Monday, 31 December 2012

No comment

Queens Park Rangers 0 Liverpool 3

Didn't take long to figure out what to write this time:

No comment.

However, please do look out for my special report on Emily's great sporting moments of 2012 which will be out soon and promises to help us forget our QPR woes for just a moment.

Before we start the new year I would like to say thanks to everyone who reads the blog, and gives me encouragement to write more. All the best and Happy New Year!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dear Santa

Newcastle 1 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 1 West Bromwich Albion 2

Dear Santa,

I know it's late. It's already the 29th December. You've been and gone and I didn't leave out any biscuits, milk or carrots. I just started taking you for granted because QPR started to get good results and everyone was going on and on about the 6 points in 4 games. I should have known by the time Newcastle were finished with us last week, that we are far from 'fixed' and I should have accepted there and then that we just aren't going to stay up. Look Santa, I know that mathematically we can. There's always a 'chance' that we can. But for me that's just not the point anymore. I'm looking at the team, and I'm still not seeing complete dedication. OK so Bosingwa finally got pulled up by Harry finally for being the lazy sod that he is (I do hope you did not give him anything this Christmas), but I still think there are a few more lazy sods lurking in the background trying to hide behind the 'shadows' and failing miserably. Yeah yeah yeah, everybody's putting more of a shift in, but look at Cisse: when he doesn't have the ball he is either sitting on his arse with his hands in the air complaining, or standing with his hands on his hips complaining. I've always hated players like that, love him or hate him I started watching football when players like Gary Lineker set great examples of sportsmanship. Right now, it's all handbags, and it's quire irritating for us QPR fans. Santa, I'm not asking for a team of Gary Linekers  but I am asking whether you can organise for some of these people to leave Loftus Road in January? I'm not really up for watching handbags for the remainder of the season.

Santa, thanks for granting my wish for Taarabt not to go to the Africa Cup of Nations. I know I am only writing the letter to you now but you read my mind and in many ways I can rest easy now. However, we still don't have an out and out striker that is actually fit amongst other problems (see above re: Cisse). So far buying all the 'star' players that we have in the past 12 months has brought us little or no reward. So would it be possible to simply ask for DJ Campbell to come back? OK, so maybe he isn't 'Prem' material but at least he's a QPR fan and he's scoring goals in Ipswich. Who is to say Championship players can't play in the Premier League anyway? On that note, I was wondering whether you had been taking care of Swansea and Norwich a bit more than us? Perhaps they left you more cookies, milk and carrots than QPR fans last Christmas? If so, I can make a few phone calls for quick delivery before the New Year? There are several QPR fans who work in the delivery and transport business, and I know one who rides a double-decker bus through London - we are at the ready if that's what it takes. Just say the word Santa.

This next wish Santa is a sensitive one. I'm really pleased that the club communicates with us regularly. I know that many clubs do not have such an 'open' relationship with the fans. But sometimes it's much better to say nothing at all, than to try and say words that are flippant and meaningless. I'm not naming names (for fear that you might not grant me the other wishes), but breezy comments about not winning and picking up 6 points from the next two matches, are unrealistic. They also fire up those QPR fans that are a little more, shall we say, vehement in their commentary. While I'm not one to talk about morals, I'm also not particularly keen on seeing c and f words on my twitter timeline from said vehement fans on a continuous loop immediately after a QPR loss. Could you have a word with the PR staff at QPR? I know they work hard and try (despite not being QPR fans). But I believe this is not only a lesson in PR but a lesson in how to carry oneself generally. Oh, and Santa, can you throw in some language lessons for them? I think they mixed up Spanish and Arabic the other day when they announced Taarabt wasn't going to the ACN.

Santa, my final wish is that you magic up some entertaining football at Loftus Road. Because QPR fans are by their very existence masochists, deep inside it's not even the win that we are looking for. Yes, it would be nice to finally win away, and to win a bit more (or maybe to start with: to win again), but we'd be ok with watching the players battle it out with some fight. And hopefully, if the above wishes are granted we will muster a few wins as a result anyway. It's expensive to watch our team play at Loftus Road, and to travel away too. Right now, the relationship feels a little one-sided. And while I don't agree with fans abusing players on twitter (there are much better ways to air one's views), I understand why they feel that way.

I am not going to ask you to conjure up a win for us tomorrow against Liverpool. Because I have left it so late you probably don't have time to organise it all. And to be honest, I'd be happier if you helped us focus on some of the other things to prepare for our life one division down. I don't know whether you have had the chance to visit Harry's house (I suspect they had the whole family round for Christmas day and that they left you gourmet biscuits and organic milk), but if poss can you make sure he stays with us next season? I really like the fact that he made an example of Bosingwa who is (as you know), my least favourite player of the year. I hope he does that more often.

Well that's it from me Santa. I hope you can forgive the fact that I've written this so late. And aren't hurt by my assertion that perhaps you favoured those other 'championship' teams that went up in 2011. Trust me, we are prepared to make up for it if you can help us get out of this mess: one way or another. Again, just say the word.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the weekend.

Emily, Queen of the Park Rangers

Encl. Biscuits, Milk, Carrots and a big red double decker bus from London.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

All work and no play?

Queens Park Rangers 2  Fulham 1

Well well well, as always QPR manages to defy expectations by beating a relatively 'in form' team after disappointing results against poorer teams. I, like many other fans am so pleased to be celebrating a win (I can't believe it's been that long), and have been able to do the following:

1. Watch Match of the Day in full
2. Watch 'Match Choice'
3. Read the match programme in full

I was stunned to see the team play some sublime football in parts of the game. And I felt a little like a proud mum watching Taarabt who seems to have really found himself under the management of Redknapp (ironically). It's going to be another insane 2nd half of the season (may I point out again that my season prediction is still on course? See Welcome back/to QPR). While it will be heart and gut-wrenching for us all including our owner Tony Fernandes, it will be fantastic for the gates as every game will no doubt give us hope that we may yet again defy all odds and survive in the Premier League and we will continue to visit the temple of the Loft in droves.

I must say I've eaten a few hats since yesterday. Of particular note was the performance of club 'unfavourite' Shaun Wright-Philips who actually seemed to run with a sense of purpose instead of like a blue-arsed fly. Interestingly I'd read an interview with him in the Telegraph which suggested that Harry's approach is making the difference for him, and perhaps for many other of our players. It wasn't quite the approach I had envisaged when he initially took the reigns as manager, although admittedly I am no expert in Redknapp's management style or history with other clubs. My imagination made me think that perhaps he was going to be a bit hard on the lads, tell them their attitudes appear to stink and that they had better 'buckle up' - or else, with venom spitting out of his mouth during training and in the dressing room at half time. However, I was wrong. It appears that he is far more intelligent and clever than I had given him credit for. And he's quite simply being a proper manager: i.e. he is letting everyone play to their strengths. But more interestingly, he is doing this under the guise of the word 'enjoyment'. And somehow this (of course with a number of tactical changes), has unlocked a more attacking and creative team.

I'm not saying we're amazing, that we're great...just yet. But I am hopeful that this approach may actually provide us with a team that might be able to deliver in the medium to long term. This job cannot be easy for Harry. We still do have a bunch of overpaid and under performing players: many of who are not in any way passionate about the club, nor particularly interested in achieving much more in their careers (in all honesty, why would they come to QPR if that were the case?). But what we do have are footballers who still want to play football, and allowing them to play in positions that they want to play in, that suit the skills that they have (sounds so bloomin' simple doesn't it?), so that they ENJOY it more is a simple but potentially effective strategy.

As the year draws to a close, schools are shutting down and many of us will take time off to enjoy the season's festivities, I think about just how much has happened this year at work and in my personal life. It's been extremely busy and I can feel this tenseness in my shoulders when I stop to think and breath just for that millisecond when there is some peace. And I wonder just how I've managed to get through it all? We're all trying to survive, trying to work, make a living, raise our kids, nurture our relationships with partners and friends. Times are tough (and we're still spending our money watching the Rs!). But I am lucky enough to be able to say that I enjoy the work that I do, or at least that I've spent the last 13 years of my career trying to get to the point that I'm really doing the bit that I like. And if I didn't enjoy it by now life would quite simply be a pretty cruddy experience no matter how much money anyone paid me.

