QPR boss questions handshake

QPR boss questions handshake

Published Sep. 15, 2012 9:16 a.m. ET

QPR manager Mark Hughes has strongly hinted that he believes the pre-match handshake should be abandoned.

The ritual will become the centre of attention when QPR host Chelsea in Saturday's west London derby in the first meeting between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry since the England defender's race trial in July.

Terry was found not guilty of using a racial slur against Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last October, but remains the subject of a Football Association investigation over charges that he denies.

Ferdinand is expected to reject a handshake from Terry, ensuring all eyes will be locked upon them moments before kick-off.


"The handshake is part of the Respect campaign and we all fully support that. It's done fantastic work and is to be commended," Hughes said.

"But maybe this part of showing respect is fundamentally flawed.

"Should there be a discussion in terms of how we show respect? Is this the best way to do that?

"It's open to debate and that's why I was asking about it at the Premier League meeting. Maybe after the match would be better.

"For our FA Cup match with Chelsea in January, we didn't do it and that helped the situation.

"I've never considered leaving Anton out because of the handshake.

"I'm picking people on their ability and I don't sense it's affecting him.

"If I thought for one moment he was struggling to deal with it, I'd make that decision."

A sizzling atmosphere is expected for a highly-charged derby that will see QPR attempt to seal their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season.

Former Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea, Barcelona and Blackburn striker Hughes admits he thrived amid the hostility of local rivalries.

"I loved derbies. I played in quite a few - the Liverpool one, Manchester one, Real Madrid v Barcelona, Blackburn v Burnley... which was probably the scariest one!" he said.

"Some derbies are more high profile. The Blackburn derby I wasn't really aware of until I went there. Then realised I'd been missing out on something.

"Every one is different but the passion and energy generated are the same and that's something special.

"As long as it doesn't go over the edge of acceptability, I'm all for it.

"I enjoyed the emotion of the fans and really used to look forward to derbies. They felt like a part of me.

"Off the field I was quite quiet and introverted but on the field I was a different person and that had a lot to do with my interaction with my supporters and the opposition supporters.

"I used to love helping my team win against fans who didn't particularly want me to win, that was part of my make up.

"The abuse probably made me play better. You knew that if you were getting abuse, you were irritating the fans. That was part of what I used to enjoy and laugh at."