Thursday, 17 May 2012

Space Mountain

Manchester City 3 Queens Park Rangers 2

At the end of my last blog post, I said you couldn't have made up our crazy season. And true to form, last Sunday's match delivered on that thought. Everything about the match represented all the highs and lows we have been through as a club: from the agony of a potential loss, to the ecstasy of salvation through the misfortune of another, through to the disappointment at the antics of a captain we just can't fathom. It really had to be us who played in the match that would define the most dramatic change in the history of the Premier League since it began. Some fans have argued that the passion with which we played the match was overshadowed by what was the media hype surrounding the immature and unwarranted behaviour of Joey Barton. However, regardless of his sending off and the controversy surrounding it the focus was always going to be on City's win. If we had won the match it may have been another story - papers would have been strewn with stories of City's inability to penetrate a QPR team that was already being compared by the 90th minute with Chelsea and how they had battled with Barcelona only a few weeks before. Forgive me if I dislike the comparison...but there it is. The final result meant we are now free, thankfully, from that comparison.

So, while we can't really make sense of how and why things happened the way they did this season, there was some consistency in our record of LWLWLWLWLWL for the last 11 games. This record is represents exactly what it's like to be a QPR supporter: it's a fr***** roller-coaster ride. And for me reminiscent of the feeling that I got when I rode Disney Land's Space Mountain (albeit much more prolonged and worse for my health).

When I rode Space Mountain for the first time, I was sat next to my 'wimpy' younger brother and it must have been over 25 years ago. And I vividly recall him saying his prayers while I revelled at the craziness and sang 'Upside Down' by Diana Ross throughout the ride. Perhaps it was the early stage of masochistic behaviour that was soon to be fed by an obsession with Queens Park Rangers FC.

And what an obsession it has proved to be. It has been a great season back in the Premier League, and as a fan a great experience writing this new blog and making new friends in my travels away as well as on twitter.

Writing the blog has brought me real joy, and made me feel somewhat 'rejuvinated' as a person. Call it corny, but has made me really proud to be here in London, supporting such a great club with such fantastic fans. Even as a wrote the post on the Stoke match from a hilltop in Boracay, Philippines I was missing home and imagining the atmosphere back at Loftus Road.

I booked the holiday in December, perhaps stupidly not thinking that we'd be fighting for survival right to the last day. And my flight arrived just around the half-way point of our final match. Usually the flights in to Heathrow delay themselves as we circle around London hoping for a time spot to land. But to my joy we landed 30 minutes early, and so when the pilot told the cabin crew to take their seats I made sure I grabbed my iphone ready to switch on twitter & Sky Go so I could catch up with the match quickly. 

From there it was a roller-coaster of a ride home. As I made my way to customs and immigration, I could feel the nerves of the #qprtwitfam as we were still 0-0 and Stoke were winning. But it wasn't long before Bolton fought back. And by that point having rushed through to pick up my suitcase, I could hear the Sky Go commentary telling me that City had scored. At half time, I was in this mad rush to get home as quickly as possible and perhaps catch some of the match...but not before picking up some food at M&S. Once I came out in to arrivals,  I rushed in to M&S, grabbed some chicken and then I heard it - Cisse had scored. And I screamed in excitement. People were staring at me in there like I was a loon. I suppose that if they had any interest in football they would not be hanging around at the airport M&S, but I didn't care. I ran up to meet the car that was picking me up. And lucky for me the lovely chap was excitedly listening to the football on the radio. Bless him, he was a Tottenham supporter and I have no idea why he was routing for the Rs, but he was. It was all so exciting, and when we heard about Barton being sent off, I just couldn't believe it...it sounded awful on the radio - and it was embarrassing. And then...the commentator said that 'Taarabt' was making a run down the left hand side and flicked the ball on to Mackie who scored that incredible goal. The guy turned round to me and said 'is Taarabt playing? I had no idea'. Having only just landed I wasn't sure who was in the team or on the bench..and only realised later that this was a mistake. It was screams and shouts in that car all the way down the A312, A40 and A406...and as I paid for my ride, around 90 minutes in to the match I knew that Bolton had only managed to draw and we were safe. As I came through the door in to my home, where my temporary flat mate was watching the game, I thought 'we're gonna do it' and win this one. We were going to cause one of the biggest upsets in Premier League history.

Well, the rest IS history.

And what a welcome home.  We could say that it's a shame that City's win overshadowed a fantastic performance by QPR. Or we could say it's a shame that Barton's antics overshadowed the football press in the following days. But then life would be utterly dull for us if we didn't have something to moan about or fight for, wouldn't it?

And so while I have proclaimed a hope for 'mid table mediocrity' next season, and admittedly looked at Swansea and Norwich with envy at times, there is a big part of me that hopes for another season of excitement. Call me nuts, but this stuff is addictive.

Thank you QPR for driving me crazy.

You Rssss.

Space Mountain (welcometosocal.com)



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