I'm not saying that it's all wonderful. And I am not saying that everybody should or can enjoy their jobs, nor that the amount one earns wouldn't impact on how much you enjoy your job. But I think most people aren't so shallow and we make all kinds of decisions that don't make rational sense. I had lunch with a friend today who was saying that things had turned around in his work place, that he was enjoying it much more with a new boss and that he was given a raise for the first time in 5 years. I said that I felt he was still under-selling himself and asked him what he would do if someone offered him the same job in town for £20K more? He immediately responded in the negative, but after I'd been to the bathroom and returned he had thought about it again and said 'Well, maybe I would move.' Perhaps he was right the first time round though? Look at our players who were perhaps attracted by the salaries. Here they are, many of them sitting on the bench and playing for a team in the dregs of the relegation zone of the Premier League. What a right bunch of idiots they might be thinking they are. Or perhaps we've just assumed it was only for the money given we've had to put up with listening to Joey Barton's hideous interviews about how he only came for the money (despite 'unfollowing' him on twitter). We know that SWP, Onuoha, Zamora et al were out of favour at their previous clubs and perhaps all they wanted to do was play some football and enjoy it.

And for us fans, well it hasn't been particularly enjoyable has it watching at home and away. With many of our fans travelling massive distances despite poor results? But we still do it because that's what being a Queens Park Rangers fan is all about. I really enjoyed the Loft For Words piece in this week's programme about just how dedicated the Rs faithful are. Many of us give up or money and precious time for cold, dark nights, losses and poor draws. Clive is absolutely spot on when he points out that all those fans who went up to Sunderland represented the club magnificently. While it could be said that there is an element of masochistic behaviour in this, and we do actually enjoy the process of supporting our team away whatever the result, it is obviously much more fun for us when we see our players playing well.

What do we define as playing well though?

I don't know: I've called it playing with passion, aggression and confidence in past blogs...But if it's playing with enjoyment, so be it.  If Harry knows best and has so far provided us with 6 points in 4 games, I'm prepared to support this line of thinking if it means we'll keep on winning. No there won't be a players' Christmas party this year but why should they have one in the first place if playing football is meant to be their ultimate dream anyway?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Trans-Pennine Adventure

Wigan Athletic 2 Queens Park Rangers 2

Last Friday my family and I went back to my father's home town Doncaster to surprise my Grandmother for her 84th birthday. Being a typical London family and with my brother and I having flown the nest several years ago, it's not easy to get all of us together at the same time. So it wasn't surprising that the train journey up was not a quiet one as we spent our time catching up with each other on our past working week and all the new music and books we were discovering. Grandma was extremely chuffed and rather speechless when we arrived at the Wentbridge Hotel Brasserie at 8pm. And it's a good thing too, because I'd pretty much spend the rest of the weekend travelling to Wigan and back to see the Rs play.

As many know, while half of my roots lie firmly in Yorkshire I didn't grow up there. So even if everyone else is still there (Aunt, Uncle, Grandparents, cousins and other offspring) and I have visited several times I always get the 'You're obviously not from 'round 'ere are you love? where are you from' from people. In fact I had that question in the cab back from Doncaster station after the match. When I told him 'I'm from everywhere' he took it as a sign that I didn't want to tell him. Little did he know that I was actually speaking the truth. It is amazing how one person can make you  feel disconcertingly like an outsider when he asks such a question so pointedly.

I booked myself on the 10.42 train from Doncaster to Manchester Piccadilly and kitted myself out with my Michelin Woman 4 layer outfit I was ready to rock n' roll. Having just discovered Ladyhawke's 'go get 'em' sounding song 'My Delirium', and being excited about recent positive performances under Harry Redknapp I was absolutely positive that QPR would win. I'd never taken a train through the Pennines before and I was in for a treat. I soon learned that reserving a seat wasn't going to get me a seat, and had a chat with some people who thought it was hilarious that I had decided to leave my family behind in Doncaster to watch a football match. (Well of course they didn't really understand the football decision, but they liked the idea of family in small doses). People came and went, stopping at various places to do Christmas shopping, and fellow supporter @loftboy63 came on board half way along. While all this was happening and I was chucked out of my seat I was exposed to some of the prettiest landscape that England has to offer. Rolling hills, snow capped peaks, under bright sunshine on a crisp cold day. Nothing like it. I really did feel like if there ever was going to be a day to win, this would be the one.

Bright skies and rolling hills...

Can you see the snow topped hills? Crap photo really..

So, what of the actual football match? Well I can't say it was good football. I think everyone knows too keenly that our biggest problem is a horrific defence. I have that image from last night's Match of the Day literally engraved in my mind of five defenders (circled in red) surrounding that Wigan player in front of goal and losing our lead after three  minutes. It was painful for us fans. I was stood at the back with many of the singers, and it was text book mistake after mistake. Not only that, but when we did manage to hold the ball for any period of time, it looked as if there was some sort of anti-magnetic field that stopped anyone from coming forward and scoring a goal. I've been banging on these last few weeks about wanting a team that at least plays with some pride and passion. but without any confidence it doesn't matter how much pride and passion you've got. And this, I'm afraid is why we are now in this vicious cycle of a lack of confidence due to  a lack of wins, which will in turn lower our sense of pride again the next time around..

What does this mean for me personally? Well, I'm trying to erase the painful memories of Mark Hughes's reign from memory. I know that a psychiatrist will say burying such pain isn't healthy and that one day it bubble over and it might just tip me over the edge. But right now, I've got to think of my short term health and I have to believe the our boys need as much support as possible. This would be an extremely difficult task if I remind myself of the fact that we're probably going down. So the plan is to take every game as it comes and enjoy each one 'game by game'. Never mind survival, never mind a potential Championship season next year. We've now got 'arry and Fernandes is still around - and I think they'll stay come what may. If you'd asked me ten years ago whether we'd be here I'd have laughed in your face, and would have said I'd take a season in the Premiership even if it meant we'd go down the next season. So come on everybody, let's make this a festival of ultimate fan support and enjoy not just the football but all the ancillary activities around it.

Speaking of ancillary. I would like to congratulate Wigan for creating the best pie I have eaten in a long time.I had a great pie at the DW Stadium. And may I also recommend the meat pie at local bakers Galloway which is situated just across the road from Wigan Wallgate station (this I did not eat myself but am told by @loftboy63 was very good). I was unaware until that day that I was heading for an area which is quite famous for pies. And given my proclivity for pies, this was extremely exciting. For anyone reading this blog, pie recommendations from the various football grounds around the country (Championship included in case I need to know for next year), would be most welcome.
A miserable evening in Wigan (Galloway Bakers on the left)

Above, you will see a photograph of Wigan just outside Wigan Wallgate station. it is about 5.30pm and it's dark, drizzling and about 5 degrees. Shops are closed although a couple of chippies are open. And although QPR have drawn it feels like a loss for QPR fans given the dire situation we are in. On the train heading back across the Pennine's we will start to see people come on and off the train under-dressed and oranged up for their big night out in Bolton or Sheffield. We'll stare and giggle at them, but really we're probably a bit envious because they haven't just spent their whole day travelling across the country for 90 minutes of pretty bad football and will spend their money on a few drinks to cheer themselves up while we've just spent our last penny on a pie after the £70 quid we've spent on our ticket, train journey and beers.

I arrived back in Doncaster after being questioned by the taxi driver who was probably thinking; 'who is this woman? She has a strange accent, she is wearing a QPR top, and she wants to go to Balby.' The reason why  I knew he was thinking this was because he did the pointed 'you're not from here' comment, and then said he didn't quite know what road I was heading for because 'people from poor areas' don't use taxis from the train station. I honestly felt like taking my QPR scarf and strangling him with it for a moment. But I took a deep breath and decided I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in prison.

