Media Eye - QPR Report: Part 1
Mike aka 'QPR Report' speaks to Vital QPR about his Rangers past and his blog in the first part of a two part article.
What inspired you to follow the R`s?
Beyond hearing a voice coming from the Burning (Shepherds) Bush telling me to go forth and support QPR? Growing up in London during the 1960s, I was passionate about football - but unfortunately was part of a family, not the slightest-bit interested in football.
Then fate struck - twice: First, came the 1967 League Cup Final. At school, someone asked me who I wanted to win, and then proceeded to tell me about this little Third Division club from West London. He gave the case for QPR; won me over; and from that moment on, it's been only QPR. (None of this wondering off to support Fulham or G-d forbid, Chelsea).
And then a few months after the Final, a family friend, who in his spare time, volunteered with the St. Johns Ambulance Brigade at a football club, after months of my imploring - finally offered to take me to a game. Possibly by serendipity - probably by fate - the football club where he volunteered, was QPR. So I finally got to see QPR at Loftus Road.
My first games were during that unbelievable, never-to-be-forgotten 1967/68 Second Division promotion season. At those games, I used to sit on a bench near the corner, in front of the old Ellersie Road stand. To see Rodney Marsh and Mike Keen, the Morgan Twins and all the other heroes of 1967 still at QPR, - and of course, every player a star - from so close up, was pretty exciting for a kid.
And then the following season, that opening First Division game against Leicester City (and then a subsequent home game against then Champions Manchester City): A complete sense of unreality that little QPR were on equal level with these teams. (Unfortunately it soon transpired that some teams were more equal than others. And Rangers were desperately unlucky in every game. We WUZ robbed!)
And then I evolved from reloader to Season Ticket holder in the South Africa Road stand (during an era, when it was an awful lot cheaper than it is today).
Then came the first 'Wilderness Era' of First Division exile. But those were still good years: We saw the arrival of Terry Venables, the full debut of Gerry Francis and Phil Parkes; the traumatic departure of Rodney Marsh and then the magical arrival of Stan Bowles and Dave Thomas among others. And then those historic first-ever league victories against Chelsea and Manchester United. Truly for a QPR fan, in the early and mid-1970s, it was - to paraphrase a far greater historical figure: 'What a time it was to be alive.'
SUPPORTING FROM AFAR: From Passive Supporter to Active Poster
For the past three decades, I've been living abroad, mostly on the East Coast of the United States (as close to Loftus Road as I could possibly get, while still being in the USA!). But in all those years, of being an often solitary QPR fan in a then-football wasteland, I have never lost my passion for QPR.
From listening to the BBC World Service 'Sports Roundup' and match day games; to getting newspaper cuttings and match programmes and Rothmans Football Yearbook sent to me; to making the QPR mark on snowed cars and fogged-up-windows. I'm an example of the many, many QPR fans who follow QPR from afar. Not going to games; but caring about QPR as passionately as anyone.
The Arrival of the Internet and the Birth of QPR Report
And then G-d invented the internet which was obviously designed to benefit QPR fans around the world. And with the internet, came whole new vistas. Initially, even on dial up, just to be able to get real-time information about results; teams, transfers, sackings, etc. And then came the messageboards. In the case of QPR, just over a decade ago came the launch of QPR messageboards. (For me, the messageboard of choice was Battletank's QPR.org site). Besides given one an opportunity to contribute; to discuss; (and to insult and fight); also helped to bring together QPR fans from across the world - and to learn about other QPR supporters in your near neighbourhood.
In those days, I used to post initially under the name, 'Macmoish' and then after several years, switched to the name '1967'.
The one thing that initially surprised me and continues to some degree to distress me: The level of messageboard nastiness, intolerance and sometimes even vitriol - and not all of it directed at me! The concept that we're all QPR supporters; that we're all one family; not profiting from this support for QPR but supporting QPR as a 'Sacred Cause' or an enjoyable past time, often isn't patently apparent on the messageboards.
The Birth of QPR Report
Then just over three years ago, after multi-thousands of board posts and getting a certain board reputation for Macmoish/1967 being almost synonymous with copy and pasting, I decided to start my blog 'QPR Report.'. Over this period, the site has attracted a growing number of readers so that today, it has become one of - if not the - largest QPR sites in terms of daily visitors. My goal is for QPR Report to serve as a collection point for all QPR-related QPR news, and to act as a link for/ transmission point to all the great work done by the various QPR sites.
People are obviously completely free to visit the site or to ignore. Many people - even ones with whom I have severe messageboard differences -do visit (and return). Based on comments, some choose not to read it (or at least claim not to read it). I think they're losing out, but that's obviously their prerogative. My ultimate/ideal goal or wish would be that every QPR supporter in the world, would visit the blog regardless of whether they have differences with me personally.
There have perhaps been a few notable exceptions to this rule, but I would say for the overwhelming most part, QPR Report has been factual and informational and I believe contributed to the world of QPR.
As an observer from afar rather than regular visitor, I do have a certain perspective. I'm very aware that some people regard it as a form of Chutzpah to make pronouncements about QPR from afar. Obviously, not being at games, I can't honestly evaluate players or style of football, etc - and nor do I attempt to (Nor have I ever sought to hide that I am far away from the action.) But off the field, in many other respects, I can be an equal participant in QPR discussions. I believe I make a contribution to the QPR online world - both with my board posts and with my blog. From four decades of supporting QPR - and not yet lapsing into senility - I bring a certain historical memory.
To visit QPRReport click here.
Previous Season Previews:
Ben Kosky - Kilburn Times .
Clive Whittingham - Loft For Words.
Simon Skinner - QPRnet.com.
Dave Barton - queensparkrangersfc.com.
DON`T FORGET TO COME BACK FOR PART 2 NEXT WEEK!
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