Taking the Mackie

It’s been a while since I’ve hugged and kissed complete strangers at a football match – I could get used to it.

Over the past few months I’ve been so accustomed to veering between self-pity and self-degradation in an attempt to find new ways to describe how unlucky/disappointing/rubbish QPR have been, I’m struggling to put Wednesday’s astonishing performance into words.

At 2-0 down with 13 minutes left against the might of Liverpool, the relegation trap door wasn’t so much open as swinging off its hinges, with the bookies’ odds of 750/1 for a Rangers victory looking particularly mean.

But cometh the hour cometh the man who hadn’t scored a league goal for five years.

“The cows won’t be quite so nonchalant the next time Torres walks through a field carrying a banjo.”

Shaun Derry might look like he should be sitting in a deckchair on Eastbourne beach with a blanket over his knees and a packet of Werther’s Originals balanced on his lap, but he capped off a man-of-the-match performance by springing like a teenager to give the home fans a glimmer of hope.

And when Djibril Cisse, who played his part in the greatest comeback of all by Liverpool in Istanbul a few years’ back, powered home the equaliser with two minutes to go, everyone would have settled for a point.

Everyone that is except Jamie Mackie, who like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn, suddenly appeared from nowhere to rifle home the unlikeliest of winners.

Did QPR deserve it? Certainly not from the way they played in the opening 15 minutes, when the Red Machine was threatening to grind poor little QPR into the dirt as they forced corner after corner after corner, spending so long camped in the Rangers half, Kenny Dalglish must have been tempted to send on some sandwiches and a flask of coffee.

Joey Barton was at the centre of the storm as, by his own admission, he had a shocker.

The man of the moment.

There was a famous old saying that if Stan Bowles could have passed a betting shop as well as he passed a ball, he would have had 100 England caps.

Given his current form, if Barton could pass a ball as well as he passes comment, his team might now be sitting pretty in mid-table.

But that still doesn’t excuse the cacophony of boos that greeted his substitution – or the “Are you Barton in disguise?” chant that accompanied a wild effort from Stewart Downing.

He wasn’t trying to play badly against Liverpool – although perhaps as an Everton fan he was trying too hard (see Taarabt at White Hart Lane) – but you suspect if he kept his head down and didn’t tweet about what a great night out he was having the evening after a defeat, he might have been cut a bit of slack.

Mackie’s Balotelli-esque ‘celebration’ of the winner suggested he too was frustrated by the boo boy minority – particularly the plank who verbally assaulted him at Euston – but on the whole the atmosphere was electric. Loftus Road hasn’t rocked so much since that win over Oldham nine years ago.

As ‘Bexhoops’ on Twitter put it: “If anyone ever asks you why you bother going to football when you can watch it on TV, it’s for nights like that.”

That tweet was only eclipsed by the one sent to vice-chairman Amit Bhatia by ‘EastonMike01’: “Can either of you buy my mate a new tooth? He lost it somewhere in P Block celebrating the winner!”

It wasn’t quite so joyous on the Liverpool forums after the defeat all but kissed goodbye to their slim chance of finishing in the top four, summed up by one comment I particularly enjoyed: “ They are a bunch of disgrace!”

Beware of the banjo.

Chelsea’s dreams of a Champions League slot are still alive, despite the setback at the Etihad on Wednesday night – not that it’s any disgrace losing to the title challengers.

Gary Cahill’s opener looked set to continue their winning streak under Roberto Di Matteo but you just knew that the returning Carlos Tevez was going to have a say and after Sergio Aguero had equalised from the spot, it was no surprise when the Argentine striker set up Samir Nasri for the winner.

Tevez was warmly embraced by his team-mates as fans sung his name. There is talk that he could yet win City the title – although if he’d bothered to hang around they’d probably already have it wrapped up by now, affording themselves the luxury of putting out the tea ladies against QPR on the final day of the season.

Can we sue him if we go down?

The biggest news for Chelsea fans was that Fernando Torres actually scored – twice –last weekend, ending a 24-game drought in the 5-2 FA Cup thumping of Leicester.

Yes it was only Leicester, but the cows won’t be quite so nonchalant the next time Torres walks through a field carrying a banjo.

And fair play to Blues fans for coming up with the chant of the week to mark this momentous occasion: “Fernando Torres – he scores when he likes!”

It’s fair to say Fulham have had better weeks after getting hammered 3-0 at home by Swansea.

That would have been a home banker at the beginning of the season, but Brendan’s boys are well worth their position of eighth in the Premier League.

Although if I hear the phrase ‘Breath of fresh air’ again I might do some serious damage to an inanimate object.

As for Brentford…actually it’s probably best we don’t go there, pretend the last seven days was all a horrible dream and start again this weekend.

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