QPR must attract the next generation of west London supporters

QPR has emerged as one of the most expensive clubs for junior supporters.

The club tops the league when it comes to charges to be a matchday mascot and junior membership and among the most expensive for junior matchday and season tickets, according to figures published in The Guardian.

QPR1st believes that, rather than charge £450 to parents who want their child to be a mascot, it should think about offering opportunities to be a mascot, for example, to west London schools.  Each child can then go back and tell their mates what they have done and spread the word about QPR.

 We would like to see the mascots reflecting the communities of west London, deepening the community support that is vital for a club like ours; not simply going to the children of parents who can afford £450. 

 And we want the club to hold down junior ticket prices. 

Clearly there is an issue for the club in that we have a small stadium and less match day income than many clubs, but we also want to encourage the next generation of QPR supporters into the club. The long-term financial health of the club depends on youngsters coming to the club who then become life-long supporters.

 Figures published on the Guardian’s website show our most expensive junior matchday tickets are second only to West Ham and we are third in the league for the most expensive junior season tickets.

 QPR is top of the league, with Swansea, with by charging £450 to be a matchday mascot.  (West Ham has a £600 package, but also a £350 deal.)

 It’s free at Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Man U and Liverpool, Aston Villa, Everton, Southampton and Sunderland.

 The club does run a prize draw for Junior Hoops to become one of the mascots for home games, but most are paying for the privilege.

 The Guardian figures are not all bad – QPR has is not one of the most expensive clubs when it comes to junior kits; £59 compared with a massive £77 for Chelsea.

 The Guardian published an article in today’s paper, with tables comparing the club on their website.  http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/dec/18/premier-league-clubs-charge-600-children-mascots

Posted in All News, Media

New stadium and training ground plans moving forward slowly?

A year after the club announced its plans for a new stadium at Old Oak, the London Assembly has conformed its support, in principle, for the setting up of a Mayoral Development Corporation to oversee the regeneration of the area.

 The Assembly discussed the proposals for the Mayoral Development Corporation yesterday (17 December).  It set out some concerns, none of which made a direct reference to the stadium, but could affect the club’s overall regeneration plans and timescale for the development.

 QPR1st Supporters Trust believes the club should give supporters an update on how this might affect the timing and practicality of the new stadium.

 We would also welcome an update from the club on Warren Farm.  Local residents were told in October that the club was working through with design teams how it would reduce the cost of the scheme to build new training and community facilities, but supporters are not aware of any revised plans since then. 

 It is expected that, with Assembly approval, the Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) will start work in April, taking all the planning powers currently held by councils for Old Oak and the Park Royal industrial estate.  It is expected that QPR will then submit its planning application for the stadium, housing and commercial buildings to the MDC.

 The Assembly said that there should be a target of 50 per cent for the number of affordable homes that would be built at Old Oak, and had concerns on the timescales for the development of planning documents. The Assembly thinks the timescales are too rushed to allow for good consultation and to prevent “inappropriate” urban design and architecture.

 They also had issues about lack of clarity as to where the money for the regeneration is coming from.

 This Assembly has called on the Mayor to bring forward further proposals on the issues they have raised.

 QPR1st believes supporters would welcome an update from the club and more involvement for supporters in the development of our proposed new home.

 Information on the Assembly discussion is on https://www.london.gov.uk/media/assembly-press-releases/2014/12

Posted in All News

THE JUSTICE FOR JEFF ASTLE CAMPAIGN

Dawn Astle contacted the Trust and asked us to post this message which we are only to pleased to do.

THE JUSTICE FOR JEFF ASTLE CAMPAIGN

 

Nine minutes into Saturday’s game, Albion fans will unveil a large banner reading ‘Justice for Jeff’ which starts a minute’s applause – nine being the famous shirt number he wore.

QPR fans are more than welcome to join in with the applause if they choose to; for which we would be very grateful for; but if not we would like to give them the opportunity to make them aware of our campaign if they haven’t seen it via the national media already.

The Justice for Jeff banner will be at every West Bromwich Albion home and away game for the rest of this season. Hopefully, by then, the promised research into the links between heading footballs and brain damage will be in its early stages and, just as importantly, the research into former players and instances of dementia will have commenced.

