IAN Holloway paid tribute to Stan Bowles after an emotional final pre-season friendly with Bournemouth.
Bowles, sadly suffering with Alzheimer’s, led out the teams before kick-off alongside fellow R’s legends Gerry Francis and Don Shanks and received a rousing reception throughout on what’s likely to be his final appearance at Loftus Road.
On the pitch, Jordon Ibe’s 41st-minute strike gave the visitors a 1-0 win – but the day belonged to Bowles.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve done for Stan today,” Holloway told www.qpr.co.uk. “He’s a club legend and the reception he got was fantastic.
“Having spent a lot of my life here, I know what Stan means to QPR. The tenth minute applause brought a tear to my eye, it really did.
“I love this club and Stan epitomises what QPR is all about. My heart goes out to him and his family for everything he’s going through.”
Despite defeat, Holloway also took encouragement from his side’s performance against Premier League opposition.
Rangers enjoyed much the better of the first half, and came agonisingly close to a last-gasp equaliser when Yeni Ngbakoto’s late free-kick came back off a post.
“It was a good test for us,” Holloway told www.qpr.co.uk. “We gave them a really good game.
“We got a bit deep late on but we stuck to the game plan and produced a good performance. Lots of it really pleased me.”
With exactly a week to go until the big kick-off against Reading, the R’s boss is pleased with how his side are shaping up ahead of the new season.
“I’m encouraged by the group, I really am,” he added.
“We’ve got a bit of character in the group. It’s building all the time. That’s important. We’re not there yet but we’re getting there.”