Los Angelino visiting West London's Loftus Road

Was recently in the UK on business travel. However, did have a little bit of free time in London. On the free evening I had, there was one soccer match in London: Queens Park Rangers vs. Fulham.

Went online and ordered up a ticket on the South Africa Road stand. When I bought the ticket online, I figured I should read up about the club before seeing the match and the big news was QPR's involvement in the Game For Grenfell. In the summer of 2017, a horrible fire engulfed Grenfell Tower killing 80 and impacting the lives of multitudes in the West London area. Some of the leadership of Queens Park Rangers, a club just a couple of miles from the Grenfell Tower, felt the need to do something for the community and the idea of a charity match gathered support from a wide range of people with ties to West London. As it stands, the effort may raise nearly 1 million pounds. I found it easy to like QPR because of their can do community spirit!

In terms of QPR's on-the-field efforts, they had been competitive in matches but couldn't seem to get any wins. Expectations against Fulham were hopeful but confidence couldn't be considered high given QPR's form leading up to the game.

Took the London Underground and got out at Shepherd's Bush Market station. This part of London is very ethnically diverse and Uxbridge Road buzzed with activity in shops and restaurants.

Walked to the venerable Loftus Road stadium that sits in the middle of the residential area. The TV trucks were parked on Loftus Road as the evenings match was a West London Derby and televised. It was a nice Friday evening just a little cool for a Southern Californian but at least no rain!

Went to the team store and picked up a cap.

Walked back to Uxbridge Road and looked for some pre-game food at Lahore Spice. Had some reasonably priced chicken biryani.

Walked back to the stadium, showed my ticket, and entered the stadium. 

One of the stewards took a photo of me. He told me about the vocal but largely calm nature of the derby between Fulham and QPR compared to the more difficult Chelsea fans that are also part of the West London soccer scene. He observed that in the past, there were many American fans attending matches involving Fulham when Clint Dempsey with them. In an effort to establish my soccer fan credentials, I mentioned that Tim Ream is the current American on the Fulham squad. He asked me how I became a supporter of QPR. I told him essentially what I have relayed here: it was an opportunity to experience English football culture and I was impressed by QPR's efforts for the community with the Game For Grenfell. 

Wonderful atmosphere as the QPR supporters cheered for their team. Alas, the visitors had more to cheer about as Fulham won 2-1.

Queens Park Rangers will struggle to be in the top half of the table as they operate under the shadow financial fair play violations from their mad dash for promotion to the Premier League during the 2013-2014 season. There is no question they broke the rules. Their only hope is that the size of the fines could be reduced upon appeal. As a small club, their finances are somewhat precarious and the current management is trying to run QPR in a financially sustainable manner and are hoping to put that sorry chapter behind them. 

I will continue to follow and root for QPR even as they struggle as a bottom of the table English Football League Championship club because they are a community club with a heart as seen in the Game For Grenfell. More of that heart was on display the evening of the Fulham match when they had some participants from the Tiger Cubs on the field pre-match for photos, to meet players and receive the applause of the fans. This initiative involves the use of soccer and other activities to promote the well being of local Down Syndrome individuals.  

Come on you R's!