It was a Saturday morning and the elderly man was getting ready to go, “Down the Rangers”. He had been retired for a while now and his wife had hoped that they might move abroad and see out their last few years together in a warmer climate. He wasn’t quite ready for that yet. He had been going to Loftus Road for more years than he cared to remember. His Father had taken him to his first game all those years ago. He had carried on the tradition by taking his sons then watching as they had taken their children, his grandchildren.
He thought back over all the years he had been going…as a young man, carefree and drinking with his mates in the pubs around the Bush before games. Then, later, as a married man, taking his youngsters. They would walk alongside him wearing scarves, rosettes and carrying those old wooden rattles. These days he usually attended alone but he knew that once inside he would see many familiar faces. He timed it so that he arrived at about 2.50pm. He usually paused outside for a few seconds, looked around and then hurried in. Today was no exception. As he entered, he immediately saw a few members of what he considered his second family…his QPR family. He walked along nodding a hello at some he recognized. He would stop with some and pass the time of day. There were a few he saw regularly who would not acknowledge anyone. They would just drift past him while staring at the ground.
He knew that in today’s world he was considered a dinosaur and if the truth be told, he didn’t have a problem with that. Hard work equalled reward, that’s what he had been taught and that’s what he had installed into his sons. So when he had heard the rumours about the Stadium being re-developed with ‘Hedge Fund’ money…well, they might as well be speaking in Swahili. He accepted that the Club would need to re-develop the site if they were to compete at the highest level, yet he loved the old Ground.
Glancing at his watch, he saw it was just about half time, 3.50pm, so he hurried to a kiosk and bought himself a hot drink. Turning away from the kiosk, he bumped into an old friend that he hadn’t seen for years. They greeted each other like two schoolboys. “What do you think of all this then ?” his friend asked as he swept his arm around. He paused before answering. “Well, they promised us a multi-million pound state-of-the-art facility, so I suppose we can’t complain, it’s not the same though is it ?” “You can say that again” answered his friend. They parted, both looking slightly embarrassed.
As the clock moved towards 4.45pm, he positioned himself in front of one of the TV’s mounted on a wall. He watched as the full time results started coming in, somehow it didn’t really mean so much these days. As the last few results came in, he turned and made for the exit, he could see quite a few fellow QPR doing the same. Outside, in South Africa Road, he crossed the road, then turned and leaned back against the outer wall of the White City Estate. He stared back at the building he had just left. It was a full time ritual he had observed for years, win, lose or draw. He had to admit that what he saw was a magnificent structure. It was state-of-the-art, a multi-million pound monument in today’s modern world. A sigh escaped from his lips, as his eyes fell upon the huge lettering emblazoned across the front of the skyline-dominating structure.
WELCOME TO TES-BURYS
THE WORLD’S FAVOURITE SUPERMARKET
(The above article first appeared in issue number 206 of ‘A Kick Up The R’s)