Former Yeovil Town midfielder Marc Bircham has been placed in joint temporary charge of Championship side Queens Park Rangers. Along with Steve Gallen, Bircham will be in charge of first team affairs for the immediate future, following manager Jim Magilton's suspension today at Loftus Road for an alleged incident involving one of his players after Monday night's defeat against Watford.
Whilst the incident involving Magilton is being investigated, backroom staff John Gorman and Keith Ryan appear to have backed Magilton over the allegations, centring around midfielder Akos Buzsaky. As a result, Gallen and Bircham, who currently head up Rangers' Academy, have been placed in charge of first team affairs.
Bircham returned to Loftus Road over the summer, following his retirement from football, due to his ankle injuries, aggravated whilst he was with Yeovil Town. He is their Assistant Academy Manager, with Gallen his senior, and was recently interviewed by the Football League, making the headlines for introducing a rule that barred the club's Academy players from wearing coloured boots, in part because it allowed the opposition the chance to pick a particular player out more easily.
Those who recall Bircham's blue and white mohican at Loftus Road, or his infamous black tights at Huish Park may roll their eyes at the idea of Bircham telling junior players to be more anonymous and less flashy. At the time he spoke to the Football League, he explained that he wanted to see a return to a few old-fashioned principles:
"The players (in the academy) have to do jobs like clean the senior pros’ boots – things that I had to do when I started as a youth player here, back in 1994. Academies have stopped doing that sort of thing, but we think it gives players a sense of discipline. We have some old-school ideas – like punishments for lateness and insisting they do jobs like cleaning – backed up with state of the art coaching techniques."
Unless QPR sort out their problems with Magilton, or Gorman and Ryan back down, it is likely that Gallen and Bircham will get their baptism of fire next Monday night, when they will be attempting to thwart the might of West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns in a match that is live on Sky Sports.
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