100 years in our favourite place – Column
Friday, 8th Sep 2017 13:18 by Clive Whittingham
The LFW regulars share their favourite memories of Loftus Road, as QPR prepare to mark 100 years in Shepherd’s Bush against Ipswich on Saturday.
The following is taken from a message board thread which started when Dave Mc at West London Sport ran down his favourite Loftus Road moments earlier this week. We’re keen to keep adding to it over the weekend, so if you want to use the comments section below, or the message board thread, or Tweet us @loftforwords, or e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll add yours in too.
OK, so in terms of games I've been at, at LR, which means only going back to late 80s... A top 10, off the top of my head:
10. QPR 1 Man Utd 1, 1996 - Hey, they're memories, not good ones. For all the stuff thrown at Wilkins, we had our good days that season, and no one could say the boys didn't work their b0llocks off. This was a fine performance, certainly, next to the Newcastle game earlier in the season, one of Dichio's very best. It was around this time that the real hatred of Man Utd and their southern fans was at fever pitch. It was loud, angry. 'We support our local team' and all that. And we were excellent. And then Robbie Hart. And then Cantona. Bastards.
9. QPR 3 Southampton 1, 1992: This was, I think, my first evening game at LR. I remember we were one down at half time, nothing to write home about. Then, second half, it was phenomenal. I'd never seen us under the lights before, never experienced that utter barrage of attack, attack, attack attack attack before. We were relentless. It was 3-1, could have been 7-1. And of course, Bard arrowed a beauty into the top corner.
8. QPR 1 Preston 0, 2007: Not exactly a glamour match, this. But it was crucial to Gregory's side staying up that year. I brought non-QPR friends to this game, and even they couldn't believe the reaction when Blackstock's beautiful volley flew in. Crucial game, not a great one, but really memorable for the result and the goal.
7. QPR 1 Blackburn 0, 1993: I put this in because this was special. It was the one time in my life I genuinely thought we could win the league. The actual Premier League. We were in great form - it was the same period Clive has just written about with the classic match against Ipswich. We lost just once in 11 games in all comps around here, away at Man Utd, which barely counts, and we were 1-0 up at half time in that game. And in truth, you could almost pick any game from this run as a favourite LR moment. Smashing Cov so hard Bobby Gould resigned. The Ipswich game. A couple of cup wins (remember them?). It was a run that also included a superb 2-1 away win at Newcastle, and a 3-0 away win at Everton. But this was the one for me. Beating the eventual champions, and deservedly so. A late goal that went down as an own goal, but I was behind the goal and Les scored it. Amazing. I still believe with just two more signings we could have won the league that year, or at least gone really, really close. It was a huge opportunity.
6. QPR 1 Leeds 2, 2011: A loss, yes, but we won the league. We won the league. The result was irrelevant, we won the league. I thought the emotion might carry us through to an easy win after the early goal, but you couldn't blame the players for relaxing after what must've been the most tense few weeks of any of their careers. And a great party afterwards. People say it doesn't matter how you go up, but for me, winning the Championship will always be better than the play-offs, even how we did it a few years later. It means you're the BEST. And we were.
5. QPR 4 Swansea 0, 2010: You could pick almost any home game from this season, but this is the other one that really stands out for me. Adel at his absolute best, and, while it's a tough choice to choose his best goal, this one has to be my favourite because of the nutmeg and the look of absolute defeat on the face of poor Joe Allen. I love the way the crowd sounds on that goal, a sort of low guttural murmur of 'if this goes in it'll be incredible...' and then the explosion when it did find the corner. A humbling of a very good Swansea side.
4. QPR 3 Leicester 2, 2004: This was an odd one, because in the grand scheme of things, it didn't mean a great deal. Yet it felt so special, and it was so deserved. Unluckily 2-down at half time, but we had the fillip of Leicester going down to 10 men. We roared back, with Cookie and Furs on fire. This was one of Cookie's two diving headed goals at the far post he scored for us, both of which were lovely, and he also set up Furs' second for a memorable comeback win against one of the league's best sides at the time. There's also a wonderful picture I used to have on my screensaver of Birch, Rowly and Furlong celebrating the winner, with Furs yelling to the skies. Beautiful.
