QPR's Tony Fernandes cannot rule out Mark Hughes return

Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes says he cannot rule out Mark Hughes one day returning to the club.

Fernandes sacked Hughes in November and still believes the Welshman had passed his "sell by date".

But he admitted he had wanted the ex-Blackburn boss in charge long term.

Asked if Hughes could ever return, Fernandes said: "Life is a strange thing. Never say never. But at the moment you'd have to say it's a very, very long shot."

He added: "I don't think right now the fans would appreciate that. But I'm not someone who is ever going to close the door to anybody or anything.

Tony Fernandes

  • Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Age: 47
  • Education: Accounting and finance at London School of Economics
  • Former roles: Senior financial analyst at Virgin Communications, managing director at Warner Music, Malaysia, vice-president Warner Music South-East Asia
  • Current business interests: Co-founder Tune Group, chief executive of low-cost airline AirAsia and team principal of Team Lotus Formula 1 outfit
  • Awards: Forbes Asia Businessman of the Year 2010
  • Value: Named 20th richest Malaysian by Forbes with a reported net worth of £248m

"I like Mark and somewhere along the line something went wrong.

"If Harry Redknapp wasn't the man available then I think Mark may still be here. Maybe all the fans would dislike me intensely but he had a great record at Blackburn and Fulham."

QPR had four points from 12 games and were winless when the 49-year-old former Blackburn, Manchester City and Fulham boss was sacked and replaced by Redknapp.

Hughes' reign as QPR boss came to an end only 10 months into his two-and-a-half year contract.

Redknapp failed to revive their fortunes though and QPR's relegation from the Premier League was confirmed last weekend at Reading.

But Fernandes still believes he made the right choice in sacking Hughes when he did.

"I think the sell-by date had come and it was obvious," Fernandes said. "Straight after he left we beat Fulham and there was a bit of an uplift.

"There are many people who fault me for not letting him go earlier. My mistake.

"I always want stability. I wanted Neil Warnock to be here for a long time. I thought Mark would be here for a long time.

"I sent him a card for his wedding anniversary, which I think was 25 years. And I said, 'I hope we'll have a 25-year relationship'.

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"It's important in a club. Stability is important in any organisation. And it's been a heartbreak for me that we've had three managers in two years.

"I hope Harry can stay with us as long as he wants to and in that period he can groom someone else that will carry on the Harry Redknapp tradition."

Fernandes warned, however, that it might take QPR "two or three seasons" before they return to the Premier League.

When asked whether QPR were prepared to play the "long game", the Malaysian added: "We may have to - there are a couple of things that we're looking at. Do we invest in lots and lots of young players like Aston Villa?

"We have to go for the long term - we may not come up straight away.

"But we'll get the infrastructure of the players right. We've got everything else right in terms of the brand, in terms of the exposure, the plans for the training ground, the stadium. We've just got to get that player infrastructure right."

You can watch Richard Conway's full interview with Tony Fernandes on Football Focus at 12:15 BST this Saturday (UK only)