Making his Mark

Carlos Tevez will not be joining QPR in the January transfer window – remember where you heard it first.

Actually, you probably heard it the same time as me when Mark Hughes gave his first press conference as the new Rangers manager.

It was one of the few occasions that famous steely jaw of his relaxed into a smile during a half-hour grilling by Her Majesty’s press.

If anyone was expecting a performance of Hughes Line Is It Anyway they were sorely mistaken. Neil Warnock he ain’t.

“The size of his transfer budget was another question which caused Hughes to raise an eyebrow – a feat that was physically impossible for his predecessor.”

And despite ex-QPR defender Paul Parker’s assertion on this site that his former Manchester United team-mate may need to change his brusque management style, there was no evidence of that happening anytime soon.

It was the first time in a few years I’d attended a Loftus Road briefing – back then you were lucky if one man and his dog showed up.

But on Wednesday afternoon it was pandemonium as journalists and cameramen jostled for position in the cramped surroundings.

Hughes was, as ever, immaculately turned out – the Warnock tracky top and shorts already confined to the memory banks.

Buzzwords like ‘whirlwind’ and ‘longevity’ were tossed about by the Welshman to illustrate that his exit would not be as swift as his appointment, while questions about possible transfer targets were batted away with the dexterity of a seasoned politician faced with a tricky question.

In fact a seasoned politician facing any question.

Chris Samba was “a very good player who’s playing for Blackburn” and Nedum Onouha was “another player”.

The Tevez banter came about when the BBC’s Dan Roan pointed out that Hughes and the wantaway Argentine shared the same agent in Kia Joorabchian.

“I think that one’s off the scale,” laughed Hughes as the watchful Joorabchian looked on silently from the shadows.

In fact the only contribution made by the businessman was the scent of his pervasive aftershave, which provided an unlikely fragrance in a room populated by Fleet Street’s finest.

The size of his transfer budget was another question which caused Hughes to raise an eyebrow – a feat that was physically impossible for his predecessor.

“There’s been a few figures bandied about but I’m not sure they’re correct!” he smirked.

“£30m?” inquired the indefatigable Roan.

“My point exactly,” came the reply – a quip of which Warnock himself would have been proud.

In fact Uncle Neil couldn’t have been more involved had he been in the room himself.

Hughes made all the right noises about the man he replaced – “fantastic job…very amenable…huge impact…always remembered” before reminding us of that infamous ruthless streak by adding: “From my point of view I’ve benefited (from his removal).”

Another whose ears would have been burning was Joey Barton, described by Hughes as a “fairly accomplished player” – I think that’s what they call damning with faint praise.

He insisted he had “no issues” when it came to Barton’s  position as captain and gave the same response when talking about the player’s “Twittering” – a subject he is clearly as comfortable with as your dad in a dress shop.

Interestingly Barton’s last tweet came on Monday – day one of the Hughes negotiations. It read: “Might have a little sabbatical from Twitter for a while. Am going to abstain for a week, see what the withdrawal symptoms are like.” Coincidence?

The new gaffer was finally given a bit of respite when chief executive Philip Beard took questions from the floor, saying of the new manager’s appointment: “It’s been fast, it’s been quick” – and no doubt speedy and rapid to boot.

But the last word went to the man born Leslie Mark Hughes as he later revealed that he had been wiling away the hours during his “seven-month itch” by learning Spanish.

At the moment the only purpose it could serve would be to ask the injured Alejandro Faurlin: “Does this hurt?”

But this ambitious man will be hoping in the coming years he can finally end QPR’s major trophy drought by triumphantly declaring “campeones”.

And if that happens the fans might just be anointing another ‘Sir Les’.

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