Time to Trust some local boys
By Ben Kosky QPR are hopeful that their newly-launched Community Trust could help channel a fresh wave of local talent into the first team. Trustees of the new charity, which was officially established this week at a House of Lords reception, were at pain
By Ben Kosky
QPR are hopeful that their newly-launched Community Trust could help channel a fresh wave of local talent into the first team.
Trustees of the new charity, which was officially established this week at a House of Lords reception, were at pains to stress their core aim - social and community development in west and north-west London.
But the club also hope the Trust will spawn not only more Rangers fans in the surrounding area, but also potential stars of the future - a well that has run alarmingly dry for more than a decade now.
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Teenager Dean Parrett, earmarked as a hot prospect until the Rs sold him to Tottenham two years ago, is a good example of past talent unearthed by QPR in the Community.
Long-serving Community chief Andy Evans, who becomes the Trust's chief executive, recalled: "Dean came to one of our soccer schools at Regent's Park when he was nine and that was how he ended up at QPR.
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"The more children you see playing football, the more chance you have of picking up some talent. The Trust is about using the unique influence of the club to offer inspiration to local youth.
"It will be a vehicle to maintain our identity as a community and family club - and it's also about getting young people interested in their local team."
Midfielder and Times columnist Richard Langley, who grew up in Acton, was the last local boy to progress through the ranks and become a first-team regular at Loftus Road.
And it is now 15 years since two other west Londoners, Kevin Gallen and Danny Dichio, emerged from the youth team to lead the QPR front line in the Premiership.
Rangers vice-chairman Amit Bhatia, who has now also taken on the role of chair of trustees, observed: "It would be like swimming in the sea and finding a lost diamond.
"The reason behind the Trust is to encourage things that are right in the community and give as much back as we can. It's community service and we'd like to make a real difference.
"But if there were some great players who we could encourage through the youth scheme, why not? There's always the possibility of that happening in the future.
"If it came about we'd be very fortunate. It's something Andy works very hard at and I'm keen to support him."
Evans has been a stalwart of the Community scheme since 1994, since when he and his team have worked with around half a million young people in the surrounding area.
The Trust will oversee grass roots, club development, social inclusion, health and education programmes in five boroughs - Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and Hillingdon.
Tuesday's launch was hosted by Lord Burns, a QPR supporter and now member of the Trust board, and was attended by fans' representatives as well as former QPR players, Community graduates and their parents.
Rangers' entire first-team squad also attended - and donated a sum in excess of �8,000 to the Trust, presented on their behalf by coach Gareth Ainsworth.