QPR confirm Gareth Ainsworth as their new head coach on a three-and-a-half year deal after agreeing compensation deal with Wycombe… with Matt Bloomfield set to take charge at Adams Park
- QPR sacked Neil Critchley following a disastrous spell in charge of the club
- They identified former player Ainsworth as their top target to takeover
- The 49-year-old has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with London club
Queens Park Rangers have appointed Gareth Ainsworth as their new manager following the sacking of Neil Critchley.
The club parted ways with Critchley on Sunday evening following a disastrous run of form that has seen them slip from play-off contention in the Championship to 17th.
Having parted ways with Michael Beale’s replacement following their 3-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, the club swiftly identified their targets to take over – seemingly having already known that the end was nigh for Critchley.
Ainsworth, a former player for the club who made 152 appearances over seven years, while becoming caretaker boss on two separate occasions, was lured by the prospect of managing QPR despite having spent just shy of 11 years in charge at Wycombe Wanderers.
He will be replaced at Wycombe by Colchester boss Matt Bloomfield, who has ‘agreed in principle’ to return.
Queens Park Rangers have appointed Gareth Ainsworth as their new manager
Bloomfield, 39, left Adams Park in September to take charge of the U’s.
QPR and Wycombe agreed a compensation deal with Ainsworth having only signed a new deal with the Adams Park side last summer.
After Beale departed for Rangers, having previously turned down Wolverhampton Wanderers citing loyalty, the club remained in a favourable position to make the play-offs but just one win in 12 has seemingly put paid to that dream for this season.
The former Wycombe player has long been targeted by QPR, it is believed, though has been beaten to the post by both Beale and, latterly, Critchley, both of whom have been assistants to Steven Gerrard at one particular time.
Last summer, upon signing his new deal with Wycombe, Ainsworth cited the reports that other sides were targeting him but felt loyal to the club having felt their backing.
‘It’s no secret that there were rumours with other teams, and without giving anything away, the club backed me, they were interested in me,’ he said. ‘For me, my mind was made up that it was good thing to sign my contract extension.’
With QPR having come calling at last, one of the Football League’s most successful and exhilarating stories over the past decade looks to be drawing to a close.
Ainsworth joined Wycombe initially in 2012 as a caretaker player-manager before taking over permanently.
Ainsworth replaces Neil Critchley, who was sacked after just 12 games in charge
After a winless league run of 10 games, London club are only eight above the relegation zone
He has spent just shy of 11 years in charge of the club, guiding them to promotion to the Championship in 2020 via the play-offs.
Having sacked Critchley after a disastrous run of one win in 12, the QPR acknowledged in a statement that it had not worked out how they hoped but wished the former Blackpool boss the best for the future.
‘It is hugely disappointing to have to make such a decision so early into Neil’s tenure with the club,’ QPR CEO Lee Hoos said. ‘However, after seeing the team slip from play-off contenders to one being drawn into a relegation battle, the Board felt it had to act. There is no doubt Neil inherited a difficult situation when he joined and we would like to acknowledge his superb work ethic and professionalism throughout our dealings.
‘He is a fantastic man and we have no doubts he will go on to be a success elsewhere, just as he was at Blackpool.’