At my aunt's house I was greeted by my beautiful three year-old niece at the door, and after dinner the whole family sat down to watch Paddy Kenny (also known as Christopher Maloney) sing and get knocked out of the X Factor Final. Everybody wanted to know what kind of pie I had at the DW, and laughed because my answer was meat (what type of meat Emily??). QPR had equalled the record for worst ever starts but I was still looking forward to all the games that are to come.

I am very grateful for the wonderful experiences I have had in my life. I may travel around the world a lot for work to exotic places like Brazil and India.  But sometimes the biggest lessons you can learn are much closer to home and right in front of your face.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Feeling the love

Manchester Utd 3 Queens Park Rangers 1

Sunderland 0 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 1 Aston Villa 1

After the Southampton game two weeks ago, I had made up my mind that we were going to be relegated. My hope was that we would at least be going down with a fight. But with a manager at that point who had the personality of a plastic bag, and a bunch of players who looked as if they didn't want to get out of bed that morning I suppose I was being rather overly optimistic. I even suggested that it wasn't yet time to fire Hughes. I was worried about the potential effect of another 'new era' at Loftus Road.

But as has been the case with QPR in more recent times, we faced yet another tumultuous change at the club. We witnessed a turn of events that saw Harry Redknapp cleverly play the Ukraine's interest in him to his advantage. It eventually meant that QPR did change from the 'long term plan' to the 'short term plan' (one of my tips for Fernandes). The situation appeared to have forced the hand of the board of QPR within a matter of 2-3 days. Before we knew it, we had a new manager. And not just any manager, but the manager that was meant to be the England manager earlier this year, a manager whose speciality is saving clubs like us from the drop. And a manager with a bit more personality than a plastic bag.

Three matches later, and two matches in to Harry's official reign the club is still without that elusive win. But while I may be frustrated and pretty sick of writing either D or L on my QPR Season Planner I'm heartened by the more passionate performances we are seeing from the team. Judging by the tweets this afternoon, there are many people who believe there are still a number of players that are grossly under-performing. My view is that there is a vast improvement in performance. I will even say that Bosingwa (the player I have a 'healthy contempt' for) was rather useful today against Villa. However, we still have some very worrying problems. And if we can't solve them quickly, I fear that by the end of December we will know for sure that we will be relegated. They are as follows:

1. We do not have a prolific enough striker.

I love Jamie Mackie. He plays with heart, he plays with passion. But he isn't an out and out striker. And nor are any of the other players that we had out there 'up front' today: Hoilett, SWP...Plus we have two 'strikers' in Zamora and Johnson who are both injured. And an inconsistent Cisse.

2. We are having problems in the final third

We're starting to see some creativity in the midfield. Moving Mbia in to more of an attacking position has been an absolute revelation (and I really hope that he was not injured seriously today). But anywhere near the box or in it and we're either lacking ideas, or smashing the ball (yes Taarabt, you) against random legs as opposed to the goal itself.

3. Our defence is still shaky

It's looking better I must say. Bringing Clint Hill back means we've got at least another player other than Nelsen who's willing to put his body on the line. But we don't have a huge amount of options. And with Cesar out (for I am not sure how long) we have a rather 'nervous' looking Green in goal. Did anyone else think that perhaps Cesar might have saved that Villa goal today? Perhaps I'm being harsh but tonight's replay will help me decide.
My very sad QPR Season Planner

Having said all of the above, I'm much happier than I was two weeks ago. Win, lose or draw, relegation or not, I truly believe that with Harry on board our journey will be one with some fight and some pride. It feels good to actually cheer and sing Harry's name. There's another dimension to being at a QPR match now which hasn't been there since Neil Warnock left. In all honesty, I am not sure we ever really felt like Mark was really on our side. I don't think we as fans, ever felt the love. And if we don't feel that from our manager, then how do we suppose the players might have felt about him? Or more importantly, how do we suppose the players might have been lead to believe it was okay to behave like? Perhaps it is, therefore, no surprise that we hear of SWP standing outside LR sprouting off about how it is the fans' fault they lost against Southampton (allegedly). Something tells me behaviour like that will not go unnoticed under Harry's watch.

And quite frankly, that's about all I could ask for right now. We wanted our Rangers back, and we just about have them. But we can't have the best team in the world because Mark Hughes lumbered us with a bunch of under-achievers. While we have improved, they still aren't as good as they should be. We also know that there will probably be no money for Harry to spend in January - with just one or two loan players a possibility we cannot expect wholesale changes. So all I want to see is Harry sticking a few rockets up a few arses. Ideally, if we find ourselves in a position where we don't think we'll survive by the end of December, I'd like to see us let go of many of our highly paid under performers and focus on playing with some pride and perhaps causing a few upsets along the way while we head back to the Championship.

I'm starting to feel the love with Redknapp in charge, especially because his grand kids are apparently availing themselves of QPR gear. I suppose with the media circus that tends to surround him, it also means that the Rangers still make the headlines even though we probably don't deserve it. But what the heck, us poor fans have got to take what we can get right?

On another note, the past few months have been extremely hectic in my work and personal life. And amazingly, even though we've been losing or drawing,  Queens Park Rangers has still managed to give me something to look forward to. And today I made it to Loftus Road with a pretty bad case of a sore throat and left it with an even worse case of it after screaming and singing for 90 minutes. But it was worth it, as I had the chance to meet some good friends that I have made through this amazing QPR fan journey.

People who aren't interested in football would probably be surprised to hear that there's a great sense of community and friendly spirit that I feel whenever I get to the football. But that's half the reason why I go, and half the reason why I enjoy it so much. Call it corny but with members of the #qprtwitfam advising me on which medication I should be taking to sooth my throat, I must say I was feeling the love today in that way too.

So where to now for QPR? I'll be at Wigan next weekend hoping to witness our first away win in 'like years dude'. But, win or lose, just give us a decent fight boys and I'll still keep on singing.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

If I were Tony Fernandes

Queens Park Rangers 1 Southampton 3

If I were Tony Fernandes here is what I would do:

Number One: Take a couple of days off

I wouldn't tweet. I'd avoid the PR machine. I'd have a spa day and get some sleep. I'd need all the energy I can get to figure out what I'm going to do, and to make some big decisions about the club that I bought which is in the most dire situation.

Number Two: Start doing the maths

So many games in, I would have realised by now that QPR are all but relegated. I'd need to take a look at our remaining games and figure out whether there is any hope of saving the club so that we stay in the Premiership. My plans will need to flex for a life in the Championship next season.

Number Three: Call the FA

It's a long-shot but I'd give them a ring and find out whether we can arrange for QPR to relegated sooner rather than later. It will mean several social, sporting and maybe even political implications (I did say it was a long-shot), but I care about the fans having to watch horrific football week-in-week-out and I'd like to explore this potential opportunity which may also give me time to sort things out at the club.

Number Four: Get involved in team selection

I don't believe that I should really get involved in team selection. These decisions should be left with the manager. However, I am still the real boss and what I say goes. Therefore, I will order that we do not play Bosingwa, under any circumstance. Without doubt he has no passion for QPR. In fact, I am not sure that he has any passion for football at all. He is also an ex-Chelsea player. Get rid.

Number Five: Call a meeting with Mark Hughes and his staff

I would not sack him just yet as I don't have many other options. I'm also afraid that another manager will mean more infrastructure changes to the club and more purchases of useless players. Nevertheless I would lock him, Mark B. and Eddie in an interrogation room together with me to have a serious 'chat'  about what's going on in the dressing room and the training ground (Homeland style). I'd ask them why they don't seem to have the attention of the players, and why, during the match against Southampton - they didn't have anyone upfield during opposing corner kicks? And I'd ask them, why, when they did finally get their attention their instructions weren't clear? Cisse looked completely lost in the middle of the pitch and that was when the nail was firmly in the coffin.

Number Six: Divide and Conquer

This isn't a time for democracy and open conversation. I would want to know what the hell is going on. I'd interview and test every one in the squad individually (X Factor boot-camp style). I've heard rumours that training has been going badly Monday to Friday. I've heard that there is tension between old and new players. I want to know what they are doing every day to train better, to stay fit, and stay interested. I want to know everything about them: what they are eating, what music they are listening to, where they go out, what drink they like. And I want to know whether they sleep at night, and if they actually give two fingers for QPR. These interviews will not take place in a 'cushty' sofa and I'm no Cherly Cole. Decisions will be made (see below).