We would also like to respectfully ask that if you are aware of any former players who may have died of, or are sadly living with Alzheimer’s or any other Degenerative Brain Disease please contact us by emailing dawnastle@justiceforjeff.co.uk – this information is vitally important to forthcoming research.

You can keep up-to-date and learn more about our campaign by visiting our website justiceforjeff.co.uk or through our Facebook (facebook.com/justiceforjeffastle) and Twitter (@astle1968 #justiceforjeff) pages.

 Thank You

 The Astle Family

 

 ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

The ‘Justice for Jeff’ campaign is dedicated to our dad Jeff Astle and the countless number of former football players who have died of degenerative brain disease (DBD), and former players and their families who are suffering from the consequences of DBD.

Jeff Astle died at the age of 59 on 19th January 2002.

In November that year we attended the Coroners Court. A leading pathologist stood and described how badly damaged dad’s brain was. He found that there was considerable evidence of trauma to his brain that was similar to the brain of a boxer. He said the main candidate for the trauma was heading a heavy ball and it was the repeated trauma that appeared to be the problem. H.M Coroner, Andrew Haigh, ruled “Mr Astle’s type of dementia was entirely consistent with heading a ball and the occupational exposure has made at least a significant contribution to the disease which had caused his death”.

Verdict – INDUSTRIAL DISEASE.

Following this landmark ruling the Football Association (FA) and Professional Footballers’ Asscociation (PFA) promised to conduct a ten-year joint study into DBD and the medical links associated with head trauma through heading footballs. Twelve years on, this research has never been concluded or published.

After learning about the FA/PFA and their lack of, well, anything, I contacted a Consultant Neuropathologist based in Glasgow, called Dr. Willie Stewart. Dr. Stewart is one of the World’s Leading Experts in a disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It’s not a new disease, it’s just got a new name. It’s “dementia pugilistica”, “punch drunk syndrome”, or “boxers brain”. The disease has actually been around for nigh on 100 years. CTE had been found in the brains of former NFL players. It is a degenerative brain disease caused by multiple concussions or, as we now know, in dad’s case, low level repeated brain trauma.

Following his death, Dad’s brain was donated for brain research, it was something dad believed in. We gave Dr. Stewart permission to re-examine dad’s brain to look for evidence of CTE. Dad was originally diagnosed as having dementia/early onset Alzheimer’s. Could they have got it wrong? They had. Dad didn’t have Alzheimer’s. He was now the first ever British Professional Footballer to have died of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Dad died of repeated blows to the head, the type caused by heading a football… just as the Coroner had ruled nearly 12 years ago. The question is – how many others?

So what are our objectives?

On a personal level, acknowledgement from the game about what killed our dad.

Looking ahead – to create a legacy for past, current and future generations of footballers. We are hoping to establish a charity in dad’s name, ‘The Jeff Astle Foundation’, with 3 principle aims…

1. SUPPORT – for those in football and their families who have had similar experiences to us, or who are still living with dementia. Dad’s story has had renewed attention over the past 5 months. We have been contacted by families of former players with dementia all with need of support. While we have done what we can to support them, there is a need to put into place a more robust system.

2. EDUCATION – head injury in sport and its associated immediate and long term risks is a major public health issue, but one for which there is little or no awareness in sport, education, health and allied agencies, never mind public awareness. We would like to see consistent, clear and robust information on aspects of all head injury management, including CTE, and see this information disseminated effectively.

3. INDEPENDENT RESEARCH – this is a complex and fast moving field and one where there are international experts in research in brain injury positioned to lead. It might be argued that sports agencies, including the FA/ PFA have been guilty of trying to take on research in this highly complex issue, in this highly complex organ ‘in house’, and through their own sponsored research. Invariably, this has failed to deliver its stated aims, as in dad’s case, and /or generated accusations of bias. We support Independent Research.

We are not going away, ever. How can you ever give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about?

This is about acknowledgement of what has happened. So as to be able to make a difference for those, unlike dad, it’s not too late for. Those already suffering as he did and those who are, or maybe, a ticking time bomb for the future.

No amount of money or compensation can bring our dad back. It is NOT about that. Money may be the first language of modern football and its authorities, it’s not the be all and end all to everyone.

