An Arsenal view of a different London derby

Occasionally, I wonder how the Football League must appear to supporters of Premier League teams. Particularly the better ones. Particularly the one renowned for its glorious, technically superior football.

So who better to pass judgment on Neil Warnock’s return to Selhurst Park with the current best team in the entire Football League than Arsenal fan Julian Harris, the man behind the excellent Gingers For Limpar blog.

Queen’s Park Rangers supporters – there is a comments section at the bottom of this article which you may wish to utilise to get some things off your chest after reading this. Enjoy.

I am a traitor. Let me explain why.

Born in Camberwell, schooled in Dulwich, I was raised south of the Thames, roving around salubrious and exotic parts such as Norwood, Penge and Beckenham. As much of a Saaaf London beginning to life as one could feasibly imagine.

My first ever experience of live football occurred, predictably, at Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace 0 Nottingham Forest 0, about 20 years ago. Us kids were allowed in a standing zone alongside the pitch, from where we gazed at its luminous, flood-lit green, and marvelled at the mud being flicked into the air by Gary Crosby’s studs as he sprinted along the touchline.

In spite of the lack of goals, it was a fantastical, romantic beginning. It was the first time I ever heard the booming, threatening male chorus of “the referee’s a wanker”; a song which my mate’s dad, displaying a bizarrely liberal attitude for a middle-class, married Asian doctor, actively encouraged us to sing in the car on the way home.

During that era Crystal Palace reached the FA Cup final, and a late spring blossom of red and blue ribbons decorated cars and houses as far as my little eyes could see. The optimism was electric, especially for a football-obsessed boy without the experience of decades of disappointment and drudgery. The dream was on, and everyone was part of it.

So, naturally, I started supporting Crystal Palace, right?

Wrong. I was already an Arsenal fan, and I still am.

Why? I don’t really know. I can’t remember the exact moment I chose Arsenal, and I’m wary of people who claim to have found their team from a sudden epiphany now stamped into their memory. Is that really how it happens? You may as well ask “when did you first want to slide your hand up a girl’s thigh?” I don’t know. It was more of a gradual thing, a developing interest.

Admittedly, snubbing Palace was not a big deal. Most kids at school “supported” Everton or Liverpool, but while they grew up to lack any real association with their supposed clubs (or, in some cases, later swapped them for more local teams) I at least supported a London side.

The capital, like the world, was becoming a smaller place with increased technology and wealth. A bus to Brixton, tube to Highbury Corner, and for under a tenner I’d be in the East Stand watching Merson, Wright, Adams. Two weeks after my A Level exams I moved all my teenage paraphernalia into a dingy bedsit in N5, and my defection was complete. I had crossed the divide. Swapped sides – physically, tribally, emotionally, like Ayn Rand’s migration from Soviet Russia to Freedom USA. Kind of.

Such is the gap between my Islington home and that of Crystal Palace that it took almost two hours to get to the strange, rainy outpost where a group of us had decided to watch the home game against QPR. Arriving a couple of minutes late, we stormed into a heaving, raucous away section, with hundreds of the thousands of QPR fans standing and bellowing.

A wonderful start, and most impressive as we fought through to our seats next to my mate’s QPR-supporting brother-in-law and nephew. We were with an Irish friend of ours who, like a man possessed, had flown over that morning just to see his boys in hoops. Don’t ask me why he supports QPR. No idea. Maybe something to do with sliding hands up nice Irish girls’ thighs.

The atmosphere was traditional and impressive, yet also reminiscent of the culture in the top flight – booming away support facing off a single block of loud home support. The Palace block next to the away fans was extremely loud (with a drum and everything) but the rest of the ground seemed dreary, with notable splodges of empty seats.

At half time the concourse was crammed full of fag-puffing West Londoners, casually ignoring the Draconian anti-smoking laws to the same degree that they’d dismissed the anti-standing regulations. Top stuff.

On the pitch, meanwhile, things had been less impressive. The last time I watched a game from the Arthur Wait stand was around 1995 for Wimbledon v Arsenal. The quality of football in this game was roughly on par with the Sunday league style hoof-fest that I witnessed back then.

First observation: Adel Taarabt looks fat, and certainly runs as reluctantly as a fat man. Moodily lumbering on the left wing, there was no evidence of the “frightening” talent than ‘Arry Redknapp had claimed to see in him. The only frightening thing about him was a lingering concern that he’d fall on a ball-boy.

Soon he swapped positions with supposed hitman Jamie Mackie, who had displayed the proverbial first touch of a rapist when presented with two early chances. And a particularly bad, clumsy rapist, at that. Such indelicacies went largely unnoticed, however, as the average first touch in this game went so far that you half suspected that it was a pass. A pass to the other team, of course.

As the drizzle drenched all around, the players indulged in classic kick-and-rush, with the shiny turf offering unlimited opportunities to slide in on the frequently loose ball, drawing cheers from the crowd. QPR increasing looked to the wings, pursuing the classic cross-and-head tactic in an effort to take the lead.

Palace, meanwhile, were just as bad yet far less organised. It took 40 minutes before I could figure out what formation they were playing – an apparent attempt at a 4-3-3, yet with a collection of youngsters who clearly haven’t understood how it works.

