QPR couldn't even manage a whimper, let alone a bang. Instead they were relegated from the Premier League to laughter – José Bosingwa's as he sauntered down the tunnel after Sunday's 0-0 draw at Reading. It's been a wretched couple of seasons at Loftus Road, and I can't recall a group of players – with a couple of exceptions – being held in such contempt by the fans. Even when Rangers went down from the top flight in 1996, the players escaped without much ire: everyone knew they weren't good enough; no one thought they didn't care enough.
This season, though, there has been rage to accompany the despair. Everywhere you turn, there's something to kick against, some fresh evidence of incompetence or arrogance or blindness to reality. Some Rangers fans direct their ire one way, some another – there's no shortage of things to be unhappy about. So this is a personal list – the next fan's might read very differently.
1. Tony Fernandes
I don't hate Tony Fernandes. I don't want him out. I just want him to learn how to run a football club, because the two seasons under his chairmanship have been an unmitigated disaster. One relegation and one relegation battle. Three managers. A return to external debt, in the form of the £15m loan from Barclays secured against the ground. A fortune thrown at players in the form of contracts that are believed, in most cases, to have no relegation clauses.
You've probably forgotten how many players have been signed since Fernandes took over, in which case here's a refresher: Joey Barton, Luke Young, Armand Traoré, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand, Nedum Onuoha, Djibril Cissé, Bobby Zamora, Ryan Nelsen, Andy Johnson, Robert Green, Samba Diakité, Park Ji-sung, Junior Hoilett, José Bosingwa, Júlio César, Esteban Granero, Sam Magri, Stéphane Mbia, Tal Ben Haim, Loïc Rémy, Yun Suk-young, Christopher Samba and Jermaine Jenas. And you've probably forgotten that QPR already had a bloated squad in the Championship because of the club's rapid turnover of managers, all of whom got a transfer window each to inflate the wage bill.
It's been popular to blame Mark Hughes (and we will come to him later) for all of this. But Fernandes has clearly viewed QPR as a promotional tool for Air Asia, his principal business. And the extraordinarily high proportion of over-the-hill "names" in QPR's squad, signed by both Hughes and his predecessor Neil Warnock, suggests the managers were told what the "vision" for the club was – one of stars, who will be able to sell the Air Asia brand worldwide.
Fernandes assured everyone this weekend that everything would be fine, pointing out it had taken three years to get everything right with his Formula One team. That's his F1 team that hasn't won a single point since launching in 2010, and whose best race finish is one 11th place.
I should point out here that Fernandes remains wildly popular at Loftus Road. Most people blame the mess on his appointments. To which I say: whose appointments? Whether he'll retain that admiration much longer might well depend on what he chooses to do with season ticket prices for next season – fail to reduce them, and the anger will rise.
2. Mark Hughes
The undisputed pantomime villain of the piece. The man who led QPR to a record-breaking winless start that ended up lasting 16 games. The man who promised the club would never again be in a relegation battle at the end of last season. The man who named a Premier League squad with only three forwards, two of whom promptly got injured. The man who led the club with all the charisma of a black bin bag, caught in the breeze. The man who prepared meticulously for every game, then couldn't understand it when the team lost, but knew it was nothing to do with him.
3. Being the club everyone wanted to go down
It used to be nice being a QPR supporter. Everyone liked the Rangers: a friendly club in an atmospheric little ground, with a history of cheaply assembling teams that played attractive football. When QPR won the Championship two years ago, strangers in pubs would see my scarf and say how pleased they were about the team coming up. Not any more. We're Chelsea writ small these days. The arrogant arrivistes who threw money around and got what they deserved, because they threw money around so stupidly. It's hard to argue. If I wasn't a Rangers fan, I'd hate us. In fact, I am a Rangers fan and I spend quite a lot of my time hating us.
4. José Bosingwa
Football fans demand unrealistic standards of players. They expect them to love the club, to feel everything as passionately as we do. We're stupid to do so. I knew I was wrong at the beginning of this season to feel annoyed at José Bosingwa hugging his old Chelsea team-mates before the game at Loftus Road. Chelsea are a bigger part of his career than QPR; these are his friends, the derision the QPR fans feel for Chelsea probably never even registered with him. OK, I thought, let that slide.
I didn't realise it was actually part of a pattern of patently not giving a crap about the club, which has been evident from countless performances where he was, literally, not interested – did you see the Reading free-kick on Sunday that saw him sauntering around in dreamland? – and especially in his refusal to sit on the substitute's bench. We'll probably make him captain next season.
In truth, any number of players have been as bad, as uninterested, as obviously motivated only by their pay packets. But José, you've really taken the biscuit. All you need to do to complete the Everything-That-Is-Bad-About-Football bingo card is to shoot a work experience kid with an air rifle.
Yes, the past two seasons have made me dislike myself every other Saturday. I've become that man who sits with his son, going purple with rage as yet another disaster befalls us, trying to muffle the obscenities that are coming out of my mouth. I've become someone who looks at football and can feel only contempt for who and what I'm watching. There's no romance in watching people who earn several million pounds a year disgrace themselves, and without romance football is an empty spectacle. Twice in the past month when Rangers have been away from home, I've gone to watch Wingate and Finchley FC in the Ryman Premier League, and had a much better time than I've had most Saturdays in the Premier League. I'll be going there more often next season.
But I'm a QPR fan. I'll still have my season ticket at Loftus Road. And deep inside me there's still a spark of hope that next season we'll have a team of bright young players knocking it around beautifully, filled with enthusiasm for the game, and we'll come back up. I'm a fool for love.