A number of decent signings. An encouraging set of pre-season friendly matches. Lots of positive noises. Hence all the talk of a strong start to the new campaign and all the chatter about a mid-table finish. Blue skies. A hot, sunny day. Cold beers in the pubs of Shepherds Bush. Good vibes.
But then the long-anticipated kick-off rolled round and down we came. Straight back to earth with a resounding bump. QPR's worst home defeat for over sixty years, trumping the misery of the previous season's opening day thrashing at the hands of Bolton Wanderers. Anti-climax? That term doesn't begin to describe the scale of the let-down. Unpleasant and unwanted feelings to be experiencing, then, compounded horribly for anyone whose journey home involved the sweltering sweat-box of the London Underground, shared as far as Paddington with a cacophonously jubilant Welsh male voice choir.
Post-mortem reports of the match can be found all over the place. So there's little point in presenting another one here. Suffice it to say, however, that the feeling here can be summarised as follows:
- For much of the first half the Rangers actually looked OK and looked as if they might turn the game around. In that first period there were encouraging moments of play from Messrs. Park and Hoilett.
- The worst frustration was seeing the indecisive, hesitant play at the heart of the QPR defence in the disastrous and farcical second half of the match. It's all very well directing your ire towards the errors of debutant goalkeeper, but Rob Green was horribly exposed on numerous occasions by the players immediately in front of him, three of whom were not new signings.
- It is far too early to tell what this result means. It's too early to panic. It's too early to assume that the squad we have is not going to be good enough to put together a decent season. It's also too early to assume that no more signings are in the pipeline. We also don't yet know what the addition of Bosingwa will mean for Saturday's worryingly ineffective back line.
Notwithstanding this last point - this refusal to be overly despondent on the basis of one shockingly bad result - many of us are, of course, looking forward grimly to a proper piss-taking from workmates this morning. Perhaps some of your friends and neighbours have already had their fun at your expense. But you will soldier on, just as you did when the Superhoops got tonked at Stamford Bridge and at Craven Cottage last season. Just as you did on many, many disappointing occasions in the past. It goes with the territory and we all know that disappointments like Saturday's only serve to make the good times seem all the sweeter when they come. Perhaps we can even think of it as a good thing that we are still clearly some way from supporting a boringly reliable mid-table side. Who wants that, right? Right??
So, off we all went. Back from Loftus Road to enjoy what remained of our weekends. Surely no other major disappointments would follow. Surely we could just get on with barbecues, beer gardens and time with the family. Good times. Getting over Saturday's kick in the nuts. Sure, the Sunday papers and the Sunday morning rerun of the Match of the Day were always going to rub salt in the wounds. But you don't have to read the Sunday papers and you don't have to watch MOTD.
No, though. There was another disappointment to be endured.
This came in the form of a former player spoiling the generally quite high regard in which he was held by many QPR supporters. So here we see Paddy Kenny joining the ranks of professional footballers whose use of Twitter serves to tarnish a reputation and expose a more unpleasant personality that you would hope for on the part of someone for whom you feel some degree of affection. Here we see Kenny retweeting the words of a freelance journalist who wanted to mock Rob Green's performance and suggest the former Rangers 'keeper would have done a better job. Then, following some predictable outrage from offended QPR fans, we see Kenny describing the R's as a "tinpot club":
It is perfectly understandable that Kenny may harbour some ill feeling towards QPR. It can't be pleasant to be rejected so publicly, especially after two years of contributing to successful campaigns - first a promotion campaign and then a battle to avoid relegation. It's also understandable that he may not regard his replacement with unalloyed respect. Understandable, too, if he felt some schadenfreude on learning of Green's difficult debut match at Loftus Road. BUT HE DID NOT NEED TO MAKE HIS FEELINGS PUBLIC. In doing so, he comes across as bitter, resentful and petty - quite at odds with the somewhat happy-go-lucky Paddy Kenny's Having a Party image that seemed to exist in the minds of many QPR fans. But now we know better. Just another berk without enough emotional intelligence to know when to keep his trap shut. Don't get too close to your heroes - a maxim that needs to be repeated quite often when it comes to professional footballers. The closer insight into their thoughts that has been made possible by Twitter makes this a more valid piece of advice than ever before. Certainly, in the case of Paddy Kenny, we can see in one day the transformation of a player's image from generally positive to clearly negative, as our former goalkeeper decided that the best way to deal with one pissed-off Rangers supporter was to write "fuck off you tit" and complain of a lack of respect:
Notwithstanding that fact that Kenny's resentment towards his former club is somewhat understandable, the fact that he chose to express it publicly was another unpleasant surprise, coming in the wake of the weekend's bigger disappointment, the awful result on Saturday.
No surprise, though, that Joey Barton can continue to irritate supporters of the club that currently pays his wages:
Commenting in these terms on the performance of a team mate? Making it clear that he'd rather be playing for Newcastle United? Making it clear that he considers Magpies supporters to be a superior breed to the Londoners who currently endure his bullshit? Very unwise. Very typical.
Wouldn't it be good if there's enough here to constitute a breach of club discipline to the point where QPR can just get rid of this poisonous character without paying him off? That would, perhaps, make up just a little for the disappointments of a bad start to the new season. But it's surely too much to hope for. Even assuming things do rapidly improve for our club, it seems wildly optimistic to suppose we've seen the last of QPR's sociopathic bad egg.