My interrogation room

Number Seven: Have a clearout

Those who fail my test would be sold/got rid of in the January transfer window. If I can't sell them I'd order them to play for the Reserves or Youth Team. I already know who they are. From the squad I would REMOVE:


Quite frankly, all of the above are not good enough and care not for QPR in any way. Some of these players are simply around because they wanted to be near their London mates and the edgy party scene here. Frankly I didn't spend my hard earned money to pay for someone's lifestyle when their footballing skills are questionable.

Did I say I don't really want to get involved in team selection? I've changed my mind. I'm the boss.

Number Eight: Find a striker

Frankly we haven't got one who's prolific enough. It would be all hands on deck for the scouting team.

Find one. Fast.

Number Nine: Rethink the QPR social media and PR strategy

While I truly believe we need to build a global fan base, starting with some of my business ties in Asia, I am not sure buying Park has done anything more than bring a few bus loads of Koreans to Loftus Road every week. I will need to do the numbers to see just how much additional income this is making for QPR, but I suspect it's something I can afford to lose given our position in the league.

I also admit that I've created a bit of a tweet-crazy QPR PR machine that has hyped up players who are past their prime creating unnecessary and unfair excitement for the fans that has only lead to severe disappointment. While it may have excited 'new fans' in to the club, the hardcore QPR base who are my bread and butter want their old QPR back. They want players who care about the club, who have heart and a backbone. I'd give them their Rangers back.

Not just a re-brief to the media team, but a full strategy change methinks.

Number Ten: Make a short-term plan

While a long-term plan is, well, long-term. I now realise that long-term forgets short-term. and in the short-term we have to win games. Short-term builds long-term. And so on, and so-forth.

Remove 'long-term plan' from the QPR vernacular (that includes all QPR Player videos that recorded this being said, it's freaking annoying).

Number Eleven: Consider alternative managerial options

It may be controversial that I haven't yet decided to fire Sparky, but I would start to line up alternatives. In spite of my fears (see above) shouldn't a decent manager be able to work with what he's given? Managers all over the world, across all business have to do it all the time, so why should a new football manager be given the amount of freedom to buy and sell the way I allowed it to happen with Hughes?

I'd give Gerry Francis a ring at Stoke. I don't think he'll come back to QPR as I hear he's enjoying his role over there. But at the very least I'll need the advice of someone who has managerial experience who has real history with QPR. In fact, I'd also ring Ian Holloway because I've heard great things about how he managed QPR through pretty rough times and how he was able to pull the team together and created great spirit and camaraderie.


I don't envy Tony Fernandes at all. I admire how he has stuck by us and manages to maintain a positive attitude, and how he communicates regularly to fans. We are lucky to have him on board and I don't think it's fair for fans to abuse him or Philip Beard. I was sat not far away from Philip today and the venomous stuff coming out of fans directed at him is pointless and unfair. We absolutely should be concerned about Hughes' capabilities and the performance of many players, but we shouldn't be directing negativity to the people who are on our side.

For some reason I'm really calm about the fact that we're likely to go down. It means we'll definitely get our Rangers back as many players who don't deserve to wear our shirt will go.

Time will tell. Seems as if my season prediction is still on course....

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Six tips for sad QPR fans

Arsenal 1 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 1 Reading 1

Stoke 1 Queens Park Rangers 0

It's bad. It's really bad. It's so bad I'm almost lost for words. Perhaps it's not so much that it's such appalling football, but the fact that it is so relentless. Eleven matches in, not a single win to keep hopes alive, to provide us with an ounce of positive feeling. This situation is incomparable to last season. At least our losses were punctured with home wins. The last performance of any decent quality that I can recall was against Tottenham and we didn't even manage to win that.

It wouldn't  be fair to write a match report for yesterday's game. I was, I suppose somewhat thankfully, 8 hours ahead in Manila enjoying the music of a local band called Session Road with some old pals. I was receiving text updates from my father and even through the various snippets of news it was obvious we were just following the same relentless pattern. And as I look down the list of results so far, all our matches bar the Man City and Swansea ones, show us losing by one goal. This simply affirms the fact that we are making stupid mistakes; that we miss an out and out striker, and that while we are dominating for long periods, we don't seem to have the heart nor that final ounce of skill to be follow through with such possession and score goals. It's as if we lack that vital bit of energy to be able to complete the task at hand. Many fans are calling the problem a lack of passion, and I suppose it's fair also to pine for the old days when we had players who supported the club as well; players for whom the club really meant something.

Unfortunately, we cannot expect that from the current set. But what we should expect is a level of commitment. They bought in to the club, they bought in to the 'long-term project'.  Surely the 'long-term project' should be on their minds as we enter the final third of each match in which we are either still drawing or losing by one goal? Perhaps 'long-term project' is just too 'long-term' and lofty an idea for these chaps.

I have no answers, so quite frankly I'm not going to dwell on it, nor continue to moan.What I would like to propose is Six Top Tips for us QPR fans to cheer ourselves up.

1. Turn the table upside down

This has an immediate and obvious impact. Turning QPR into the top team in the country and putting Manchester Utd and Chelsea in the relegation zone. Be warned though, the impact only lasts for a few seconds and remembering the reality can be rather a harsh experience. A bit like eating a massive bowl of pasta or rice and coming down a few minutes later from the carbo high.

2. Watch Homeland and Hunted

Two of the best TV series being aired in the UK at the moment portraying two of the most gutsy female characters- both fighting for their own justice. Just be careful not to assume that you'll be seeing the same amount of commitment from our own team.

3. Start Planning Christmas

Yes, I am actually advocating that planning Christmas festivities, both at home at at the office might be a suitable distraction. Among several things you can do you can start thinking about the crap gifts you will be buying for £5 in the office Secret Santa. Perhaps a QPR woolly hat for a Chelsea or Utd fan? This strategy does have risks though, you will be reminded of the fact that there are 4 games over the holiday period.

4. Slag off Chelsea

This strategy will allow you to feel superior. There are many things that should make us feel much better about supporting a team like QPR:
a. We do not have a problem with players shouting racist abuse at others
b. We are still a family club with a family atmosphere
c. We really are based in West London and not South West London
d. We serve much better pies

5. Delete from your favourites and unfollow @officialqpr

This will not be easy and is a very drastic move. This is not recommended unless you are already going to games regularly as you may get deep withdrawal systems that could shock the system in spite of the constant bad news.

6. Think of Joey Barton

An odd strategy perhaps, and one that goes against several of my posts that promised not to speak of him again. However, given the current circumstance I revive his ghost to make a point about the fact that we should be thankful at the very least that this idiot is no longer at the club. Sadly, we are still stuck with his ongoing appetite for attention through the various newspaper and magazine interviews but at least we can snigger from afar instead of bemoan his presence at Loftus Road.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Great Big Come Down

Queens Park Rangers 1 Everton 1

It is two months to Christmas and we are now deep in to the football season. A hectic week at work has meant a great delay in writing my blog, post-Everton match. But as the days get shorter and my walk in the mornings to work or the gym are engulfed in night-time the realisation of the miserableness of winter has given rise to a great big feeling of depression. While today brings news of surprising growth in the economy, it is still met with caution and fear. And we are surrounded by the extremely alarming and sad news of Savile's horrific exploits. Nothing, it seems, is particularly positive.

But, I start with last Sunday's match. I must say I was surprised it was a sell-out crowd. A Sunday match isn't exactly convenient for a lot of us - falling the day before the working week albeit being half-term for those with kids. QPR fans appeared to have mixed expectations: positive ones thinking it's about time we would nick a win,  others already thinking about what would happen to Mark Hughes if we lost. I must say I did not include a 1-1 draw in my list of possible results. But I, like many other fans, was extremely pleased to see SWP on the bench with Hoilett starting. While I've been disappointed with Park's performance in the last few games, he had a better game against Everton and I'm hoping we simply saw a Park-blip. Sunday, however, saw me make my decision that Zamora isn't quite the ticket we need. While he might hold the ball up for us, we still lack a consistent striker that can play up front with Hoilett...I have memories of days gone by when we would watch Gallen and Ferdinand up-front and they were quite a pair for a little while. I live in hope that we will see something like that again at Loftus Road.