If it had worked, Palace could have dominated the centre of the pitch, but instead most of the loose balls fell to ex-Palace man Shaun Derry, QPR’s “veteran” midfielder who looks like he’s 50 and plays like he’s 65. Is this really the midfield quality that it takes to top England’s second division? Shaun Derry? Really?

The mediocre nature of QPR’s play was staggering, given their rapid ascent this season. “What exactly are they good at?” I enquired to my colleagues, and received no more than shrugs. Then suddenly through the drizzle came elucidation – an Edgar Davids back-pass was weighed down by the rain and pounced on by Mackie and Taarabt to make it 1-0 to QPR.

“That’s why we’re top of the league” boasted the away fans – and they were right. They’re top of the league because that is how bad the other teams are. Tragically, the same fans were soon singing “Ole!” when their team completed five – yes, FIVE – passes to feet. I counted. And they weren’t singing it ironically, either.

As the game went on and Palace exerted more pressure, my mate’s brother-in-law repeatedly shouted “KEEP THE BALL!” at his hooped representatives, seemingly unaware that this team are entirely incapable of and indifferent towards possession football.

He was right, at least, that this is what they should have done, and they paid the price for their lack of sophistication when Palace equalised with a nice bit of trickery from Zaha (presumably an American version of Saha … sorry) and a pull-back for Cadogan to score.

Quietly, I welcomed the goal – Palace under George Burley are at least trying to play good football with young players, and 1-1 seemed the least they deserved.

But QPR, for all their faults, have the steely determination of a Neil Warnock side and it wasn’t a huge surprise when target-man Helguson beat the not-very-tall Speroni to a hoofed-in cross and sent those around me into delirium.

Fair enough, fighting spirit is important, and QPR play to their strengths. But when the whistle blew I couldn’t help chuckling at the chorus of “we’re by far the finest team the world has ever seen.”

Sorry, QPR, but you’re really not. On that display, you’re not even in the top thousand.

The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.

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55 Comments on "An Arsenal view of a different London derby"

  1. Martin Cook says:

    Not our best performance I agree but winning when not playing well is the mark of champions. Arsenal however were awfull against west brom and you lost and were brilliant against Chelsea and you lost so how long will arsenal fans want to watch beautiful losing football? QPR are simply do the necessary to win that league, crystal palace don’t play great football but we took the 3 ugly points but took 3 beautiful points off Ipswich boro sheff utd 3 teams tipped for promotion. I enjoy watching arsenal the football can be superb at times but when the full time whistle goes I carry on enjoying the day while arsenal fans get left scratching their heads. You saw QPR at a bad time but you also saw happy fans going home looking forward to reading the paper in the morning seeing their club topping the “anyone can beat anyone” league.

  2. Bushman says:

    Another dodgy psuedo Gunner who makes a judgement based on one game.
    I’m sure you realise already that your lot are going to win bugger all again this season.
    You and everyone else keeping knocking the Rs.

    See you next season.

    Bushman a supporter of the Rs for 50 years and never once thought about supporting another club.

  3. Annie says:

    Hahaha thanks for giving me a laugh this morning, am only sad that you took up a seat instead of another R’s fan! I’m married to a Gooner STH so I’ve watched a lot of the Arsenal, turning up to games and expecting to win, but don’t! Oh and keep whining about Goalkeepers, shame you couldn’t have Seaman back!
    We are unbeaten, and we didn’t play our best, but we still won, a sign of a good side!
    See you in the Premiership!

  4. stainrod says:

    Read this expecting some well written, insightful analysis. How much more refreshing it would have sounded if this Arsenal fan had been able to offer something even half way positive. Instead he just came across as patronising, smug and superior, like some Victorian aristocrat paying a visit to the peasants in the village.
    It was far from QPRs best performance but was a perfectly decent win away from home. Indeed, we ran the midfield for most of the match. Chelsea often look pretty ugly away. Don’t you think it might have been sensible to see us at home before you write us off? Oh, and laughable that you can merely dismiss Tarrabt as “fat”.
    You need strength and determination as well as skill and nice haircuts to win anything – an obvious point, its true, but one that never seems to have occured to that supposedly great svengali of football, Mr Wenger.

  5. KLR says:

    Players & fans care a lot more in The Championship.

    & you dont tend to see a bunch of stereotypical North London Labour Luvvies like you do at The Emirates.

    I’ll stick to the more authentic product for the time being thank you very much.

    Premiership is one of the most boring & depressing leagues in World Football IMO; a very tired & tedious narrative, for people that, when push comes to shove, arent really in to football that much

  6. Oldhoop says:

    Great proes from a clearly well educated yet blinkered boffin. OK the gap between the top of the prem and the top of the “second tier” is probably huge but I suspect that apart from the Champions League boys the gulf between the top Championship sides like QPR is not very wide at all. I have to say having witnessed several so called “top flight” matches myself during 2010 I was left equally underwhelmed by the so called top flight football that all the hype suggests.

    The type of football that one will witness at say Wolves v Bolton would not exactly get the blood coarsing through the football purists veins!!! Give me the blood and guts of a good old fashioned London derby any day and perhaps Julian (I suspect we do not have many QPR fans called Julian!) should come to the Bush one Saturday and see us play the likes of Norwich or Burnley and he will get a very different perspective about teams who are knocking on the door of the “promised land”.

