A late goal by Heidar Helguson (above) gave Queens Park Rangers a 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace earlier today, as the well-and-truly Super Hoops remained unbeaten (26 points out of a possible 30) and top of the table in the nPower Championship. By contrast, the hosts are mired in 23rd place out of 24 clubs, and if the season’s first two months are anything to go, Palace are obvious candidates for relegation. With the dichotomy between the fortunes of these two London rivals in mind, When Saturday Comes’ Thom Gibbs — a Rangers fan living in Palace territory — freely admits to “feeling sheepish” and “project your own middle-class guilt on to a footballing situation”. Like many QPR supporters (myself included), it’s hard to know how to cope with this sort of prosperity.
The Eagles have made a predictably uneven start after escaping relegation on the last day of 2009-10, but the mood at Selhurst is defiantly buoyant. My Palace-supporting friends are full of œwe™re just happy to have a club rhetoric and pleasantly surprised by the attractive passing football employed by George Burley.
With a young team and a remarkably dedicated (if somewhat incongruous) Ultras section in the Holmesdale End there™s a buzz to the club, a sense that fans, players and management are connected. Draught Real Ale will return to the supporters™ bars for the QPR game due to popular demand. A small touch, but exactly the sort of thing that engenders a positive relationship between club and support.
Rangers™ performances so far this season suggest promotion is on the cards, and while a return to the top flight would be the uncontested highlight of my 20 years supporting QPR, what comes next? Parking the bus at Old Trafford trying to keep the score down? Scraping a Europa League place with prohibitively expensive players after one outstanding season? Perhaps just a first win in the FA Cup since 2001?