A worrying result yesterday which wasn't really reflective of the overall performance. Towards the end of the game we were hoping for that elusive goal that would salvage a precious point. But for all the effort it never came.
We were hoping that a win yesterday would mean another climb further up the table, alleviating a bit of pressure. But now as always, Queens Park Rangers does things the hard way, and I fear for the health of the fans supporting them as we begin the final month before the season closes.
I watched from home. I just couldn't afford another hundred quid to watch the Rs away so far from home having already having booked tickets for the Chelsea game. This time yesterday fans were really hopeful. What was a decent damage limitation effort at Old Trafford the week before, had given us hope that our poor form away from home would no longer be. It was perhaps wrong to use such a match as an example as nothing ever goes the way it should at that ground. But I have to say that I felt some of the comments coming in from the travelling fans on twitter made us look poorer than we were in the second half. I am sure that this is in part a natural reaction given the effort expended to travel to the Hawthorns. But West Brom showed great determination not to concede under the pressure we were putting them under and it was one of those matches where you could say we didn't actually deserve to lose (unlike most others away this season). Unfortunately, we just can't afford to have those kinds of matches now. And we've now got a frightening four left to go.
At every level, supporting this club over the this next month will be extremely tough for us all. Not just at the matches themselves, but outside them too as we do our calculations and pray that other teams are failing more miserably than we are.
I jest a little about the 'health' thing, and have never truly tested it but I am quite sure my heart rate suffers through violent ups and downs during a match, increasing significantly during moments when we need the Rs defence to simply t*** the ball out of the box. And in between matches I suspect Rs fans will be doing all sorts of things that could be construed as a little crazy such as repeatedly using the BBC Premier League Predictor assessing all possible combinations, watching or not watching MOTD depending on the result, actually supporting other teams in order to save our own, continuing our elaborate rituals and superstitions (lucky shaves, not washing clobber etc etc - see Home Sweet Home post), arguing with other fans on twitter about what's required to beat the drop thereby feeding an obsession that is likely to alienate our non-supporting friends from us further. Some of us have even started to think that Joey Barton using twitter was our very own version of Kryptonite and we were perhaps the other Kryptonians who were impacted by his pitiful display.
How wrong could we be? In today's Observer, Joey Barton has revealed plans to launch his own website. The link is already live although the full website is yet to follow on www.joeybarton.com. It seems the young man has now matured from just using 'twitter' where 140 characters is not always enough to make a point without 'being misconstrued', and feels this new site will allow people to interact more visibly (he says that on twitter 'beause of the sheer number of people it's sometimes difficult to see them'). But what exactly is he maturing into? It is obvious that Barton understands that for better or worse, he is a brand. From the perspective of building a 'website' he is also extremely fortunate in that he has an opinion on everything and therefore he will not lack for content. But the interesting part about his plans is that he expects that others will also want to interact with him and with other like-minded people on this site. He has recognised that over 1.3m people want to engage with him on twitter, and it seems that he believes that they will want to take it to another level on a site that is owned by him. I do wonder whether even the mighty Joey Barton will be able to compete against big media brands like twitter or facebook as a place for people to 'socially network' - in terms of functionality and in terms of reaching the critical mass required for it to work. He does say that this is not a money-making exercise and it will not sell advertising space but nor were twitter and facebook to begin with! So you wonder why he doesn't simply manage his social media portfolio more carefully - facebook, twitter and other social channels (some more niche than others) do allow brands and celebrities to interact with their fans in all kinds of ways. Has Barton recognised a gap in the market for a product which currently doesn't exist? Or is he simply fed up of not being able to control what people say to him? At the end of the day if he owns this 'website' he can ultimately have full moderating control. But I will be extremely impressed if this turns out to be something more sophisticated than a forum or a simple 'audience with Joey Barton' and his 'fans'.
So...life really does go on for Joey and for the rest of us off the pitch and away from the game.
As for me, I haven't watched the highlights or read any reports yet as I am afraid to hear what they have to say. I am hoping for a small miracle and that we only only need 4 more points to stay up. Unlikely. But could we do it with just one win and one draw, or even four draws...?
Supporting a football club is like a religion. And supporting QPR, well you'd have to be mad anyway, so what's just a few more rituals to keep us going until May 13th? Given what has been a poor team performance this season we do need a bit of silliness to lift us out of the mire.
Superman & Kryptonite (Action/DC Comics)