But, we should not have lost. Yes we can go on about the fact that we played really well, had most of the possession etc etc, but playing well means winning matches, and a big fat ZERO next to W in the table just 'ain't right.' However, by the end of that Sunday it seemed that most of us were fairly positive about the result. To me, it's a sure sign that we've finally come down from those lofty expectations we had before the the Swansea match. No we aren't likely to finish mid-table this season (and I'll eat my hat if we do),  and it'll be a pretty bumpy ride from now until next May. Maybe I am over-reacting a little because events off the pitch have also made me think quite deeply about the game, the fans, and the impact on future generations.

So with some sadness, I contemplate the fact that the Olympics and the Paralympics seem so far away. All the good cheer, all the positive feeling, all the pride we seemed to feel throughout that period has all but disappeared. In my earlier piece Persecuted I talked about the John Terry case and the issues surrounding that continue to make the headlines. I've just watched QPR legend Les Ferdinand on BBC News saying he feels let down by the FA as does every black player and black supporter - and that essentially Terry's punishment does not fit what he considers to be a crime. Interestingly, he has said he wrestled with the question of whether John Terry is really racist or far as he is concerned a racist comment should be met with a punishment for a racist comment, as does a drink drive crime even if it's your first time, or you didn't really mean it. He feels it's only fair that one should 'suffer the consequences' for one's actions. In all honesty, I have wrestled with this question as well of whether Terry is racist or not. I've even argued with colleagues who have felt being cleared in a court of law should have been the end of the story. But I completely understand Les Ferdinand's view. And if that is the view of many others I stand with them on this point.

It has made me think about my own background. As some know I am half Filipino and half English: half Asian, half white. But you would not know it if I never told you. I never have looked a bit like my mother (since passed),  who had black hair and dark brown eyes. I was born with white hair, and the fairest of skin. And now I am older, I have the figure of a Western woman, I dye my hair blond, and I don't 'do tans'. It is my understanding that Anton and Rio Ferdinand are also of mixed race: their mother is white and father black, but they 'appear' to be black in skin colour. I can tell you that there have been times in my life where I've experienced what I call 'reverse racism.' When I am back home in Manila there will be people who assume I am 'white' and therefore make comments in Tagalog (not knowing I understand), in bars about how 'easy' must be because I am white (and therefore have loose morals of course!). I've even had close acquaintances judge me by the colour of my skin and assume I will behave X or Y because of it. Seems silly really doesn't it? On the other hand, I remember back at school I was reprimanded by the head of a posh 'society' I was part of for writing a letter of complaint to the Spectator magazine because they had continued to publish a cartoon the continuously (week in, week out), made fun of Filipino maids. I was told not to 'rock the boat', and they were surprised at my accusations given I was to all intents and purposes white.

Me & my mum in 1978

Why is this important? It's important because being a certain race or even of a certain culture  isn't just about the colour of your skin. And that is why racist comments in this day and age, in this country which prides itself for tolerant and multi-cultural society, are just medieval at the very least and must therefore be punished and eradicated. I, like so many others, am a product of the 'new world'. Actually, let me tell you isn't even that new and quite frankly we shouldn't even be having the discussion that the world is getting smaller and more global and that people are going to meet, fall in love, marry and procreate with people from all places and walks of life. So I understand why so many footballer didn't wear the Kick it Out shirt. It's just not up with the times, it's not relevant and it needs shaking up. I'm not saying we can't poke fun and joke with each other anymore - different cultures and different countries make the world go round and there is a reason why cliche's exist! But racism and abusive language just isn't right. I really hope that enough people from all backgrounds do and say enough so that we don't have to see this kind of debacle again in future and that our children and their children do not grow up thinking this type of behaviour is acceptable.

So you can see how a feeling of hopelessness has engulfed me. Especially because last week also brought scenes of ridiculous behaviour at the U21 Serbia/England match and saw a Leeds thug attack goalkeeper Chris Kirkland at Elland Road. I'd really like to say, it's just a few people ruining it for many others but there were thousands of fans in Serbia jeering at the whole thing, and there were several 'pals' smiling and patting the Leeds fan on the back as he ran back on to the stands. It is just so uncool and it made me start thinking that football brings out the worst in people.

But last night as I lay in bed, I listened to the QPR Podcast where they interviewed Matt O'Brien, coach of the Tiger Cubs. I had a big smile on my face as I listened to him tell us about all the great physical activities they do with the kids who have Down Syndrome, the support they give the parents, and the sheer joy and fun that the children have when the play matches and score goals. I laughed so loud when I heard about how the kids celebrate so much and for so long when they score a goal that the opposing team ends up scoring a goal in the meantime. I would love to watch that, and must find out how and when I can watch a tournament if at all possible. A big thumbs up to the QPR Podcast team for running the interview and raising awareness of the fund-raising walk this Saturday. See Chris Charles' article about this on the West London Sport website with a link on the bottom of that page to donate.

It reminded me about what sport is all about, football and football fans included. I can't allow myself to beat myself and all the great football fans up about the poor behaviour of others. But just like the wider society, we all have a responsibility to be good, decent human beings and to not put up with inappropriate, wrong an racist or prejudiced behaviour.  Let's not let the things that the Olympics and Paralympics taught us fade in to a distant memory and use that positive energy to make some positive changes.

After such a polemic, pondering over the meet at the Emirates this Saturday feels rather petty...Nevertheless I will positively forecast a 1-0 QPR win. Arsenal are on a 'losing streak' and perhaps we'll cause another upset. Fingers crossed that the Tiger Cubs also manage to raise the £10,000 they so desperately need, as their story has reminded me about what's really important in life.

You RRRRssss

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sleepy Giants

Queens Park Rangers 2 Reading 3

Queens Park Rangers 1 West Ham 2

West Bromwich Albion 3 Queens Park Rangers 2


A review of  Sleeping Giant: An Indian Football Story

It's been a while since I last wrote a blog post and I owe you all this bumper issue. Sadly, there isn't a lot to celebrate. Looking at the list above these were matches that we were meant to win and where we were meant to pick up points. And while I know we never do well in any cup runs, I did feel a moment of hope when we drew the 'fake hoops' that perhaps we'd defy our poor record for the first time in a long time.

The busy fixture list makes the Reading game seem like a distant memory in all honesty. But at that stage, the Tottenham game was still fresh in my mind and I was prepared to forgive the generally poor Rs performance on Wednesday night and count it off as a bit of a blip.

So by the time we played West Ham, I, like many others was filled with a great sense of optimism. We were poorly rewarded for our hope and our support. After a hectic Monday at work, I rushed over to Loftus Road to meet two friends from the dark side (West Ham supporters) who were going to sit with me in the Upper Loft. Shoot me if you like for bringing them along. I wouldn't have if I didn't know that QPR was their 'second team'. I don't really believe in that, and I am hopeful that I can turn them to support a decent family club like QPR (watch this space). So while I was absolutely miffed that we let in a horrific soft goal I must say I was also in fits of laughter as I watched my friend stand up and punch the air saying 'damn, ridiculous.' It was fabulous acting. Not normally known for drinking on a school night and after 3 pints I was soon annoying everyone around me as I ran down to the ladies at 40 minutes. I knew I wouldn't miss much that was any good, and I was right.

One pie, and one a half pint later, I watched as Taarabt and Diakite fired up the team that appeared to pretty sleepy. All of us knew Diakite was going to get in trouble, and we were right. It was pure misery. Not only we were defensively poor, but we were completely over run in midfield. And while I don't proclaim to be a tactician by any stretch of the imagination I do believe Mark Hughes didn't get it right on the night. And I do not believe that being down to ten men lost us the game. We lost that game the moment West Ham scored their first goal.

