(Ecclestone and Mittal, quick to remind West London soccer fans that a seat in the South Africa Road paddock is still a better value than commissioning a trip to Mars)

Earlier this year, your globetrotting editor spent the equivalent of $70.00 USD to watch the Stuporhoops play a meaningless midweek match in a two-third’s full Loftus Road.  Little did I know, said evening would represent something of a bargain. From the Daily Mail’s Ian Gibb :

Queens Park Rangers have sparked an angry reaction from fans by becoming the first Championship team to charge £50 for a ticket.

It is all the more surprising considering their opponents for the game a week tomorrow are struggling Derby County, who have refused to accept their  allocation after Rangers also raised prices for away fans to as high as £40.

But Rangers have come under fire from their own supporters who cannot understand why the billionaire owners who took over at Loftus Road last year, Lakshmi Mittal, Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, have sanctioned the £10 hike.

One angry season ticket holder said: ˜I™m disgusted with the pricing. I hope other supporters do not judge the fans and team of QPR by the greed of the owners. I hope away fans stay away in protest. It™s daylight robbery.™

The £50 ticket is still less than London™s Barclays Premier League clubs, with
Arsenal (£96), Chelsea (£65), Tottenham (£75), West Ham (£63) and Fulham (£70) charging more for top-priced tickets to category A games.

But it is more expensive than every other top-flight team, except Manchester United, who charge only £5 more for the best seats to top fixtures.

Derby refused to accept the rise, and a club spokesman said: ˜We think it™s too high and we don™t think that™s fair. We™ve stood our ground and QPR have exercised their right to appeal that to the Football League.™

The comparison to Arsenal and Chelsea doesn’t warrant consideration.  There’s a reason the Portland Beavers don’t charge $300 for box seats, and while QPR are no one’s feeder club, these delusions of grandeur are as damaging to the club’s reputation as any of their flirtations with insolvency.  At a time when Ian Dowie’s squad look like genuine contenders for promotion, it’s a shame ownership’s unmitigated greed captures the headlines.