QPR host Manchester United tomorrow, a week after breaking a Premier League record for worst away run. To add insult to misery, at full time QPR supporters vented their frustration on their own players. Tony Dawber speaks to fan group QPR1st about staying positive despite relegation fears.
Losing to a fellow relegation candidate, is bad enough. But for Queens Park Rangers last Saturday, it was worse.
Not only was their loss at Burnley a ninth successive away defeat, a Premier League record, but it ended with heated exchanges between visiting players and a section of travelling fans seconds after the final whistle, with Rs’ defender Clint Hill at the centre of the spat.
Not so, according to the main independent supporters’ group, QPR1st.
‘The fans weren’t having a go at any player in particular,’ stressed a spokesman for the long-established group, as the Hoops prepared to welcome Manchester United tomorrow.
‘They certainly weren’t having a go at Clint Hill. We know that while he’s not the quickest player, he always gives 100 per cent. It was just that he was the one who took exception to the general comments from a small number of fans who were upset with another away defeat.’
‘Having said that, there is a rising level of frustration about the way we are performing.’
‘We feel there are quality players here and we have spent a reasonable amount of money, so quite simply we feel we should be doing better.’
The $64,000 dollar question, of course, is whether QPR manager Harry Redknapp is the man to blame.
‘I expected you to ask that!’ said QPR1st.
‘There is frustration but the fans have not targeted Harry that much because the general feeling is, ‘Well, who else is going to get us out of trouble?’’
‘In his defence, the general feeling is that we have had some bad luck on our travels, and also we have suffered with injuries.’
Absences of Brazilian playmaker Sandro and Korean defender Yun Suk-young have hit QPR particularly hard, though morale among the Rs’ faithful was still high. The form of goal ace Charlie Austin and keeper Robert Green offer encouragement that the Hoops can survive the drop.
The fans are staying with the team, then, but with a series of tough home games coming up, starting with United, and no sign of a pick up in the Hoops’ dismal away form, Redknapp’s men are going to need every decibel of backing as their fight for top-flight survival hits the final round.