What we do want is answers. Answers with regard to what killed dad, what may have happened to others like him, and what may be happening, or about to happen, to others? We need to know. Football needs to know.

For too long this issue has been the silent scandal of sport, possibly thousands of former players and their families suffering grievously from damage caused by the game they loved.

As a footballer you can expect to get knocks, perhaps ligament damage and even trouble with arthritis later in life, you don’t expect to die of brain damage at 59.

Football should not, and must not, be allowed to shy away from confronting what is an uncomfortable and unsettling reality. The whole game should be united in wanting “Justice for Jeff “.

Kind Regards

Dawn Astle

The Justice For Jeff Astle Campaign

 http://www.justiceforjeff.co.uk/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/astle1968

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/justiceforjeffastle

Posted in All News, Community

QPR1st urges the club to pay decent wages to all staff (Chelsea 1, QPR 0)

QPR1st believes QPR should pay all its staff the Living Wage.

 While some staff are on massive wages, the club has been silent when asked its attitude to paying all staff at least the Living Wage – £9.15 an hour.

 The issue has come to the fore this week with a protest outside the Premier League, calling on clubs to pay the Living Wage, and the announcement by the first London club that all directly employed and those employed by external contractors will receive at least the Living Wage.

 QPR1st believes the club should make an announcement supporting the Living Wage for three reasons:

 1 It is the right thing to do

 2 It will show the club is genuinely interested in the local community

 3 London Mayor Boris Johnson is a strong supporter of the Living Wage and has asked all Premier League clubs to pay it.  A Mayoral Development Corporation is likely to take over all planning decisions for the Old Oak regeneration area from April. If the club expects him to approve their plans for the new stadium, they should respond to his views of what a football club should be doing to support the community.

 QPR1st believes it is the right thing to do.  While some employees are on huge wages, others, essential to the running of a club and its events should have a wage they can live on.

 QPR1st regrets the fact that it is Chelsea and not QPR that is winning praise for adopting the Living Wage.

 Boris Johnson said Chelsea were “setting the right example” with the move. He said: “They realise their team is more than just the 11 men out on the pitch, and that by putting more pounds in the pockets of their staff they are signing up to a win-win scenario that rewards a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay for everyone.”

 Sadly, according to a BBC report, no-one from QPR was able to comment on the club’s view on the Living Wage.  We believe the club should commit itself to paying it to staff and to ensuring future contracts with external contractors providing a service guarantee a Living Wage to staff involved.

 The wage, set by the Living Wage Foundation, is based on the amount needed to cover basic living. The higher living wage levels compare to the minimum wage of £6.50 an hour.

A supporter has created an online petition which we encourage our members and all qpr supporters to sign

https://www.change.org/p/queens-park-rangers-fc-pay-the-living-wage-to-all-employees?

Posted in All News, Community

Proposal for 38th game abroad

QPR1st Supporters’ Trust is concerned at the emergence of proposals for each Premier League teams to play one of its league fixtures abroad. It has been widely reported that the Premier League is considering this proposal.

Several years ago it a proposal that an additional game would be played abroad was put forward and then dropped, but the suggestion now is that the “foreign” fixture would be part of the 38 game regular season.

Such a proposal should not be considered without taking into account the views of the supporters who loyally go to games week in, week out, during the season.

Such a proposal may be useful to the Premier League in marketing itself world-wide, but is not in the interests of the league as a competitive sport.

The proposal would mean half the teams in the league would lose a home game, and would therefore be put at a disadvantage.  In each club either travelling supporters – who add so much to the atmosphere of a game – or home season ticket holders will be deprived of a game.  For some teams the ‘missing’ game will be one of their most attractive fixtures.  Potentially local derbies could take place in another country and a different time zone.

The tradition for English football clubs is that they are rooted in their local community. This proposal flies in the face of this.

The Trust will be working closely with other Club trusts and fan bodies in a coordinated response to these proposals.

 

Posted in All News, Community

London Assembly New Stadium Survey

The London Assembly are running an online survey on the impact of new stadium developments in the London area.

“The London Assembly Regeneration Committee is investigating the impact that a new or redeveloped stadium can have on the local area.

They are interested in whether new stadiums help to improve neighbourhoods and if local communities are consulted during planning or development.

