Billy Rice, a popular matchday figure at Loftus Road, gives his time to Vital QPR in the first of a two-part interview firstly describing his time at QPR World.
Describe your affinity with Queens Park Rangers, is it purely occupational, or were you a fan previously?
My dad is from the Wormholt estate in Shepherds Bush and he used to take me as a kid – I didn`t have any choice! Blue and white cot etc.. I blame him!
How would you describe your present occupation in general, what is your weekday job?
I`m Senior Producer at Virgin Media Sport. We deal with all the Premier League and FL Highlights. I work mainly with a comedian called Terry Alderton – he does characters such as Danny Dire and Sheepskin. Although he is a Southend fan and won`t let me forget the 4-0 drubbing they gave us in the LDV a few years ago.
I also do a bit of freelance for other sports clubs.
How did you first get into working for Queens Park Rangers?
I worked for Premium TV and knew QPR would soon be recruiting for the position – I knew Jim Frayling who was the Marketing Manager so asked him to keep me in mind for the position if/when it came up.
I actually had accepted a job working for P & O cruises doing their onboard TV channel and was due to start on the Monday but QPR offered me the job the Friday before. The decision was the Caribbean or Shepherds Bush. At 9am on the Monday I was in a disused cupboard at LR.
You worked for QPR World for a period, how did you find that line of work?
I was quite young when I started and was a bit in awe of players, staff etc. I actually started just before we lost to Vauxhall Motors and then the following game we lost 4-0 at home to Cardiff – not the best of starts. But things settled down and we got to the play off final and then we got promoted the next season. I was a great time to be at the club.
Explain a typical day at QPR World?
There wasn`t really a typical day – at least no day is typical when you work with Ollie! I think I could write a book and that man!! His head is all over the place always has about 100 things going over in him mind. He would agree to an interview then disappear for two hours then appear in just a towel – then go to a meeting then be dressed to leave and ask me if we could do it tomorrow. When you did get him in front of the camera though he was great. He`s a great guy though – he would do anything for you.
Going to RAF Kinloss was a good experience. Up at 6am for runs along the beach (not me though – I filmed it!) On the last night Ollie let the players out for a drink in Inverness and arranged for the coach to pick us up at 2am. Now I suppose I can tell you this as he has now left the club – but Dan Shittu is the biggest lightweight I have ever seen! He had one (yes ONE) Smirnoff Ice and then has was falling about all over the place. When the coach picked us up he stood up ripped off his shirt and shouted at the top of his voice “I want Chicken!” Rather scary and if you know Dan – very out of character.
Could be very exciting though – being on the pitch at Hillsbrough after we got promoted. Although when I got home that night I remember I`d been on the pitch but had watched the whole thing through the viewfinder on my camera – it was strange as I was in the middle of it but it felt strangely detached.
Being on the bus at the promotion parade was amazing too – the crowd seemed to stretch out for miles!
I also was doing the End Of Season DVD`s. I made two – Promotion( 03/04) and Onwards and Upwards (04/05). I didn`t think the company who made them were doing a good job so asked if I could make them inhouse. I did the first one on a very old computer with a crude editing program. (Adobe Premiere 6 – for those in the know). Looking back it is very rough around the edges – but it`s does show if you spend a bit of time on something and put a bit of love into it. It`s nice to know that there is a decent record of that season plus footage from the teamtalk, dressing room etc. Shame I can`t make it again now as I`ve learnt a hell of a lot now. I`ve since done some for other sports clubs – but none are as fun as when you are doing something you really care about.
What was the motivation behind leaving QPR World, were there any particular reasons behind you leaving?
Just my time had run it`s course – we were down the bottom , we had no money, everyone was down – I just felt it was right to move on really – plus I missed going to the pub having a few beers before, enjoying the game not having to worry about all the stuff that goes on during matchday!
Vital QPR would like to thank Billy for his contribution and don`t forget to tune in for part 2 coming soon!
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