… it’s time to reflect on a truly amazing day for Queens Park Rangers.
I don’t want to dwell on Joey Barton’s behaviour, as this is being disected properly on twitter, facebook, and many other websites. Sure he wasn’t the initial aggressor (thanks for the punch to the head, Mr Tevez) , but he shouldn’t have reacted as he did, and he deserves what he gets.
As do we.
For me, what’s right and proper to remember after this incredible game, on that incredible last day, is to understand that our team, reduced to 10 men due to the inexcusable actions of a lout, were playing the best team in the country, populated with international superstars on mega-wages. We, on the other hand, had a team pretty much populated with last season’s Championship journeymen. And we were only losing to them in the game for a total of nine and a half minutes. That’s the nine minutes between their first goal and Cisse’s equaliser, and the final 30 seconds after they scored the winner.
This QPR team included Shaun Derry, who most Palace fans derided when he joined us, and who most QPR fans reckoned would only be able to play half our Championship games due to age and fatigue in the legs. It included Clint Hill, whose body looked like it was about to give up a couple of years ago. It included Jamie Mackie, who pretty much everyone on here labelled ‘a trier but not an achiever’. It included Paddy Kenny, short, fat, drug-tainted, and well past his sell by date, so we believed. And the bench was pretty much populated with more of last season’s heroes, written off in the press as this season’s zeroes.
Our team also included guys like Taye Taiwo, and Samba Diakite, who nobody had heard of before. Guys like Traore and Bothroyd, who had showed promise but had never performed at the top tier before. And a few genuinely well known players, like Djibril Cisse and Joey Barton, fast gaining legendary status but for vastly differing reasons.
And for all but nine and a half minutes we held them at bay – for most of the second half we did even more than that. The stats speak volumes: Man City had 35 shots, 24 on target, and 19 corners. We had only three shots on target all game: a tame free kick by Cisse in the first half that Joe Hart saved easily, and the two second half goals. Not a single corner came our way. These statistics point to two things: a relentless attacking game by City, and a defensive display that to a man deserves rewarding with another season playing footie with the big boys.
That we had to rely ultimately on Stoke wasn’t surprising, as we all believed we would need their help before the game. But for sheer effort, application, determination and doggedness in the face of so many multi-millionaires, I have nothing but unabashed pride in my team, my lads, and will proudly sport the blue and white hoops for another Premiership season.