If you live or work in an area where a new football stadium has been built or is planned, we would love to hear from you. Complete our 3 minute survey and you could win £100!”

The Link to the survey is

http://talklondon.london.gov.uk/content/impact-new-stadium

You need to register or already have an account to take part. QPR1st encourages QPR supporters who live in the London area to take part.

Posted in All News, Community, Events

A record transfer window spend but what about supporters?

The statement below was released recently by the supporters trusts mentioned below via Supporters Direct. Although QPR1st have had no input into the statement we publish it here as we support generally the points made and will be taking up the issue of how QPR will be spending the £200,00 set aside for initiatives with club reps.

A record spend but what about supporters?

Joint statement from Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Aston Villa Supporter Trusts:

Pop open the champagne corks. Ring the Guinness Book of Records. It’s another record breaking achievement for the Premier League. No wonder it’s celebrated with such fervour. £835 million spent in a single transfer window. Doesn’t it leave with you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside?

Read more ›

Posted in All News

New stadium consultation meeting

QPR1st Supporters’ Trust, welcomed the club’s decision to hold a meeting on Wednesday (3 September) with supporter groups and websites to discuss progress towards moving to a new stadium.

 We welcome the club sharing information with supporters and that the club is holding consultation meetings over the next few weeks at Loftus Road, Acton and Kensal Rise.

We hope the club takes note of and acts on comments coming from supporters, local residents and businesses – including those at Wednesday’s meeting to name streets around the stadium after former QPR players and managers.

 The club expects to submit a planning application for the Old Oak area, covering housing, space for businesses and a stadium next year.

 We look forward to further, more detailed updates on the proposals and greater involvement for supporters and supporter groups. Supporters need to be more fully involved in developing the plans and given more information on the on proposals if they are to effectively support the club in achieving a new QPR stadium.

 Supporters also want clear and unequivocal assurances that the stadium will be directly owned by the club, rather than any arrangement that sees, for example, the current major shareholders establishing separable companies for the club, and for property including the stadium. We believe that any arrangement regarding ownership of the stadium needs to be based on the best interests of Queens Park Rangers Football Club in being the stadium’s primary occupant for years to come.

 We strongly encourage all fans to visit the website www.new-queens-park.co.uk to find out how they can become involved in the consultation process. It is essential that fans take this opportunity to ensure that their views and opinions are clearly stated and acted upon.

Posted in All News, Boardroom, Community

New ground proposals and Car Giant

QPR1st, the supporters’ trust, asked for a meeting with the club to discuss the new stadium project and to see if supporters can help the club to make progress and a meeting with supporter groups is now expected.

 The Trust is concerned that there have been conflicting reports on progress for the project, including media reports that suggest there are problems with the new stadium project and that a move within the club’s traditional home of Hammersmith and Fulham may be in doubt.

The Trust was approached by Mr Mendes of Car Giant to discuss its position in relation to the proposals and a meeting has taken place this Wednesday between QPR1st reps and Mr Mendes. Car Giant is a major landowner in the Old Oak area where the new stadium is proposed.

 The trust looks forward to meeting the club to see what can be done to help make progress towards a new stadium for QPR.

 

Posted in All News, Boardroom, Community

Warren Farm and Tony Fernandes recent quotes

 

We have noted with interest and also some concern the comments attributed to QPR chairman Tony Fernandes regarding the proposed development of Warren Farm and the possibility of scrapping tis development and instead further improving the existing facilities at Harlington.

When plans for the development of training facilities at Warren Farm were put forward they included not only first class training and coaching facilities but also significant benefits to the local community in terms of improved sporting facilities.  We would be disappointed if delays in the development caused by what appears to be a relatively small local opposition caused the development of Warren Farm to be cancelled and it would perhaps not send out a positive signal to potential partners looking to work with QPR on future large-scale projects.

Of course it is only sensible for an organisation to have alternatives and contingency plans and if Warren Farm is eventually legally blocked then an alternative solution must be found but bearing in mind the work that has been put in so far and the long term benefits for the football club (deemed essential in past statements by the club)  and the local community we would hope that every avenue is pursued and some patience applied in order to make the move to Warren Farm a reality.

We look forward to an official statement from the club outlining its current position in relation to Warren Farm

 

Posted in All News

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