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!