Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Emily's Top Moments of 2014

Everton 3 Queens Park Rangers 1

Queens Park Rangers 3 WBA 2

Arsenal 2 Queens Park Rangers 1

Queens Park Rangers 0 Crystal Palace 0

This year has been a strange year for QPR supporters. Most of us have felt that for the most part we haven't performed at our best, and yet we made it in to the Premiership in May, and sit 15th in the table as we close the year off. When you look at it that way, everything, it would seem, is going to plan- even though some would argue otherwise. For who cares if one is achieving if one doesn't aim for the very highest?

But rather than agonise over the whys and wherefores, here's a list of my top moments of 2014 to bring some joy during this festive time.

#5 Barnsley vs QPR and my search for Niko

At this stage we were already assured of a playoff place, so Barnsley away was an odd game to go to with nothing to play for against an already relegated team. I chose this as one of my top 5 moments because it was a wonderful day out with friends- Steve, Ben and co.. Whilst I believe that Doncaster does house one of the best fish n' chips places I've been to, Barnsley's local chippy - a ten minute walk away from the ground also serves some of the most superb fish n' chips I've ever had. I will also remember this game for my mischievous search for Niko. My friend Gary had given me a copy of the book 'Footballers Haircuts' which I was holding on to for most of the season. He gave it to me because he had noticed that Niko Kranjcar had his own copy and I was desperate to have it signed by him. I had waited for Niko before and after matches at home and away several times to have it signed, but had failed on every occasion, by either being too early or too late, or waiting at the wrong exit. At Barnsley, I tried to find the players' entrance/exit after the game and walked around the whole ground. I ended up inadvertently in front of the security barrier and right behind the team bus. I felt like a right mug and ran as quick as I could to safety to avoid being busted as a freaky stalker. It did make me think though that we're pretty good at Loftus Road at allowing fans access to players without much fuss. At Barnsley of all places- it was impossible to get anywhere close to the players unless you did what I did...

Despite my lack of success (I eventually got my signed book this season!), I did get a wonderful gift from Mr/Captain Shouty of Niko's actual shirt that he wore on the day. Sadly, it had already been washed once I received it but a few mud stains remain and I have worn it to bed a couple of times. Thank you Mr Shouty! (not a stalker promise!).

#4 Charlie Austin's first QPR hat-trick (vs WBA)

It was only a matter of time before Charlie would score a hat-trick, and what a time to do it coming up to the half way point of the season in the Premier League. He is really on fire and continues to be one of my favourite players - apart from the obvious goal-scoring record he has a great attitude and is a team player. It's just great to see his name up there, miles away from any other English player in the PL. I truly hope this is only the beginning of our love affair with this great striker.

#3 QPR vs Nottingham Forest: 5-2 win

We still haven't broken our record for playing away at Forest (unbelievable that we've never won there), but this goals-galore of a game was great fun and a rare occasion for QPR fans having lived through several single-goal games in during the 2013-2014 season. This was also one of my favourite games because old friends had joined me that day who I had not seen for many years. In addition, we presented a very large cheque to the Tiger Cubs for the Tiger Feet Walk to Charlton.

Presenting the Tiger Cubs cheque before the match

After a goalless draw away I don't think any of us doubted this game was going to be action-packed. The club had done well to generate lots of excitement and it was a great idea to have us all holding up blue and white sheets as the team entered the pitch. It was everything a playoff semi-final should be - it had teeming rain, goals, extra time and plenty of spirit (thank you Steve Black). We also reached a point where many could achieve their long-awaited dream of running on to the pitch with very little risk of arrest whilst those in the upper tiers tutted away...

#1 Derby vs QPR Playoff final at Wembley

It is no surprise that this is my favourite moment of 2014. The Bobster will be forever remembered on fans' hearts and I will never forget how my step mum went to the loo in the dying minutes to miss the goal, and how my Dad was convinced we'd score a last-minute winner. I'll never forget how my local in Willesden Green became a QPR pub for a day, and how the song 'Happy' kept skipping as we celebrated our amazing win at Wembley. I'll never forget how expensive the beer was, and how long it took to get to the tube station after the match. Many people, including QPR fans believe it was an undeserved win but I will always beg to differ. Goals win games and we scored the only one. I'll take that win proudly in exchange for all the other terrible stuff we've had to go through in the past.

As we look forward to a tough home fixture against Swansea on New Year's Day, here's a big thank you to friends for making this a fun year. And a no-thanks to the anti selfie-stick xenophobic boo-boys and the Harry/Fernandes out conspiracy theorists. Let's all step back a little and look at the bigger picture and remember the good times QPR has given us.

