Being paid to write about the club you support? Short of actually playing for the team, it surely can’t get much better than that for any self-respecting football fan.
Except… what happens when the people who run the club set out to transform it beyond recognition and steer it on a course you can’t accept? How do you approach your job then? Can your relationship with the club remain intact, not only on a professional level but also as a supporter?
As sports editor of a local newspaper series in north-west London, Ben Kosky found himself wrestling with those questions when Queens Park Rangers underwent a sweeping makeover – not only during the era of the infamous Four Year Plan, but before and after that as well.
Retracing that chaotic period in QPR history, Ben gives an insight on what it was like to deal with some of the key figures at the time – Ian Holloway, John Gregory, Neil Warnock and Gianni Paladini – as well as outlining his own journey from fervent follower to estranged fan and back again.
“The fabric of the club changed, you didn’t know who was coming or going. It felt like playing a game of Championship Manager, only for real.”
“You’ve got to have a nucleus of players who know what playing for that club is all about – that’s what has been missing for years. It kills me to see it.”
“No one knows what’s happening from one day to the next. We keep saying ‘it’s a tight unit, a family’ and then it breaks up every so often because the manager’s gone.”
“Why don’t you take your brain out of your head and make it into an omelette?”