Monday, 20 May 2013

Cycles

Reading 0 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 0 Arsenal 1

Queens Park Rangers 1 Newcastle 2

Liverpool 1 Queens Park Rangers 0

I used to believe that life happened in cycles of three years. The thinking is that after three years of good fortune and happiness, things couldn't possibly continue in to a fourth year, so one deserved three years of bad luck and misery after that. After this period one would once again deserve happier times. It was a theory that an old flat mate of mine believed in and told me about. Both of us had not had the happiest of childhoods and had been through all a whole mill of complicated situations. And when we started our working lives in London, starting at the bottom of the corporate ladder and contributing most of our salary to the rent of our shared apartment life really did feel a little like a roller coaster - we weren't quite sure when we were going to get off or when things would just be like a simple carousel or a slow-moving Ferris wheel.

After what has to be the worst season I have ever experienced as a QPR fan, I couldn't help but wonder whether QPR had finally come to the end of its own cycle of good fortune. I remember saying when I had to move to Manila to take care of my dying mum in 2003, that if QPR had got promoted to the Championship from League 1, I would be celebrating so much you may find me paralytic on a pavement outside some pub after drinking copious amounts of alcohol in happiness. Only a year later we managed to get promoted and I didn't end up lying on the roadside as I had predicted (a fine one for words I am). However, it is hard to believe that  was nearly ten years ago and I could never have imagined what next happened to our club. Our trials and tribulations of that period are well documented. We even have a famous movie that tells the story of how we got back in to the Premier League - in this one, a cycle of four and not three years is epitomised.

And despite all that we have been through before, this season has truly been the most torturous. For most QPR fans it wasn't about the end result: the fact that we were relegated. For most QPR fans it was the manner in which we did get relegated that hurt so much. Where at the end of last season we could at least boast of a fine home form, this season it was a painful series of loss after loss after loss and many of us had to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and experience it all again the following week. Not only did we have to contend with poor play, but we had to contend with personality issues within the team - egos, splits and factions. All of this while the club continued to 'market' itself to a group of people who would only support the club so long as Park Ji Sung remained in it. What also saddened me about the last few months has been the way that QPR fans have been arguing and fighting amongst themselves (myself included). But, in fairness it is a natural reaction to a situation where we are all trying to understand why we are in such a mess, and where we need to find someone or something to blame.

When I started writing the blog, we were in a very different place. We weren't in a position that is much different to where we ended up -  in the lower dregs of the Premier League -  but I was much more full of hope and faith. I still liked Joey Barton and thought some of his views on things like homophobia in football, for example, would make him a wonderful ambassador for QPR. I felt that Fernandes was a great owner and that we were in good hands. But the last few transfer windows have made me extremely worried about the club's attitude, and in Harry Redknapp I am starting to see more marketing tactics (one week players lack motivation  the next they are of a low quality). I feel that we are still seeing, even after relegation, signs of a club that is trying to act bigger and cooler than it really is. The fact is, our biggest problem these past two seasons has simply been our bloated squad and the fact that we cannot make a bunch of supposedly great players function together as a decent unit. How to solve that problem however is perhaps not quite so simple, given that we have owners with such lofty ambitions that involve not just the game of football itself.

All in all, having Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun's money at QPR is probably still a good thing. And having Redknapp as a manager is probably our best chance of not being relegated again (yes, that's just how hopeful I am about next season). But much as we'd like to think we are kept informed of what's going on at QPR either by Fernandes and his tweets, Harry and his penchant for a bit of publicity and the club's supporters meetings, we haven't got a damn clue what's really going on in the background and we never will. We'd like to think it's our club to influence - and sometimes we will when it comes to easy things like club shirts for next season, or whether we get names on our seats. And I have to say I am getting a little bit fed up of fans feeling grateful because Fernandes has decided to buy one person a season ticket on a whim, or because season ticket prices are lowered to the level they should be. Admittedly, there is nothing wrong with these actions, but I do think we need to start to be a bit more savvy about our club's PR and marketing if we really believe we can influence it more.

Despite the season being so horrific, the past 9 months has brought much in the way of blossoming friendships. As life goes on and you get older, you don't always expect to meet new people that you click with so well. Let's be frank, one rarely gets to meet a QPR supporter, never mind someone you actually get on really well with. In my mind I am already piecing together this wonderful mosaic of people and places I've visited and smiling to myself at how lucky we are to be able to experience new things all the time through supporting this club. And I am talking not just about great people like Gemma, Annie and Ali, but people like that Addison Lee taxi driver who took me home safely after a business trip abroad, and the train manager on the 915 from Euston to Liverpool that moved all the QPR fans in to the first class carriage. This has been the most delightful thing for me this year and the irony is that I can blame QPR for all of it.

Before I wrote this blog, I asked my brother who has absolutely no interest in football at all (but more than a passing interest in QPR because of his relation to me), what I should write about given it's been such an awful season. He said 'why don't you write about the fact that it's just like life? Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's just really really bad.' He couldn't be more right. Nowadays, I don't think that life is about those three year cycles. I don't even think it's about Four Year Plans. Life, like QPR, just is what it is - and there are parts we can control and parts which we cannot.  But what I do think is that sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, sometimes it's really really bad, but you can also make it really really good if you try.



2 comments:

  1. Massive hugs...
    I've loved your blogs this season.

    It's been a painful season (well, 2 really) but the best part of it all, as you say, was meeting you lot.

    I honestly would have dispaired this season if it hadn't been for you guys and the friendships which have blossomed from the dust at the bottom of the table.

    Here's to us, QPR and Proud x
    Ali x

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  2. Good afternoon!

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    (contact me via kathryn.thompson35@gmail.com)

    ReplyDelete