Welcome to my blog detailing my groundhopping exploits. My aim is to visit all football grounds in England (Premier league to the 8th tier) Scotland (SPL to 3rd Division) and the Welsh premier league I may also add grounds from other sports or countries. I hope you enjoy reading.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Queens Park Rangers - Loftus Road

Match - QPR 0-0 Norwich City
Competition - Premier League
Admission - £33 - Restricted View
Attendance - 17,543
Scarf - £10
Food - Pukka Pie Chicken Balti 7/10
Ground No. 114
Ground Rating 6/10

On Saturday I travelled to West London to the home of Queens Park Rangers to see the hoops game against the Canaries of Norwich City. This game was my first Premier League game of the season and saw me complete groundhops of all the London based clubs currently playing in the English Top Tier.

QPR currently sit rock bottom of the league despite the large sums of money that have been spent on the playing staff by owner Tony Fernandes who is also the man in charge of Caterham F1 team. Norwich however are occupying a mid table table having spent far less than the Hoops, relying on players generally bought from lower league sides mainly Leeds Utd. Although there seems are reasonably large gap between the teams as far as points and table position this was probably a game that Rangers manager Harry Redknapp had earmarked as one to win.

The Journey to Loftus Road was quite straight forward as me and my dad drove to West Ruislip underground station and caught a central line train straight to White City Station and from there had a short 5 min walk down South Africa Road to the ground.

After a short stop to buy a scarf for myself and a woolly hat for my dad we walked around to the opposite side of the ground to the Ellerslie road stand where we would be watching the game from. This side of the stadium is quite hidden away behind a row of terrace housing. We went through the turnstiles around an hour before kick-off into a small, cramp open air concourse where there were a number of food outlets and only one set of men's toilets.As is the norm when we go to football we headed straight for the food which was decent, but then you can't really go wrong with a Pukka Pie can you?

We then made our way to our seats around 40mins prior to Kick Off and were met with the worst possible seats in the ground, I had foolishly taken a risk on restricted view seats and although only being four rows back from the pitch and therefore at Loftus Road very close to the action we were only able to see one goal. Note for future Never buy restricted view tickets.

My view of far end
Loftus Road is one of if not the smallest ground in the top flight with a capacity of just over 18,000. The largest stand in the ground is the South Africa Road Stand that runs along the touchline opposite the stand that we were in. This is a two tiered stand that is split by a row of VIP suites. The dugouts are situated centrally at the front of the South Africa Road Stand. The Two ends are identical small two tiered stand with the far end housing away fans in the top tier and home fans in the lower tier. On top of the stand at the far end there is an electronic board which shows the game as it happens, this was helpful for us when play was happening behind the post. For this game we were seated in the Ellerslie Road stand this is a single tiered stand which as I have probably already mentioned has a number of bloody great big posts at the front of.

 QPR started the game with there new £12.5 Million pound signing from Anzhi Machalakalakalakalaka and ex Blackburn Rovers Centre back Chris Samba and also Spurs loanee Andros Townsend while Rangers other big money January buy Loic Remy was out injured, the Hoops started brightly with Adel Tarabbt having a couple of decent long range efforts but neither troubled Bunn in the visitors goal. Norwich quickly picked up and had a good chance of there own which Hoolahan managed to put over the bar from 5 yards out. The rest of the half passed by with nothing to worry either keeper and was generally a scrappy affair although Norwich did look the more composed team.

The second period was a lot more exciting with both teams creating a number of chances. Firstly QPR's Brazilian International goalkeeper pulled off a couple of great saves from Hoolahan and Bradley Johnson the first of which was a one handed reaction stop down low to his right from Hoolahans flicked effort from inside the 6 yard box.

The best chance of the game though came from the Penalty Spot, after the tireless Jamie Mackie was upended by the visitors keeper. Adel Tarabbt took the penalty which was well hit low to the keepers left but Bunn guessed correctly and made a very good save to keep the game goalless.

After the penalty miss Rangers piled on the pressure and were the only team that looked like scoring especially from set pieces around the box where Samba was the main target and also a couple of long range efforts the most memorable from Townsend who hit a sweet strike from 25 yards out that was flying in the top corner but for another great save from Bunn.

The game ended then goalless and QPR can feel a bit disappointed not to have won, they remain undefeated though in the new year but unfortunately draws are not enough to keep them up.

  In the end it wasn't the worst game I had ever been to but a 0-0 scoreline doesn't help my average goals per game which has now dropped towards 3.

Loftus Road in conclusion is a half decent stadium but I think QPR may have to think about moving if they are to stay in the Premier league as I cant see them being able to increase what they have here and they need to be able to have larger crowds if they continue to pay out £100,000 per week wages.

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