Warnock set to quit Palace for QPR after Briatore steps down as Hoops chairman
Published 23:00 19/02/10 By James Nursey
Flavio Briatore last night stepped down as QPR chairman as Lakshmi Mittal prepares to name Neil Warnock as boss after increasing his stake.
Steel magnate Mittal, one of the world's richest men, has bought most of Briatore's 30 per cent stake to take control at Loftus Road as predicted by Mirrorsport on Tuesday.
And Mittal, who has named Ishan Saksena as the club's new chairman, now hopes to bring in Crystal Palace chief Warnock to manage the ailing Championship club.
Mick Harford, yet to win in six games in charge, will be boss for today's game at home to Doncaster which Rangers need to win after slipping near the drop zone.
But Rangers hope to name Warnock as their next permanent manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal next week after Palace's FA Cup replay at Aston Villa on Wednesday.
And Warnock is already planning to bring three of Palace's best players with him to QPR.
Warnock, whose Palace side host Coventry today, wants to take midfielders Darren Ambrose, Neil Danns and highly-rated full-back Nathaniel Clyne to Loftus Road if he moves once compensation of around £1.5million is finalised.
The trio can all leave on loan now ahead of a permanent summer transfer as cash-strapped Palace are in administration.
Warnock is also keen on Scunthorpe striker Gary Hooper on loan with a view to a full-time 500,000 pounds switch.
News of Briatore's decision to step down as chairman will delight the club's long-suffering fans after accusations of meddling in team affairs.
The club went through an astonishing eight managers since Briatore, 49, bought into Rangers in 2007 with F1 pal Bernie Ecclestone - who were later joined as co-owners by multi-billionaire Mittal.
But Briatore’s reputation has been in tatters since leaving his F1 post as Renault team principal after allegations of fixing the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
These were brought after Nelson Piquet Jr revealed he had been ordered to crash to help team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Briatore was then banned by the FIA which sparked claims he might not be a ‘fit and proper person’ to run QPR.
Briatore has remained at QPR but the doubts about his character have not ended despite having his FIA ban overturned by a legal challenge.
And now the club hope Briatore’s decision to step down, revealed by Mirrorsport on January 16, will help Rangers restore some much-needed credibility and give the club stability.
QPR vice-president Amit Bhatia said: "Our immediate priority must be to re-introduce stability into the club and safeguard our future in the Championship.
"The season has been disappointing so far, but there are still many games to go. We must make every effort to end it positively, not least for our fans, the people who have continued to support and believe in the club through all the highs and lows. Together we can succeed."
Briatore has retained a small shareholding in QPR and Gianni Paladini is staying on.Warnock wants to take Darren Ambrose, Neil Danns and Nathaniel Clyne to Loftus Road