QPR - Football's most famous acronym

2nd December 2014

QPR - probably the most distinctive and famous initials in all of world football.
Yes, there's FIFA and UEFA, but as far as club names go, the Super Hoops have probably the most recognisable acronym in the game.
I often wonder why it's so regularly abbreviated. Queens Park Rangers certainly isn't the longest name in football.
For example, I can never remember seeing Borrusia Monchen Gladbach being abbreviated to BMG - and it's a whole six letters longer!
We've all seen our teams' names cut down to their initials. SCFC for example. But this kind of abbreviation is more often seen scrawled on the inside of toilet doors in motorway services, sprayed and daubed on walls, or carved into wooden school desks.
You'll sometimes see used a club's initials used in an official capacity as an abbreviation, but QPR is widely used as the official name of the club and appears on fixture lists, tables and results.
QPR has become so familiar, it needs no explanation. Everyone knows you're talking about the Loftus Road-based club.
We're quite used to sporting acronyms replacing names here in Wales.
Back in the 1970s, there literally was only one JPR. Whether you were a rugby fan or not, there was never any need to add the surname Williams to the initials. Everyone instantly knew you were talking about the Wales rugby full-back.
We even had a shorter, if slightly less famous version, playing on the wing - JJ.
And more recently we have had another acronym introduced into the Welsh sporting dictionary in the shape of football club TNS.
Although unlike QPR, TNS has stood for a couple of different names.
The club started life in the mid-Wales village of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain. 
Don't worry QPR fans, if you can't work out how that apparent jumble of consonants and vowels equates to TNS. I shall explain. But I suppose you can appreciate why they went for an acronym instead of their full name!
From the start of the 1997/98 season, Llansantffraid took the title of an Oswestry-based computer networking specialists following a lucrative sponsorship deal. 
There was a heavy price to pay though, they were now lumbered with the rather unglamorous title of Total Network Solutions. Queens Park Rangers it is not. Now you can see why they abbreviated it to TNS.
The new name did bring about an amusing anecdote and wider fame to the club though, as Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling once joked on air: "They'll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight!" after one particular victory.
This was Jeff's mischievous homage to an infamous moment back in the 1960s when BBC commentator Sam Leitch reacted to a Raith Rovers win with the words: "They'll be dancing in the streets of Raith tonight!" Being a Scotsman Sam really should have known Raith is actually not a town but the site of a battle - the club is based in Kirkcaldy.
TNS was faced with a problem in 2006 when Total Network Solutions was sold to BT, but they cleverly utilised the club's nickname by renaming themselves as "The New Saints", thus keeping their now established TNS initials.
The only other really famous and regularly used football club acronym is CSKA, which precedes the Eastern European city names of Sofia and Moscow.
CSKA is short for Centralnyi Sportivnyi Klub Armyi, or in English - Central Sports Club of the Army. Once again, you can see why they abbreviate the name.
None  of this really explains why Queens Park Rangers is so commonly abbreviated to QPR. I suppose it's to ensure they are unique and not mixed up with the two Scottish teams which bear similar names - Queens Park and, of course Glasgow Rangers, who are generally just known as Rangers.
As far as I know, there are no other clubs in the world known as QPR. 
Also, I suppose those busy London types just haven't got the time to say the name in full. And for some mega busy types, even QPR isn't enough of an abbreviation as they refer to the club as the "Rs"! Careful how you pronounce that. 
I understand in the past there have been some suggestions that QPR could be renamed as London Rangers. Why on earth would they want to do that? They have one of the most iconic, unique and recognisable names in world football. 
It would be like a team known as the Bluebirds starting to play in red for Heaven's sake. Oh, hang on . . .
I may not have the answer as to why they are so regularly known as QPR, but the reason for the full names is fairly well established.
The story began in 1882 in a newly-built residential estate of West London, with the formation of two local youth teams, St Jude's Institute and Christchurch Rangers.
St Jude's was set up for the boys of Droop Street Board School, now Queen's Park Primary, by Jack McDonald and Fred Weller, supported by the Rev Gordon Young, whilst Christchurch Rangers was formed by George Wodehouse Snr.
Both teams amalgamated in 1886. Queen's Park Rangers was the name chosen for the new club, because the members were based in the Queen's Park district of West London.
Some of you may recall that I have a certain affection for QPR. I suppose you could call them my second team as my birthplace was a stone's throw from Loftus Road.
But despite that affection, the only letters I really care about this evening are a big fat "W" next to "SCFC" when the final whistle blows.
Come on you Swans!