Who Are These Jobbers?
Queens Park Rangers always seemed the most nondescript of the London teams. The kind of unassuming, non-threatening side that you never really had an opinion on. Free from the detestable nature of Chelsea and Tottenham, without the hilarious catastrophes of West Ham and unlike the frankly cartoon image of Millwall - they were just QPR.
Like Charlton, Fulham and Brentford there isn’t anything really to speak of about them. They played in a lovely hooped kit, they had a pokey little ground and Trevor Sinclair scored that absolute banger of an overhead kick that one time. There was the frankly hilarious Four Year Plan documentary which lay the groundwork for something very, very special.
The 2012/13 season. This is where The Rs grabbed a firm hold of that bantometer and cranked it up to stratospheric levels.
Having tried their very best to get relegated on the final day of the previous season (thanks for coming, Joey mate) where we witnessed the Aguerooooooo moment - they decided to give lovable scamp Harry Redknapp the keys to the warchest. What would ole Droopy do with us all this Lotus-powered cash?
* ACTIVATE THE JOBBER SPENDING SPREE *
Redknapp splurged his load on some absolute beauties of jobbers. Want to stave off relegation? You need the likes of Andy Johnson, Jeraaine Jenas (he paid £2 million for him, lol), Junior Hoilett, a 34-year-old Ryan Nelsen, monobrow enthusiast Jose Bosingwa and Champions League winner Julio Cesar.
The purchase of Cesar was my particular favourite as he was only brought in because Rob Green, bought within the same transfer window, conceded five at home to Swansea on his debut. As you can imagine, the season was a complete and utter car crash and they were relegated well hard, only winning four games in the process (obviously one was against Sunderland).
I have absolutely zero idea what they’re like now (like most teams in this jobberfest of a division) but they have got the utterly, utterly hilarious Ian Holloway as manager. He must have them in stitches at training every day with those wacky anecdotes about football matches being like one night stands. It’s like you get to live relentlessly in a Soccer AM sketch.
Before we move on I have to make a point about the frankly disgusting ticket prices for this game.
We would regularly bemoan having to fork out upwards of £35+ to watch Premier League away matches during our stint in the top flight. The outrage towards these pricing structures was justified, and mercifully the clubs and organising bodies got together to cap the games at £30 (still too high but it was a sign of progress).
There is no way on God’s green earth that a game between two lower ranking second tier football teams should cost £34 to watch. That is an absolutely outrageous price to charge visiting supporters that are already counting the cost of travelling from the north-east, eating and drinking in London and, in some cases, sourcing accommodation.
Our recent away games have demonstrated how Championship clubs are exploiting Sunderland’s travelling support. Sheffield United (£32), Bolton Wanderers (£32), Bristol City (£32), Sheffield Wednesday (£36) and now QPR are hitting supporters in the pocket for absolutely no reason. And don’t forget the forthcoming trip to Leeds which will set you back £39 minimum.
This is all the more infuriating knowing that no away fan at the Stadium of Light has been charged in excess of £25. This pricing structure and deliberate exploitation of travelling supporters needs to be stopped.
Do one, QPR.
How Do I Get There?
Two trips to the big smoke in a week to see our imperious football team? You lot really are something else. Kings and Queens among mere mortals and all I could do is tip my extravagant hat. Well, there is something I can do, I could tell you how to get there.
Oh, go on, since you asked so nicely.
If you’re hot-footing down to London by road, it’s the usual drill of A1 (M) and M1 down south. Exit the M1 for the North Circular before joining the A40 heading towards White City/Shepherd’s Bush. The ground is located on South Africa Road but you’re best off finding anywhere to park nearby - it can be a bit of a nightmare.
For the big dawgs travelling by train, you’re most likely to arrive at King’s Cross Station where you can take either the Circle or Hammersmith & City line to Shepherd’s Bush - the ground is around a 15-minute walk from here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
The infuriating aspect about visiting Queens Park Rangers is that it has everything in place to make it an excellent trip. It’s in a trendy part of London with an abundance of bars and restaurants and is only short walk from the heart of Shepherd’s Bush to the ground but, somehow, they manage to mess this up.
Almost every pub within a mile radius of Shepherd’s Bush will come with the always popular greeting of “no away fans”. This is despite that the majority of the pubs being completely dead and, as far I’m aware, we have no particular beef with QPR. Anyway, the police will direct you to the frankly terrible Belushi’s in the W12 shopping centre.
If you manage to escape then the Sindercombe Social next door to Shepherd’s Bush Empire allows away fans and has an excellent selection food and beer. The Brewdog Bar opposite is also an option if you’re feeling flush.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
As we touched on last week in the Millwall away guide, there is far too much to do in London for me to compile in one humble list. If you’re determined to stick around Shepherd’s Bush after the match the then zouk-style (?) funksters Kassav’ are playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
There’s probably loads of other stuff going on in the capital like plays, comedy shows and cockfighting but I simply don’t have enough time to list them all.
What’s The Ground Like?
If it wasn’t bad enough that QPR feel the need to charge £34 for a game of second tier English football, if it wasn’t bad enough that this comes in a run of two London away fixtures back-to-back, if it wasn’t bad enough that every pub in Shepherd’s Bush has refused entry because you have a northern accent, if all that wasn’t bad enough you now have to watch the game in a glorified shed.
Loftus Road is an absolutely appalling “stadium” for visiting supporters. Whether it’s the incredibly cramped concourse, having to navigate someone’s back garden to get in or that they have the audacity to charge so much for “restricted view” areas. Surely, this should be another ground earmarked for scrapping in London’s continued and unrelenting gentrification?
Anyway, for reasons unknown to anyone, there are over 1,500 Sunderland lot heading down to this abomination - you wonderful, wonderful people.