- Happy Birthday to Ex-QPR Long-Serving Club Secretary, Sheila Marson
- Mirror - Shock QPR revelations: Club decline to comment as Harry's stars lift lid on astonishing Dubai booze bender
DUBAI "DEBAUCHERY" DENIED AND DENOUNCED! The Observer - Jacob Steinberg
QPR's Harry Redknapp rails at 'disruptive' agent over Dubai 'no-story'
• QPR manager dismisses reports of drinking and ill-discipline
• Harry Redknapp praises team and says agent fabricated story
Harry Redknapp furiously hit out at individuals who he claimed are trying to "disrupt" Queens Park Rangers after his side's 2-1 victory at Southampton and rubbished reports in Saturday's papers that a recent trip to Dubai had been marred by ill-discipline and drinking. A visibly angry Redknapp insisted that the story was untrue and had been fabricated by an agent looking to spread mischief.
Despite three unnamed QPR players being quoted in the report, Redknapp said that he knew who was really responsible for the story and that it had a unifying effect on his squad before the game at St Mary's. Back at his old club for the first time since leaving Southampton to join Portsmouth in 2005, Redknapp saw QPR win for the third time this season, although it was not enough to lift his side off the bottom of the table.
"It's a mischievous no-story," Redknapp said. "An absolute load of nonsense. I took the players to Dubai, arrived there at 5 o'clock in the morning, trained at 11.30 that morning, trained the following morning. I think there were six or seven teams out there and we were the only one that trained every day. Two of them didn't train all week, not one second. Their managers were out there with their wives.
"I spoke to the managers. They said we've come out here to rest. Let the players unwind, they've had a hard season. That's fine. I could have done that. We trained every day. We did not have one day off.
"We trained the first two days and then the doctor came to me with the sports scientist and said to me: 'They shouldn't train tomorrow. I've looked at them this morning, they've got aches and tight groins, they're a bit fatigued with the journey.' I said: 'No doc, we're going to train every day.' And I worked the socks off them. I had them on their knees, they worked that hard.
"The players were disgusted with it. They had a meeting about it last night. They couldn't believe it. I said there's only one way to show people and that's to go out today and put in a performance and that's what they did."
Redknapp said that he does not encourage his players to drink and had "stopped a culture of drinking at more clubs than you'll ever know" but that he had allowed his squad one night out after discussions with his coaching staff. He said that the players were warned they would be fined a week's wages if they were late for the coach to training the following morning.
"I gave them one night out and that's what they did," Redknapp said. "And when they went out, they said there were five other teams in the same place they went to. Why has no one written about the other teams having a night out? Why is it only QPR?
"You know why? Because this story has come from somebody who is trying to disrupt the football club. I know exactly who it is, I know his reasons for doing it and we all know who it is. It's not come from the players, it's come from an agent.
"Every day, half past eight, there wasn't one player late for the coach. Every day they were up early for breakfast at half past seven and were on the coach at half past eight to go training. There was a coach there from Sunderland who said: 'Bloody hell Harry, you worked them this morning.' When we left they came on and he watched half our session so where people get this from I do not know."
Redknapp admitted that it will still be hard for QPR to survive but was delighted with his side's effort at St Mary's and insisted he has no problems with anyone in the dressing room. "No one shirked, everyone worked hard," he said. "I'm getting the best out of them."
On a more positive note for Redknapp, at least he could enjoy a win on his 66th birthday although he said he had no plans to celebrate it. "I'm going to go home and watch Match of the Day," he said. Guardian
SUN - Andrew Dillon
Harry denies Dubai booze claims
ON THE DEFENSIVE ... Harry Redknapp claims QPR are victims of a vicious smear campaign
HARRY REDKNAPP insists QPR are victims of a vicious smear campaign and has rubbished claims that a boot camp in Dubai degenerated into a boozy free-for-all.
R’s boss Redknapp is adamant he is happy with his squad’s behaviour during the six-day break last week having addressed the players lasy night.
Preparations for today’s relegation crunch at Southampton were overshadowed by reports that some of his stars were ‘unable to train’ and ran up huge bar bills on what was meant to be a training trip to revitalise the club’s battle against the drop.
But Redknapp fumed: “This is the work of someone trying to discredit QPR and damage the work we are trying to do — and I think I know who it is. It’s someone who has tried to harm us before.
“I have spoken to the players and they are as disgusted as me and can’t believe these claims either. They think it’s a disgrace.
“I have never trained harder with any club than we did in Dubai. The players worked extremely hard and all of them made it onto the bus every day.
“They were allowed one night off to have a few drinks. They went to a restaurant where there were players from about seven other Premier League clubs as well. We didn’t have a game for a couple of weeks.
“Dubai was full of footballers at the time — and all of them reported for training at 8.30am the next morning.
“I’ve got no problem with the way my players behaved and I will not be launching any kind of investigation or inquest. There’s no need.
“This is just someone trying to undermine us and the chairman agrees with me. We have spoken about it already.”
One anonymous player claims he and his team-mates were left to entertain themselves after training while away — which is when the boozing kicked in.
But Redknapp stressed: “The players went and sat around the pool after training? Incredible. What do you expect them to do?
“They worked hard and then they went to the gym, or did a warm down and then had a swim. Some of them even went shopping.”
- Photos from Zimbio
Chairman Tony Fernandes
“@tonyfernandes: Anyone who doubted Ji sung park. I never did. He is and always will be class. All of our team today played like lions.”