    In the meantime enjoy the artistry of the likes of Fabregas and Van Persie Jules old son, but continue to cringe like the rest of us at the prospect of seeing yet another horrendous clanger at the hands (literally of) what Arsenal (or at least Wenger) claims to be one of your “world class” keepers!!!!

  7. scaz says:

    YOUUUUU RRRRRRRR’ssssssssssssssssss!!!! Arsenal fans can’t say nothing atm because you have won just as much as we have in recent years! You even have to make up a cup (Emirates Cup) to win something. We didn’t play well that game but it was a london derby and getting 3 points there was a massive boost! BRING ON NORWICH AND THE PREMIERSHIP!!!!

  8. KLR says:

    I’ll agree with him that Taarabt is fat though.

    Dont care what anyone says, judging by the look & size of him, that lad is not living as well as he could do for a professional athlete.

  9. The 72 says:

    I thought this guest piece might stir things up a bit.

    For what it’s worth, QPR were below their best when I saw them at Leicester a couple of weeks ago too. They still deserved the points, though.

    Warnock seems to have created a good blend of skilful and aggressive players – and now you’re winning both the walkovers and the battles.

    I don’t think any regular Championship watcher would bother pretending that QPR aren’t the best team in the division at the moment, but keep the comments coming anyway!

    Would be interested to know whether you R’s fans think that this sort of form will continue all season or if you are already prepared for an “inevitable” blip?

  10. james l says:

    Well thanks for that your royal highness, pull your head out or your arse, we are not worthy.

  11. JC says:

    As a QPR fan, I wish I had attended the Arsenal – WBA game recently. Then I could have written a similarly “unbias” view of that *one* game. “Total football?” I don’t think so.

  12. GiRTH says:

    ARSENAL? The club who haven’t won a trophy in an age! The laughing stock of Premier League football… Pretty football wins you FA mate. Rangers have turned in some scintillating performances this season, winning 2-1 on a wet dreary day away from home whilst playing badly is the sign of CHAMPIONS (remember that word?)

    Oh & how did it feel watching 2 Championship goal keepers better than Arsenals first 2 choices?

  13. Andy says:

    Can we not at least be judged by a real Arsenal fan rather than a blatant glory hunter?

    Arsenal undoubtedly play better football than QPR. A glory boy who has attached himself to them and has no idea what it feels like to belong to your own tribe (caveman-like I know) cannot look down upon us unwashed inferiors with such contempt simply because he caught the nearest bandwagon.

    Here’s a newsflash. Jamie Mackie works harder than you. Yeah, I know he’s a footballer. But he does. Really. And Adel Taarabt is far better at football than you. And Eboue. And he’s not fat. If he is fat then you must have anorexia nervosa – there is no other explanation for your bizarre body image misjudgement.

    I am not better or worse than you because of my football team. You are trying for superiority by association, but are no more a fan of Arsenal than the German tourists that turn up for the Emirates Cup to sing Good to be a Gooner.

  14. @gavin_connolly says:

    I don’t believe the article is placing an emphasis on the clubs’ trophy cabinets but merely the style of football played in one particular match. And when comparing that to what is normally witnessed at the Emirates how could you not accept the gulf in ability? It seems all too apparent to me

    • stainrod says:

      Yes, but we know that: “Arsenal are more skilful thank QPR” shocker. Well thanks for reminding us, Gooners. Would have been nice if this wannabe Alan Hansen had watched us a few times and given us some credit for, at times, playing some lovely football this season (while – doffing cap time – making clear it is nothing on a par with Arsenal’s). We have scored something like 24 goals in 10 games, conceding just three and beaten several half decent teams (Boro, Ipswich, Sheffield Utd etc) by three or more goals, often away. No one is expecting huge praise, but just credit where its due. Warnock is not just playing kick and rush. However you choose to look down on Tarrabt, Buzsaky etc I think there are several Premiership teams who would love to have players of their flair.

      • The 72 says:

        Can’t argue with a word of that but I would just point out that this was purely a perspective taken from one game and, I would suggest, isn’t really meant to reflect more than the one game Julian watched.

        As I commented above, no-one would seriously argue that QPR haven’t been impressive over the entire course of the season so far.

        Personally, I see a lot of parallels between Holloway’s Blackpool last season and Warnock’s QPR at the moment. Good tactics getting the best out of unfashionable players with Taarabt playing the Charlie Adam “class above” figure.

        Would still be interested to know whether you R’s fans think that this sort of form will continue all season or if you are already prepared for an “inevitable” blip?

  15. paul Gibbons says:

    This from a fan of a team humbled by the mighty WBA (yes WBA) – usually the kind of side they stick 5 past and proclaim themselves world-beaters (until one of the big boys gives them a hiding). This is the very same WBA that we, yes little old QPR took 4 points from last season.

    • Oldhoop says:

      Do you know I do actually think that our form will continue and the only “blip” we are likley to experience is the odd one off defeat here and there. This is based on the fact that we have real strength in depth i.e. we have not had Faurlin, who is agruably the best midfield player in the championship, for the last 4 games as he has been out injured. He is the most underrated but definitley the most influential player we have and does a great job (with Derry) in the centre of QPRs midfield. All this whilst the likes of Taraabt, Mackie and even Helguson grab the headlines. Watch this lot enjoy even more plaudits when “Ally” returns as he is the one who actaully pulls the strings for the R’s.