3. QPR 2 Man City 2, 2014: Christ we had some great games with City in the Prem. A 3-2 loss in our first season back when Helguson almost grabbed us a late equaliser. A game up there that some might remember. And this one. Redknapp desperately needed points and threw caution to the wind and started with Zamora and Austin. City weren't ready. Austin was on absolute fire. We were all over them, and they couldn't deal with our direct play. The drama of the Austin goal disallowed (correctly), twice having the lead, watching Aguero at his peak - all under the lights. Great game. A throwback to the 90s when the big clubs feared Loftus Road.
2. QPR 1 Chelsea 0, 2011: A game never to forget. One game had more atmosphere, but this was plain nasty. An absolute cauldron. Chelsea, and in particular, famously, Mata, had absolutely no clue what awaited them. Maybe we as fans didn't either. I don't think anyone genuinely expected a win. It was raw, pulsating, angry, and those players were immense. Derry, Hill, a central pairing of Ferdinand and Hall, maligned players like SWP, all of them pulled together for a special win. Bearing in mind we had lost 6-0 to Fulham two games prior to this, it was a sensational result. Even if Chelsea did dick on us with nine men. This was a tumultuous game, the ramifications of which went on for months and months, leading to Terry losing the England captaincy and Capello resigning as England manager. Seldom has one game produced so much drama.
1. QPR 1 Oldham 0, 2003: And it always will be number one. Yes, the Wigan game should be on here, but we forget that Redknapp's incompetency almost cost us that game. After 30 mins we were one-down and in total disarray. It took him all three subs and huge changes in formation and the advice of Clint Hill to turn that one around. Of course, Redknapp then went and made exactly the same mistakes in picking his side for the final. Redknapp owes Austin and Zamora and Hill so much for that success.
This was different. Never been an atmosphere like it in my experience. Everyone up for it, everyone positive, a fantastic game between two good, honest sides. And the fans had so much to do with that win. We willed Furs' fantastic winner. Three times the place erupted - the goal, Chris Day's save of the century, and the full time whistle. Nowadays I don't care we didn't go up that year - that game will never be dulled in my eyes. Pure drama, people crying, hugging - it was a sign after years of utter tripe, that we were on our way back.
Can't believe I forgot 3-2 v Liverpool, with Jamie's winner. Bollocks.
Falco's last minute winner vs Spurs in 89 and the mad crush in the Loft.
The 87 pitch invasion against the merger, seeing the Loftus Road tramp trying to jump the wall was a particular highlight.
Bardsley’s free kick against Southampton.
Tommy Collins getting a standing ovation every time he took his seat in the SAR.
Adel’s goals against , Coventry, Swansea, Barnsley , Fulham and Spurs.
Adel wearing a fez after a goal against Arsenal (and getting booked for it).
The 3-2 game against Leicester.
Pat van den Hawe losing it at the loft as we sang about Mandy Smith.
The 1-0 win against Stoke in 2001 when we didn't know what team to even expect on the opening day - we got our Rangers back.
Sinclair's goal and the other hidden gem against City at home when he lobbed Andy Dibble from the halfway line.
Trevor Francis’ wife wearing a fur coat and giving him a tongue sandwich after we beat Liverpool.
Paul Parker bossing Graeme Sharp in 88.
Paul Parker’s goal against Luton and the scoreboard showing it as Clive Wilson.
Paul Parker kicking Gary Megson in the bollocks.
Luton in the cup replay in 87
Me meeting Stan Bowles outside The Sprinkbok and getting a photo as we both went outside for a fag , against Leicester promotion year.
