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Loftus Road Stadium
Queens Park Rangers v
Premier League
   Saturday, February 25th 2012, 3pm

By Tom Fry
(Fulham fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground?

This was a big game for Fulham and the fact that we had sold out the away end (which rarely happens with Fulham) meant for a quality atmosphere. Even though Fulham had played at Loftus Road for a season, I had never been, and having heard some good and bad things about the ground I was intrigued to find out for myself.

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

Very easy. I went for the overground method and got off at Shepherds Bush station having changed at Clapham Junction. A short walk up Uxbridge Road, and the ground is signposted in big letters to turn on to Loftus Road. The Police on the road were then directing away fans to the upper and lowerís tier of the School End.

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

As I was running late I didnít get a chance to stop off to sample the local pubs or anything, so stopped off at a Greggs and picked up a quick sausage roll and a cup of coffee. Uxbridge Road is full of restaurants and pubs so there are ample places for fans to congregate before the game.

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

First impressions on entering the away end were skeptical. There seemed to be a temporary cage set up, where stewards were searching every fan as they came in, before letting them down a narrow walkway towards the turnstiles. I donít know if this was because it was a local derby or if this is standard practice? The turnstiles were electronic barcode scanners as is in most grounds now, before you walking up a set of steps into the narrowest concourse I have ever seen. Nowhere near enough for 1,500 people. Luckily I was in block Y6 nearest to entrance so scooted straight up and took my seat, second to back row of the upper tier.

I had bought myself a restricted view ticket to save myself a bit of money, and having read other fans opinions on the views on the web thought I had made a mistake. However the view was brilliant. All I really couldnít see was the end of the goal net of the goal nearest to the School End. Fulham fans to my right of me in the Ďwingsí area of the stand seemed very disgruntled about their view though.

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

The game was always going to be a tasty and competitive for a few reasons. Firstly it was a local derby, and Fulham had beat QPR 6-0 earlier in a season. The Ďrelationshipí between the clubs always wasnít helped by Mark Hughes joining QPR talking about ambition, and Bobby Zamora swapping white for blue & white just a few weeks earlier.

We started the game on fire. Andy Johnson having a goal disallowed within 90 seconds, before Russian marvel Pogrebnyak sent the away end into delirium after 6 minutes. Fulham bossed the first-half, with QPR also seeing new signing Diakite sent-off before the break after committing a series of stupid challenges.

The Fulham fans were in great voice all game, mainly with songs having a dig at Hughes, Zamora and QPRís ambition. I was very shocked at QPRís atmosphere at home, with it being such a tight ground, Iíd have expected 15,000 supporters being able to make a racket easily, however that never seemed to come. Fulham had their backs against the wall all second-half, and after a few scares came away unscathed and with a big 1-0 win over our local rivals.

The stewards at the ground seemed very easy going with fans standing and no one was kicked out as far as I could see. The one thing they didnít take too kindly too were two banners brought in by fans slating Mark Hughes and goading QPR for the 6-0 score earlier in the season.

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

Getting away from the ground was as easy and getting there. It takes a while for the fans to filter out from the away end due to stewards only letting fans out from one side of the stand due to safety reasons, however after another short walk down Uxbridge Road trying to avoid some of the trouble Fulham and QPRís younger Ďfansí were trying to start, I was back and Shepherds Bush and into Clapham Junction within 15 minutes.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A great day out made by the atmosphere of the away support and overall result. Part of me hopes QPR do stay up this season so there is another local derby to go to next season, as it seemed to be one that every Fulham supporter on the day enjoyed. The ground itself wasnít as bad I had thought it would be too, and if QPR do stay up, I will definitely be visiting again next season.

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