“@tonyfernandes: You can't believe how happy I am.”
“@tonyfernandes: Proud of my players and my manager. Happy birthday Harry RT @OfficialQPR: FULL TIME: @SouthamptonFC 1-2 @OfficialQPR #SOUvQPR #COYRS”
OBSERVER - Jacob Steinberg - Jay Bothroyd gives QPR hope with vital winner against Southampton
Surely no one would begrudge QPR's players a drink or two after this. Their supporters had woken up to damaging headlines on Saturday morning about tales of players going out drinking during a recent trip to Dubai and it had seemed that theirs was a squad on the brink of civil war; yet there was a unity in this victory over Southampton that has rarely been evident this season and that made a mockery of their position at the bottom of the table.
QPR should not crack open the champagne yet. This was, after all, only their third victory of what has been an awful season, and there is still plenty of work to do, but Harry Redknapp, who could hardly have asked for a better 66th birthday on his return to St Mary's, will look at forthcoming fixtures against Sunderland, Aston Villa, Fulham and Wigan and believe that he can pull off an escape act similar to the one he inspired at Portsmouth in 2006.
Southampton's fans arrived eager to torture Redknapp, who was their manager when they were relegated in 2005 and left for Portsmouth a few months later. But in the end their anger was directed at a desperately lethargic performance from their own side, who gave Mauricio Pochettino little to celebrate on his 41st birthday. Victory for Southampton would have lifted them to 30 points but they are not safe yet.
The boos for Redknapp were loud and predictable when he strolled out of the tunnel before kick-off and it was 10 minutes before he stepped out of the dugout and into the technical area. This is the kind of boos problem he can deal with, though, and four minutes later his side led. Redknapp had spoken during the week of his need to give Junior Hoilett more games and the winger rewarded his manager's faith in him by creating QPR's opener.
From the left, Hoilett drifted a lovely, diagonal ball towards Loïc Rémy, who had peeled away from Maya Yoshida and Daniel Fox. With Artur Boruc's positioning offering Rémy a sizeable portion of the goal to aim at, the Frenchman clipped a right-footed shot past the keeper, beating Fox on the line.
It was Rémy's second goal for QPR since his £8m move from Marseille and he nearly had his third minutes later when he tested Boruc from the edge of the area. Southampton were strangely muted, playing with none of the urgency they showed in beating Manchester City here three weeks ago, and for all the plaudits Pochettino has received since replacing Nigel Adkins in January, his side has won only once. "We were not expecting a result like that but we must learn from our mistakes," he said. "Perhaps the team didn't have the fluidity in other games.
"When we go one goal down we didn't have the calm to push forward. What's clear to me is we need to work on the confidence of the team because today was a game we had to win. The team knew what was at stake."
Southampton were gifted a way back into the match in first-half stoppage time when Jay Rodriguez, who had just replaced the injured Adam Lallana, shot from 25 yards out. It was a tame effort, but Júlio César made a mess of it, allowing Gaston Ramírez to nip in and delicately dink the rebound over him.
From there, QPR might have crumbled, and Rodriguez and José Fonte went close with efforts from distance. The visitors' plans were further thrown into disarray when Robert Green replaced the injured César but, with Christopher Samba and Stéphane Mbia outstanding, their defence stood firm.
Then, with 13 minutes remaining, QPR pounced. Yoshida was far too meek in a challenge with Park Ji-sung on the right and the midfielder's low cross was converted by Jay Bothroyd from close range.
Southampton were stunned, but pushed forward in search of a second equaliser and thought one had arrived when Fonte met a corner with a powerful header. Somehow Green clawed it away. Six minutes of stoppage time followed but Southampton's threat had disappeared and when Howard Webb's final whistle blew at last, there was Redknapp on the pitch, pumping his fists in the direction of the QPR supporters. "I might go to Dubai again this week," he said. "It might be a good idea Guardian
QPR: Kevin Cruickshank an Damian Roden tender resignations
By David Ornstein
QPR scouting co-ordinator Kevin Cruickshank has tendered his resignation and it is understood head of performance Damian Roden will also leave the Premier League's bottom side.
Cruickshank and Roden will meet with chief executive Philip Beard on Monday to finalise their departures.
Former Rangers manager Mark Hughes recruited Roden from the Football Association of Wales in February 2012.
Hughes brought in ex-Blackburn scout Cruickshank six months later.
BBC Sport has learned that Roden tendered his resignation on Tuesday and although it was initially rejected, he reiterated his stance on Friday and is likely to part company with QPR next week.
Hughes was sacked in November and succeeded the next day by Harry Redknapp, who appointed Ian Broomfield as chief scout in January.
Broomfield's arrival has seen Cruickshank marginalised, although his departure also relates to an approach by another club.
The news comes after press reports claimed QPR's training break in Dubai in February was "more like a stag do".
It is understood Roden cited the alleged events of Dubai as the final straw after a gradual dilution of his influence since Hughes's dismissal.
QPR's head of media and communications Ian Taylor tweeted: "The club is aware of the article in the Daily Mirror. We will be making no further comment at this time."
Other Hughes appointments to depart recently were senior scouts Stuart Webber and Hans Gillhaus. Both came in last summer, Webber from Liverpool and Gillhaus from Chelsea.
Webber has since taken over as head of recruitment at Wolves.Technical director Mike Rigg left Loftus Road in December BBC