|HAVE-NOTS: Q.P.R. are aware of what relegation might mean. to them|
I ask you. From Anzi Makhachkala to Queen's Park Rangers. Once upon a time this would have been little more than the route the Orient Express took. Once upon a time we would not have stopped stirring our weary tea for trifles such as that.
Jordan Obita has left Reading for Oldham. But only on loan. Who is Jordan Obita? Heurelho Gomes, Tottenham to Hoffenheim. Good luck with that, good and stout villagers of Hoffenheim.
We are saturated with football. The minutiae, the crumbs, the dribble of leaking break fluid, as we career off down the hill to where Jim White and Mike Parry and Alan Brazil and the Cybermen are all waiting for us. Set tazers to Destroy Utterly.
It is entirely fitting that a club like QPR, with its ramshackle flamboyance and its Ford Capri puzzaz, should be the focal point of this year's close-to-non-stories. They even have their very own Harry Redknapp, my God, the real one, to preside over this monstrous celebration of not Very Much At All.
|Batman Close gets an extra watering|
Whilst they throw a hundred grand a week at the delightful talents of Christopher Samba, however, not a single penny seems to have been spent on the, what shall we call it, snug away end at Loftus Road. The School End, so called because it has the look of a delapidated bicycle shed, is narrow, painfully narrow, constructed from pipes and boards and odd things left over after geometry class, and gives you the feeling it could be deconstructed with relative ease if you possessed the right levels of anger. I'm sure I read a sign with a lightning flash on it telling me not to lean against the back panels in case I fell out onto South Africa Road.
|STAY BACK: There is danger beyond this point.|
|Vuvuzela Man prepares to parp|
Half time brings an opportunity to walk the vivid concourse, meet and greet and swing a cat above one's shoulders. In fact, none of this is possible, as 1700 people converge on a streak of concrete the width of a piece of an aeroplane aisle. Ah, Mr Fernandes, spend some dosh on this heaving bike shed before it blows away in the storm. Back on the steps, it is increasingly obvious we are witnessing a stalemate between ones who want to but cant and ones who don't want to at all. It is neither pretty nor clever.
Silva makes one last attempt to flick an effort past the Brazillian keeper, but he is having none of it, sticking out a hand to swat it away. A rotund figure with a vuvuzela in the South Africa Road Stand starts to parp a serenade to his 0-0 heroes. He is quickly told how and where to store the annoying instrument. If ever the croaky coughs of a plastic trumpet could represent the hollowness and absurdity of life, it is this. David Beckham, newly signed by Paris St Germain, a club outdoing even City in the shock horror spending stakes, would appreciate its strangled melody. It quacks of hypocrisy and vanity, it parps look at me and chokes in the cold air when it realises it is a sad parody of all our yesteryears. Beckham will do well in Paris. He has the natural style and class to sway the Parisiens. He knows literature and history and politics. He is at once ambassadorial and trite. He speaks fluidly and profoundly. And his wife. Victoria Paradis, can sing the pigeons clean out of the trees. Apart from his well aired dislike of clubs who spend to match the old elite, he should be an absolute hit by the banks of the Seine, of that there can be little doubt.
Back by the Thames our time is up. The cold embrace of Bloemfontein Road awaits us. It is dark and all roads look the same around here. I walk into a cul-de-sac and swear loudly into the rain. It is a metaphor for something, you can be sure of that.