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BBC Sport's Bob Ballard
"He decided he can take the club no further"
 real 14k

Outgoing QPR boss Gerry Francis
"A new structure has to be put in place"
 real 14k

Friday, 16 February, 2001, 19:02 GMT
Francis ends QPR love affair
Gerry Francis
Francis: Ended his managerial love affair with QPR
BBC Sport Online's Peter Sanderson looks at Gerry Francis' career in management after his decision to stand down as director of football at QPR.

Gerry Francis is a member of that increasingly rare band of people who have enjoyed success at a club as both player and manager.

On Friday, however, the former Bristol Rovers and Tottenham boss cut a forlorn figure as he ended his managerial love affair with Queens Park Rangers and almost certainly severed his ties with football.

Apart from his most recent spell at QPR, Francis has an outstanding record in management.

However, at Loftus Road this year, the tide was so strongly against him that even sailing sensation Ellen MacArthur could not have steered the club to safety.

I will do everything I can to help the new manager
  Gerry Francis
The secret to his success has been a combination of talent, honesty, endeavour and an unrivalled desire to succeed.

But even a man as diligent as Francis deserves a break.

He admitted: "In football, I have only had one break since 1967 which is a hell of a long time.

"I did not miss the game in the 11 months I had away from football after I left Spurs and I don't think I will when I move on at the end of the season.

"My job at QPR was to keep them in this Division last year and I did that despite us being nine points adrift.

"I then let my heart rule my head and decided to stay on as manager this year.

Gerry Francis
Francis: "QPR can stay up"
"But the club is now experiencing major problems with a number of players contracts coming to a close in the summer and very little cash to bring anyone in.

"It is time for someone else to take over. They need time to turn things round and I need time to spend with my family and of course with the pigeons."

Few would believe this was the same man who twice turned down the opportunity to manage his country.

Both times he was interviewed for the England he ruled himself out of consideration.

But England could have done a lot worse - and, once or twice in recent years, have done.

Now Francis can devote his time to his family and enjoy the peace and quiet of his pigeon loft.

The reason for his departure is simple. He is a family man and his recent spell with QPR was more of an effort to help out an old friend than improve his already dazzling reputation in management.

But it was clear from the pained expression on Francis' face that he has had enough football for one lifetime.

As he spoke of the troubled times the club are experiencing, he was speaking from his heart as a fan and not a manager.

Francis was arguably a victim of his own managerial success.

Needed more than a miracle

The former England midfielder always possessed an unwavering confidence in his own ability.

However, he built up such an impressive CV at Bristol Rovers and QPR that he could no longer continue to perform the miracles.

But QPR needed more than a miracle to save them this time.

Their troubles far exceed their lowly position at the foot of Division One.

Behind the scenes the club are in disarray.

Their over-achievements in the 1990s, when they finished fifth in the Premiership and enjoyed as spell as London's top club, make their current position even harder to tolerate.

Young bargains

But Francis insists the club can still survive.

Since he returned in October 1998, he has made a number of strong signings for QPR, scouring the non-league for Jermaine Darlington and Stuart Wardley.

He has also picked up young bargains like Clarke Carlisle and Peter Crouch and groomed Richard Langley and Mark Perry into tremendous players.

These are the players that Francis believes should keep QPR in the First Division and more importantly, keep the club in business.

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