Exclusive: Billy Rice - Part 2
Vital QPR now reveals part 2 in a two part interview with a popular matchday figure at Loftus Road, Billy Rice.
To read Part 1 of Vital QPR`s interview with Billy Rice click here.
You returned as the clubs P.A. announcer, how did that move come about?
Well, I think I went to one game in the stands before I was back! Ha.
Pete Nuttall had left and Rangers decided to do this PA Idol thing. A few weeks later I got a call from the club asking me if I wanted to do it - I said it would look a bit weird if I did it after they did the PA idol thing - so I said no. Anyway a few weeks before the season they asked me again and I said yes. Not sure what made me change my mind.
Describe to me a typical matchday at Loftus Road, what do you get upto on matchday?
Kind of depends really. When I first started they basically gave me the mic and said get on with it. The club is changing now - they are much more on the ball commercially. We are having a new PA system put in over the summer (typical it should play up the last time we were using it!) plus I believe one or two other things might be around - but not sure if I`m allowed to say ;-)
You have overseen a lot of change within the club itself, how can you describe the change behind the scenes?
Well for much of my time at the club we were skint - always talk of rich people coming in etc. Then when Bill Power was chairman things seemed to be ok for a bit until the 'incident` before the Sheff Utd match - I had to go to court for that too! But it`s good that things seem to be on the up now.
Changing of manager was always a strange and busy time. I remember speaking to Gary Waddock on the phone after he was put in charge - telling him about press conferences we`d need to set up etc. Feels very strange when you`re in the middle of something like that. On his first day he gathered all the players in the canteen and made a speech from a bit of paper - I`ve never seen a man so nervous!! (He even made me announce certain message at certain times on the tannoy - key phrases made to make the players focus. Bet no-one spotted them!)
He was much more at home on the training pitch though. Shame things didn`t work out for him. He is a really nice guy and was a brilliant player for us. Glad to seem him doing well at Aldershot - he is showing himself to be a really good manager.
What has been your best moment whilst being a QPR fan/whilst working for QPR?
Promotion at Hillsbrough was an amazing day as was the win over Oldham in the play offs. Being on the bus at the promotion parade was also a great experience.
Bizarrely I remember my first day working for Rangers when I walked into the deserted stands and thought 'wow! I work here now!" makes you think what it must feel like for someone like Birch - to step out onto the pitch in front of the crowd.
Low points were - well there were a few - but after only doing the PA for two seasons I`ve had to conduct memorials for two players - Kiyan and Ray. I didn`t know Kiyan but did know Ray a little . I don`t really get nervous when I`m on the pitch - no really a big deal if I pronounce someone`s name wrong etc - but having to conduct a minutes silence and reading out obituaries is a time when you feel really tight in the chest as you don`t want to get it wrong. It`s a strange feeling as I didn`t really feel the emotions of those days as I was too worried where people are meant to be standing and not missing their cues etc. It`s not until it`s all over and you see all the shrine outside when it really hits you - makes you realise that really we are one big family.
Where do you see QPR come the end of the season, what are you hopes and aspirations?
Well I think the press seem to have gone a bit over the top. We are seen as one of the big boys now and everyone will be gunning for us. The division last year was pretty poor but looks much stronger this season.
We are bringing in quite a few young players which is good as hopefully they will develop and improve as we (hopefully) move up - something similar to what Reading did a few years ago - they went up with a young team and didn`t have to bring in lots of players and did really well the following season.
I`m glad we are not taking the Chelsea route as a club can very easily lose it soul and end up waving blue plastic flags!
I don`t know how we will fare - we have a new manager a few new players (who I haven`t seen play ) so it`s a step into the unknown. I just wish Iain Dowie all the best and hope we perform like we did at home in the second half of last season.
Vital QPR would like to personally thank Billy for his contribution
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