Ex-Wycombe Wanderers owner Rob Couhig has revealed he described Queens Park Rangers as a ‘screwed up organisation’ in the discussions that led to Gareth Ainsworth’s exit at Adams Park.

In an exclusive chat with the Bucks Free Press and the Reading Chronicle, the 75-year-old American, who spent five years with the Chairboys, recounts the day he received a call from the West London side in February 2023.

It was a formal enquiry to see if Ainsworth, who had spent nearly 14 years in South Buckinghamshire as player and manager, would move to Loftus Road as head coach following the sacking of Neil Critchley.

The deal eventually took place, with the 51-year-old lasting only eight months in the role before he was fired in October of that year.

Before his move back to the capital, Ainsworth had enjoyed seven successful seasons with QPR as a player, before having two spells as caretaker manager during the 2008/09 campaign.

Speaking on the 48 hours that saw Ainsworth leave the club, Couhig told the Free Press: “Gareth was sought after and we discussed each of those [approaches].

“To his credit, he only wanted to leave for a club that meant something to him.

“So when the call came in from QPR and I took it, I told Gaz that ‘this is the one you’ve been waiting for.’

“I never said that he should go, but I believe you need to help your employees on their personal journey as it all comes back.

He was like ‘I don’t know, we’ve got something going’ and he was right, but on the other hand, when does this opportunity come up again?

“I called the CEO and one of the owners at QPR and said ‘he’s as good as you can get but I don’t think this is a great chance for him, as you’re a screwed up organisation’, and they’ll tell you that I was brutal with them.

“But if he wanted to go, then I would help him pack and that’s what we did.”

The departure of Ainsworth came three days after the Chairboys had beaten Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Adams Park – the first time the club had achieved five consecutive league wins in the third tier.

But the lure of returning to a side that he enjoyed great success at as a player was too good of an opportunity to turn down.

This allowed former club captain, Matt Bloomfield, who was at Colchester United, to return to Adams Park as manager.

Couhig explained: “My main job was to know who my next guy was and a few months before that, I had told Matt Bloomfield [who was now a coach] that he should apply for the Colchester United job. 

“He said ‘why? Am I not doing a great job?’ And I said 'you’re doing a great job, but you’re never going to be the manager here if you stay here’.

He then went to Gaz [Ainsworth] and said ‘I don’t think Rob likes me’ but Gaz said ‘no, he’s trying to help you.’

“I gave the guys at Colchester a ring and said ‘I think we have one of the best young managers in the making’ and they hired him.

“He won a manager of the month award and saved them from relegation, so when Gaz left, I called Robbie [Cowling, Colchester’s manager director] and said, ‘remember when I said this guy was good? Well, I need him back’.

“The guys at Colchester were good about it as they knew Matt was special [to the club].

“Pete and I spoke every year about what we would do if the manager left.

“You need to know your next step.

“I never understand why some clubs fire a manager without an idea of what they’re going to do next."