We will continue to ask questions as fans. We're seven games in, we sit at the bottom of the table. And what excuse do we have given the class of players we have playing for us? The boys appear to be in a deep slumber, at the cost of points on the board. Surely questions need to be asked about why the team is not gelling (outside of the injury problems), and whether they have the right attitude.

So now, I turn to my mid-week jaunt at the Everyman in Belsize Park. For some reason, the Premiere of a new Docu-Film by Ad Hoc Films (the producers of The Four Year Plan) did not get a lot of PR with QPR fans. I am not familiar with the details of the relationship between the makers and QPR but can surmise that having built the relationship with the club for the first film all parties wanted to milk the opportunity as much as possible with the second film. Sleeping Giant is a documentary film about the history of football in India and how it has suffered over the past fifty years due to the growth of the popularity of cricket. It tells the story through a set-up in which two boys from Mumbai are picked out of 2,000 to play for the QPR Youth Team under the leadership of Steve Gallen and Marc Bircham.

As well as learning that Indian football used to be massive, and that while they qualified for the World Cup in 1950 the team then withdrew as they were not allowed to play barefoot, I got a real sense of the frustration at every level in India that football isn't getting the funding and infrastructure it needs to progress. But what really came through for me was the importance of the right kind of coaching and guidance that footballers at an early age need in order to feel they have a chance of progressing to a decent professional level.

In a touching scene filmed on the first day of training back at Harlington you can hear Steve Gallen telling the lads not to let the new boys fall behind as they warm up. This is in full knowledge that the two boys are not as physically fit or as physically built up as the lads in London. And while, in the ensuing Q&A we had that night, the panel talked about cultural differences in terms of body-shape and physiology and the need for players from around the world to adapt their style and training to suit a level of play (using the Japanese leagues as an example), it seems that Steve truly believes that attitude, intelligence, personality and communication makes all the difference.

It was interesting to hear that from him. And interesting to see also that the boy they felt was both technically adept and a bit more vocal at the beginning of their journey, ended up deciding to settle for splitting his time between football and engineering. Whilst the other boy who was rather lost and quiet for the first four weeks actually found in himself when he returned home, a real hunger to succeed and play football and has now taken part in international tournaments for his age group. It took the trip to London and a bit of time thereafter to open his eyes and wake him up.

Apart from realising that Steve Gallen is a seriously good bloke who obviously cares very much about the boys that he coaches I also learned that QPR's first team seriously lacks attitude, personality and communication skills. No I don't want Joey Barton back, and I am not sure that it's passion or commitment I am asking for either. But I'm starting to wonder just how much attitude, intelligence, personality and ability to communicate our players really have? And I am also starting to wonder after this latest 3-2 loss, just how much it is going to take to wake them up.

But you can't make people have intelligence, or personalities. People are born with these attributes aren't they? Or maybe there is a chance to mould people...I hate to say it, but having a bit of personality in Warnock must have filtered through to the boys back in the days when we were in the Championship and when we were promoted. Now, apart from the odd one or two we look positively zombie-like. I am almost hoping that the whole of the first team (captain Park included) get caught smoking shisha pipes and doing jager bombs together in some dodgy London club tonight AND that there's loads of controversy about it. Then at least I'll know they are human and need to let off steam. And I'll know that they might just want to come back and prove they really are a football team and not a group of individual players that are not as good as they should be.

Monday, 24 September 2012


Tottenham Hotspur 2 Queens Park Rangers 1

I have positive things to say about the performance of the Rangers boys yesterday. We were excellent in so many ways: organised, creative, aggressive and a joy to watch. We haven't seen this kind of football for a long time, even in the games we won last season where we were forced to play a more defensive type of football. It's just such a shame that we didn't quite convert quite a few opportunities. I can honestly say we absolutely deserved to win this one. 

The journey to White Hart Lane was fairly miserable I suspect for most people. Apart from really being in Essex and not London, tube lines were shut in several places (bye bye Olympic spirit), we had what seemed like the coldest day so far this September AND it was absolutely chucking it down with rain. On the train there,  I was also rather amused when the poor lady sitting next to me, having noticed the rather rowdy crowd heading to Northumberland Park asked me whether this was really the Stansted 'Express.' I said 'sure it is, but for a short while it's also the 'Football Express.' But I must say, that while I take heart from a positive performance, the miserable weather and journey there set the stage for making it feel a little like something was working against us. 

I had read in the Football Ground Guide website that White Hart Lane doesn't serve beers at half time, and so when my pal and I arrived about half an hour before kick off, we queued up to grab what would be our final pint of the day. And would you believe it, by the time I got to the front, we were told 'no more beer' 15 minutes before the game. And a big sign next to the kiosk read something like 'Due to Government Regulations we cannot serve beer at half time.' Needless to say, we were none to pleased having waited 15 minutes in the first place. I couldn't help but feel like we were being persecuted for being away fans. A little like how it feels whenever we have to wait outside town for a police escort to accompany the official QPR coach (which doesn't allow alcohol anyway) to the away ground. 

I jest a little about how annoying the rule is. But with such thoughts swirling through my head would it be fair to say that we're still suffering, as football fans, from an element of discrimination that simply in this day and age, just isn't fair? The last few weeks have been important for football, and important for us as a society. The new Hillsborough Report was released, and there were several important findings, some of which we have already learned from and implemented stringent rules to control. But arguably the single biggest issue was the 'Deflection of Blame' where the findings stated: 

'It is evident from the disclosed documents that from the outset SYP sought to establish a case emphasising exceptional levels of drunkenness and aggression among Liverpool fans, alleging that many arrived at the stadium late, without tickets and determined to force entry.'
I cannot speak for those poor families who have suffered for several years. It wouldn't be right or fair. But I could surmise that one of the most painful things that anyone ever has to live through is to lose a loved one under the assumption or premise that it was their loved ones fault as to why they died. 
I'd like to ask ourselves whether we are still living under some past or false legacy about what football fans do, and who we are?
I've undoubtedly touched on a complex subject. Indeed, the day we played Tottenham was also the day when we saw some touching scenes at Anfield as Liverpool played Manchester Utd. And while we were all impressed by the unity of the managers being interviewed together, the way that the Ferguson had written to all visiting Utd fans personally, and the releasing of the 96 balloons...debate still rages on  as a handful of fans decided to mimic planes (referring to the Munich air crash) which the Utd fans then responded to with 'offensive chants.' But, is chanting really something we should get persecuted for? Should we really be bothered about a handful of people to ruin the image of football fans for everyone else? Probably not. 
I must be careful not to belittle what Michael Mansfield QC has called “the biggest cover-up in British legal history" within this little blog of mine. Suffice to say, I think there is still a lot to be done to brush away some of our society's pre-conceptions about football fans. 
Interestingly, on the same day John Terry and his PR team decided to announce his retirement from football (also happening to be the day before his FA court hearing on the racial abuse case related to Anton Ferdinand). On a personal note, I tend to try not to use the argument about people not being good 'role models' for young people too much. At the end of the day, the world will always have good role models and bad role models. It's up to the rest of us adults and to parents, to help young people make the right decisions about who those role models will be. Who am I to say that someone from Celebrity Big Brother is a better role model than John Terry? That's actually what I was thinking before he announced his retirement. But he made the decision for me. His statement said: 
'I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable. 

Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour. I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I wish Roy and the team every success for the future.'

Here stands a man who is basically p****d off because he thinks he's going to get a charge of guilty, which will therefore make his position untenable. If playing for England is what he dreamed of as a boy and it breaks his heart so much, then why isn't he fighting for what he truly believes is right and fair? Surely, this is what a good role model should do? It seems pathetic that he should feel so persecuted given all that he has the chance to represent : the good bits about football like playing with pride, like standing up for positive things related to sport, like saying sorry? 

Here is someone who feels so personally persecuted on a day where thousands of fans paid tribute to those who were truly 'persecuted' unfairly. 

I honestly hope that this case is over and done with quickly and we can simply stop hearing about how he feels soon so that we can all move on, by focusing in the good stuff and making a much better name for football. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Showing up

Queens Park Rangers 0 Chelsea 0

It's been a busy weekend for me. Apart from having some good friends over from Norway to visit, I had the Pride 10k run in Victoria Park to get over and done with yesterday prior to hopping it over to White City to watch my beloved QPR. As the weekend winds down and a business trip beckons tomorrow I am inclined to feel a little of the Sunday blues as my body aches from yesterday's exertions.

