Monday, 16 September 2013

Treasure

Queens Park Rangers 0 Swindon Town 2 (Capital One Cup)

Leeds 0 Queens Park Rangers 1

Queens Park Rangers 1 Birmingham 0

#rbgf

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for the lack of blog posts these past few weeks. Work and family commitments left me with so few hours in the day to be able to report on my trip to Leeds. I hope it suffices to say that it was great to be back up north and spend time with QPR friends Gary & Robbie. It was made even better by a fantastic win at a very intimidating ground. 

I should be back on, in the usual form in the coming days, and look forward to another evening game this Wednesday. There is so much to talk about, but of all the topics I'm excited about a very interesting campaign that Barton is championing in support of Stonewall, the charity that works towards equality for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. I'll be looking at whether this campaign could be the tipping point in the history of gay football players, or whether it's just another failed attempt in an archaic football world. 

However, first up this week I'd like to welcome back my best QPR friend @gemcricketmad who has written a little piece on her experience of  Birmingham game which I begged her to do. Gemma often visits Loftus Road with her son, and I was hoping for a piece that captured how special the experience is. I was not disappointed. I hope you enjoy, and You RRRRssssss

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There are 2 types of Saturday afternoons at QPR for me. Those with my 7 year old Rs fan in tow and those without. The latter usually end up in a far too late night, a never-ending lecture on my return about my alcohol consumption and Sunday being a long and total write off. The QPR Birmingham game fortunately, was the former and it got me thinking. What does going to QPR mean to little H? (I'll call him that for the benefit of this blog because it stands for his name but also for hooligan which at times I worry I am creating.)

He asked me at bedtime last week "Mummy, why are you so obsessed with QPR?" I struggled to answer and so said "do you mind that I am?" He grinned, laughed and said  "no, but can we go to the shop before the game on Saturday?"

Now for anyone who knows my son, he is obsessed with shopping and collecting and QPR provides him with the perfect platform to indulge in both these passions endlessly. Before we had even got to the turnstiles on Saturday, I was poorer thanks to one programme (for the collection) one gold badge (for the new, lucky "we'll win now" badge collection) and one QPR jacket, complete with hidden hood ("in case it rains during the game"). We are both good at finding excuses to shop.

As I had tucked him into bed on Friday night, I asked him what two things he was most looking forward to about getting back to Loftus Road (this was to be his first game of the season) and he said without thinking "Goals" and "The Springbok". I was worried by this answer on both fronts; AJ likely to be out and only having Austin to rely on (Little H has Austin on his new shirt and the same football boots so huge pressure) left me with the deep seated worry that there might not be any goals;  and The Springbok....... Yes, well, I am successfully but worryingly turning my son into a child who aged 7 begs to go on pub crawls - how irresponsible a mother am I? Actually don't answer that. But I must confess that our afternoons together are pretty sacred he and I time and I think that the fact QPR gives us that great excuse, makes us love it all even more.

So onto the game. The 1st half was a scrappy and tense affair, typical of the tough and relentless type of Championship football we are quickly readjusting to. The midfield were all over the place, we didn't look like scoring and Bobby..... well Bobby was on the pitch and only thanks to the Dunne wall of Loftus Road, Greeno and our crossbar, did we slope in at half time without being at least a goal down. So how did little H feel the first half had gone? "Great" he said "it was all great". Now I must add at this point for those who don't know me, that I come from a split family. I have an 11 year old Gooner son #fail, who is a walking talking stat man. He watches every ball of a game and can tell you anything you need to know about any match he has ever watched on TV or at a ground. His younger brother however, well lets just say, I was relieved 10 minutes in when I asked him which end we were shooting at and he actually knew. For Little H, a good first half at QPR consists of a large pack of Percy pigs, a drink of something fizzy and the promise of crisps or chocolate at half time (this explains his 3am visit to my bedside following the game to tell me he was feeling sick). 

So after a quick half time pint (mine obviously) it was onto a thankfully very different 2nd half, minus the Bob but with the addition of SWP and a shift in formation. Now I have a chequered past when it comes to missing goals around half time (other son missed 2 of the 4 England goals against Moldova)  but someone was smiling on us yesterday. As we walked towards our seat and play was well under-way, we were just in time (phew) to watch Charlie push the ball over the line - cue absolute delight from him and us all. And so the game continued in an entirely different manner to the 1st half. Joey (deep breath) played well again but saved me from a fate worse than death by not quite scoring with his mid air bicycle kick. We defended well - the lovely Ned not putting a foot wrong, midfield pace was good and generally we looked like we believed we could win the game. The moment Austin hit the deck looking injured was my most worrying, given our distinct lack of alternatives.

A highlight for Little H was the throwing of the blue smoke bomb by a Midlands fan and the pause in the game (son is also obsessed with bombs, smoke machines and rebellious behaviour) and was desperate to know how the smoke was emitted, where could he buy one, how had it been smuggled into the ground and what would happen to the man who did it.......

We chatted on intermittently - he believed he had seen at least 40 QPR goals live (if it's 20 he'd be lucky) and he seems to have erased the last 2 seasons from his memory (aside from beating Chelsea) talking nostalgically about the year we were promoted (he's forgotten we lost that Leeds game too). I am convinced he is creating many of our games out of his imagination, but actually that is no bad thing. The last 10 minutes of the game was spent with me arguing that just because we were winning, did not mean he was allowed to invade the pitch at the end; that I explained, we would save for our promotion.

So I won't bore you with the pints at the pub after (of which there were too few due to me being on mummy duty) but I must just share little  H's comment on the final whistle as he jumped up and down cheering "Mummy, now we've won, does that mean you'll take me to three pubs to celebrate?"
Secretly, I was proud. Job done.


Sneaky trip back to the pitch side after the game complete with new shiny badge and jacket (purchases)

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