      Added to this we have Orr, Hulse, Hall and Rowlands all r eturning to full fitness and potentially will have a bench which will be the envy of the rest of the championship!!

      No dips in form expected in W12 because we simply have (for the first time in years) real strength in depth which is unparrelled outside of the Prem

      • The 72 says:

        Certainly looks promising.

        Such a progression between April’s visit to the Walkers and the one a couple of weeks back – from tippy-tappy football with no threat and a catalogue of errors to a standard, effective Championship away win with a minimum of fuss.

        The player that surprised me most was Hogan Ephraim – seen him a few times for Colchester and QPR in the past and he’s never looked up to it.

  16. stainrod says:

    Am sure there will be a dip, though if anyone has the man-management skills to get us out of it, I believe it is Warnock. I don’t think any Rangers fan is saying we are the greatest team in the world but when we are at full strength we are a match for anyone in this division and perhaps half a dozen in the Premiership. You make the comparison with Blackpool but I think we have a way, way better squad than them. In addition with things finally being sorted off the field there would appear to be the capacity to significantly improve it if and when we land promotion. But hey, if everyone wants to underestimate us and keep burbling on about Cardiff and Bellamy, then that’s fine by me. We will continue to keep playing “badly” and apparently without skill or guile and continue to win three and four nil…

    • The 72 says:

      I think some people, especially those that are more accustomed to the Premier League, look out for the star names and they don’t see many in QPR’s team. They see the likes of Kris Boyd, Craig Bellamy and even Sven-Goran Eriksson elsewhere in the division and presume that at least two teams will overhaul QPR based on that.

      It’s nonsense, clearly. The Blackpool comparison was only skin deep – QPR look more like Newcastle in terms of their potential points tally come the end of the season and you’ve got to take your hat off to Warnock for ensuring that possibility.

      I really liked this article, by the way. I knew it would stir up some emotion but there’s nothing wrong with that. I hope it doesn’t put QPR fans off the site in general. When I get round to covering them myself, in a little more depth with a wider perspective, they’ll get a very different viewpoint.

  17. RJ says:

    @ Julian Harris – As a tottenham Supporter (not fan, A SUPPORTER) I find it laughable as well as confirmation just how little knowledge you have about football. Let me explain, firstly your not a traitor just a horrible Woolwich Arsehole fan, afterall arsenals heritage is “Saaaf London” you can’t remember why you chose to be an arse fan???? you cant remember, or is it a simple case of just being a glory hunter who knows NOTHING about the beautiful game. “Dont ask me why he supports QPR”, perhaps Jules (I hope its ok to call you Jules, as julian is a bit much to keep calling you, in fact I find im being rude) its a case of someone supporting the side that they know the history of, someone who has had it drummed into them since they were a kid, afterall not everyone can give a pathetic reason and say “I don’t really know”.

    Adel Taarabt looks fat??? Have you forgotten how FAT merson the druggy gambling twat was, but he was a decent footballer, even though he looked like the gimp from the goonies. I wonder if this comment is purely to do with the fact that being the arm chair “Saarf” london woolwich arsenal fan, this is your way of having a pop at the super spurs. Jamie Mackie, “first touch of a rapist”??? is this not the same thing the woolwich Arsholes sang in there dubai (aka emirates stadium) about Adebayor?? How many goals did he score for you?? Im sure he was your top scorer then.

    QPR are top of the league because “that is how bad the other teams are”, I sense a little jealousy Jules?? is it because the woolwich have not got the financial clout that qpr might have if they come up?? Is it a case that the woolwich Arshole fans are frightened of yet another london team being in the premiership, afterall I see that the Jules of this world like going to the murky parts of the north.

    You go on to say you were “chuckling” at the corus of “we’re by far the finest team, the world has ever seen” but this is the same song the woolwich Arsehole fans sing before they get beaten by the likes of West Brom.

    Sorry Jules, but “your by far the worst blogger, the world has ever seen”.

  18. DesertBoot says:

    Typical patronising Premiership crap. If you couldn’t figure out the QPR formation until nearly half-time, you know zilch about football.

    I’m sure Jamie Mackie will be delighted to be compared with a rapist.

    Good luck on another trophy-less season.

  19. KLR says:

    If Arsenal had someone with the mentality of Shaun Derry, they might have actually won something in the last 6 years.

  20. Dan says:

    What a fascinating article. A pretty good demo of why I couldn’t really care less if QPR are promoted or not, because the Premier League is eating itself. It’s a place where fans have somehow become snobs (football fans that are snobs! WTF is going on?) and only pretty, passing football is worth watching.
    I love football at just about every level – boring World Cup games, park games, especially QPR games and I love to watch Arsenal and Barcelona. But what a sad f***ing place it would be if everyone played like Arsenal.
    This detached view shows the gulf that now exists between the FL and the PL. QPR used to have a motto – ‘Real Fans, Real Football’, and that fits us again this season. OK, we’re not playing glorious passing football, but the players work very hard, try their best and get results. That’s pretty much all that 99% of football fans and their teams can hope for. So we’re happy. So what?
    As for the ‘hoofed-in cross’ jibe – that was an excellent ball in by Smith – perhaps if Arsenal were able to cross a ball or even had a forward who could score these ‘ugly’ goals every now and again, they might win something instead of repeatedly coming up short and the writer might come down off his high horse and realise balls played off the ground can be skilful too.
    And to answer the Ed’s question: Yes, there will be a blip. In fact, lots of them. No QPR fans are getting carried away in reality – we’re too experienced for that. We’ll hit rough patches and will be happy with a play-off place if it comes.