The whole ground , even the miserable old sods in the SAR singing "we're not Arsenal anymore" and "Johnny Hollins’ blue n white army" for 45 minutes solid after we sacked Houston.
My first game - Stan's home debut in 1972 vs Nottm Forest. Absolutely addicted from that day on.
Other than obvious games (Scum 6-0, Newcastle 5-5, Oldham play off, Palace quarter final), random great memories:
Dave Webb's last gasp winner vs Stoke in 1976. Outside the ground (yeah I know!) when it went in, absolute pandemonium
The night we beat Birmingham 1-0 in the snow (2008?).
Tel's team beating Fulham 3-1. Our last game before promotion, we absolutely destroyed them
The AEK game.
Beating Arsenal to be Champs for a fortnight.
Beating Wednesday 8-2.
Beating Everton 5-0. Possibly our best LR performance ever?
Beating West Brom 3-1 on the opening day of the season. Mullery's first game. If only Tel had stayed, I'm convinced we'd have won the League. The team purred along like a Rolls Royce that day.
The Wigan playoff.
Oh yeah. And every single time we beat the Scummers.
I'm sure that if I sat down tomorrow my brain would come up with different memories! My list is in chronological order provided I've got that right:-
- My first visit to The Bush, a 2-0 win against Norwich in August 1967. Nothing memorable about the match, but as time goes by the importance grows.
- Move on a year & a midweek game against Ipswich in October(?) 1968. Our first ever win in the top division. Nothing was going to stop us marching up the league table now.
- First round of the League Cup in 1973 & we beat Tottenham 1-0. Beat them? We outclassed them. Rangers are back in the top division and this time we belong.
- Opening day of the season in August 1975 & I witnessed what I still regard as our best ever home performance. We gave a complete masterclass in beating Liverpool 2-0. Monday morning saw me visiting the bookies to put my bet on us winning the league at 40/1!
- Last day of the same season & another 2-0 win, this time against Leeds. We celebrated like champions, but I'm sure nearly all of us knew that the record books would say we were runners up.
- Not one of the "best" but it had a lasting effect on me. Memorable for all the wrong reasons. Last game of the '78/79 season against Ipswich (again). I was stood in the School End with my wife & a group of other Ipswich fans (drank with all of them in the Black Horse before Ipswich home midweek matches). How we only conceded four goals that night is a mystery in perhaps the worst ever performance I've seen from us. To make matters worse, it was announced pre-match that we had appointed Docherty as manager. It was hard to handle all the sympathy I received that night!
We now move forward to the new century as family/financial life now meant I could start watching Rangers again!
- Oldham. Play off night May 2003. My son came by train from Lancaster (university) to join me for this one. What an atmosphere. I would have stayed all night in the ground if they had let us. It also was the night that I saw the best save in the history of goalkeeping! "Chrissy Day, Day, Day" take a bow.
- Twelve months later & we beat Swindon in the last home game of the season. We all KNEW we would win at Wednesday the following week, so this was promotion! A good time to support Queens Park Rangers.
- The Magilton autumn & we smash Preston 4-0. That day was the best football I had seen us play since TV went to Barcelona. We were magnificent. This is not meant as a slight on the team of the early '90's, I just didn't manage to see them much.
- Boxing Day 2010 & the demolition of Swansea. The virtuoso performance fron Adel was breathtaking.
- Championship day against Leeds. The relief that Paladini hadn't lost us the title. My lasting memory was on the lap of honour, how drained Ale Faurlin looked. How he had kept it together in those last two months of the season I will never know. Magnificent!
- The first home win in the return to the Premier. We were fairly poor that Sunday against Chelsea, but the pure hatred pouring from the home supporters guarantees this match making my list.
- Liverpool 3-2 that season. For eighty minutes we are outplayed, outhought & outfought. Suarez is unplayable (the best individual performance I've ever seen) & then Dalgliesh takes pity on us! Carroll on for Suarez & suddenly we have the ball for the first time in the game. Has there been a sweeter moment than when the ball hit the net for the winner?
