Queens Park Rangers fans have chosen the badge which will adorn the shirts of their heroes for generations to come.
After a public vote between a shortlist of 4 designs, 68% of Rangers fans surveyed opted for a variation on the familiar QPR badge of the 1980s.
Rangers’ new badge will now be refined before taking its place on next season’s shirts, replacing the unpopular emblem of the Flavio Briatore era.
Briatore’s badge, the so-called “Flavio’s hair and crown” was foisted on fans without consultation as part of Briatore’s efforts to re-brand the club.
Out went the popular, if a little corporate looking 1980s crest instantly recognisable to generations of football supporters, in came crowns and a crude diagram of the fallopian tubes.
The Formula 1 playboy cared little for tradition, or the opinions of “£20 fans” as he and his board of directors sought to attract a better class of supporters and turn QPR into a billionaires’ boys’ club.
Naomi Campbell, Tamara Beckwith and a number of glamorous celebrities enjoyed foie gras on South Africa Road as Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone and Co presided over a tempestuous spell in charge, which can be best summed up by the sporting disaster movie, The Four Year Plan.
Using words so popular amongst supporters such as “project” and “boutique,” Briatore wanted a fresh identity for the West London club as part of the much heralded drive to deliver European football to Loftus Road.
All the ostentatious heraldry was hard to swallow. Yes, Briatore’s badge has been tattooed on the calves of many men old enough to know better but for many, the crown and hooped shield symbolised anger, embarrassment, disenchantment and an attempt to wrestle a club away from it’s traditional fanbase.
Latterly, under the reign of Tony Fernandes, the badge symbolised mercenaries rather than mavericks and a procession of managers each taking over the last man’s squad and ideas, whilst surprisingly failing to get much out of them.
Of course, Briatore’s badge wasn’t for QPR fans, why on God’s green Earth did we need to be reminded that our beloved Superhoops played in London? The emblem was aimed at attracting new fans in emerging markets. Fans that will probably never exist in any great number.
As fans called for the symbols of Bernie and Flavio’s regime to be torn down, others stoically looked on murmuring, “it’s only a fucking badge. Haven’t we got other, more important things to worry about?”
“What we really need is a return to our maverick, entertaining playing philosophy and a feeling of a united team and fanbase ready to give the big boys a bloody nose. Fluid, expansive football with flair and cunning.”
“A new training ground, an academy, a conveyor belt of local talent coming through to the first team. Isn’t that QPR’s identity?”
They were right. Rodney Marsh never wore a fucking badge on his shirt. Just beautiful blue and white hoops.
Fans are never happy but together, we are all-knowing. With the assembled wisdom of the crowd displaying itself on message boards, Twitter and football phone-ins, supporters don’t just have to mouth off at mates in the pub anymore. We can give our expert opinion on team selection and graphic design. Without the fans on board, no club can truly prosper.
Chairman Tony Fernandes, for all his faults, likes a pint with fans in the Springbok and understands a thing or two about PR. In agreeing to re-model the badge, he has hit on a populist idea to deliver a crest the club can wear with pride for generations. If nothing else, at least the new badge has been chosen by R’s fans and can belong to the club.
In a generation’s time, perhaps Rangers will have that new training ground, that youth academy and that new badge will look down upon a new stadium at Old Oak Common.
Alternatively, we might be playing park football?
If we are, we go back to where we began. Above all QPR are survivors.
Our collective identity revealed itself on the march to Wembley before the 2014 Play-Off Final. Families and friends filling one half of the national stadium, sent into raptures by Bobby Zamora’s last minute goal.
Every man, woman and child in hoops of blue and white or red and black.
Of course the badge is important but whatever the badge, wherever we play, somethings are permanent.
Let’s move on now, let’s unite and focus on what contributes to results on the pitch and a return to the Rangers’ values we grew up with.
Come on you Super . . .