Election update

With the votes now in and counted, the independently-scrutinised result of the inaugural QPR 1st election of officers should be known and announced within the next day or two. It will mean the formation of a new committee – one that will not have to carry the prefix ‘interim’.

For some of us who have taken QPR 1st forward from that historic evening in April, the election of a new committee will also signal the end of an active involvement with the interim committee, either through choosing not to stand for election or not figuring amongst the top eight names voted in. For one or two of us, it will probably mean a change of role within QPR 1st, and for others it will be ‘business as usual’.

But those are decisions to be taken by a new committee – and today is an appropriate time for us to ‘sign off’ as your old one.

To say it has been a challenging few months is an understatement. We have tried to juggle the dual tasks of setting up a fully democratic supporters trust at QPR to improve relations and communication between the club and the fans, whilst also trying to act as an interested and representative party in the administration of the club, including its sale. We were the first trust to set up with our club in administration and have had to learn, literally, on the hoof. Our experiences, our conduct and our strategies have not just drawn praise from the government-backed Supporters Direct body, but provided them with valuable lessons which will help other supporters at other clubs.

That is not to say we are sitting here congratulating ourselves on a job well done. There are too many frustrations at what could, perhaps should have been done quicker, or better, or more efficiently. Communication for one – perhaps the most vital aspect of any organisation. We are not about to decry our own efforts, though, nor the motivation needed to look after what we believe to be the best interests of our club.

Balancing the release of information with the need to work with or gain the trust and confidence of the various parties involved in the bidding process has been, singularly, the most difficult part of being involved in the trust. But we believe our efforts have been pivotal in restraining the selfish interests (and there are many) at work. Inevitably that has lead to us being blamed for scuppering deals, accused of interference in the bidding process, and criticised left, right and centre. That goes with the territory when you put your head above the parapet, of course, but much of the criticism aimed at us has been unfair, ill-informed and, sadly, by design.

Criticism tends to surface when reporting on meetings with potential new owners. However we report back, we are criticised. Too factual – and we’re obsequious; too personal – and we’re showing bias. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. The definition – indeed, recognition – of bias tends of course to depend on your viewpoint. Yet mindful that our role is to elicit as much information as possible about the nature of the bid and convey that to the fans without endorsement, bias is something we have tried hard to avoid.

QPR 1st has no role in the bidding process, only influence. We are powerless to prevent Chris Wright selling to whoever he chooses, whenever he chooses, and under terms and conditions he sets himself. QPR 1st is entirely neutral, neither backing or opposing either of the two main bids in the frame. Nor, despite accusations to the contrary, have been responsible for any bidder pulling out. A handy target to place the blame on, sure – but not responsible.

It is important to stress that although not behind any particular bid, what we’ve seen so far has strengthened a resolve to take our cues from St (Doubting) Thomas, rather than Lazarus.

But the positives have far outweighed the negatives since day one. The overwhelming support from QPR fans has been a crucial motivating factor. QPR 1st will continue to grow and play an important role in the life of the club.

So what is the current state of play at QPR? Our understanding is that there remain two bidders in the running. A third reported bid – from America – was one of initial interest, now cooled and highly unlikely to go any further.

That leaves the consortiums headed by Brian Melzack and Maurice FitzGerald at the forefront. It seems likely that the former will shortly enter a lock-out period, which will pave the way for the club to be sold.

As we stated at its launch, QPR 1st is not just another ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ protest group. Some of the early suspicion surrounding the trust has disappeared, and in its place a general understanding of what our aims and objectives are – not least of all by your outgoing committee! Turning a unanimous hands-raised verdict that ‘we must do something’ into a fully democratic, structured and lasting organisation has been a challenge – especially with so many distractions along the way – but a rewarding one. If the ultimate objective – a club run by the fans, for the fans – is a mile away, we have come barely a few yards as yet. But as we hand over from one committee to another, we are slowly but surely getting into our stride.


QPR 1st is now in the process of setting up a shareholders’ database. To complete this task we need help from people who are prepared to spend time typing in shareholders’ names and addresses. You will need a computer with Access 2000on it. If you can help please email info@qpr1st.co.uk