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Dugout Blues: Hasselbaink out at QPR, Petrescu gets a new gig

Yet another former Chelsea player turned manager has been fired. That makes five this season! It’s not all bad news, though. A man who was been let go twice this year, Dan Petrescu, has been hired yet again.

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Queens Park Rangers v Brentford - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images


The hot seat under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink finally ignited on Saturday as the former Chelsea striker received his walking papers from Queens Park Rangers. Hasselbaink had only been at Loftus Road for 11 months, after the Hoops’ board poached him from plucky League One side Burton Albion (who were promoted shortly after).

Hasselbaink’s reign at QPR saw the team finish a respectable 12th in the league table last season (after a disastrous start under Chris Ramsey), but this year his team has been mediocre at best. His side have floundered at mid-table and suffered a number of high-profile and embarrassing losses (notably a 6-0 drubbing at home to Newcastle United). In addition to earning poor results on the field, Hasselbaink found himself mired in a scandal over third party player ownership and potential bungs. He was shot on undercover video by The Telegraph in the same round of stings which cost then England manager Sam Allardyce his job.

QPR did state that they had conducted an internal review of Hasselbaink’s actions and that they had cleared their then manager of any wrongdoing. QPR Director of Football Les Ferdinand had also given Hasselbaink two votes of confidence... so you really knew he was in trouble.

Hasselbaink’s stats with QPR make for uncomfortable reading. In 47 games, QPR only won 13 times. They drew 19 times and lost 15. Hasselbaink’s last game at the helm of QPR was a disappointing 1-1 draw away at Nottingham Forest on November 5th. Prior to that QPR lost 2-0 at home to Brentford. Currently QPR sit 17th in the league. Tim Sherwood is the current front-runner for the next manager.

While his tenure at QPR has damaged his managerial reputation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hasselbaink make a return to the Championship in the near future. After all, his record at Burton Albion (with whom he had a win ratio of over a 60%) was stellar and his work at QPR was hindered by very limited funds and a traditionally difficult board of executives. The Telegraph ‘scandal’ is also unlikely to leave lasting damage — after all, Sam Allardyce himself just turned down a vacancy at Wolves.


Dan Petrescu

Dan Petrescu is back in the game! The former Chelsea right-back and manager of more teams than I feel like listing was hired by Al Nasr of the UAE Arabian Gulf League. The Dubai based club made the announcement on October 29th according to Sports360. This is the second time Petrescu has taken a post in the Middle East. In 2014 he managed Qatar’s Al-Arabi (who fired Gianfranco Zola earlier this year).

Petrescu had only been out of a job for 25 days after leaving Russian side Kuban Krasnodar by ‘mutual consent’. Petrescu was expected to lead Kuban back to the Russian premier, from which they were just relegated, but instead he struggled to get them above mid-table. Earlier this year Petrescu was managing China’s Jiangsu Suning (where Ramires now plays) before being let go.

Petrescu’s first game in charge went great. Al Nasr bashed Dibba Al Fujairah 4-0 at home. The win saw the team rise to 8th in the 14 team league after just six games played. Al Nasr finished 4th last season, just missing out at a shot to play in the AFC Champions League.

There’s a good chance Gus Poyet will be fired by the time I finish typing this sentence. On November 6th his Real Betis lost 2-0 to Villareal away. That loss kept Betis stuck at 14th in La Liga. In their previous game, on October 30th, they lost 1-0 to Espanyol at home. Having only 3 wins out of 11 games this year, and conceding a combined 12 goals against Real Madrid and Barcelona so far, means that it will be a victory for Poyet to make it out of November still with a job. (Ed.note: and he’s hardly played the super-talented Charly Musonda...)

Back in England, it doesn’t look like Slavisa Jokanovic will be fired by Fulham for a while. He had a very good two weeks in the Championship. On November 4th the Cottagers beat Brentford 2-0 away and on October 29th they bested 3rd place Huddersfield 5-0 at home. The wins took Fulham up to 8th place, striking distance (3 points) from the play-off positions.

In Scotland, David Hopkin is well placed in the promotion chase as his Livingston United side took first place in League One thanks to his side’s third league win in a row. On November 5th they beat a 9-man East Fife side 3-1 at home. Before that they smashed then league-leaders Brechin 3-0 away. On November 1st Livingston beat Crusaders 3-0 in Northern Ireland to progress to the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup, where they’ll face the Welsh side formerly known as Total Network Solutions (The New Saints F.C.).

There was no international play for Didier Deschamps’ France or Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine, so all that’s left are England’s lower leagues.

In the Vanarama Conference North Nuneaton Town and Kevin Wilson are still struggling mightily. Nuneaton were promotion challengers last year, this season though, they’re wallowing in 18th place. On November 5th they slumped 1-0 away at Chorley. On October 29th they were held 2-2 at home versus Boston.

One league below, in the Southern Premier League, Ritchie Hanlon and Paul Hughes decided to walk away from their roles as joint-managers of Kings Langley. According to the Watford Observer, the duo left due to difficulties working with an “impossible” budget. The pair had managed the Kings for four years, seeing them promoted in all but their last full season.

Down in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Micky Hazard and Hadley have slipped to 18th place following losses to Hertford Town (2-1), Sawbridgeworth Town (2-1) and Leverstock Green (8-1).


As more managers leave this feature, maybe familiar face will return? Gianfranco Zola is apparently in demand. Sky Sports News has reported that Zola has held talks with Inter Milan (who have just sacked Frank de Boer). Nottingham Forest are also suitors for the Chelsea icon, according to The Nottingham Post. Zola was considered for the Forest job earlier this year, before the team hired Philippe Montanier. According to the same report Pierluigi Casiraghi - Zola’s usual assistant manager - is also being considered for Montanier’s job, should the Frenchman be fired.


Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is gone from this feature (for not too long hopefully), but he will not be forgotten. Not because of his fumblings with QPR, but for the mastery he put on in a different section of West London. Here’s an idea, spend fifteen minutes and twenty-five seconds of your life watching each of the 87 goals JFH banged in for Chelsea between 2000 and 2004, courtesy of YouTuber Just the Goals.

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