Date:Monday May 5 2008
Flavio Briatore yesterday unveiled what was dubbed the dawn of a new era for Queens Park Rangers, but were the best laid plans ruined by a malfunctioning sound system?
Yesterday at Loftus Road marked The Dawn of a New Era infront of a season record crowd of 18,309. An occasion shrouded in mystery with rumours of a certain Zinedine Zidane set to be unveiled and the excitement building around Loftus Road was palpable.
Two vast box structures were erected on the pitch infront of the tunnel, with all the pyrotechnics set up on the other side of the pitch next to the Ellersie Road stand. Signs with Queens Park Rangers covering up sections of sponsorship banners, had Rangers fans discussing what this new potential sponsor could be.
The Blue carpet was then rolled out to the centre circle, and ground announcer Billy Rice, continued to build up the excitement of a Dawn of a New Era. Coupling this, then, with the pre-match comments made by Gareth Ainsworth, "Sunday promises to be a day every QPR fan, old and young, remembers for the rest of their lives", only served to whet the appetite of the Loftus Road crowd.
Rangers legends Stan Bowles, Les Ferdinand, Gerry Francis and Paul Parker took the field along with Rangers co-owners Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal, the latter a scarcely seen figure at Loftus Road. No sign of Bernie Ecclestone despite the F1 magnate being spotted outside the ground.
With that a new club crest was officially announced, with Pigbag ringing out at Loftus Road, the box structures secreted blazes of fire, and the blue and white pyrotechnics were in full flow. The aforementioned sponsorship banners revealed the new club crest, with the only sponsorship news being of the conclusion of deals with Le Coq Sportif, Sellotape and CarGiant.
Subsequently we couldn`t enter a new era without dragging the frailties of the old, as it seemed the biggest announcement of the day was Flavio Briatore`s Norman Collier impression, as an ageing Rangers sound system could live up to the occasion, and the celebrations were henceforth cut short.
The Dawn of a New Era turned into somewhat of a damp squib with words of excitement pre-match, and for a day which Rangers fans were to remember for the rest of their lives, it seemed a bit mild for the occasion and build up that preceded it.
This leads the cynic amongst us to believe that there was indeed ulterior motives for the build up, with something else due to be announced not quite making the billing for one reason or another. Was a faulty sound system at fault for keeping another potential announcement quiet? The cynic amongst us would say a badge that has been readily viewed by the masses scarcely constitutes as secretive news for The Dawn of a New Era.
With Rangers losing the game 2-0 infront of a bumper attendance at Loftus Road, and West Bromwich Albion lifting the Football League Trophy, the R`s can look to next season and hope to emulate the achievement of their opponents. That will truly be the dawn of the new era.
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Date:Monday May 5 2008
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