At last, Q.P.R. are back in the Premier League, and I was crying like a big baby at the thought. To explain, a few weeks previously when, if results all went our way, the possibility of us landing an automatic promotion spot was on, I decided to stop shaving until we were up with the big guns again. To be honest I’ve no idea why I did this; heck, looking back at what a complete wierdo I looked when I kept my tash well, it’s not worth thinking about. Anyway, let’s get this bit out of the way, I simply couldn’t celebrate properly until I knew what the old men in suits at the Football Association were going to do over our signing of Argentinean midfield maestro Alejandro Faurlin two years ago. It was a very strange place to be in.
I’m in a privileged situation where I’m a friend of our Chairman as well as a few others at the club, even one of our legal team in this case is an old ‘mucker’ of mine so I had a bit of an inside track. From day one, every single friend or contact had told me the same things, QPR are innocent, this is nothing like the Tevez saga, their is no way we will get a points deduction and generally to “not worry about it”. My mind should have been at rest but, due to horrendously ill-informed press and their speculation, media rent a quotes from people like ex FA big wig Mark Palios and the Football Association being as organised as well, Mark Palios was at organising the FA, I still had serious doubts about what was going on. So, when the announcement was made before our final game of the season that we would have no points deducted – I cried like a baby, with relief more than anything and then had a much needed shave!
Let’s put this to bed right now. QPR weren’t guilty of third party ownership – FACT. The FA are buffoons – FACT. Albeit your discerning readers probably knew both of those things. The way they handled the whole thing was utterly embarrassing.
All this meant that QPR are back in the top flight after fifteen, long, hard, stressful and at times, downright desperate years. Younger football fans probably don’t know that we used to be the top London club, regularly finishing above all our local rivals. They also probably don’t know that we used to make up a chunk of the England team at times either, from David Bardsley to Andy Sinton to QPR legend “Sir” Les Ferdinand himself. Chelsea aside (back when their real fans still had the heart and/or could afford to follow them) everyone loved “little” QPR – the only team in West London. Sky Sports commentators, could you please remember that – we are the only team in West London! Maybe just look up the stadium address for clarification? Nothing really irks us other than getting tagged “rich” and the regular occurrence of the media getting our stadium address wrong. Not a Chelsea game goes by without thousands of Rangers fans screaming at the TV “they aren’t in WEST London you idiots!” Anyway, rant over, the geography lesson is done, lets look at the “rich” tag.
We do have some of the richest owners in World football. However, the make up of the club is often not well publicised and neither is how much we’ve spent. The vast majority of our club is actually owned by Bernie Ecclestone, who is a Chelsea fan (so making us a Global football superpower isn’t really his priority). Laksmi Mittal, 6th richest man on the planet owns, I’m not sure, about the equivalent of our away end. And finally, Flavio Briatore now owns 5 seats, some light-bulbs and three of our corner flags. Chuck in the fact that Norwich City spent more than us last season and you’ll get the picture. We have rich owners, who don’t spend much at all.
It’s probably been done to death all the shenanigans at QPR, so rather than go over it all again. Let’s, in no particular order, do a little list: Relegation, Administration, Boardroom coups, The death of 2 players, Fighting the Chinese, Guns in boardrooms, High Court trials, Club mascot binned, Bullet proof vests, Vauxhall Motors, 392 managers and coaches, Pitch invasions, Dodgy loans from unknown companies, Dressing as clowns, employing clowns, Club crest changed, Inappropriate fire alarms, £50 match tickets, Mark Hateley – heck, the list goes on and on. Reminding myself of all those points really is depressing. Well actually, it would be if I hadn’t been walking around with a face smooth as a baby’s bottom, smiling from ear-to-ear for the last few weeks!
Both on and off the pitch QPR are at last ready to return to the greatest domestic football league on the planet. Our owners finally know how to run a football team professionally. It only took them 391 managers and booting one commercial idiot and we are back on track. They also employed a top manager and let him be the manager, with no interference from the powers above. That is how it should have been a long long time ago. Before Neil Warnock joined I always said he may be a “colin” but I’d like him to be our “colin”. How right the board were to appoint him. We have been the most entertaining team in the Championship from start to finish. Defensively, we’ve got the best record in the league. Combining flair and talent with such players as Adel Taraabt and Wayne Routledge, plus with knowledge and know how from experienced war horses like Sean Derry and Paddy Kenny. All these acquisitions have been nothing short of genius and have been crucial to our success.
Do we have enough quality to survive in the Premier League? Well, no, albeit I’d fancy us against Blackpool any day I have to say. We need to invest and we need to replace the deadwood, and I’m sure we will. We certainly won’t have a mass clear-out. It took us fifteen years to get back to the top tier of English football and there is no way we’re going to blow our return with silly, rushed decisions. Like I highlighted before, I believe the owners have the clubs best interests at heart and I trust them to make the right choices.
And finally, a message to any away supporters visiting Loftus Road next season – we haven’t invested in the away end since the 80’s so it’ll be like you were never away!
By Scott Jones – QPR fan – @ScottJonesy