    • LJP says:

      Dan, spot on. I’m not sure I really want to see us in the PL next season.

      Not sure if I want to see QPR consisting of 11 foreign, overpaid nancy boys playing snooker on a football pitch.

      Bit of skill in the mold of Stan or Rodney OK but give me passion, blood and thunder every time.

      URRRRS

  21. W12 says:

    “I was already an Arsenal fan, and I still am.
    Why? I don’t really know”

    I do… easy to choose a big winning club than your local team.

    Oh, and I suppose football under George Graham was uttely sublime was it?

  22. QPR supporter says:

    What tosh. It wasn’t the best game in the world but given the conditions and effort to stop each other playing it was never going to be an Arsenal-esque rollover (Didn’t you just get stuffed at home to West Brom?)

    We’ve played some great stuff this season and are rightly top of a tough league. Players like Derry are integral at every level, and, as earlier mentioned, a Derry type in Arsenal’s side might stop them bursting into tears every time a tackle is made against them and may even lead to a bit of silverware.

  23. Richard says:

    How kind of you to grace our ‘strange, rainy outpost.’ Next time please don’t bother.

  24. james says:

    To RJ, GREAT PIECE FELLA. Read it and weap Julian.

  25. Hello all!

    Delighted that this has received so much attention, many thanks for commenting (some more than others), and thanks to the 72 blog for publishing it, and for being such a great resource. Contrary to what some of you may think, I am a fan of league football (as it seems to be called these days – ie. non-Premiership) and enjoy keeping tabs on what’s happening.

    However, admittedly, most of my observation of the second division (‘Championship’) and the two divisions below, is from the highlights show on TV, combined with match reports. So, as our host stated in the comment section, the article above is NOT a comment on QPR per se – it is just a comment on THIS MATCH. Indeed, the final line includes the caveat:

    “On that display…”

    If I wanted to write a summary of QPR’s season, I’d naturally go to more of their games.

    If the football at previous QPR matches this season was significantly better (as suggested by several of you), then fair enough. As a football fan I very much hope this is the case, as I like to see decent football being played at all levels, but certainly by a team that, according to their league standing, could be considered in the top 20 in England (if you assume that in-form second division teams are likely to be playing better than off-form teams at the bottom of the top division).

    Thus, rather than the article being patronising, it is quite the opposite. The reason I slagged off the quality of football is because I expect more from a team in such a position. It’s not a case of “ooh, look at your funny little ways down there in the non-Premiership stuff, aren’t you pants?!” – but more a case of “this should be much, much better – this is a game in front of 20,000 supporters, with players earning decent wages.” If I’d let the disappointing standard of football go without comment, *that* would have been patronising, and a disservice to the game and (amateur) reporting of the game.

    Now my turn to get defensive:

    1) The judgements above are not in comparison to the Arsenal. I mention my support of the Arsenal because, well, it’d be weird to keep it secret. At no point do I say “QPR were pants compared to the lovely stuff I see from the Arsenal…” Rather, I’m judging the game as a football fan, who turned up with an open mind. As many of you have fairly mentioned, the Arsenal’s football in recent times has been both inspiringly brilliant and frustratingly erratic, unprofessional and fruitless (in terms of silverware). But that isn’t really relevant to this article.

    2) I was watching the game as a neutral.

    3) “Bushman a supporter of the Rs for 50 years and never once thought about supporting another club.” Funnily enough, Bushman, I’ve never thought about supporting another club, either. Well done us. Aren’t we great? As detailed, I’ve supported the Arsenal since I was around 6 or 7 years old. Leading to the next point…

    4) “Andy”, your comments are utterly bizarre. How do you define “real supporter” and what makes you think I’m not one? I’ve been going to the Arsenal constantly since the day my folks would let me (about 16 years ago now), working a paper round as a scrawny kid to afford the tickets. These days, living 10 mins walk from the ground, I’m a season ticket holder and have an away season ticket too. The other week I drove to Sunderland for that game. I go to reserve games at Barnet and Borehamwood to watch our youth team. I also own part of my club through the Fanshare scheme that our supporters set up. How much of your club do you own? Then again, you are right about one thing – Mackie and Taarabt are better than me at football. Just.

    5) “stereotypical North London Labour Luvvies”. Brilliant. So now I vote Labour do I? For what it matters, no I don’t. I never have and never will.

    Anyway, enough responding to silly comments, thankfully most of the comments above are, essentially, quite reasonable. Excepting “RJ”, of course. Predictably the role of an
    illiterate, moronic embarrassment to humanity falls to a poor little Tott. I do hope you enjoyed the 4-1 t’other week, RJ. I’ll be back at your faeces-infested dump of a ground in February, so maybe see you there. I’ll be singing “71…2004″ to remind you of past humiliations, and you’ll probably be chucking bricks and bottles at women and kids, because that’s what scum do. Run along, now. It’s not too far to Stratford.

    QPR fans, meanwhile – keep posting, and *maybe* see you next season (!)