On that note, I'd like to offer quiet prayer for Air Asia and the passengers of QZ8501. If we truly are a QPR family, now is the time to show it.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Five Things

Swansea 2 Queens Park Rangers 0

Queens Park Rangers 2 Burnley 0

It's getting to that time of year where I can no longer feel my fingers when I'm walking outside and where I wear my extremely 'sexy' thick socks in bed. Home comforts become ever more appealing as deep winter sets in. It's also one of my favourite times of the year for football, as it is for so many - there is more time to spend with friends and family, with so much action to absorb.

The last few weeks have been an interesting study in human psychology. We've continued a pretty decent run of form at home, with disastrous away results which naturally means we become slightly schizophrenic. It's a meltdown one day and elation the next, with several who just continue to moan as is their habit regardless of the result, and somewhere in the background a few conspiracy theorists who believe dark forces have always been behind the club condemning us to eternal damnation. Wouldn't it be boring though if we didn't have such a melee of opinions?

I'd like to think I sit on the more positive side of opinion, and perhaps that's simply because I just don't need football to make me depressed - surely we've all got enough on our plates to want to make things even more complicated? I do realise it isn't always easy, since we are all so passionate about football and about our club. I also appreciate that the Christmas season isn't always the most happy of seasons for many (ironically), and so I've compiled what I hope is a helpful list of five things to do to cheer you up or keep yourself busy, whether QPR win or lose each of the five games we've got between now and New Year's Day.

1. Wear a Christmas jumper

A simple but effective strategy for bringing Christmas joy and laughter to yourself and others by making yourself look as silly as possible. The QPR club shop has a QPR version of this which I think is fantastic value for money as it kills two birds with one stone. I have been reliably informed by retail specialist @gemcricketmad that the Christmas stock this year is the same as 2013, so some may be disappointed with the lack of imagination. But I'll still be wearing mine to Arsenal away on Boxing Day.  And don't forget, the 12th December is also Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children- so get wearing and get donating for a worthy cause.

QPR's Christmas Jumper, on sale at the club shop

2. Lie back and think of Charlie

Okay, I don't really mean it in 'that' way, but what I do mean is that while we've had some disappointing results, we MUST revel in the joy that is our very own very real striker. Something that we have not had for a very very long time. Can I say very again? Probably, as Charlie is not only a very great player, but he is also a very very nice person. A little shy, but we like our players to be more humble than obtuse. And so far every time I or any one else I know have met him, he has been very simply very friendly.

3. Start a petition against EA Games

I'm not a gamer. I think the last computer game I got addicted to was Tetris on the Sega Megadrive during my GCSEs. However, it is my understanding that FIFA is a huge game, and therefore must have pretty high production standards. I saw the QPR video with EA Games when they came in to scan Ned, Rob and SWP...I thought the likeness achieved was amazing! I heard that Niko was not there when the scans were done, but I am nonetheless stunned by the alternative option and artist impression (see below my tweet to EA Games). Who is the man on the left and why is he wearing a QPR shirt? I am at best offended, and at worst, horrified. I have a feeling this picture of Teen Wolf 2 was drawn by an envious male but cannot be sure. Anyone else interested in launching something on change.org?

4. Enjoy others have a meltdown

Ever since Manchester Utd stopped being 'top dog', the league has actually become rather interesting. It would be fair to say that it's still the same 6/7 clubs that hover at the top, with the rest struggling at the bottom. But, within the 6/7 there's lots of movement and no one is quite sure what will happen. So let's revel in the uncertainty of others. I mean, we think we have a meltdown when we lose but check out Arsenal fan Claude's meltdown after losing away to Stoke. Evil I know, but so so so funny.

5. Watch QPR Tunnel Cam

As discussed yesterday at the White Horse I do wonder whether the audience for the exquisitely put together Tunnel Cam is predominantly women. After all, during warmer months it is an opportunity to see a few tops whipped off, and for some close-ups of Niko and Charlie. To be fair though- there may be plenty of men with man-crushes...and to be really really fair, I do think Tunnel Cam brings you just about the right amount of behind-the-scenes access to bring you the magic of football without being too obtrusive and still leaving an air of mystery. Now at ten minutes long, you get to see the team sheet exchange, the players give each other instructions (like Niko saying to Barton 'don't go beyond me like you would if I was playing on the left'), fancy food being carried in to the dressing room post-match and Steve Black greeting all the players. And the good news is, it's only done when we have a good draw or a win, so there's never really anything to be to upset about.

So I hope you find some of these activities enjoyable, and wish you all a lovely week as we celebrate another great home win.

You RRRssss