- Ipswich (again). September 2017. 100 years of playing at Loftus Road! COME ON YOU R's!
So much and not even scratching the surface.
Even Tony Sealy scoring. Every victory, every goal scored, every Rangers’ tackle, keepers saves, just being at Loftus Road.
As I've got a little older every time I walk up the steps from the SAR concourse and the roof of Ellererslie Road comes into view, then the seats and then the green playing surface, I savour that brief moment and try not to take it for granted as you never know when your last game might be.
A mate of mine sometimes says, I'll give it a miss this time, don’t fancy the game. I really don’t understand how he can deprive himself of coming to Loftus Road. To me it’s part of my way of life. My love, my escape, my QPR.
Went to every home game (and quite a few away) in 75/76.
Nothing compares to the atmosphere at LR in the run-in especially the Arsenal and Leeds home games - with thousands locked out. Also, let's not forget the opening game of that season v Liverpool where we shredded an exceptional Liverpool side, which was followed up by winning 5-0 at the baseball ground at the champions , Derby a week late with a Stan hat-trick.
I've only been going since 1997 so not as broad a range for me to pick from but here is my top 3.
3. QPR 1 v Stoke 0 - May 2012.
Clive hit the nail on the head after the Hull game about last minute winners but how about this one. In the 85th minute we were nil nil and Bolton were either 2 nil or 2 - 1 up. The game had been terrible, typical game against a negative Stoke side. I think we had all given up hope by the time Anton Ferdinand tried to glance a header in at the near post, deflecting it across the box to an unmarked Cisse to tap in. I had a season ticket in Q block at the time. It gets said a lot but bar the play off final and Brentford away in 2003 I don't think I have gone that mental at anything in my life. I remember screaming so hard I thought my eyeballs were genuinely going to come out of my skull. Then when I had finally calmed down it turned out West Brom had equalized at Bolton, it was the perfect last 5 minutes of any football match. The relief when we scored, I remember reading somewhere on a Stoke forum that they said it was the most mental they had ever seen a home crowd go. Says it all.
2. QPR 1 - Chelsea 0 Oct 2011
I'd waited my whole life for this game. I never got to see us in the good Prem years and by the time this come around, Chelsea were a completely different club. Touching on exactly the same things Antti did, it was just pure hatred. That second half was almost heart attack inducing, but to see us beat them, even just once was what I had waited for from the minute my old man first took me to Loftus Road. A great day.
1. QPR 1 - Oldham 0 - May 2003
What else? I think it has to be most people's favourites. I think for me the reason for that is that everyone can remember everything about the day (well people I speak to at least). I was doing my A levels at the time and I had an exam that afternoon, my old man picked me up after and made me drive down with L plates on the car.
Having only started going from March 97 all I had ever known of QPR was rubbish, I started going the season after relegation from the Premier. My first season ticket year ended in relegation at Huddersfield and us in administration. I think my highlight up that point was watching us win a home game with Crewe. Then that season and more importantly the second half of that season. It was amazing we won every game (or it felt like we did). I still remember the game so well, Mcleod had an early chance then not a great deal happened. Pacquette having a chance and their keeper pulling off a wonder save. Furlong's goal and then that save by Daisy.
But for me the things that always stick in my mind is the noise and how the ground didn't collapse. It was a breathtaking, people hugging each other, crying. I felt like I stayed in the ground until about 5 am, I remember walking up South Africa road afterwards and people dancing up the road. It's was the best, it will never be beaten. After all the crap I couldn't believe we had something to celebrate I remember my old man looking at me at full time and saying 'makes it all worth while doesn't it?' so true. The best night at Loftus Road ever.
Honourable mentions to the 3-2 against the scousers, the Leeds championship game and the 1-0 against Leicester in the championship season.
