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?

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