Sunday, 25 May 2014

Movies

Wigan Athletic 0 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Derby 0 Queens Park Rangers 1

I am sure I'm not the only one who goes through tough times and imagines that other people's lives seem to go a lot more smoothly. I am sure I'm not the only one who sometimes feels a little stuck in a rut, whilst others appear to be on a constant upward trajectory. I am sure that that I'm not the only one who sometimes feels as if nothing lucky ever happens to me, whilst others simply live 'jammy' lives. Sometimes it does feel as if life simply isn't fair. Well, I guess it really isn't.

When I started writing this blog we were in our first season back in the Premier League since we left it in the 90s. Warnock was on his way out, and although we had watched the Four Year Plan and thought we had seen it all, we had no idea what a tumultuous time lay ahead of us. It's all been said and documented: the roller-coaster that we went through at the end of that first season back, the anger that we felt with Barton for his behaviour at the Etihad and then the tortuous second season that saw us continue to bring in a truck load of outrageously undeserving footballers that had no love and no respect for our club. It all felt a little bit unfair. And, with a new season in the Championship and a much criticised team of 'Premier League' players and manager apparently not quite performing to the level they should be, with our one goal scorer out injured for nearly four months forcing us in to a play off position - it really couldn't have been more 'difficult'. To quote Clint Hill, us fans have been through the 'wringer'.

It's taken a while I think for our 'new' owners to understand what QPR is all about. And with his sore head today at the Loftus Road post-play off final celebration Tony Fernandes hit the nail on the head when he said what happened yesterday was like watching a movie, a last minute goal, against all odds, with only ten men. But Tony, it wasn't just yesterday that was a movie. For many, our whole QPR supporting lives have been just that: a quite incredible movie but not always one with a happy ending. Eleven years ago many of us experienced pain at the Millennium Stadium when Cardiff scored a winner in the final minutes of extra time. I don't remember much about the miserable journey home - probably because my mind has decided to erase the trauma. There are also several that experienced the heartbreak of our last visit to Wembley. I wasn't yet a QPR supporter and lived abroad then, but I hear from several people that we just didn't turn up. Alas, that would have made it even more heartbreaking for all the fans.

On the face of it, and with a poorly attempted objective eye, we did not deserve to win yesterday's match. Derby were all over us. From kick off to the final minute I felt like we just weren't good enough and all the criticisms laying at our door by others as well as our own fans, were justified. While I haven't yet got round to reading all the reports (I have spent far too much time celebrating and watching Zamora's goal again and again) I am hearing that the general view is that while it is the beauty of football that a team with 30% possession and only one shot on target wins a game, it is also extremely unfair on the better team on the day. All over the country people are feeling a sense of injustice. QPR simply did not deserve to win. On the other hand, if Derby did, then why didn't they? I will never ever forget standing next to my father in the match during the last ten minutes. He kept saying 'Emily, I think we're going to nick this one- I don't think Derby are going to score and if we can score it'll be now, and it has to happen now'. I couldn't help but think about the bigger picture in those last few minutes. My mother used to say I was such a philosopher and I philosophised to myself in those minutes thinking about how if you fight and fight and fight, maybe...just maybe something positive happens. I was thinking, how unfair life is, how you sometimes lose people along the way, and how it's sometimes a battle to hold your head up high. And if QPR could just get a break. If...

So, it was no surprise that when Zamora struck the ball it really did feel like I was in a slow motion movie and my heart had exploded completely. Tears started to stream down my face and I tried to stop myself knowing that there were a few minutes more left to play. It was an outrageous change in fortune but I wasn't crying because it felt lucky at all. I felt like after everything we had been through as fans, this was absolutely the result we deserved. And you know what, I felt like the team deserved it to - because they may not have been great, Derby were the better team in terms of pace and tactics, and maybe even skill. But Simpson, Hill, Dunne, Barton, Hoilett..all of them, they didn't give up. Bodies on the line, fight to the death. Stirring stuff. And the Independent called it larceny. But to me it was absolutely, no question, 100% fair.

After Zamora's goal - smiling through tears 


As I write my last blog post at the close of the season and the events of yesterday sink in I look forward to the rest of this lovely bank holiday weekend of replays and reports on our beloved club. I have in my mind that I also want to spend the summer months celebrating the wonderful experiences this season has brought in my life because of QPR. I continue to meet some amazing people who may live completely different lives to me and who I would never know except for the fact that football has brought them to me. People who are funny, kind, hard working and sometimes inspiring. Yesterday I was able to spend the day with my closest family and friends. And seeing my local pub in Willesden Green dressed up (as it bloomin' well should be!) in QPR colours and flags before and after the match was a site to behold. Singing songs together during the short 3 stop journey to Wembley was an event I may never be able to experience again in my life.

The tube journey to Wembley



I have also learned even more about the club itself- the people who run it, own it and those who do great things for the QPR in the Community Trust. I am sure many clubs have these things - but that does not mean that they have the same character and personality that we do. And I am very sure that what we have is unique to QPR. It will be extremely important for Tony, Din, Amit and Ruben to make sure they keep the ethos and values that are unique to QPR this time around in the Premier League. For me, this was the biggest mistake the last time across all three managers that we had. In the rush to try to 'make' a great team, it seemed that everyone at that level of the club forgot to remember what the club was all about and what really, truly mattered to the fans. Is it no surprise therefore that this year as the club refocused its behaviours and communications, the Tiger Feet walk raised eight times last year's amount? There's a long way to go before we stabilise but we are so very far away from where we were one year ago.

Yesterday, it was our time to have a movie with a happy ending. Talking to my friend Gem days before we both agreed that the Monday night game against Wigan was our final. Seeing the player huddle, and the fighting spirit of the team was everything we could have hoped for whether we won, lost or drew.  But to be given the gift of another win yesterday surpassed all expectations. And it felt like the end of a very long Hollywood biopic and not just a 90 minute documentary.

No, life isn't fair. But if it was always fair there would be nothing left to fight for and wouldn't life just be really boring for us all then. Tony, welcome to QPR and the QPR way.

Have a fantastic summer everyone. The BBQ tongs are coming out.

You RRRRRRSSSSSS

Love,
Emily














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