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Beat around the Bush: QPR must celebrate their history, not ignore it

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 January 2014

Former QPR captain Alan McDonald passed away in June 2012. QPR and Air Asia owner Tony Fernandes named one of his planes after the former defender

Former QPR captain Alan McDonald passed away in June 2012. QPR and Air Asia owner Tony Fernandes named one of his planes after the former defender

EMPICS Sport

I was lucky enough to be at the Emirates on Saturday for Arsenal’s match against Spurs in the FA Cup third round. One of the most glaringly obvious things about the stadium – which is absolutely incredible – is the constant links to and appreciation of Arsenal’s past.

For instance, the Danny Fiszman bridge is adorned with posters of legends such as Liam Brady, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira. The ground itself has an image running round the outside of players linking arms with famous names like ‘Rice’ and ‘Henry’ plastered over the back of the shirts.

One of the many supporters’ bars is named the 49ers in homage to the Gunners record-breaking unbeaten run.

QPR are a long way away from going 49 games unbeaten, but lessons can be learnt from our north-London friends.

While all the new money is pumped in to regain Premier League status, it could be argued that our culture, tradition and history has been lost over the last few years. Very few of the staff could be considered ‘QPR’ people.

Right through the club this is evident, from the boardroom to the youth coaching setup. Other than Under-21s manager Marc Bircham and Paul Furlong, who is assistant youth development coach, there are no other ex-players involved – even down at the under-sixes level.

Admittedly, Steve Gallen is doing a fantastic job as professional development coach and bleeds blue and white, but why not get his brother Kevin Gallen on board too? Kevin has openly said he would jump at the chance to come back, it seems utterly bizarre not to offer him that chance.

Or even the likes of Richard Langley? Former Jamaica international Langley was the last real, exciting player to break through - having someone with his experience and understanding of the game, but more importantly understanding of QPR, could only help our youngsters.

Clint Hill could be offered a new playing contract with the opportunity to get his coaching badges. Imagine being a young player and being coached by Hill, a man with impeccable attitude and someone who has captained the club in the top flight – it would set a fantastic example. It would be a much better end to his career at the club than to just let him move on a free to a lower-league club or see him retire.

For all the aspiring young talent coming through, to be coached by players that have been there and made a name for themselves at Rangers would instil a club philosophy that could be encouraged at every level.

Speaking of players to come through, I felt that the club should have acted quicker following the death of Alan McDonald and preparing his memorial. For a player who was such a fantastic servant to the club naming a plane, that the majority of fans won’t actually see, seemed tacky and cheap PR stunt. The man was a Rangers legend, he should have had a stand renamed at least. Hopefully this will be amended with the new ground.

Ian Taylor and the rest of the media team organised a brilliant event at the Bournemouth game in early December in which the promotion team of 03/04 were paraded around the pitch. The reception from the fans showed how grateful we are to them and former players, in aiding us through a difficult period. It would be nice to see this done more; even something as small as meet and greet sessions in the superstore, it’s great for both the players and fans.

Our history may not have the Hollywood glamour of others but it’s the only one we’ve got and it’s something we should be proud of.


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