1 - v Notts Forest Sep 1984 - My first game aged 7, all the first game thrills attached, which I still remember vividly. Bannister instantly my hero
2 - v Oxford Nov 86. Don't know why, but always remember this as it was probably my first memory of a late, late goal that mattered. John Byrne equaliser cueing the pandemonium attached to so many similar memories down the years.
3 - v Man U Jan 89. FA Cup Replay. A rare night match I was allowed to go to. Never seen the ground so packed as it was that night. Macca with a late, late equaliser.
4 - v Southampton Aug 92. The point I started going regularly with friends. Always took the same spot in the Loft lower, as soon as the gates opened. Bardsley's free kick was arrowing right towards us, then smashed the net. A special season, great football (almost) every week.
5 - v Man United Dec 94. Remember it more as the last game I went to with my Dad. United were so strong at the time, and they had to be at their very best to beat us. Ferdinand on fire and scored one of the best goals I've seen at Loftus Road.
6 - v Oldham May 03. Obvious for so many reasons, the barren and bleak years were all worth it for that one moment. The excitement of planning the trip to Cardiff, going to a final with QPR. All of the anticipation.
7 - v Leeds May 11. The biggest party ever at Loftus Road, including the Shittu centre forward comedy cameo. The news of no points deduction, Helguson after kick off officially kicking off a party that carried on for hours in W12.
8 - v Liverpool Mar 12. The most unlikely of come from behind victories. Seeing that scumbag Joey Barton being booed off the pitch (I don't boo but for a truly awful human being, for just that one time I could justify it - though I didn't, just took pleasure from it!). Mackie's late winner. Everything just seemed right for that one moment, in a pretty bleak couple of seasons in the Prem League.
9 v Stoke May 12. Another late winner, which gave us a squeak of staying up, until West Brom turned it around at Bolton. I really thought at the time, with the Bolton result, it was enough. And was looking forward to a much better showing the following season in the Prem. Er........
10 v Forest April 14. Took both my boys to this match. They'd been to a handful of games beforehand, but this match cemented their love for QPR. Late drama (again), champagne football for the last 10-15 minutes, play offs assured. The start of a run that would culminate in the greatest day.
There was a period in the late 90s and mid-2000s in which my dad’s boss had a box at Loftus Road. Some of you may remember his company, as the Cleaning Contractors (Ltd) ad board sat around the ground in various places until it all got too expensive and he gave it up (dull green text on an exciting white background, if you recall).
Just one at the moment, which I don't think has been mentioned. 1970 5-2 home win over Birmingham. My first visit to LR, Rodney hatrick, one was the BIG match goal of the season and another one was nominated, think it might have been Andy McCulloch's debut and he scored as well. Watched it from the Loft, can pick myself out when Rodney scores his first, hooked!
v Millwall 1967. Cracking atmosphere in pouring rain standing on SAR terrace. My mate and I provided shelter to two nice young ladies under our raincoats and got very cosy. (Ed. Keep to the topic!)
v Plymouth 4-1 Dec 1967 . In the Loft. Took my Dad as his Dad had been a Director of Argyle - he became an Rs fan from that day. Marsh and Keen 2 each.
v Forest 1972 and Stan's first game - buzz on the terraces was, 'he's better than Rodney, I hear' A great debut and we sensed we might have a superb player in our midst.
v FC Koln - great 3-0 win and (Fawlty Towers had just been shown on TV) someone shouting to Dave Clement, 'try not to mention the war Dave!'
v Barnsley FAC - all action...'that' Trevor goal that made me say to my son, 'we've just seen something very special'; Impey's right hook (and subsequent red card) plus Roberts letting ball slip through his hands for their goal.
v Spurs 1989 - took my young boys for the first time and tried to watch from crowded Paddock with them on my shoulders/ crush barriers. Some great stars on view (Waddle, Gascoigne) and Falco's late winner
v Liverpool Boxing Day 1991. 0-0 With all my family. Great teasing of some grumpy Liverpool fans, especially one woman, all together with us in SAR. Stejskal terrific.
