I have been deliberately quiet this close season – there really hasn’t been anything to crow about – till today!
My goodness! Was it really 3 months ago that I was tearing around my house yelling & shouting for joy, crying tears of hysterical happiness because my beloved QPR had – at last – won the right to play the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool et al in the Premier League? 3 months – a very long time in football! In the life of a QPR fan!
I know I`ve been extremely quiet this summer – and for good reason. Who on earth could find the enthusiasm and “oomph” to write about the shenanigans going on at Boardroom level that filtered down, very personally, to ground level? Certainly not me! Talk about flat as a pancake – all that emotion from the end of last season – poof! Gone in a moment, like smoke in the wind, as Briatore and Ecclestone reared their ugly heads, like an unwanted, dangerous “hydra”.
I have to say that, whilst I was not totally shocked at the price hike of my Platinum season ticket (having discussed the possible prices of Prem tickets with my mate, Sara, only weeks before the news broke of the actual price I had to fork out); I was shocked at the audacity of the Board to enforce such insensitive and ungrateful rises on the fans who, more than anyone at QPR, have proved just what the definition of the word “loyalty” really is! Particularly after the review that included seeking fans` opinions – only Briatore and Ecclestone could show such incredible disdain!
I was more shocked at the sudden and abrupt departure of Amit Bhatia – the fans` “champion” – and that scared me! As a result of his departure, I guess I was not really surprised at the rumours that surrounded Warnock`s tenure as manager; nor was I really surprised – although I was thoroughly disgusted – with the lack of serious funds made available (or, more accurately, not made available) to Warnock to strengthen a team that we all know needs strengthening if we are to have a realistic chance of maintaining our newly won, and hard-fought for, place in the Premier League. 15 years of absence! Hey – let`s throw it all away by being stingy and showing complete lack of (a) understanding of what really is required to be involved in the English Premier League and (b) support of the manager!
Warnock has been an absolute brick – putting a brave face on what must have been an intolerable situation and carrying on working with the squad (and within the limitations that the chains he had been shackled with allowed) all close season. How about that “telling off” in that pathetic statement put out by the “terrible twins” a few weeks ago when they tried to convince us they were fully supportive of Neil and committed to strengthening the squad for the new season? Those two never learnt the art of P.R. – they never won the fans onto their side. Yes, we may well be grateful for their timely intervention four years ago as we faced possible extinction at the hands of Her Majesty`s Inland Revenue service. But since then? What?! We won promotion last year when Briatore and Ecclestone were conspicuous by their absence! They return – all hell breaks loose! (Shirt sponsors anyone – going cheap – or rather, going expensive!!)
And so it was with increasing trepidation that, as I returned from an extended break in Montreal, visiting my daughter Amy who, for the sake of her degree, has gone to University there for 6 months and therefore misses the first 6 months of seeing her beloved team back in the Prem!
Why trepidation? Because I did not dare to hope, to dream, that Briatore and Ecclestone could possibly be on their way out after all. Rumours were growing about Tony Fernandes` interest in QPR – y`know, West Ham-loving Fernandes! I must confess that my delight at the thought of his takeover had been tempered by not knowing too much about Fernandes and, having been sucked into Briatore`s hype when he originally took over the Club, I have been wary. Were we going to swap one dictator for another? A Chelsea fan for a West Ham fan?!
Typically, today of all days, I have been out and away from the internet all day so tonight I have had a lot of catching up to do on today`s great news! However, having listened to Fernandes on Sky Sports News this evening, seeing Neil Warnock`s sheer joy ooze from his beaming, his glowing smile and, most importantly, seeing (and hearing and reading) Amit Bhatia back where he belongs, I am really quite quietly hopeful that the future could well be really rather bright – at last! Bhatia has said things that have needed to be said – I get the distinct impression that Gianni Paladini`s days are numbered, for example!
Fernandes has talked sense today. He has made no unrealistic promises to dupe us as we were previously duped, but has talked about support and stability for the manager, about building us up, brick-by-brick, into an admirable house (or a diamond – depending on which interview you listen to!) and that he is going to review the season ticket/ticket price hike – good for you – now do something about that Mr Fernandes! He clearly does support Warnock – and I am sure that, in the next 13 days (before 31st August) we will see a signing or two that will excite us all to our very core! And, of course, with Amit Bhatia back and rolling up his sleeves ready to take QPR into the future, we all know that Warnock`s position is safe – probably one reason Neil is now so clearly happy again!
So, on Saturday, Jeremy, Nathan, Daniel and I begin our new journey – away games in the Premier League (you will be sorely missed Amy and I will BBM you constantly, have no fear!) – with a trek to Everton. I am so excited because, whilst I do not expect to come away from Goodison Park with anything more (if I am totally honest and realistic) than having had a jolly good time; I do expect to see whatever team Warnock puts out try their hearts out – play for their pride and for ours – but also for their places because, after all, by 31st August, our squad will porbably look a whole lot different from how it looks now! And, with Tony Fernandes and Amit Bhatia at the helm, I think the future is bright – the future is, yes, blue and white! Come on you Rs!!
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