Nov 26 2012 By Paul Warburton
HARRY Redknapp reckoned he could have been in Ukraine and set for a stint down the salt mines had QPR not come in for him at the 11th hour.
They did, and the 65-year-old passed up the chance to be national coach and deal with the irony of plotting to beat England in next September’s World Cup qualifier.
Lose that badly, and the one time England candidate might have been a one-way trip to a gulag or the 2013 equivalent.
Actually, the salt mines in Ukraine are now a tourist attraction and beneficial to asthma sufferers – but you know what he means.
Just as Redknapp (pic) was about to take the Ukraine job, he opted for Rangers and the need to mine a first win of the season tonight at Sunderland.
The fact the new man constantly referred to the words ‘effort, ‘work’, ‘running’ and similar when he first faced the media is a pretty good clue as to where he thinks the malaise lies.
He said: “If fans see people chasing and harrying they’ll get behind us. If they see people standing around, they’ll get the hump – especially on those wages. We need effort.
“It’s a close little ground (Loftus Road) and it creates atmosphere. But the players have got to put a shift in, and make this a difficult place to come.
“Players should be embarrassed. It’s not rocket science to work out something’s been wrong with four points from 13 games, and I’ve got to put it right quickly.”
The 12th change of QPR management in four years was a shoo-in for the job out east, and fancied it after talking to former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko.
But Redknapp admitted it might have been hard to play England with a view to denting their World Cup hopes.
“I spoke to Shevchenko,” confirmed the QPR gaffer. “And I would have gone at the weekend. But I would have had to do a job against England. If not, that would have been the end of me – I could have ended up in the salt mines,” he joked