Fernandes gives group of QPR fans an away trip to savour

Tuesday’s Capital One Cup clash at Exeter means QPR will visit St James Park for the second time in the space of a few weeks.

The last visit was for a unmemorable pre-season friendly last month, which ended in a goalless draw.

But for a group of Rangers fans, it was definitely an occasion to remember.

They travelled to the match with Tony Fernandes after the R’s chairman tweeted that he had space on his jet, inviting fans to tell him why he should take them along.

Lorna Graham was one of the fans chosen by Fernandes.

“I was an extremely lucky girl to be chosen – it’s something I know I’ll never experience again unless I win the lottery,” she said.

“I’ll always be eternally grateful for what he did for me and the others that day.”

The group set off from Luton on the morning of the match, with Fernandes and QPR chief executive Philip Beard in attendance.

Lorna couldn’t believe her luck after being invited to join the R’s chairman.

Lorna, who is in remission from breast cancer, explained: “Tony came and chatted to us all on the plane and was really open and honest about what has gone wrong at the club, saying how much he has learnt from the last two seasons.

“He talked about why Adel Taarabt was sent home from pre-season and the fines system that he will be operating this season for players who do overstep the mark.

“He insisted things would be different this time around and that the club would bounce back from relegation.”

Lorna and co also met manager Harry Redknapp and spoke to the players.

“I asked Tony why he had arranged it and his reply was that he had the room on the plane and why not let someone else enjoy it too,” she said.

“For someone like me, who is lucky still to be here, to be spoilt rotten that day is something I’ll never forget.”

Another fan, who attended his first QPR match, was invited to join Fernandes after the chairman became aware of the Twitter hashtag #HelpMikeyWatchQPR.

Michael Keeling, 18, suffers from Marfans Syndrome, a debilitating condition which has a severe impact on his day-to-day routine.

Mikey [right] was joined by his parents at St James Park.
Mikey [right] was joined by his parents at St James Park.
He was hospitalised ahead of the match and at one stage seemed likely to miss out.

“Tony was very welcoming and ever so ecstatic that I could make it to the game – it felt like he was more excited to meet the fan than the fan was to meet him,” he said.

“Tony said to me that I should ‘dare to dream’ and not let anything get in my way.

“He then went off to greet all travelling fans at the gate for photos and autographs, which was a breath of fresh air for any travelling R’s fan. He welcomed them all individually.

“He’s inviting me up for my first game at Loftus Road soon and said he’s going to look after me whenever I need help.

“You can’t knock the guy for what he does for our football club and the fans.”



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