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Game over for Wilkins.

Ray Wilkins walked out on Queen's Park Rangers after being ordered to quit playing.

Crystal Palace's director of coaching Steve Coppell was immediately installed as favourite to take over. But Rangers owner Chris Wright denied that player-manager Wilkins had been pushed. The millionaire music magnate said: "We did say, perhaps, he should be looking for a new midfield player. We did not refuse him money to buy."

Wilkins - 40 in 10 days time - walked out after a board meeting when he wanted cash for 34-year-old Ghanaian Abedi Pele.

Wright added: "Money wasn't the problem. We told Ray it was available and I am genuinely sorry he has gone.

"As for names? I don't know. All the usual ones will be tossed down but who knows.

"I've only been owner for a few weeks and in that time I've lost our star striker in Kevin Gallen and now a manager. Perhaps I should have stuck to music.

"But I feel sorry Ray has gone. I like him very much and it was his decision - not mine or the club." Wright, a close friend of Wimbledon's Joe Kinnear, added: "If there is a name then I don't know yet."

With the help of Les Ferdinand's goals, Wilkins steered QPR to eighth place in his first season in management.

But once Ferdy moved to Newcastle for pounds 6million last summer the goals dried up, and despite increasing midfield appearances from Wilkins, Rangers were relegated last season.

Wilkins said: "I have been in professional football for over 20 years and this is the hardest situation I have ever had to deal with."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Stenson, Tony
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 5, 1996
Words:268
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Next Article:I'LL SELL MY 3 HOUSES, 30 CARS; AND; QUIT!; By MIKE TYSON.


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