My opening post on this site was: ‚Äúare there any Irish R’s on here ?‚Äù
It led to me leaving my house in Waterford at 4.30am for the one hour drive to Wexford to meet the rest of the South East brotherhood. My Waterford comrade Tramorehoop decided to take the 36hr round trip on the ferry, the nutter ! We were meeting him over there.
I picked up the fishman en route and arrived at corkeR’s house. A coffee and a slice of banana bread later and we jumped into his car (because it’s nicer than mine !) Then a short spin to collect cork-a-hoop and off to Dublin airport we went. Considering the ridiculous time of the morning it was, the journey was anything but subdued. This was Brian’s first trip to Loftus Road despite following Rangers ever since the mercurial Stan Bowles was lighting up W12. The jokes and abuse made the 90 minutes fly by.
Waiting for us at the airport were season ticket holders Finglas and his nephew Nathan. I’d only met them once before at the Alan McDonald match in Belfast, but we’d talked so much about this trip that he already felt like an old friend. The two corkys and Brian hit the sauce straight away. E6.50 for a bottle of Miller ?!? Fuck that !!! Two other unknown R’s were there too, but they rushed off and we never got to hear their story.
My cousin picked us up from the airport, himself a lifelong supporter and the one who made sure I stayed a fan because he used to send me over programmes and shirts when I moved over here when I was 8 in 1981. He dropped us off at the hotel to dump our bags and then outside the ground. He was going to drop his car home and meet us later.
It’d be a long time since I was in South Africa Road (a 1-1 draw with Luton in March 2004 to be exact). A few purchases in the club shop and off we went to the Crown and Sceptre. I was starting to get a few butterflies. You know what it’s like, you arrange to meet a few lads in the pub and no-one shows up. Would this be the same ? The answer was no !
In we went and straight away we saw QPRNUTS and RangerCol and his son at the table that Mortlakeranger had reserved for us (massive thanks for that bud). Nutso being a Bolger had a pint in his hand already. He helped me put up the flag and we declared that this little part of West London was officially Irish !
The pub quickly filled up and every time I saw someone come in the question was asked ‚Äúis that one of ours ?‚Äù Before long we had Kingdomhoop and his grandson Roller (who I give most of the credit for this meet-up because of his amazing piece: ‘This World of R’s’, without that I don’t think we’d have been so enthusiastic about getting this together). Tramore got there safely, Tooting, Dublindave, Finglas and Nathan, Goldie, Belfast, 999’s, the legend that is Brix ! HoopsEternal, all had made their way over and this little gathering was getting quite big.
It was a struggle to try and talk to everyone. There were handshakes all round to as many people as possible.¬† For me it kind of becomes a blur as more and more people came in. Steve Russell, Paul Finney, Alan Nolan and his son plus Jimmy Murray, from the Indy R’s site came in as well as Irish Senator Fiach MacConghail whom I’ve spoken to several times on Twitter. The place was buzzing ! So much positive energy, we couldn’t possibly lose, yeah well….
It really was great to meet so many people. I had made this an open invitation and not limited to the not606 forum because Queen’s Park Rangers as a club has so many demographics that call it their own. From company directors to steel workers, we all had one thing in common. We are all passionate about the club. The main thing I heard was: ‚ÄúI never realised there were so many QPR fans in Ireland !‚Äù and also: ‚ÄúI thought I was the only one !‚Äù
What seemed like seconds passed before we had to set off for the ground. I bought the match day programme to see a tiny pic of the Irish R’s in it. Fame at last !!! I got goosebumps climbing the old concrete stairs to our seats. One thing that hasn’t changed is the seats. I couldn’t fit in them 8 years ago and I still can’t ! Build that new stadium Tony !!!
That’s where I am going to end this and we all know how the game went !
Before I do a quick thank you to all the people that travelled over for this, for a first time effort I think it didn’t turn out that bad. The next one will be better. My apologies to those I didn’t meet or whose name I’ve forgotten to mention. 9’s sent me some great pics that I’ll post up later.
That was my Irish experience…roll on the next one !