v Liverpool 1975 - Terrific game in the sun. Mick Leach header and Gerry's 'goal of the season' the start of our greatest ever.
v Swansea 2010 3-0 and Adel Taraabt's fabulous goal - with my family having a great day out.
v Swansea 2012 3-0 again and one of a run of 5 home games that helped us cling on to Premiership status. My car broke down as I tried to leave and my mate (disabled) didn't get back home until 3.30 am.
v Arsenal in same 5-win run - couldn't believe Taraabt's goal and even a crisp goal from
'THAT' Chelsea game - 1-0 against the 9 men. Couldn't stop laughing all the way home.
v Wigan when we qualified for Wembley. Pouring rain and great refereeing by Clattenburg. Talk about tense finishes!! I had a puncture on the way home but was so chuffed I didn't care as I sipped tea from my flask before getting out to change the tyre.
I'm sure there are more - I've really enjoyed the last two home games so hopefully this season will be a bit more entertaining than the last few.
5) Wigan. 2-1. 2014
I actually hated every single second of this game. All I've ever really wanted in life is to see QPR at Wembley. Over the years countless sides from Barnsley to Bristol City had played at Wembley and I'd never seen us do it. So to be this close, one game away, was almost too much to bear.
This was the end of an incredibly frustrating season where, with the squad we had, we should have walked the league. Instead we mucked around and added player after player to the squad.
The emotion of singing Que Sera Sera at full time, just seconds after a Wigan smashed the ball around our box and it drifted millimetres past Rob Green's post, was unbelievable. A classic 'Rangers under the floodlights' night where we put all the rubbish of the last few seasons behind us.
4) Arsenal. 1-0. 2012
Growing up in North London meant almost everyone at school supported Spurs or Arsenal. I was probably too young to remember Arsenal being poor and that meant the school playground usually resulted in their fans offering pity as opposed to jibes.
I was actually there when Gallen, Impey and Allen scored (and some bloke called Jensen), but as the Premier League juggernaut grew we fell further and further away I longed to see us beat Arsenal just once, just to have that over my mates.
Back from living abroad for a week I was able to get to the Arsenal game. Taarabt, a shell of a man all season, was majestic. Turning them inside out and opening his Premier League account. The place erupted when that went in. Adel was ours, we loved him for all his flaws and knew what he could be. Was brilliant to see him score on such a big stage and out on that Fez!
The full time whistle sounded, after Samba Diakite's greatest 90 minutes in a QPR shirt, and all I could think was 'We've just f******g beaten Arsenal'. Loved it.
3) Barnsley 3-2. 1997
To be there for the goal. To see the goal. To see my Dad absolutely lose his sh*t. Unreal.
2) Spurs. 4-1. 1992
Confession, I used to cry every time I went to a game and we lost. Every single time. This game is the first one I can remember seeing QPR win. As with all London derbies back then there were loads of away fans in with the home support. All of them were loud and intimidating to a young me. To be losing at half time when we had played so well was so frustrating. Then that majestic second half performance. Wilkins, Holloway, Penrice x2. Absolutely brilliant. The best part was the young lad behind me who was a Spurs fan in tears as the third goal went in, brilliant for the shoe to be on the other foot. For weeks afterwards I played football in the garden at home pretending to be Ray Wilkins scoring a diving header. Probably the best I've ever seen us play
1) Oldham. 1-0. 2003
For every reason that everyone else has ever said. That run as Tranmere chased us, the home game v Crewe all of it culminating in the greatest night the stadium has ever seen. You'll never be able to explain it to a non QPR fan about how for so many years it had just been utterly utterly shit being a Hoop. It was awful.
I was 17 years old and barely had a recollection of QPR ever achieving anything. But that night... that glorious night. I don't think anyone knew that they could feel like that about this team again. That they could care so much, just what it actually meant. It was utterly magnificent. What struck me the most was that after we won the fans and club had no idea how to actually celebrate! They just played Pigbag over and over again on the PA because it was so delirious, everyone had lost their shit.
