Queens Park Rangers v Southampton
Championship League
Saturday, January 20th 2007, 3pm

Bobby Carter

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

This game was only my second away game (the first being Palace during the same season) despite the fact that I am a season ticket holder. I was particularly looking forward to visiting an old fashioned sort of ground seeing as I was born too late to experience a good old fashioned matchday like you would experience in the 70s/80s. I had heard that the locals were fairly harmless and that the overall atmosphere was friendly despite the surrounding area being a bit of a dump. I was going with my friend who had never been to a match before and so the plan was to interest him into becoming a Saints fan. I therefore thought it would be more interesting to take him to a
ground with character rather than the fairly mundane and regular
surroundings of St. Mary's

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking:

I travelled by train/undergound to the ground. We set off from Epsom, going to Wimbledon then Notting Hill gate and finally to White City (if my memory serves me correctly). The journey went fairly normally despite slight delays that in the end did not affect our journey. I would advise going to White City over Shepherd's Bush as it was very simple to find our way to the ground on arriving. You simply turn right out of the station, walk up the road a little and take a road that goes off to the left. By following this road down, you can see the lettering of 'LOFTUS ROAD' and it takes no longer than about 10 minutes to reach the ground. You will be directed around to the opposite side of the ground, down an alleyway and into a small turnstile gate.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Got fuelled up on burgers and bacon rolls before the game and didn't hang around outside too much before the game as we are not old enough to drink and despite my friend offering to use his fake I.D, I would have preferred to actually not risk it and see the game than have a landlord shouting at us through kick-off.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground.

I am particularly interested in football stadia and old-fashioned, tightly packed, inner city stadia more so than others. I was therefore particularly looking to visiting a tightly packed stadium such as Loftus Road. I was situated in the upper tier and after climbing a few flights of stairs, my seats were not a large distance down the concourse and so it did not take long at all to get into our seats. As soon as I sat down there were people at the back who had already begun the chants. I had previously heard that being in the upper tier you could not see the goal at the away end. It turned out that I could see it fine, however, further up I am sure that it would be slightly out of view. The stands are all very inconsistent and only the two stands behind the goals look anything like each other. The atmosphere mainly comes from the corner at the far end of the ground to the right as the away fans see it. The entire ground is very close to the pitch and a good atmosphere could be created if the R's fans sang up a bit.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The atmosphere in the away end was loud throughout and without trying to sound too bias, the R's fans were very quiet. The stewards were not really noticeable too me and I did not see anyone being told off by them. I did not even attempt to get food inside the ground as the concourses were so packed and it took me ages to merely buy a programme.

The game itself was a fairly mixed affair. The first half was awful quality and my friend seemed slightly uninterested which at the time I was quite concerned about. However as the players cam out for the second half we were  another class above QPR but it seemed that it was going to end up 0-0 to typify the Saints that we have come to know, love and hate. I turned to my mate at half time and I swear on my life I said the following: 'I predict a 1-0 win with us to score in the 81st minute' and I absolute'y kid you not. This was a random number that I thought I would take a punt at. Low and behold, in the 81st minute there was a goal mouth scramble following a corner and Rasiak was there to stab home to the delight of everyone around me. Because there is no visible scoreboard from the Away fans end, I did not know the time of score until I got home. And what a prediction it would have been, had Bradley Wright-Phillips not ruined it with a finish with a high amount of quality in the 90th minute to seal the victory. QPR had a goal disallowed just after we went 1-0 up even though it was very similar to our goal. But I wasn't going to complain and went home very pleased indeed.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game

Easy! You simply go out the opposite way that you came in, turn right and head back to the train station. The R's fans do not really have a problem with the away fans and there wasn't any trouble as far as I know after the game.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out

An excellent away-day that I would recommend to anyone. Ever since then I have upped the number of away games I have gone to because of how much I enjoyed that game.


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