Sunday, 2 March 2014

What it takes

Charlton Athletic 1 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 1 Leeds Utd 1

Tiger Cubs current running total: £15,206.66

As we enter the final stretch of the season, and QPR's run of poor results continues, my feelings are a paradoxical mixture of relief and fear. Relief because our shot at automatic promotion is likely gone and in theory it's now time to enjoy the football. Fear because if we do actually make the playoffs I am foreseeing a stressful period and heartbreak whether it's away to Forest in the first round, or a final at Wembley. I have a feeling that this is typical of most QPR fans, but I am not sure.

I am still bitter about our spate of injuries from some of our best players. And even those who might not be our best but provide some creativity: BAE, and Kranjcar for example are allegedly out due to aggravated injuries through training...It feels like all the luck is against us sometimes and at lunch post-match yesterday a friend and I had evil thoughts about breaking Burnley players' legs. How can I have stooped so low?

The manager and coaches must have moments where they feel just this. And while they cannot say it outwardly, perhaps Harry's recent short and rather depressing press conferences confirm it. A good manager, however, gets on with it. There is a job to be done, and 'you gotta do what you gotta do' with what you've been given. And if that means starting again with a set of players many of which fans barely recognise or know I guess - so be it.

Last week about forty people (including myself) took a 15 mile walk straight across London from West to East; from Loftus Road to the Valley to raise money for the QPR Tiger Cubs (QPR's team for children with Down Syndrome).  I was made aware of the QPR Community Trust project last year when I saw some of the tweets about the walk to Arsenal and I was surprised at how little was raised (looking at last year's fundraising page it reads at £2567.50) knowing that many QPR fans would love to donate if they had only known.

When I saw the announcement go up looking for walkers I felt it was right to try to help raise more money if I could, and there were many other newbies like me who joined in the challenge. I nagged friends and family, colleagues at work and baked biscuits (thanks Betty Crocker), as did many others. It felt as if our media team made a much bigger effort this year to seed out details of the walk and the fundraising for some weeks in the run up - getting players to talk about it on TV and ex players like Les Ferdinand donating. On the day itself I must say I was not prepared for just how tough the walk would be. I may have done a couple of triathlons and a few 10ks but walking almost solidly for 6 hours was one of my toughest challenges to date. The last two miles were painful to say the least, but with the kids having joined us at the Cutty Sark and football at the other end I had to focus my mind on making it to the end! 15 miles is a 'helluva' long way!

Would it also be fair to say that a season is a 'helluva' long time? Don't they always say life in the Champ is a marathon and not a sprint, and anything can happen in between the beginning and the end? Ever since we lost Charlie Austin I've been seeing balls miss the net where once he would have popped them in. And there is that little bit of sorrow in my heart. But as of the end of yesterday's match we are hearing that Simpson could be back within a week and Charlie in 4-6. Barton will also return from suspension of course -which will make a difference at Birmingham. But it's less about clutching at promotion straws now and more about having some of our first choice people back and enjoying watching them play. Right now it feels a little like those last two miles of Tiger Feet 5 where I'm not sure I can make it with the leading pack, but frankly I'll be glad to finish in one piece.

Promotion, playoffs, up or down, for me these last few weeks have been about discovering more of the positive things that QPR does in the community which I think we sometimes forget about. In our world raising money for charity is a full time business and you have to have a thick skin and still remain positive. You simply have to do what it takes to raise what you can.

A big thank you goes to Andy Watkins and Fiona Hodgson as well as Ian (the lead walker) for all their hard work, and to all the Tiger Feet walkers who made me feel welcome.

Please watch the video below to find out more, and donate here if you haven't already Tiger Cubs

Video by Nick Reinis

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