A few weeks ago, I put down in writing my feelings of disappointment at the way our season was turning out. Joey Barton did not seem to agree with my views and responded on Twitter to that effect. But far more importantly, to me at least, he responded on the field of play. And, along with his “resurrection” (to coin a phrase somewhat appropriate to Easter !), comes that of our beloved QPR.
QPR have, for a number of years, suffered one disaster after another and our promotion last year as Championship Champions hailed the start of a new era, or so we believed: the possibility of putting behind us stories of guns in the Boardroom or putting coins in buckets to help the Club buy a much-needed player to name but two events that are part of our recent past. But, as I pointed out in my previous article, and as all QPR fans will, I am sure, agree; promotion did not seem to lead away from the past, but looked like putting us right back into it !
Since the Bolton game, the team and the fans seem to have come to a better understanding. I know there was a great deal of booing at the Liverpool match – something I do not condone at all as I think that it is detrimental and against the actual definition of the term “supporter” ! However, at last, I sense a spirit, a togetherness between us all; we are all working for the same thing – to keep our beloved Club in the Premier League. We, as fans, have the luxury of sitting back and watching as we urge the players to victory with our vocal support (not our disapproval !). We have always been behind the team 100% both home and away and will continue to be behind the team whatever the rest of the season brings. The players have the hardest job – winning the matches that will keep us safe from relegation ! But I see the team all now playing with pride, with fight, with heart – all things which I highlighted as not being in evidence, in my opinion, after the Bolton game.
Now, there isn’t a single player in the team, whether he starts the game or comes on as a sub, who cannot claim the precious title of “man of the match”. Our team is one whole unit – working hard for each other with great success. I know we did not succeed at Sunderland and as for the Manchester United game – well, the less said about that the better – but only in terms of the officials’ performances; certainly not ours ! It has been our performances – since turning the match on its head against Liverpool – that have been a revelation. We seem to be peaking at just the right time and I hope that we can keep on fighting, tooth and nail, for every single available point. And if we do so, and still the unthinkable happens, we can all know that, at least and at last, we have given it our very best shot !
As a fan of many years, one of my biggest disappointments was seeing us lose our “Youth Academy” status. When Flavio Briatore bought the club, one of his (empty) promises was to redress this and restore our academy – I say “empty” because nothing was ever done about it (why am I not surprised ?!) However, our current Board said they would – and they have ! This has just recently been confirmed and the hard-working Steve Gallen expressed his delight and joy that our young boys will now be playing the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and other top academy teams. QPR used to have one of the best youth policies of all the top Clubs: once more, we are going to be able to build up our youth system and we will (hopefully) no longer have to lose those youth players, like Raheem Sterling, to the so-called bigger Clubs.
Our new Board is showing, by their actions, that they believe in the future of the Club. This, together with the turn-around in performances from the team which have given us renewed hope and belief that we can still be a Premier League Club next season; bodes well – at last – for QPR’s future. So maybe, at last, this season will bring the promises of the rosy future we all hoped it would.
And, for that, I would like to say thank you to Joey Barton ! He faced us bravely and, I believe, has seen (and heard !) how much we respect him for that. His performances against Arsenal and Swansea were superb – especially his accurate passing – and this has been capped by a terrific, vital goal to open the scoring against the Swans (and what a shame his effort late in the 2nd half didn’t go in – that would have made it difficult to choose between him and Buzsaky for goal of the game !) Thank you, Joey and all the players, and keep up the great work !
Sandy Lerman aka @sandyhoops (also known, on VitalQPR, as sandydl)