  26. “Oh, and I suppose football under George Graham was uttely sublime was it?”

    Read the article, mate. It actually refers to a game from the Graham era – versus Wimbledon at Selhurst Park – and alludes to the football back then being rubbish.

  27. Bedford_r says:

    Julian is a plum of the highest order. A glory hunting idiot that does not know the last thing about football outside of the Prem.

    Whilst his team put pretty passes together they don’t seem to win anything. The way QPR are playing at the moment is to attack and win. We win beautifully and we win ugly. The play at Palace was not as silky as some of our other performamces and at times Palace put us under a lot of pressure. But we rode that storm and won the game. Arsenal don’t do that at the moment.

    And comparing Mackie to a rapist. What sort of critique is that? The words of a patronising person. And Tarrabt being fat. That fat git of ours is the best player in the Championship – an award winning fat git at that.

    A one game review from a blind patronising person without a football brain cell between his ears.

  28. Jack says:

    Not one of our finest performances I’ll admit.

    If you want to see a side ”control” the game for 90mins and lose – watch Arsenal.

    If you want to see a side get 3 points – watch Rangers. See you next year.

  29. R's4LIFE says:

    The 72 – You are a retarded glory hunter, now p1ss of back to the emirates along with your chinese tourist friends and go watch yet another game of dissapointment. Just because the waters down your end are rough, don’t try to stir shit our way. QPR have been outstanding this year, Furthermore, have 26 points from a possible 30 in the first 10 games, thats better than newcastles 23 last season after 10 games. NW is the most experienced championship manager, which is why even when we have injuries we still have a shitload of solid players to continue form.

    P.s – I hope u get run over tomorrow. ( oh and don’t ever come to a match agen u fake piece of shite )

  30. Richard says:

    What’s the point of this article? I could have written a similar one having been to the Arsenal vs WBA game.

  31. the hat says:

    Just what you would expect from a supporter who jumps on the bandwagon to support one of the big clubs.

    Never been beaten by Vauxhall motors, never been in administration, never stood in the pissing rain in the open away terrace at Chesterfield while being beaten four nil.

    That my friend is what supporting QPR is all about, so yes when we go ten games unbeaten and sit top of the crappy championship is why it feels so good but you would never understand that feeling and while we know we don’t have as many fans as Arsenal there are a good few thousand of us walking around West London right now feeling ten foot tall.

  32. Mark says:

    How fortunate that you had enough money to come along to watch us and later slate us on what you you call a mediocre performance not even in the top 1000.
    Did you go and see the team you so called support or just watch them on sky getting spanked by a real top of the premiership team, which if you really tell the truth, you will never be, you get no trophies for 4th place you know, except Champions League qualification, another league you have no chance of winning. Oh well not long now and we’ll be back in the Prem and the top London club no doubt.

  33. Rodneeee says:

    Sorry we are not worthy of your royal seal of aproval your Highness but in future please stick to watching ARSEnal with your Japanese tourists fans and leave our away ticket allocation for genuine QPR fans.

  34. us ranger says:

    if the championship is so bad why are the teams who got promoted not struggling more? Blackpool beat Liverpool, West Brom beat you and Newcastle look very comfortable – just ask Aston Villa. You’re leaving in a bubble mate.

  35. Rob Hartnett says:

    Julian is a talented writer but the the 72 did not ask him on here for an objective view of the Championship. Methinks it was intended, and played to by Julian, as a piece to get our collective hoops blood up. The stereotype of a ‘fancy dan’ Premier League supporter who looks dismissively on Football League teams, facilities and even the weather we get in the Championship was played very well and pushed all the right buttons.

    Being a QPR fan, or indeed any one of about 70 other Football League clubs (Leeds being the exception) and about 12 Premier league clubs as well, means that we expect the worst and are thrilled when things go our way. So much better than to expect victory as a right and be satisfied or dumbstruck coming from a game.

    Neither group can really understand the other’s point of view but are very happy to support our team, warts, chubby lads and all as opposed to the others. I support QPR because despite being Irish and living in Dublin I was born in Chiswick and was a young lad when the Hoops were top of the League. I could never dream of switching but still enjoy watching, following and betting on football from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Football League. Even the League of Ireland has its moments and I have many friends who swear the same allegiance to Bohs or Shamrock Rovers as I do to QPR.

    My kids support the hoops and always will. The thrill of seeing us in the papers is something which their Chelsea supporting classmates just don’t get at all. That’s the magic. I follow every game but only get to see one or two live at Loftus Road a year. We are already counting down the days to the visit for the cardiff game at the end of November.

    Reading these articles and writing comments will only ever make people like ‘us’ more passionate in our strange devotion, and less understanding of the big boys misplaced, and in this case played up ‘snobbishness’.

    The next time i watch Arsenal though I may be a little less sympathetic when posession is taken away by one of the more robust exponents of what is a beautiful game but which will and must always come in different guises.

    • The 72 says:

      Cheers for the comment, I’m a Leicester fan myself so I can empathise with what you say and, to a certain extent, a lot of the other replies so far too.

      I certainly didn’t pitch it as a piece to get anyone’s back up – I just thought it would be interesting to get an outside perspective on the most mouth-watering game in the league that day when Julian kindly offered to write it. If he’d written in that way about Leicester when we were performing well last season then I probably would have been a touch irritated too, although the strength of the reaction to this piece has surprised me a lot!

