Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Friday, July 25, 2003

If only they had played poker - Number 2. The story of Queens Park Rangers

For many years, QPR played in the biggest game in town. They weren’t one of the major faces, but they were nobody’s fish. They made a decent living and were quietly respected by those who knew. Unfortunately, one year they ran bad. A number of poor decisions (trying to replace Les Ferdinand with the 88 year old Mark Hateley springs to mind) and they were forced out into the next game down. What did they do ? Accept what had happened, keep playing within their means and rebuild ? Did they arse ! They went on stone bonking raging tilt.

QPR gambled big to try to regain their former status. A lot of money was splashed around on some big bets. Some came off for a while (John Spencer), others were losers from the start (Mike Sheron). QPR started borrowing big, desperately trying to get back in the biggest game. That money went, but they wouldn’t slow down. Soon they were raising blind. Vinny Jones ? Eventually the inevitable happened. Rangers were forced out of the second-tier game and went broke.

The end for our brave boys ? Not at all. Rangers then did what every true poker player would do, stony broke with creditors queuing round the block. They stiffed everyone. In football this is called “going into administration”, but face it, they just knocked them all back. Not while we’re playing ! I don’t know how football clubs get away with it. All the nippers in the poker world could learn a lot from QPR and Leicester, Ipswich and Wimbledon.

Now Rangers are back in the 50 round of each, also known as Division Two. Newly humble, they are working hard, grinding it back up, and avoiding the eyes of those they nipped. You get all sorts in this game. Other sad cases with so many memories and stories of better times (Sheffield Wednesday) ; spotty kids in sunglasses who’ve only been in the game 5 minutes (Rushden and Diamonds) ; the Essex cab-drivers (Colchester), the streetwise Londoners (Brentford) and the dour northerners (Stockport) who have always played in this game, and always will, give or take.

Just recently Rangers went on a bit of a run, built up a decent stake and got it all in on a 50-50 shot which would have got them into a bigger game again – but Big Sam won the hand and took the seat himself. But at least they’re working hard, and still in action. And as long as you’re still in action, then you’ve got a chance.


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11:52 AM  

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