As long time readers of this blog will know, I grew up a QPR fan. Much later in life, my sons turned to the Villa and I became passionate too, about all things claret and blue. You see, we humans have an infinite capacity for love and affection, and – yes – that can stretch to two football teams. It can, and it does.
So what do we do about the game on Sunday at Loftus Road? Well, I hope Villa win it. I’ll be sitting in the stadium where I learned to love football, where I fell in love with blue and white hoops, cheering on the Villa.
Not so weird at all. QPR fans are used to failure, drudgery and mediocrity. The fans pay year over year into a virtual savings account, knowing that they’ll get paid back on a few occasions in a lifetime with short moments which make it all worthwhile. The 4-1 win at Old Trafford in 1991. The 3-1 win at Anfield the following season. Bobby Zamora’s last gasp (and undeserved) Wembley winner in the Championship Play-off Final. Moments of ecstasy which a United or Chelsea fan could, and won’t ever feel.
Villa are different. Poorly led, badly managed and screwed up by private equity, PR managers and accountants, Villa should not be where they are. The footballing nation needs Villa right up there where they should be. At the top. There’s a reason why, as a young dad, I took my sons to Villa Park and not to Loftus Road: it wasn’t just nearer to us at the time (it was), but as a dad in love with football, I wanted my boys to drink from the top table. Not sup the dregs.
For several seasons they enjoyed the heady days of Laursen, Barry, Mellberg, Young and a fit Gabby as season ticket holders with me in what I consider England’s greatest stadium. Those same days in which The Doc’s Diagnosis became a stalwart post on this blog.
I want Villa to win on Sunday because we need Villa back. All of us need Villa back. QPR fans can tolerate season after season in the Championship – that’s what they’re used to and that’s what they expect.
We Villans need and deserve far more than that. Winning in Shepherd’s Bush on Sunday won’t relegate QPR or give their fans anything they aren’t used to. But It might just be one more small step in getting Villa back where we belong.
So, on Sunday as ever, UTV. And maybe, who knows, a Doc’s Diagnosis on Sunday evening. But then, that’s up to you. å>