      As I said before, I hope some of you will check out the rest of the site. There was no intention on my part to publish a controversial article for the sake of it. As you say, it was written by a talented writer and I thought it was interesting.

      99% of what goes on the site is written either by myself or a small group of fans of Football League teams.

      Thanks again.

    • stainrod says:

      Very good piece. Not only more “true” but actually a lot better written than the sub Brian Glanville efforts we saw in the meandering, self-indulgent original article.

  36. James says:

    Why did you support arsenal? You’re not even sure yourself….clearly not where you’re from (as you said) and not the other normal one like because your dad did……arsenal or palace…arsenal are better so I’ll pick them, therefore supporting a team because they are going to win titles and are a big club. We could all pick man utd and then go ha bloody ha arsenal fans, how many champions leagues titles do you have? But why, when we have no association with them, just like you don’t with Arsenal. QPR may not be in the top thousand clubs, we may not be anywhere near Arsenal but they are our club and we feel every loss, draw and win. You will never experience the feeling of how good it is to be 2-0 down at derby and come back to draw with 2 goals in injury time because you’ve not experienced any lows and you’re association to “your” club is at best uncertain but as we all know is something far worse.
    This is not a slight on most arsenal fans, just a view I have on those fans who support the top flight teams but have “no idea why”.

  37. bongo king says:

    I’m probably going to summarise a lot of what was said already but here goes.

    Firstly like many Rs fans I’ll admit the Palace game wasn’t the best performance, and a draw probably would have been a fair result. That said it was an exciting game in terms of chances, even if the football quality wasn’t so good. We have played a lot better this season (for example I saw us rip “star studded” Boro a new one at home a month ago) and I’m sure we will again.

    However your analysis is downright patronising and it shows you know little about football outside the top tier (or even the top quarter of the top tier). Here’s some food for thought:
    1. Half of the prem games don’t look too different from Palace-QPR. I’ve been watching the highlights for years and they’ll always be a few good games followed by half a dozen not so technically good or downright dull ones. By your standards most of the players in the latter half a dozen games also have the touch of rapists, and most goals will be scored from “hopeful punts” as you describe what was a good cross for the second (albiet made to look better by a slight goalkeeping error).
    2. You do not win much in the lower leagues playing like Arsenal or Barca. Doncaster have tried it for several years, I admire their game but unfortunately they haven’t been rewarded for it. We’ve had two managers in recent years who installed a passing style; De Canio and Magilton. We played great football under the former and got done consistently on the counter. The latter had a purple patch of 5 or so games before the opposition worked out “let them pass it around at the back and self destruct”. Which funnily enough is what happened to Palace with our first goal on Saturday as they tried to pass it about at the back (according to my Palace mates, Burley apparently has Palace playing passing football, you see how that is working out for them in 23rd place with a good championship squad). Fitness, organisation and fast counters get you out the lower leagues. Ask any top half prem team which has lost a cup game to lower league oppo.
    3. Kick and rush is (in my opinion) installed in British players from a young age. In Spain they learn to keep the ball. We learn to get rid of it before your legs are broken. Unsurpisingly, with more British players in the lower tiers, the game turns more “kick and rush” as you put it. Try watching the football league show on Saturday night and pay attention to how the “quality” of goals deteriorates as you go down through the leagues. On the point of leg breaking, next time you watch QPR (if you decide to grace us with your analysis again) watch closely how Taarabt is treated. The first 4 games of this season he wasn’t tightly marked and ripped teams (hence 7 assists and 4 goals in 10 games, most coming in the first 4 or so games) – since then he’s been shadowed everywhere, often doubled up on and constantly kicked hard – Palace was no exception with first Davids then Marrow doing the dirty. This is the typical treatment of skillful players at a lower level. And whatever you may think, Taarabt has skill in abundance, far too much for the championship.
    4. Finally, you may be shocked to find out that one guy, Charles Hughes analysed how goals are scored , and found out that most are scored with 5 passes or less. This is almost endorsing kick and rush. So our second goal may be considered par for the course, I believe it contained 5 passes.

    As a PS, why don’t you go and touch up on some football tactics by, for example, reading the excellent website “zonal marking”. You might understand the broader game a lot better after this.

  38. Tom says:

    This is typical of Arsenal ‘fans’ looking down on the leagues below their so-called might and it turns into horrendous snobbery despite their lack of anything other than aesthetically pleasing football. All this topped off with a man I cannot stand in the slightest, Mr ‘I did not see the incident’ Wenger.

    For what it’s worth I am a Blades fan and whilst not overly impressed by QPRs performance at Bramall Lane (we were abysmal rather than QPR being fantastic) I know Warnock’s style of football and it will get them promoted as it did for us in ’06. These gritty battles at hard grounds in horrendous weather are the bread and butter of being an away fan in the Championship.

    I wish QPR all the best (yes even one Patrick Kenny). The only downside if you do go up is that I lose my favourite away day of the season.

  39. Robert Brand says:

    Are you sure you’re not secretly coveting Neil Warnock for the Arsenal job?
    And if Adel T is fat I’ve got BIG problem!

  40. Thanks to Rob Hartnett and Bongo King for the intelligent comments. Alas the other recent comments don’t warrant a response.

