When 4Me Met Lenny.............
It's a Tuesday afternoon, post London riots, very damp, depressing and miserable, i.e. a typical day in London.
QPR4me (me) kisses the wife on the cheek, shouts goodbye to daughter (only one at home as the other is away with the Army Cadets, no doubt plotting the new World order) and wanders off in search of a 344.
Amazingly, I alight at Clapham Junction ten mins later (20 mins early to meet Lenny)and wander down the road to the Falcon pub (opposite Arding and Hobbs, or Debenhams to the younger peeps).
Immediately on ordering a pint, the afternoon/evening starts going downhill when a barman (English not being his first language) manages to confuse my green & white hooped QPR shirt with that of Glasgow Rangers (It would seem that European immigrants are more confused than even I gave them credit for). A bloke to the side of me, laughing, steps in and explains to the hapless barman that QPR and Glasgow Rangers are not the same teams and almost called me a Celtic supporter. I quickly cleared up the confusion and started on my pint.
Chappie and I end up in a conversation about the recent visual improvements to the area caused by ill-mannered rioting oiks and the BBC's permanent inability to understand that Clapham Junction is in Battersea and not Clapham.
Ten minutes before his alloted time, in walks the South American representative of Vital QPR. Cue banter and beer buying. At 6:05 we depart from the Falcon and head to Platform 2 at the arse end of Clapham Junction station. I lead the way and make sure that we are in the last carriage of the London Overground train for the trip to the bush. Sadly, half the journey is ruined by a woman (non-english) broadcasting into a mobile phone so loudly that she could probably be heard in Nairobi. As Lenny was with me, I couldn't do my usual thing of plugging myself into my MP3 player and turning up the volume to drown the silly mare out. Lenny and I tried to chat but were eventually relieved when she got off at Kensington Olympia (still yapping loudly into her phone). We then alighted at Shepherds Bush Rail station, where Lenny learned the reason for my choosing the last carriage (it being the one nearest the exit, thus allowing a quick escape from the station, rather than getting caught up in a mob of people trying to get through the limited number of ticket gates. All went to plan until Lenny managed to get stuck behind the barrier due to a dodgy Oyster and had to get rescued by a helpful member of platform staff.
We crossed the road to the underground and make it to White City without further incident. Once back on the street, Lenny has to 'spark-up' (Must have word with Sonia about his habit) and we head for the Bok. A greeting or two shared with bald security guy on front door is followed by my ability to get a couple of pints within a minute of getting inside the bar. Thanks to Lenny's observation abilities, we spot Boxer, sans bins (now into contacts), and join up. A while later, Daxvondrac and sons turn up and we swap pleasantries (Cheers for the beer) and then Sandy (thanks for the chicken and dairy explanation, Still happy to be a Pastafarian, life is so much simpler ), Hubby Mike and daughter Hannah arrive (Amy still in foreign climes). We all noticed a loud, toothless old hag, for more see further down in this tale. Beers finished we head into the ground.
We settle into our seat in block CL (plenty close enough to hear NW shouting orders to the players) and then watch us go a goal down within 5 mins. It's at this point that we discovered that the fat bloater to Lenny's left (with his equally bloated child and submissive other half) is a moron of the highest order. Lenny and I get to hear this thicko's views on the entire team and everything that NW and the team are doing wrong (at least according to bloke who is too fat to have ever played for a Sunday pub team, yet has the vocabulary and the IQ of said pub player). He also spent the first 45 mins re-introducing everyone around him to every corny clichee that can be thought of. The only highlight of our experience was seeing a bunch of our equally moronic stewards getting a gobfull from a bunch of standing fans and then backing off. The reason the fans were standing was because, had they been seated, they wouldn't have seen anything that happened at the Loft end of the ground due to the dug-outs.
Just as HT approached, Lenny wandered off to get the beers (more likely that an elderly bladder was moaning). As he went down the steps, he got eyeballed by one of the standing fans. He turned out to be a Brasilian chap that a number of us met on Shepherds Bush Green following the celebrations after the Leeds United game last May! (Small World and all that).
We sup our beers and discuss the fat bloke and his stupid comments, and his equally fat son before deciding that NW does need to spend money as the back up is looking very thin. We head back for the 2nd half.
The FSM only knows why but fat bloke has finally got Lenny's goat up enough for Lenny to make a comment. Cue disagreement about who is a QPR fan (fat bloke 'born and bred', IMO in-bred) and how 6,000 miles makes a difference to how many games peeps get to see. Fatty ends up asking Lenny to repeat what he said to me (one of many asides) and Lenny glares at him (even more fiercely than a Bernie glare) and says 'We are Gavioes'. Fatty, who wasn't even born when I saw my first QPR game backed down very quickly and settled for muttering to himself. No doubt he will say something on twitter but I have no idea what his hash-tag is (Heard him moaning that he would be on Twiter after the game) After that QPR carried on doing bugger all and were finished off by a lovely chip over Murphy that fatty applauded.
On the final whistle, we leave, (Lenny's and my bladder delaying the exits). We make our way back to the Bok where bald security bloke is still doing his duty and have a beer and laugh about the game.
Toothless old hag re-appears and young lad (either son or daughter's boyfriend, or maybe even grand son/daughters's boyfriend) throws an almighty strop and stomps out of the Bok, cueing a few giggles etc.
enny and I leave after getting photo of Lenny with security bloke (which will be put up on Vital when I learn to do it properly). We discuss the game. My view is that Cook and Rowly should never wear a first team shirt again, their day is well and truly done. Lenny is disappointed with the back up. There is clearly not enough depth in the squad and there was nowhere near enough hunger shown on the pitch. Andrade had loads of energy in the first half but no end product and disappeared as the 2nd half wore on. Troy Hewitt looked good when he tried to close down the Rochdale keeper soon after he came on, sadly, did bugger all after that.
Derry (on for a while) Taarabt and Bothroyd seemd to be playing as though they were under orders not to get carded or hurt. Bothroyd also looked totally dis-interested and spent most of the game out of position.
Perone (Lenny assurues me) did what Brasilian centre backs do, the bare minimum and then pass the ball sideways for someone else to build up play. Harriman on as sub for Orr, needs to do a lot of work to have any channce and Connolly must never play left back again!
Murphy had no chance with either goal and Shittu was probably our best player on the night. Won most of his headers defensively and a fair few up front.
From the footballing POV, it was what you would expect from a team who's priority is staying up. That said, the performance of those on the edges of the squad was deeply disappointing and NW does need to get a few better players in!
We head home, stopping at Clapham Junction for Lenny to get more ciggies and a final pint at our meeting place, The Falcon pub, where this time, I explain to Lenny why the BBC keep getting the name of the Clapham riots wrong and how the Victorian equivalents of Hyacinth Bucket resulted in Battersea Junction being named Clapham Junction (apparently, Battersea's residents in them days were somewhat similar to the pondlife that inhabits the White City Eastate).
We then followed that with a discussion of passports, the British immigration service and the Irish Civil War (as you do) and then the absurdities of the 3rd World country that is England, as we were being booted out of the pub due to it closing at 11pm. We finished chat outside and then headed our seperate ways as a 344 turned the corner for me to run and get it while Lenny finished yet another ciggie before getting a train from Clapham Junction to his place of residence.
Such is the life of a QPR fan (at least I don't have to traipse across London on Wed night to see Aldershot get humped by West Ham)
If there is a sequel to be written to this, it will be done by the aforementioned South American representative of Vital QPR!