Rangers fan Paul Finney, who runs the independent supporters website: www.indyrs.co.uk talks to Gazette Sports editor Yann Tear about the need for the club to retain its valued traditions.
Our sudden change in financial status is both exciting and bewildering. Things like this don’t really happen to QPR. With us it’s one extreme to the other. One minute we’re close to folding and the next we’re the richest club in the world and I think it’s going to take a bit of time for the fans to adjust to that. At the moment we’re on a high because we’ve been saved, but let’s see where we are in six months or a year before we get too excited about it all. It’s important not to just throw money at things because that doesn’t really solve anything and QPR’s never been about that.
We need to hold on to our identity and our culture and to what’s always been the QPR tradition of good football and bringing players through the youth system. That’s more important than anything. We’ve always been the true footballing club of West London. When you see the blue and white hoops, you think of Rodney Marsh and Stan Bowles, you think of Roy Wegerle and Les Ferdinand – the people who’ve worn the shirt with distinction and we want that to continue. Our tradition is to bring our own players through but then sell them to survive. Now hopefully, we can bring our own players through and keep them.
How fantastic it would be to see a kid come to QPR at 13 and for the fans to see his progress. How great it would be to see him go on to play for his country while still being at QPR on a Saturday afternoon. That to me is what real success is. For now, I think the first success is the fact we are still around and the next rung on the ladder is getting a proper youth set-up. Waving the cash at Chelsea fans the other day was just a sign of relief. Don’t forget we were just minutes from extinction not so long ago. The money’s welcome and it’s brilliant and everyone should enjoy going on the journey because God knows when the bad days were here, we all went on that journey.
Whether we are prepared to move away from Loftus Road to realise our biggest dreams is the million dollar question. Loftus Road is our spiritual home but I suppose we’ve moved 13 times in our history. It all depends where we are as a club in the years ahead. All I would say is that if they ever think of moving, they work with the supporters so we all get what we all want. It’s about working together and not about them working and us following. What you don’t want is 40,000 people in a stadium who don’t know anything about QPR or what we’ve been through. What we want is the new fans to mix with the old fans and to keep the community spirit. We feel we are a very special club and that there’s none like it.
Only a few years ago, the fans raised money to buy a player for the football club. That’s how special these fans are and I can’t think of many others in the country who would do that. I would like to thank Mr (Flavio) Briatore and Mr (Bernie) Ecclestone for coming in to save QPR from all that. It’s important as fans that we recognise that these guys have stopped us from going out of business.