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A message to ‘R’ fans, from ‘R’ generation…

So after yesterday’s third consecutive loss, I thought it only healthy to step away from the negativity to talk about a small win that has occurred in the form of a new fansite called ‘R’ Generation. I wanted to also formally introduce myself and the new site I have launched over the past couple weeks. 

So, my name is Sam, I’m 18 and I’m a lifelong QPR supporter. For the past few months I’ve been writing a ‘Lockdown Diary’ for the official QPR website. After a few of my entries were published I received a message that read, ‘What a great opportunity, very jealous!’. This was odd to me because why would anyone in their right mind be jealous of an 18 year old spending the precious days of his youth, writing a literal diary for the second best West-London football team, in the second best footballing division, in the formerly greatest country in the world. (Obviously I don’t actually believe any of that, we are miles better than Brentford, they’re just a bus-stop with a budget and rule Britannia, am I right or am I right?!) Anyway, I thought it was odd to hear that someone was jealous of the opportunity I was handed by my club, which I should add, I acquired through only a simple well written, slightly sycophantic email to the club pleading my boredom and desire to not lose my mind over lockdown. I proceeded by looking at the supposedly jealous profile and saw that he was actually studying Sports Journalism at a top university, was a writer and was quite a bit older than me. This guy was clearly far more qualified than me to be writing for a professional football club, I thought, and yet he was jealous! I had an epiphany of sorts, kind of, more of just an idea but I just saw the word epiphany in a really good article so wanted to get it in here to make myself sound older. Good word no? Anyway, I had an epiphany, kind of; how is it that within our fanbase there are writers, students, aspiring professionals who can be jealous of an 18 year old, writing complete nonsense, for 10 weeks, for Queens Park Rangers football club? Something I’ve noticed as an aspiring writer is that until you have some formal significance to the world it is incredibly hard to be heard. In a world of free, online anonymity and increasingly free speech, on paper it clearly seems an easy task to write what you want, where you want it, whenever you want to. But, the problem with everyone writing everything and anything is that it’s quite hard to gather an audience for everything and anything when everything and anything is being produced by everyone and anyone! Your words can get lost in an endless sea of sentences.

So, curiously, I thought I’d look through twitter to see if this jealous appraisal was purely an anomaly. To my welcomed surprise, I found that there were dozens of young fans, around the ages of 16-25 mainly, who were producing their own content to do with QPR, with little to no audience! Sitting here writing this, I can assure the reader that it takes a considerable amount of effort to write an article ESPECIALLY when the subject of the article is a team who have scored the third most league goals this season, conceded the second most and lost twice to the team currently rock bottom of the Championship conceding 6 goals against that same team across two miserable games. Weird team QPR are. Nonetheless I need to mention the time and effort that goes into creating your own website, blog, twitter profile etc! So, completely disoriented as I was by this swirl of lost talent, I started to read people’s work. It was really good. Some of it was as one could say, not especially good but amongst the ocean of nonsense there were some nuggets of excellence. I looked further into their platforms and I saw a really unfortunate correlation between writers and their audience. The more people that set up their own platform, the less concentrated the readership seemed to be amongst them. If there are more sites to land on, there are less individual clicks, and less loyalties. This is especially true when the site is being shared by a page who’s profile proudly says they are only a 20 year old, aspiring journalist, studying still at university, rather than ‘lifelong QPR fan working in an office no one’s actually heard of’. This means people’s hard work was clearly going under the radar, unappreciated, ignored. Someone should concentrate this stream of talent, I thought…

That’s when I came up with the idea for ‘R’ Generation. 

At QPR, between 0 and 18 years old, you are a Junior Hoop. Then once you’re past that point you are an adult, in amongst the lifelong QPR fans. I’m in the same fan bracket, having grown up with Akos Buszaky and Charlie Austin as ‘John Smith’ in the R block who’s lived through Stan, Rodney and Les. I need to point out that by no means am I putting any disregard toward the older generation of R’s fans who I think are the genuine lifeblood of the club, which my Dad is a proud part of too, and without them this club would be nowhere near the level of specialty it is today. The older generation got me involved in the club, the older generation gave me a platform to publish my work in the first place and the older generation are what inspired me to want to be a part of their world, but also at the current time, my own generation too. My point is that there is a difference between the fans who have been there forever, the fans born in 2010 and the fans who are at the point of their lives where they have to decide what they want to do with their lives, consequently prove themselves to the world as worthy human beings and find themselves their place in society before their lives are officially in the shit. That’s why I built ‘R’ Generation as a platform to finally give a voice to those who in my opinion, need their voices heard as much, if not more, as their predecessors. 