I just hope that I get to see another night as magnificent in my life.
Oldham in the play off is my favourite bar none but here's another favourite night (again with the under the lights), November 2001, Kevin Gallen returns, the singing of Kevin Gallen's magic was relentless (indeed it was for most of the rest of the season), Swindon done 4-0. Truth be told we didn't do a great deal that season and the team was bits and pieces before Rowlands and co joined but that night is seared in the memory.
I first went through the turnstiles at LR in 1969 to watch QPR play Charlton from the paddock. It was a 1-1 draw. Lots of memories since then, not all completely positive, but the games that instantly come to mind are:
QPR 1 Derby 0 (FA Cup, 1970)
I was in a very crowded Loft and spent most of the game trying to stay alive as the crowd surged up and down. A QPR attack broke down and I got swept forward in a wave of people. As I was trying to recover my balance, the famous Dave Mackay turned and slotted the ball past his own goalie for the only goal of the game. Had to watch Match of the Day to see the goal! It is this experience and many others like it that mean I prefer all seater stadia.
QPR 1 Chelsea 1 (1977)
My last live game before an extended hiatus brought about by moving home and preoccupation with family and career. Not the nicest of occasions – little segregation and the mood on the Loft was pretty ugly, though fortunately the knot of Chelsea fans I found myself within were surprisingly good natured.
QPR 3 Newcastle 0 (1995)
My son Nik’s first game. We were 2-0 up in seven minutes and 3-0 up after 18. He didn’t see us lose that year, but of course Ferdinand’s performances against Newcastle persuaded them to buy him and next year we were relegated.
QPR 6 Crystal Palace 0 (1999)
A squeaky-bum all or nothing fixture that ended well, but with the air of farce and the more than faint whiff of compliance in it. I sense the LFW Lawyer twitching, so ‘nuff said.
QPR 5 Blackpool 0 (2003)
Opening day of the season and the hottest I think I have ever been at a live sporting event. After 20 minutes the ref stopped the game to untie and re-tie his shoelaces. The heat had been predicted and there was a proposal for a ‘quarter time’ drinks break in every game that day, but the football authorities said no. The ref – bless him – devised his own solution to that problem.
QPR 3 Leicester 2 (2004)
Always love a come-back and Cookie’s salmon-leap header was a moment to treasure.
QPR 1 Birmingham City 0 (2009)
The lights, the snow and Samuel Di Carmine’s ‘every dog has its day' moment.
QPR 1 Chelsea 0 (2011)
Who could forget this one? Great day, great result and the way they just didn’t realise what they were walking into was unreal. That photo of Mata getting dog’s abuse when he went to take a corner was amazing.
QPR 3 Liverpool 2 (2012)
We had a Liverpool fan sitting amongst us having got a ticket through Viagra-gogo or whatever they were called. In his frustration with our play son Nik uttered, on more than one occasion ‘Oh for God’s sake, it’s only Skrtel!’ On the third occasion, and at 2-0 to them, the Liverpool fan finally took issue with Nik. When Cisse headed the equaliser (Derry having also scored with a header) Nik rounded on him and said ‘There! I told you Skrtel was useless!!’ Any hope of a retort disappeared when Mackie scored that winner, leaving our Liverpudlian friend sat with his arms folded whilst all around him pandemonium reigned.
QPR 1 Stoke 0 (2012)
Seldom has a last minute goal meant to much or been celebrated so hard, and its importance was underlined a week later by the turn of events in Manchester. Afterwards, the highlight was Taiwo emptying water over Barton to the point where Barton looked as if he was about to combust (again).