    Rob – I’m afraid I don’t quite agree with your distinction between supporters of the top 8 clubs (although I agree that there is a ‘top 8′) and supporters of other teams. Certainly this is true to *some* extent, in that the larger clubs have more casual fans [note: I don't mean 'casual' in the hooligan sense, obviously]. How many people casually follow the Arsenal? Millions. How many casually follow QPR? Maybe a few thousand. However, both clubs (and, indeed, all clubs) have a hardcore of support, and for these supporters the experience is very similar.

    As you say, you support QPR because of an early childhood attraction, exactly the same as for myself. As it happens, while QPR were top of the league when you were a kid, the Arsenal were certainly not top of the league when I was first got interested – yet I doubt the bile-spewing loons above will turn on you for being a “glory hunter”.

    As I also allude to, the dominant teams during my early years were Everton and Liverpool; they were the glory teams. Even T*ttnum had won more cups around that time. As it happens, Arsenal suddenly became very successful soon after, and so I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up supporting an extremely successful side, and a club which has managed to establish itself as one of the world’s largest. Which is great. Nothing to be ashamed of, quite the opposite.

    But we’ve all gone through the shit, those of us who support a team properly. Does a win mean all that much to someone who just watches the odd, say, Liverpool game on TV? Probably not. As you say, it’s coming through the rough patches that makes the smooth so much more enjoyable. Without wanting to evoke a string-section of misery, I’ve also stood in shit-holes getting my bollocks frozen off; losing 3-0 at Derby away, 2-0 at Sunderland away, 4-2 at Coventry away, the list goes on. Further, there are the crashingly demoralising defeats – I was in Copenhagen and Paris for the recent two European final defeats. Like all fans (such as the Palace ones on Saturday) we constantly see our lot grab defeat from the jaws of victory, or at least parity.

    [Having said that, there is an unattractively demanding, child-like attitude to some supporters at the Arsenal. As Arsene once said: "when you eat caviar every day, it's hard going back to sausages." Admittedly the top clubs perhaps attract more of this petulence.]

    Going through this makes the good moments special, so I do understand why QPR fans are so giddy at the moment, and thus why they may take offence at the criticism of Saturday’s performance.

    But returning to Saturday’s game, I agree with some of Bongo King’s comments, certainly regarding the British culture of “kick and rush”. This, I feel, is something we really have to overcome in this country. I grew up with the “get rid” culture, booting balls up a water-logged pitch for no reason. It’s crap, as is the Sunday league culture of “letting them know you’re there” – ie. kicking the good players. So I very much hope that Taarabt does get more protection from referees this season.

    I’m well aware of the Charles Hughes stat, and read Zonal Marking every day. I’ve typed far too much on this page to wander off onto another tangent, but I entirely reject a) the Hughes stat and the claim that it supports “kick and rush”, b) the claim that teams outside the top 8 cannot be successful with good football. Many above have mentioned the recent Arsenal-West Brom game, and the notable point about West Brom’s excellent performance (and Blackpool’s win at Liverpool) is that it’s entirely possible to succeed with clever tactics, good football and hard work. Fulham also demonstrated this last season.

    I won’t type any more on this page, but if you’d like to comment further on any of these points then the Editor can forward an e-mail to me.

    Cheers all!

  41. Robert Brand says:

    Ciao Jules, and I’d like to say that you’ve come across as bit of a prat. Up the Arse!

  42. Simon says:

    Regarding this comment; I couldn’t help chuckling at the chorus of “we’re by far the finest team the world has ever seen.”

    On the rare occasion there’s any atmosphere at The Emirates (Arsenal fans recently voted the quietest /dullest in the Premier league) ..I’m pretty sure you can hear this murmur from your lot – so are you suggesting that when Arsenal sing this chorus it’s valid? As you’re aware Arsenal don’t win things. So please “chuckle” away next time you’re watching Arsenal on TV. Or at least look into changing the words to “finest runners up/quarter finalists” or words to that affect.

    Thanks,

  43. Simon, like many of your colleagues, you seem incapable of reading. I know there are lots of words on this page, but at least give it a go.

    You say: “…please “chuckle” away next time you’re watching Arsenal on TV. ”

    Oh, good jibe: “on TV”. As I’ve stated above, I have a home and an away season ticket. Have you driven to Sunderland to watch your team in recent weeks? Thought not.

    There are some amusing ironies in the comments above: firstly, the claim that I’m a glory hunter somewhat contradicts the claim alongside it that “Arsenal don’t win things.” Make your minds up, please.

    But more importantly, it’s a shame that, while decrying the “Sky-culture” of the Premiership, most comment-leavers are simply regurgitating the piss-poor arguments that fill the media. “Big four” fans are glory-hunters; passing football is ineffective; criticism of kick-and-rush is “patronising”. Et cetera et cetera. And not a single person has been able to respond to my comments. Maybe there are too many words; next time I’ll try drawing pictures alongside, to make it simpler.

    C’mon, think for yourselves. It’s not *that* hard.

    In the meantime, have fun with your salt-of-the-earth traditional English football club, which has in no way whatsoever been a plaything of dodgy foreign tycoons. A rich boys’ toy in the second division? Football really is odd these days.

  44. Alex says:

    Wow. There really are some aggrieved QPR fans commenting on here. I found it all quite amusing.

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