Some familiar old faces & a couple of familiar looking shirts appeared up at Google UK HQ on Tuesday 30 June. There was definitely a feel of ‘our’ QPR coming back but, much like the blue panel on the back of the new home shirt which has since sparked debate on social media, there may be a few other things on the horizon not to our taste before the club’s fortunes take a turn for the better.
First of all, a big thanks must go to Indy R’s very own Steve Sayce for asking me to go along on behalf of the website. As Steve & my other QPR friends will know, I’m a bit of a QPR shirt geek (have quite a few collected from over the years). Having never been to something like this before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect & had watched with interest the media build up from the club leading up to the event. I made my way through a balmy London Tuesday evening over to Google UK HQ – a 10 storey building of which Google have around five floors. After a short wait in reception, we were escorted up to the room where the launch was being held, up on the 9th floor.
The last minute preparations were being made as I arrived, I recognized various media staff & local press milling around. There was a nice buffet & assortment of drinks, both alcoholic & soft drinks (no cider for Finney though!) Around about half 6, we were asked to take our seats as the club wanted to do a pre-launch ‘warm up’ feature. This consisted of Paul Morrissey conducting an informal Q & A with Les Ferdinand, Andy Sinton & Chris Ramsey.
All spoke well, Les talked briefly about how the summer transfer activity was going. He made a point of how the club are putting their foot down on dealing with agents & high money demands. Les also said that there were some deals for incoming players near to being finalized as well as some players departing.
Andy spoke about his new role, which pretty much seemed to be him being involved in just about everything! He spoke with enthusiasm at new role and personally I’m glad to see somebody of his character being involved with the club – a new role plus a first for the club and I wish him well.
Chris Ramsey spoke about plans for the new season ahead and working on new formations, he seemed keen to stress that he wanted the fans to be entertained and I noticed over the course of the evening that he made time to talk to people there, especially the fans.
This part of the evening concluded at about 6.55pm so there was enough time to quickly use the loo/grab a drink or food. Upon using the toilet, as I returned to my seat along the corridor, the players walked past for the Reveal albeit covered up! No shirt details so I was unable to get an exclusive!
The Reveal started pretty much on time. I would say there was seating there for around 60-70 people – a split of press ect. and other fans but noticed quite a few empty seats dotted about. I would imagine many of you saw the event live so I won’t go into too much detail on that or what I think about the kits, that’s another topic completely! One-by-one each kit was revealed including a young lad who was a competition winner modelling the goalkeeper strip! Each player chatted, all seemed relaxed & Jamie Mackie was probably a little too candid on his view on the home kits for the club’s liking but his comments certainly went down well between the fans! As the Reveal transmission concluded, Chris Ramsey then came back onto the platform & thanked everyone for coming – then revealed as a gesture of appreciation for the fans who had come along to support the event, there was a free home shirt for us to collect. This was an unexpected gesture but greatly appreciated, I really felt the club made real effort with the fans there throughout the evening to engage with them.
Those of us who wanted a shirt joined a small queue & it was a ‘first come, first served’ basis on sizes (although there was also an option to receive a voucher instead if you wished to go to the club shop & try on a shirt). I ‘gambled’ & took a Large size (it later fitted quite nicely). The players & staff at this point were mingling with the crowd and were happily posing for photos & signing autographs for fans.
I was happy to first chat with the returning Jamie Mackie for a good 10 minutes or so. He seemed like a very nice, down to earth guy who certainly chats how he plays – very enthusiastically & without stopping! Obviously pleased to be back and is raring to go. He mentioned how the squad was going to change over the coming weeks, especially with players moving out and that the squad in a few weeks will be different to the guys who came back in this week.
I had a quick word with both Nedum Onuoha and Darnell Furlong (hard to believe young Furs is only 19 – have a feeling he will make a great captain later in his career). Chris Ramsey also spoke with me briefly & I took a couple of photos for him on his iPhone as he posed for photos with fans. His phone rang whilst I was taking a photo but it rang off..I joked to him it was Charlie Austin ringing to say he had decided to stay!
I had a nice chat with Andy Evans, who was as polite as always and asked him about any plans for Tiger Feet 7 … as they say – watch this space! The last person I spoke with was Andy Sinton. I noted to Andy that he joined QPR shortly after I first started going along to watch the R’s. We reminisced about the early 90s and he was very accurate about results and scorers! We both agreed that many of the traits of that era needed to be implemented into modern day QPR – but as he rightly pointed out, the many changes that the club are making will take time to come to fruition.
All-in-all it was a nice evening. A kit launch seems to be the ‘in-thing’ in these times, not sure its really necessary but it did make an opportunity for the club to start making inroads amongst the fans with the new image that they are trying to create for the club. I got a feeling/vibe from the room that the club want to change for the better but I think its going to take a while – plenty of patience is going to be needed.
The Independent R’s would like to thank the QPR media and marketing teams for hosting this event and for the invitation.
Thanks also to Gary for attending and for supplying this report and the photos.