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  • By Yann Tear

Ainsworth pays the price for QPR's unrelenting downward spiral

Saturday's post-match conference had barely ended when the news came through - Gareth Ainsworth had not survived the latest defeat in what proved to be a dismal return to Loftus Road.

The much-loved boss with the rock star looks carried so much good will with him from his time as a player and brief caretaker boss at Rangers years ago that it seemed only a real catastrophe would see him part company with the club.

But that is what came to pass. A 2-1 home defeat to runaway Championship leaders Leicester City would not normally trigger a drastic move, but because it made it six defeats in a row and extended the club's winless run to nine matches, the board felt the time had come to wield the axe.

Ainsworth did well to keep Rangers up last year but also oversaw a dreadful run and only an improbable win at Burnley kept the club, and his position, intact.

The 50-year-old arrived in February with high hopes after 11 years at Wycombe but won only five of his 28 games in charge. Assistant boss Richard Dobson has also left the club.

After defeat to the Foxes, there was familiar defiance from Ainsworth, who vowed to keep fighting and insisted he was the right man for the job.

"I can hold my head up high whether I'm here next week or not, saying I've given absolutely everything every single day," he said.

"I'm proud to be the manager of this fantastic football club but at the moment we are up against some really good teams. The club has changed over the years and hopefully there's some understanding in the fans.

"I can say that I've given everything I could for this club and done the best I possibly could."

Rangers have had just one win in 22 home games in the past year and scored only four goals at home all season. Ultimately, no matter how loved Ainsworth is, the record demanded urgent action.

Who takes charge for the trip to Rotherham next weekend will be interesting, but not as significant as the name of the next permanent manager. There must be good odds on Gary Rowett being in the frame following his recent departure from Millwall.


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