QPR fans of a certain vintage will tell you about the horrors of the 1968-69 season, the very first time our little club from the back streets of Shepherds Bush had hosted league football in England's top tier. Having enjoyed back-to-back promotions and that famous League Cup final victory in the two previous seasons, many Rangers supporters must have looked forward to the prospect of top flight football with relish and some degree of optimism. How their hopes were dashed! Only four wins were notched up in that awful 68-69 campaign, all of them at Loftus Road.
Perhaps you're old enough to have endured that terrible season. Or perhaps you've only felt the pain of it through the words of parents or grandparents. Either way, you probably believed that those depths of desperateness reached over forty years ago could never be eclipsed by failure of a yet more abject nature.
But here we are. Half way through this current season, our QPR have won just one match and you'd be forgiven for wondering where the next win is going to come from. The firing of one very expensive manager and the hiring of another seems to have had no very marked effect. Yes, it was enjoyable to get that first, longed-for victory over a faltering Fulham side. But before that came Harry Redknapp's first three games in charge, all of which were notable for the new boss taking the familiar conservative approach to substitutions that we had seen during his dour predecessor's reign. Worse, of course, has since followed, and any buzz of euphoria felt in the wake of the win over the Cottagers has long since ebbed away.
Today's performance was, by all accounts (didn't watch it myself, not even on telly; it just felt too much like an act of masochism) particularly woeful, especially in the first half of the match. So it's no surprise that on Twitter and the various QPR messageboards, lively disagreements are flaring up here and there between angry and disappointed Rangers fans. There's not much wrong with that. It's what people are like and it's entirely trite to suggest that adversity should always bring out the best in people. So arguments will occur. Some of them will get a bit heated and the odd person here or there may say something now that is regretted later when tempers have cooled. But another human trait, of course, is having the ability to forgive and forget and to kiss and make up. Hatchets will be buried and we'll all carry on as normal in due course.
By and large, then, even if a few insults are traded, no one will take this latest defeat so hard as to sink below the standards of common decency. Well, let's rephrase that. Frustrated, upset but essentially decent people (the overwhelming majority of QPR fans) will remain decent. But a small number of grim, malevolent pricks clearly feel emboldened by the miasma of discontent among their fellow supporters. Now everyone's pissed off, the grimmest sort of people will be thinking, they will be more susceptible to the sort of poisonous bullshit that we usually keep to ourselves. Hence this comment over at that enlightened forum of civilised debate, We Are The Rangers Boys:
W12_Ranger kicks off the discussion and seem to find an ideological fellow traveller in WeAreQPR12, who agrees with the point about "too many French Africans" and observes, that "our blacks all seem to struggle carrying that chip around on their shoulder." W12_Ranger then feels he (she?) has the solution to QPR's troubles, arguing that we "need more white players in the team from Britain and Northern/Eastern Europe." Former Rangers stalwarts such as Les Ferdinand, Danny Maddix, Clive Wilson, Paul Parker, Paul Furlong, Bob Hazell and Danny Shittu would possibly be interested to know that they were the wrong sort of Britons to roll their sleeves up and fight for the QPR badge in the opinion of W12_Ranger. Not white enough, you see.
Happily, this stuff is rare. But it does crop up now and then, and WATRB does seem to be the place to avoid if you don't want to see too much of it.
Onwards and upwards, anyway.