Not 'appy ... Harry Redknapp said one referee "should go to Specsavers or somewhere". Photo: AFP
HARRY REDKNAPP'S return to football with Queens Park Rangers may have been marked in trademark wisecracking style, but it appears even football's most garrulous manager has his limits.
Redknapp's patience has worn thin after a string of costly defeats and the latest, which left his side bottom of the table, saw him call for the officials to visit their opticians.
West Bromwich Albion's crucial second goal was fumbled into QPR's own net by goalkeeper Robert Green under pressure from Marc-Antoine Fortune. Then, with seconds of the game left and the result poised at 2-1, Stephane Mbia pulled away at the back post to aim a header at goal that West Brom substitute Liam Ridgewell clearly handled.
''I think they were awful decisions. I think the ref got it completely wrong,'' Redknapp said. ''I asked the linesman how did he not see the penalty, Ridgewell's hand was up there, it's the most blatant handball and he couldn't see it. The linesman said it was murky down in that corner and he couldn't see it. Maybe he should go to Specsavers or somewhere.''
Green was at fault for Chris Brunt's opener and it appeared he was outmuscled for West Brom's second. But Redknapp insisted there was nothing the goalkeeper could do under unfair duress from the West Brom forward.
''It was a blatant foul,'' Redknapp said. ''I hate hearing managers moan about decisions and getting robbed. I don't do that or slag referees off or moan about decisions. Once a year I might have the hump with a referee, I never knock on their door but that today was poor. Two vital decisions that would be so important to us went against us.
''How can the keeper play the ball when a fella is backing in over the line? He can't get around him. If he pushes him over or out the way it's a penalty. He had no intention of getting the ball he just wanted to stop the keeper getting to the ball. It was obstruction, how can it stand?''
The match was delayed by 10 minutes due to heavy traffic, created by shoppers clamouring to make the most of the sales at the nearby Westfield shopping centre. The congestion delayed the West Brom team coach, who did not arrive at Loftus Road until 2.10pm.
After a positive start it was typical of the sort of season QPR are enduring that they would go behind. In the 30th minute, Adel Taarabt, so dangerous in possession, failed to track Brunt and when the ball was rolled in to his path he hit a skidding effort that beat Green low to his left.
QPR's bright start to the second half was soon extinguished in the sort of comic fashion that has riddled their defence all season. A high ball in to the penalty area was punched into the net by Green following Fortune's influence.
Redknapp made a double substitution with the game slipping away and he was rewarded almost immediately. Samba Diakite, on in place of Alejandro Faurlin, caressed a perfectly weighted reverse pass into Djibril Cisse whose instinctive finish, on the turn, beat Ben Foster.
Mbia then peeled off to meet a pinpoint cross with a powerful header that Ridgewell blocked with his hand only for the assistant referee to fail to spot the incident, inside the penalty box, from a matter of yards.
Predictably, the West Brom manager, Steve Clarke, did not share Redknapp's concerns over the legitimacy of the goals. ''We should have got a third or fourth,'' he said. ''Their goal was good and changed the complexion, it gave them life after they were dead. We can play good football and we can dig in when we have to.''