Sunday, 12 April 2015

Soul searching

West Bromwich Albion 1 Queens Park Rangers 4

Aston Villa 3 Queens Park Rangers 3

Queens Park Rangers 0 Chelsea 1

I've been wondering about what separates the great teams from the good teams. And you could argue that today's result showed us the difference. One mistake on a windswept pitch and Chelsea bullied us in to a last minute goal. Up until that point I had spent 87 minutes believing that it's not always class and skill that wins the game, and sometimes, just sometimes it's belief and hard graft. But that's not football is it?  And if it were, perhaps we wouldn't have won that famous day at Wembley last year.

The last couple of weeks since the Everton match have made me feel differently about how we've been playing. I was away on holiday, and almost felt as if my absence was a catalyst for such fantastic results in the Midlands. After a really crazy-busy winter, I really needed to recharge the batteries and do a bit of soul-searching.  It's so easy to feel caged in when you are in a cycle, but time off to think, and the chance to listen to the Rs winning over the internet helped me to clear my thoughts. It was good to be back to my other home and open my eyes again to the wider world.

Like most QPR fans I felt that the results did bode well for today's derby- a match which we all take so seriously and for which 'new Chelsea fans' have not an ounce of understanding. It's all rather amusing how this team from the swamp came from nothing to something when huge swathes of money were pumped in to it by Abramovich. And their fans laugh at how much we consider it a huge rivalry even though it is absolutely the purest definition of a derby being separated by 3 miles. I think there are many millionaires and billionaires that have come in to the football ' business' and thought that throwing money would fashion a great team in the same way that it happened for Chelsea. We've been guilty of it to an extent, and failed massively (as is well documented). Frankly I don't know enough about Chelsea's set up to know what, other than money, has brought them success but I do think that within this world there truly is a higher tier of investment which simply isn't within the reaches of our little old club, or most others for that matter. And the handful of clubs that can afford it, ultimately succeed.

Outside of money, it's easy to think that the path to success in life is strewn with amazing epiphanies, a clear plan of action and positive thinking. When we look at people, companies and teams that do well, we don't always hear about the long hard slog, the zig zagged road that they've taken, the set backs and the angst. And sometimes they don't tell you about the times when they felt like they simply couldn't go on and considered jumping off a building or just giving it all up completely.

Sometimes when you are on that journey too, you see things you never thought you'd see, or you act like this person you never thought you would. If you don't take care of yourself it is easy to turn in on yourself and be blinded by the inevitable negativity. But most of us make it, survive, and redefine for ourselves and in our own way, what success truly means for us. Ultimately, success isn't the same for everyone.

Perhaps that is where QPR is right now? While losing this way is hard to take, it's continues to be part of that process I wrote about last time. I have a great feeling about Chris Ramsay and his attitude. And a great feeling about what Barton often calls the strong 'nucleus' of the team which no longer feels like its been selected via Tombola. I'd like to think that the club is starting to define success for itself on its own terms, but that's just what I'm feeling and hoping- the evidence will ultimately play out over the coming months. To be honest, if I take a step back from the results, the fight for survival, or the potential to go back down, I'm really okay with the team just taking a few deep breaths and doing a little soul-searching if it means I can continue to feel proud of our team the way I am today.

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