An Emotional Day
Today the R's faithful travelled to Manchester City knowing either a draw or just Bolton failing to win would ensure survival and secure our Premier League status. Man City on the other hand knew that they had to just match Man United's result at Sunderland and that would secure their first league title in 44 years. An emotional day was sure to be ahead of us.
The Lofty Heights gang left in the customary two car formation as we both hit the road at 10am and the gang got together at the M6 Toll services at just past 11.30. Myself and Jess enjoyed a nice Costa breakfast as Sam and Luke picked up a few treats from the other services facilities. Jenson, Lofty and PK soon followed us in and we all gathered around the table and discussed the emotions all of us were feeling, it's safe to say that I was the only one out of the seven of us that was calm and confident that today would unfold as we would want it and we would remain in the Premier League club.
We arrived at the Etihad Stadium at 1.30 and parked in the stadium car park before making our way to our entrance and parted ways with Sam and Luke as they were in the Lower Tier. The rest of us made the climb to the Upper Tier and went straight to the bar to settle everyone's pre match nerves with an alcoholic beverage, which in all fairness tasted bloody horrible and did not do the nerves of Lofty, Jess, PK or Jenson any good at all.
Before the game Lorna successfully completed the Moonwalk in London in support for Breast Cancer. Lorna knocked an hour off her personal best and I'm sure was all plastered up from all the blisters and was sat ready to watch the game.
Well done Lorna from all of us here!!
Well how can I describe the game as we've all watched it and lived every minute, but I will be brief about it.
The R's set their stall out and the game plan was obvious to everyone, stay solid in midfield and at the back whilst committing little and trying to make the most of any counter attack that we had.
The plan seemed to work for 38 minutes but then City broke the deadlock.
Yaya Toure played a one-two with Zabaleta and the right back poked the ball at Paddy Kenny and his wrists were not strong enough to push the ball over the bar, instead the ball looped up and went in off the post.
Luke's advice to Paddy is that over the summer he should go on a wank fest and strengthen his wrists up ready for next season.
At half time we entered the concourse with the news that Stoke had equalized against Bolton to make it 2-2, however this was false and Bolton were still 2-1 in front at the break... as things stood we were being relegated. We all stood on the concourse with everyone's nerves shot to bit whilst I still, somehow, remained calm and knew that 45 minutes is a long time in football and there were plenty of twists and turns to endure yet.
Three minutes into the half and that faith had been restored by everyone. Wright-Phillips long ball was not dealt with by Lescott and Cisse latched onto the ball and hit it on the half volley into the bottom corner. Chaotic celebrations followed, you could sense the relief lift from the away end.
We have come accustomed to sendings off this season and what we really didn't need is a moment of indiscipline, unfortunately that is what we got.
Joey Barton rather stupidly elbowed Carlos Tevez and this was spotted by the referee's assistant and was rightly given a red card. What followed is just baffling. Why would you after being sent off, then go and knee someone in the back and then attempt a headbutt at someone else, just madness and he will get a lengthy ban for it and deservedly so.
Two minutes later and that frustration/despair turned into pure elation.
Traore skipped past Kompany like he wasn't there and advanced down the left wing before delivering a beautiful cross to the far post to the unmarked Mackie and the Scottish International threw himself at it, headed the ball into the floor and into the roof of the net. 2-1 and the celebrations were even wilder than when we scored the first, absolutely crazy!!!
In the 80th minute the news filtered through that Stoke had made it 2-2 at the Britannia, thus meaning that a three goal swing would have to occur to mean we would get relegated.
The R's resolutely held on and in the 92nd minute the R's dugout started celebrating, they found out that Bolton had drawn at Stoke and our survival was assured. Now it was the small matter of where the title would go.
With the fans and maybe the players now with a little less focus saw Dzeko equalise and the title race was well and truly on.
In the 94th minute Aguero stole a yard in the penalty area after Balotelli poked the ball through to him and stroked the ball home..... the title was City's!
In some fantastic scenes after the game the City fans were celebrating winning the league whilst we celebrated staying in the league. Both sets of fans showed appreciation to one another as City fans applauded us staying up whilst all the R's fans stayed to see City lift the trophy and give the City fans their own standing ovation.
As all of us left the top tier we were greeted by Man City fans offering their hands and sharing the joy with us all.
It didn't stop there, as we were walked down the street on our way back to the car the City fans were shaking our hands, plenty of man love was on show.... at one point PK and myself were offered 20quid for our QPR shirts, we kindly rejected, you can never give up the shirt of the club you love.
We all got back to the car and made our way to the first service station so that we could feed ourselves and finally Lofty and Jenson would be able to eat as they had previously been too nervous to stomach anything all day.
We all then said our goodbyes in the car park and took to our journey down the M6 and home.
Today has been a memorable day and once again we have seen a trophy presentation, its the fourth or fifth year running now I think? I'm happy that today not only we stayed up but City won the title. City fans, despite their nervousness throughout the game are one of the most passionate around and are definately more loyal fans than those reds around the corner. Not are they loyal, they actually support their local team and that was evident as once we got outside of Manchester the traffic has gone, whereas a few weeks ago we were racing them down the M6 towards Surrey.
The respect shared between both sets of fans at the end is what football is all about, yes we support different clubs and share our passion in the stands but at the final whistle we are all human and share a love for the beautiful game.
I'd like to say my thanks to all the loyal readers over the past year, without you myself and Lofty would be writing to ourselves. Thanks to the Lofty Heights gang, our Saturday's together are always entertaining, full of laughs and really make the day at football a day that I look forward to every time we have a fixture.
Lofty, Jess, Sam, Luke, PK, Corp, California Hoop, Jenson, Jack, Iceman, Nik, Lorna and everyone else that I've had the pleasure of sharing this season with, thank you very much and I look forward to enjoying another season with you all next year!
Lastly I'd just like to say a final thanks to Lofty. Your help and partnership that we have on here certainly seems to be a winning combination and I'm looking forward to sharing another year of twists and turns on here in what will hopefully be a lesser stressful season for us.
Have a great summer!!
I leave you with a quote we will all remember from last year and sums up today..... "The sky is blue, everything is blue"