It wasn't easy running the 10k. I'm not as fit as I'd like to be and it's a challenge. It's also hard to run your own race, and not get upset about the crowds of people lapping you from the moment you reach 2k (yes someone finished it in 32 minutes!). But you aren't racing other people, you are only running for yourself. Not only that, but the Pride 10k is a lovely race in support of the gay community and there is more meaning to it for me because of that. We're very lucky in this country, and unless you've travelled or lived abroad you don't realise that what we have here is unique. If you want to run a 10k, 5k, half marathon, marathon, ultra-marathon...nutcase marathon, you name it...we've got it. If you want to try a triathlon we've got the super sprint, sprint, Olympic and iron man. Or maybe you aren't interested in the standard sporting events - how about getting yourself dirty in something like the Mud Runner Adventure Race Series? My point is, at any time in the year you will find a sporting challenge that you, or anyone else can enter. Something that is open to all abilities and something to suit all tastes. And yes, it's tough if you know you aren't going to be the fastest or the best, and perhaps you never have been at any point in your life. But people tend to be pretty supportive in this country. It's in our culture to be so. And trust me, it's not always the case elsewhere. I am half Filipino, and I know for a fact that in general people are only interested in cheering on the winners, not the losers. But here..I think we appreciate it when someone gives it a real bash. To use a phrase my step mum uses, it's called 'showing up'.

As usual, yesterday's match against Chelsea received a biased review by Match of the Day pundits. All we heard about was the 'non-handshake/handshake' which no one cares about anymore, and two potential Chelsea penalty claims. Looking at the match stats, QPR just about edged it as the better team - 83% completed passes vs. 77% for Chelsea, 52% possession, equal attempts on goal etc etc etc...Why did MOTD decide not to talk about these important pieces of information? No wonder Mark Hughes is p***** off in interviews - because they aren't asking about how we play.

Then again, are we surprised? As fans, we see the the progress the team has made, and most of us are impressed. But it hasn't always been the case that we've played well and maybe it's going to take a whole lot of time for people to respect us again as a team and for the way that we play football. We are looking good..again Granero stands out for me as a quality player, and Faurlin continues to be class act. But we're one game in to playing good football this season, and we need to see this consistently for people to start to notice. But QPR 'showed up' yesterday and the glimmers of good football I saw at the Wallsall game was a little burning fire yesterday.

I was late to the game actually...I took too long having a post-run pint, and ended up running achingly down South Africa Road. As I ran/walked down I could hear the amazing noise from the QPR fans giving Loftus Road that incredible electric atmosphere that is amplified all the more when we play Chelsea. Hearing the cheers and boos it was so hard to tell what was going on because - as I soon learnt when I sat down - we were just cheering and booing everything we could supporting the team at absolutely every opportunity: from every block, tackle, to every great pass and attempted shot on goal. As fans, we showed up because our team showed up.

I am not saying that we're fine with QPR showing up and not winning. At the end of the day, these guys are paid to win and I'm paid to manage advertising campaigns. But if you aren't even going to show up you haven't got a chance in hell of winning.

So let's see a big win next week at White Hart Lane!

You Rrrssss

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Manchester City 3 Queens Park Rangers 1

Last week was a week of exciting and confusing transfer news which culminated in a trip up to the Etihad stadium where we last met City 111 days circumstances, thankfully,  much less dramatic. The neutrals and commentators were hoping for a game just as exciting, whereas most QPR fans were hoping for, whatever the result, a more positive display of skill and tactics on the pitch from their team.

I was unable to make the trip up, given the cost and distance. It's just too early in the season to be spending all my money...but made my way home after a day at the Olympic Park to watch the match on TV. While the first half showed our team outclassed by City, the second half showed glimmers of the football that we've been dying to see since the Swansea game and we signed all these 'amazing' new players. Granero looked sharp, Fabio seemed to come of age, Faurlin still looked solid...and even Dyer looked useful together with Park. There was plenty of hope after all. So a score line of 3-1 really didn't feel like a scoreline of 3-1 to me. Like many fans, our subconscious expectations were low. It was unfortunate that we didn't try to take a point having equalised. On the other hand, one might perceive that intention to try to win instead of take a draw was a more positive attitude to take...risky as it was.

So, apart from a handful of doubters, for the most part QPR fans live in some hope. Like embers at the beginning of a lovely charcoal barbecue we may start cooking up a decent flaming burger sometime soon.

But before I look forward to the future. I want to get one thing off my chest once and for all. And after this I promise to write of him no more.

Joey Barton.

As you may know, I stopped following Joey Barton on twitter a month after the end of last season. Like many fans, the City debacle was one step too far, and the ensuing reaction and behaviour made me feel manipulated and fooled by the man. I had even written highly of him after he appeared in a documentary about gay footballers, and I took him for a man misunderstood by society. I don't think I ever considered him a 'reformed' character like many, but I did think that perhaps people hadn't given him the chance to just be the odd person that he is. But while one of my favourite mottoes is 'it's better to be weird than boring,' I probably ought to add an addendum to that and say 'but it's better to be boring than self-centred.'

Some of my friends in the twitter world stuck by him as #teambarton throughout the internal investigation, but even they, after seeing his interview at Sky Sports News last week about his potential Marseille move, got a sour taste in their mouth as he mouthed off openly about his thoughts on QPR, not exactly negatively...but not nicely either. He is now, thank heaven, in Marseille. But like dying embers his ghost lives on in my twitter feed as QPR fans continue to retweet him whether to show how annoying he is, or just how cool he still is. Like advising your friends not to go back to a bad boyfriend or girlfriend, you can only say so much...sometimes, it's just better to completely cut those ties because his style of ranting simply eats at you.

I tell you, even when he was interviewed by the Guardian magazine and talked about launching a social network site a few months ago, I thought he was quite clever. I thought, maybe he's going to create something new in the social media space that's going to rock the football world and change a few things. I look at the site and I see nothing but a self-centred homage to himself, and everything only he cares about. I remember reading that he said he wanted to make a site where fans of his could interact with each other in a different way. But today I looked at the Have your say page which has been live for a few months and all I find is a discussion board for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. There's another section for 'New Discussion Topics Launching Soon'. While it is admirable that he supports this, I am afraid that the other topics will have nothing to do with what other people want to talk about related to football, or to him. They will simply be topics that interest him and him only. Dull dull dull.

And another thing. I was a fool. I started picking up the Big Issue again when he started his column. A couple of columns in, I'm thinking maybe he can really write, and he touches on SOME interesting points. I admit, I was pushing it. I was hoping to find a real intellectual there (what a fool). The one good thing is that it has rekindled my mini-affair with the magazine and I enjoy reading other articles in it. But when I see his column now I feel like I'm meeting for a drink an old pal who I don't really like because she only talks about herself, and I'm only meeting her because I feel bad I've turned her down a few times already. In this week's issue, he talks about Internet 'trolls' and inadvertently, freedom of speech. But yet again, he is scraping the barrel because there seems no real message in what he has to say. I know his topics inside out and I don't really fancy having him for dinner at my house if I could invite anyone I wanted. His topics are: Prison, The Smiths, Hillsborough, People who rant at him and ...wait for it...himself!! As they say, 'Enough about me, let's talk about me.'

OK, I'm being unfair. He's got his section Joey On where he waxes lyrical about everything from Politics to Sport..oh...actually wait it's Politics and Sport AND Culture. Wow. Then again, the title page says 'I'm going to be true to myself.' Sorry everyone...he isn't going to be true to you, nor is he going to necessarily be inclusive to his fans. Make no bones about it, this is not a social networking site. This is a glorified Facebook page for Joey Barton.

Rant over.

I know some will disagree. Most probably won't. I just had to get it off my chest because like a dying embers of that fabulous barbecue we're going to have I'm going to chuck that crap right in my grey bin away from the compostable and organic items.

