QPR’s remarkable visit

Bovingdons skipper Ryan Laville, Mitchell Cole and Connor Deadman exchange handshakes with QPRs under-23s side during player introductions at Green Lane on Saturday before the unlikely pre-season friendly match.
Bovingdons skipper Ryan Laville, Mitchell Cole and Connor Deadman exchange handshakes with QPRs under-23s side during player introductions at Green Lane on Saturday before the unlikely pre-season friendly match.

Village minnows Bovingdon enjoyed a day to remember on Saturday as Championship club Queens Park Rangers visited Green Lane for a

remarkable pre-season friendly.

In what is being described as one of the most exciting days in the Green Army’s 107-year history, the unlikely fixture attracted hundreds of spectators keen to get a glimpse of up-and-coming players in their own back yard.

It came about due to Bovingdon manager Lee Bircham’s family ties to QPR – first-team coach and former R’s player Marc Bircham happens to be Lee’s brother.

QPR brought their under-23s side to the Herts Senior County League Premier Division outfit, a QPR fixture nestled between big-name sides such as Premier League club Southampton, Aston Villa and Athletic Bilbao.

Still buzzing about the big day on Tuesday morning, an enthusiastic Lee told the Gazette: “What a whirlwind of a day that was – what a whirlwind few weeks in fact.

“It will be nice now to be able to have time to sit down and talk to my wife Nicola this week!

“I’m pleased it went so well. We really tried to get the whole village involved in the day and it was wonderful to see so many kids in Bovingdon and QPR kits.”

The club estimates around 500 people attended on the day – 300 paying customers came through the gate while several hundred children and the over-65s got in for free.

“It was easily the biggest crowd anyone at the club can recall,” added Lee.

As for the result, the final score was 6-0 to QPR with three goals coming in each half.

Former Arsenal Academy product Jay Emmanuel-Thomas caught the eye for the R’s.

Among the QPR staff on the sidelines was former QPR head man and ex-Spurs coach Chris Ramsey, who is now the technical director at Loftus Road.

It was back to a more down-to-earth opposition last night for Bovingdon when they welcomed Aylesbury United to Green Lane.

n See page 54 and 55 for more pictures from the day and other local pre-season football news.