture of decay" due to the owners constructing a squad that was "full of very average footballers earning more money than they deserved."
Players were reportedly late for training up to three out of five times a week but seemed not to care, while one unnamed player – which indicates that he may still be at the club – was at a casino at 4:30 am the morning of an important game against Manchester United that kicked off at 3pm.
When challenged, Redknapp continues, the player couldn’t remember the day that he was at the casino, prompting Redknapp to conclude that maybe "this idiot…was out both nights!"
Even Redknapp’s praise is disparaging. He writes that while Clint Hill, currently out on loan at Nottingham Forest, would run through a brick wall for QPR, he wasn’t the greatest player.
However, the attitude of players who would train all week, "then have a mystery injury and cry off the match on Saturday", would make a professional like Hill "disgusted", Redknapp concludes.
Such was Redknapp's own disgust, he could not hide it in public with his son, Jamie, having to intervene - telling his dad to stop having a go at the players.
The criticism of the club is not restricted to the players that he inherited, though. Having tried “to coax” his side along, he turned to the transfer market in January and, while Loic Remy was a comparative success ending the season as the club’s top scorer with six goals, Christopher Samba proved "to be a terrible disappointment and we sold him back to Russia."
Such was the level of stress, Redknapp thought that he may be about to bring on a heart attack or a stroke as it dawned on him that "there was too much wrong and I had overestimated my ability to affect that."
Despite all of the above, Redknapp remains in charge of QPR in the Championship having endured a "frustrating summer" that was spent trying to "remedy our problems, shifting certain players out, getting others with the right attitude in."
Interestingly, Redknapp makes limited comment on the attitude of the current squad only saying that "some of these players think they are better than this division but I’ve been down there and I know there are teams and players that will eat you alive if you are not fully committed."
Redknapp has not held back in his critique of what has been a difficult year but how they will be received by a club that he is still employed by very much remains to be seen. It could provide to further galvanise the squad that are sitting second in the Championship or break what appears a fragile truce.
Regardless, Redknapp's next appraisal with his "naïve" chairman should prove an interesting one.
- Sports & Recreation
- Harry Redknapp
- Jose Bosingwa