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Beat around the Bush

PUBLISHED: 14:41 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:40 24 August 2010

By Sandy Lerman IT is very difficult following your team when you cannot actually watch them regularly. Thankfully the Championship is shown on television – but that is no help to someone living abroad if they cannot get BBC or Sky! They have to rely on

By Sandy Lerman

IT is very difficult following your team when you cannot actually watch them regularly. Thankfully the Championship is shown on television - but that is no help to someone living abroad if they cannot get BBC or Sky!

They have to rely on other people's views: newspaper articles, official websites, internet blogs and forums take on a whole new dimension.

This summer I carelessly booked my holiday for the last fortnight of August, therefore missing several of the opening games of this season. It was a painful experience as I'm never away during the football season.

I had to rely on texts from home for news of QPR's exploits rather than on my own first-hand impressions. Waiting for the mobile to chime, particularly on matchday, made me irritable and incredibly difficult to be around despite the warm sunshine!

And this has given me a new respect for those QPR fans who live abroad but still maintain a profound love and intense passion for our club.

Imagine not being able to attend Loftus Road regularly! Instead, you have to make the daily effort to trawl foreign news channels and newspapers (which don't usually have much to say about Rangers). Thank heavens for the internet! At least there you can find out about QPR.

Would you pay for a flight from abroad, probably at greater expense than the new price of a Loftus Road season ticket, to get a brief glimpse of your hooped-shirted heroes live?

I know someone who arranges a trip to London to coincide with the football season. He lives in Brazil! And he is not alone - we have fans in such far-flung places as Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Cyprus and, nearer to home, Eire. Some of these ex-pats make the effort to fly over at least once during a season.

It is terribly hard maintaining your passion from afar. I was away for a mere fortnight and found it very challenging! You have to be dedicated.

Small things matter, like time difference. I had to wait until after midnight for the final score on the evenings we played Bristol City and Accrington Stanley. I was only in Turkey - imagine being in Australia!

While away, I managed to read the comments and reports on Vital QPR, on the games I missed, and I really felt as if I was present myself. Now I realise the importance of accurate, but passionate, reporting!

So, when we play Chelsea in the third round of the Carling Cup, I will try to be just as accurate but no less passionate when I go online. After all, our growing foreign legion of Rs fans deserve to feel as if they have been at Stamford Bridge with us.


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