Memories of QPR winning the Championship Play-Off Final: Part Three – Belgrade to Wembley

For Easter holiday, Rangers played away in Leicester and at home to Watford. Injury to Charlie Austin and run of bad results took Rangers out of automatic promotion spots, so these two games were just some kind of warm-up for play-offs.

I went to Leicester alone, by train. Due to rail maintenance, I travelled only to Bedford and after that by bus to Leicester. Over four hours in one way and then four hours back. Due to early kick-off, I had to get up at 5am to be sure not to miss the train.

Rangers put in a poor performance, Assou-Ekotto was sent off and we lost 1-0. Watford game was on Monday, I went there with Pedja, he got his first R’s shirt and enjoyed unique atmosphere of Loftus Road. Before and after the match we went to ‘The Green’ pub, place which I always visit when I go to Loftus Road.

Charlie Austin scored the winner in injury time, we secured our place in the play-offs and I immediately started to think about new visit to London. Watching QPR at Wembley has always been my dream so when I came back to Belgrade I booked my flight for last week of May. My father did the same thing many years ago, but Red Star never reached Wembley.

I was sure that R’s will do this, and they’ve done it. Second-leg against Wigan was so difficult to watch, we were on the brink of elimination, but Charlie scored from the penalty and was another goal in extra time.

R’s reach Wembley after so many years and my dream comes true. Nearly- I needed ticket for the game and it was a difficult task to get one. As I’ve already booked my flight and organised all the trip, I was ready even to go on black market, find a tout and pay any price. I simply had to be there. But my friend Steve Russell helped me to sort out a ticket and everything was arranged for an unforgettable Saturday afternoon.

I still remember every detail. My friend Sandra (we are friends from school days, she lives in London, great girl, love you Sandra!) prepared breakfast and coffee for me. I put on my retro Guinness QPR shirt, went to New Southgate station and caught a train to Kings Cross. From there, I went by tube to Wembley. Kings Cross was full of Derby fans in a black and white sea. I was the only one in blue and white, I was so proud.

Before the game I went to meet Steve, Kevin and some other friends in Preston Road pub. We had a few pints and I got from Steve an Alec Stock badge. If Rangers ever put a statue in front of their new ground it should be statue of this great man who transformed QPR to a big club.

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I met many R’s fans in the pub, time passed very quickly and one hour prior to the kick-off we went to Preston Road station where we took tube to Wembley Park. And when I left Wembley Park I was on the famous Wembley Way with thousands and thousands of Rangers fans in front of me. What an amazing picture! And I was there to witness one of the most memorable days in the R’s history!

Wembley is a great stadium. I was there once before to watch FA Vase Cup Final, but with Rangers it was a totally different experience. Our fans were in great voice, never seen so many of them at the one place. The match was, as expected, very cautious, a bit dull, place in the best football league was at stake. I think we were slightly better in the first-half, but it finished 0-0.

At the half-time, I had a strange feeling that we will nick it at the end of the game. Zamora and Charlie Austin were in superb form, I really had that feeling. My mum and girlfriend watched the game at home in Belgrade, dressed in QPR shirts and many friends sent me SMS messages during the game. They all cheered for Rangers.

Second-half Rangers started brightly, but soon were reduced to ten men. My God, seconds were long like minutes, we defended like hell – it seemed that it’s only matter of time when we will concede. Derby missed chance after chance, Rangers fans were in great voice and sent a huge amount of energy to our team to survive the pressure.

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And then, in last minute of the game, Hoilett made a run down the right wing, somehow crossed the ball in Derby box, poor clearing, Zamora was there and booom, ball is in the net!!! Total madness around me, coins and keys went out of my pockets, what a goal, what a bloody finish!!!

I’ve watched some big games in my life, especially as a kid when Red Star was a big European club, but I think that I’ve never experienced such a joy like this Saturday afternoon.

After the game, I went back to the Preston Road pub for a few more pints. All you could hear was ‘Whoa Bobby Zamoooraaaa’! This chant still rings in my ears.

Now I’m in Belgrade and at least once per day I watch this goal. My Rangers flag from Wembley has a special place in my room and I already make plans for next season. I’ll be able to tell my kids one day that I was there when Zamora scored!

Come on UR’ssssss!!!

Misa – QPR Serbia