Everyone has a lot to say about QPR. You have to have a shit ton to say about QPR otherwise you clearly haven’t been paying attention, we aren’t a very straight forward side. There have been countless family events where my cousins and parents have been shouting their opinions over a Sunday lunch about who should’ve played where and what the gaffer should’ve changed, and I’ve been sitting at the kids table being asked if I want ice cream or apple pie for desert fully aware of the full 18 man squad taken to the game that week and more. Would you not say you were far more passionate about football before you entered the real world? When match attax, Subbuteo and Fifa were the biggest things in your life before taxes, family and work? Surely that essence of wonder and childhood, mixed with the ambition and maturity of young adulthood should be captured, promoted and presented as a more eminent voice of opinion amongst the footballing world? The lawyers, accountants and professionals will sit at dinner arguing over their shared love for the game to reach a conclusion of a disagreement and then to go back to their day jobs, whereas the ones who are at the most key point of their careers, particularly aspiring journalists and writers etc, are being ignored due to the fact that they were born a bit later than their older counterparts. I’ve always thought age is in fact just a number but I’d just like to clarify that I believe age is just a number to those people who clearly show an ambition to reach the ages of adulthood that they will be, taking into consideration the age that they are, whilst reflecting on the ages they have been before and are perceived to be. That is to say, I’m not going to publish little Timmy from the family stand’s favourite moments of the 2018/19 season, or young Tom’s top 10 reasons why Idrissa Sylla was the greatest ever QPR striker, or Charlie Austin, why we should rename the stadium in his honour. No, the content you see on this page is specially selected in favour of those with the potential to do big things, who might’ve been heading for smaller things without the lift of a platform to showcase themselves on. All of our writers and contributors are talented and specially selected to provide you with exceptional, rational, and impressive features to do with the team they know, support and love.

I love QPR. So much. They have provided my life with so much meaning and excitement and a focal point to my dreary school weeks as something to properly look forward to. That play off final was amazing. Adel Taarabt was superb and honestly I’ve seen Neil Warnock in our dugout as much as every other Rangers fan.

We are one fanbase, and we should be viewed as such. Yes, we are young and stupid, very stupid, our generation is not the best, I on behalf of my generation apologise for TikTok. We truly have a lot to learn. But, amongst the world of rubbish and social media attention seeking, I feel like people around my age do in fact have buckets of potential, and potential, as Mark Warburton always demonstrates, is something that has to be nurtured. Preparing for the real world is a scary time and in today’s day and age the world is a more competitive place than ever. For aspiring professionals too, those in university, college and school, it can be daunting, and ‘R’ Generation aims to provide a platform, a standpoint, a spotlight, for those who want to move out of the shadows, in whatever form that may take.

Please don’t be put off by our marketing, we are young and we are learning but the stuff we write is valid and the effort put into it is vast. We are hungry and we love QPR and we are very much at the beginning of our life sentence as an R’s fan. We really do just want to be heard.

Read our stuff, follow our socials and get involved, we are always looking for up and coming writers to join our team of 20+ contributors, our DM’s are always open so just shoot us a message and we can get you on board. If none of this has swayed you, we are giving away a free shirt on our twitter. So, like, no reason not to follow to be quite honest. 

Thanks for reading, and following, stay up to date for a constant flow of QPR content from a bunch of young, hungry contributors who are not really kids anymore but not quite yet adults, just stepping onto the long, windy and distressingly unstable bridge toward that lifelong commitment to the small, bizarre, hooped club, in Shepherds Bush. 

You may have grown up with Bowles, Marsh and Ferdinand but we are the Taarabt, Austin and Eze generation and we too have some things to say…

COYRS!

Written by Sam Taylor (@samtaylorqpr)

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