Cheerio! Cheerio! Cheerio!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Skating on thin Hoops

Queens Park Rangers 3 Walsall 0

(+ a bit of Norwich City 1 Queens Park Rangers 1)

Having enjoyed an extended bank holiday weekend with family 'ooop north' it was nice to come back to Loftus Road at the end of it and watch the Rs win a cup match fairly comfortably. Watching together with a crowd of about 6,000 people all sat at the South Africa Road and Loftus Road ends, it almost felt as if we were transported back in time to our League One days. I know I'll be the only one who says this, but I actually quite liked the atmosphere last night. Only the hardcore fans were there, with a lot of people sitting away from their ST seats, the #qprtwitfam out in force and with kids still on holiday there was a lovely family feeling about the place.

I loved the banter with the Walsall fans. It sure was a strange sort of 'library', and sarcastic shrieks of 'oooh' when Walsall nearly scored made me chuckle. But while we supported our team with this kind of banter, the real subtext was our incredible fear of losing another cup game early on. Like most fans, I was hoping that we would stage a QPR upset, and actually win the match. And a few close-shaves, especially in the first half, had me with my head in my hands, my eyes behind my two hands, and looking up to the heavens for some help.

It was good to see though, that Hughes' intentions were absolutely clear. He was out to win this match, and not use it as some sort of 'practice round'. He made serious substitutions (although I have to say, as @sandyhoops mentioned to me during the game 'we don't look at the bench anymore and think s** we've got Zesh Rehman'), and with only 6,000+ people there I could hear him remonstrating animatedly at the team. He is under pressure without doubt, and so are the boys. OK, so we're only 3 matches in to the season but so far (as was the case last season) the new players are not living up to expectation, and I for one I am not sure if I buy the 'they need time to gel' theory. These guys train together every day and at this level I sometimes just have no sympathy for them. They shouldn't be using their Premier League or cup games to get in to the right team shape and neither should Hughes.

So, apart from the fact that I really wanted to call this blog 'skating on thin hoops'  because the hoops have been getting so thin over the years and I thought it was a good title, I wonder whether there is a case for saying the QPR management are playing a risky strategy making massive marquee signings, letting go of several players, and not fostering an atmosphere were players understand the history and meaning of the club instead of simply talking about the long-term plan of the future? Don't get me wrong, it's just wonderful that we now have the funds to attract big names like Park and Green etc etc, but having listened to what Lee Cook had to say a couple of weeks ago on the QPR podcast 'Open All Rs', the old atmosphere in the dressing room back in the day was something special with everyone playing for the shirt. Obviously we won't have people in the team who feel that way about playing for the Rangers, but surely players at this level have got to take it on the chin and stop looking so disjointed on and off the pitch?

I've been thinking a lot about how clubs ride on past glories. Look at Liverpool...a prime example of a club that will attract big players (and yet still don't perform!). I get it, QPR don't have the same glories to ride on, but we are a proud and loyal fan base, with a fascinating history that shouldn't be forgotten completely. And I guess I am a little sceptical about the mass exodus of old players, and the influx of the new because so far the results (ever since January 2012), have proved old players that have been through the challenges with us are the ones who have performed.

This all sounds a little bit negative after what was a decent win last night, but I'm still nervous about the future. I can't quite figure out what this 'long-term plan' is in terms of what and who we see on the pitch. Looking at last night SWP finally scored a goal outside a friendly last night, but he wasn't great for much of the game, Cisse was offside time and time again (as he was last Saturday against Norwich), and it was old boy Faurlin back from injury who made all the difference in mid field with his classy passing. We are also hearing rumours of some of the young players: Doughty and Ehmer pipped for first-team selection, but haven't seen or heard a peep from them (apart from front-covers on cup programmes!). Now, we are on the verge of signing top Brazilian international Julio Cesar as a second goalkeeper who no one is sure we actually need.

I am confused to say the least, and my hope is that we're going to see in the coming weeks a more fully fledged team really playing with pride for QPR and for the dedicated fans.

In the meantime, I pay homage to a couple of friends who have worn their own hoops throughout the years and the shirt which has changed over the years. If you like the idea, please tweet me your pics in the Hoops over the years and I will write another bigger piece on it.

I am still not sure if I like the new 'thinner' hoops but I am glad the logo doesn't look 'ironed on' anymore.  Some consolation as we look forward to a long, hard and no doubt exciting season.

You RRRsssss

For more on QPR's kits over the years: Historical QPR Kits

A great pic of @gmileham1's shirts

@QPRman2's selection of shirts over the years including this season's Air Asia one

The Hoops through the years courtesy of @QPRman2

@pinoyQPR in his Hoops back in the early 90s
@annieqpr in the Binatone shirt from 2003-2006

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Welcome back/to QPR

Queens Park Rangers 0 Swansea City 5

I, along with several thousand QPR fans, will try to draw a line under what has been the worst start to a season I can remember. I wasn't expecting to write a blog tonight after such a heavy loss. Swansea at home couldn't have been a better test for another 'shiny new-look' QPR squad.

I was prepared to forgive the 8 minute goal from Michu as we were looking slick and confident: Park was workman-like and Hoilett looked like he was fired up. Early days, I thought, early days. And at half time I checked the stats: we had pretty much equal possession, had completed the same amount of passes as Swansea and had several shots more on goal. Sadly the only one that counted was the one from the opposition. One would have thought, that this 'shiny new look' team and our experienced manager would have sounded the alarm bells at half time. But it seems to me that a lack of respect and over-blown confidence prevailed which resulted in a second half where we simply crumbled. I don't think I've ever seen so many people leave the ground so quickly after goals no. 4 and 5 occurred. And once 4 goals were scored, I have to say I was thinking "I just can't take 20 whole minutes of this." Yes that's how much time we had to suffer.

And here is my line:


On the other hand. My morning and early afternoon were filled with high hopes and excitement as I prepared myself for this season's first trip down to The Green to see the members of the QPRTWITFAM. It was great to see @Loftboy63, @Funkyprawn, @RichieQPR1, @Mrs_AJams et al. It was also nice to meet my sister from another mother @Gemcricketmad and her son for the first time.

On the way down to the Bush it was nice to read all the excited tweets as people from all over the country made their pilgrimage down to Loftus Road. There were many new faces too, a lot of new fans from Korea who were there to support Park Ji Sung asking for directions to the 'Queens Park Rangers Stadium'. It was nice to hear from some of the old fans that they were excited to welcome this new international following. There was a positive feeling in the air. I really like the way QPR fans are embracing the changes at the club.

Also today, the latest QPR writer @writesaidfred68 was down from Norwich with his two kids in tow, signing his book which is now selling at the QPR club shop. Unfortunately I was not able to see him, but I wish his book all the success and urge all fans to get down to the store and buy it if you can.

Here I erase some of the line


I am considering watching Match of the Day & Match Choice today even though we lost. Why? I need to understand what the hell happened. OK, I know what happened (I merely want to re-affirm my belief): we don't have a defence, and we were completely wrong tactically, we shouldn't have had Cisse up-front alone, Fabio was frighteningly bad...etc etc etc. Well, in all honesty, we were Queens Park Rangers. And that's what we do in the first game of the season: we squander a great opportunity.

What does it mean? My prediction is now what we will have an EXTREMELY exciting season. We will not be suffering from mid-table mediocrity. We certainly won't be playing boring football (good or bad). We will see some serious under-achieving going on, and we will see the 'old boys' playing the better football. Sound familiar?

Well, we are familiar with it, but I did feel for the two young Korean chaps who shared a carriage with me on the Central line home. I wondered, have they made previous pilgrimages to Old Trafford before? Looking at one of them who was wearing the new Air Asia-sponsored kit, I thought - has this boy realised changing allegiance will bring him such pain and anguish on a regular basis? Does he know what we'll probably lose to Walsall on the 28th August? Will he be there at all after today's performance?

Welcome back to another season with QPR everyone, and welcome new fans to what will likely be one hell of a season.

You RRRRRssssss
 South Africa Road on a sunny day before the crumble

Finally, they put my name on my seat!