QPR 1 Oldham 0 (2003)
I have watched live sport for nearly 50 years and I have never, ever experienced a night like that in all that time. There has been enough said about it all around these centenary celebrations, so I won’t add to that other than to say that a key ingredient amongst all the others was the nature of the support. After nearly going out of business and two years in Division II the people there that night were there because it really meant something to them. Unless we go through another cycle like that – God forbid – I am not sure whether we will ever have quite that nature of crowd again. Certainly the Wigan semi-final was not quite at the same level.
So many great games mentioned to add a few more Swindon at home in 2004 when Rowlands scored and we got promoted.
The Spurs and Arsenal games under Hughes when we stayed up, how could such a cn ut produce two of my favourite games.
Ferdinand running amok against Newcastle in 95, Sheff Utd in 92 and Norwich in 93.
Mark Falcos volleys
Beating Man City 4-0 and Leeds 4-1 within days of each other in 91
Always beating Everton, the 1-0 win in 87 stands out
I'm with Dave Mc in loving the 2-2 with Man Utd replay in 1989, the 2-1 win over West Ham that same season when we came from behind, Maddix and Stein scored
My Personal favourite 3 would be the 2-0 cup win v Arsenal in 1990 which was my generations Oldham game, The 5-5 with Newcastle when I learnt to never ever give up or leave early and obviously Oldham at home but so many games.
To mix it up a bit here are a few of my favourite memories not necessarily best matches.
Going to Home games as a kid in the 80's in the upper loft family stand, swapping pannini stickers at half time in the swap shop and usually seeing us win
Going with school to train on the plastic pitch wth the first team the day before a must win home game with Leicester, if we had lost we would have gone down in 85. Gavin Maguire and terry Fenwick looked after us and were amazing with us kids.
The open days watching the team train and then going on the pitch to meet the likes of Byrne, Bannister, Parker and Seaman, still to this day some of my absolute heroes
The abandoned Notts Forest game in 86 when floodlights gave out and i had a golden goal ticket that I couldn't get a refund on as I was under age and had scratched the cover off already
Seeing matches on the plastic pitch and being amazed at how a opposition defender could run to head a ball unchallenged then it would bounce in front of him and fly 20 yards to his right where Bannister or Clive Allen would be stood laughing before scoring.
The scoreboard on the 80's with those cheering hands, it seemed so modern at the time
A 5-1 win v Middlesbrough when my name appeared n the scoreboard wishing me a happy birthday around 1983.
Also v Middlesbrough travelling from the May Ball without any sleep as my girlfriend now wife agreed to drive me and not drink at the ball so i could attend Palace at home in 99, she didn't even go to the game as she had never seen us win and felt she was a jinx so travelled back to Boro the same day not knowing we had won 6-0
Around 1989 beating Sheff Wed at home, Trevor Francis scored, and my dads mate Martin gave TonY Galvin more stick than I have ever heard a man give, it was relentless and when he was subbed off he turned and gave a V sign in our direction, it felt like a victory
Mid 80's a cup game against god knows who with a keeper whose name I have forgotten but was being watched bY Spurs and Venables was at the game, every time the ball came towards him my dad's mate Martin screaming "No pressure son, here it comes, this is your big chance" every time we attacked, We won by 4 or 5, and the the poor sod aimed a hand gesture in our direction at half time, another victory.
A bloke sat with us throwing the ball back to Paddy Kenny full of confidence but throwing it up rather than forward, smashing a light and seeing the ball bounce two rows in front as Kenny looked at us with a look that said You are a wally or words to that effect
That Tarrabt goal with Swansea
And last but by no means least the news of the no points deduction, flags waving pure euphoria then we score in the first minute, it's all been downhill since that perfect minute.
Sadly most of the memories from when I first went with my dad as a young lad in the early seventies are a distant memory. I remember the players not the games. I think a 3-0 win against Coventry around 73 or 74 was one of the first.
Otherwise many memories are as per others on here. In no particular order:
Palace FA Cup 82, Late Allen goal and Palace fans on the rampage after the game.
For me it is as much the memories of the players I remember Bowles, Thomas, Francis and Givens etc but was a little young to idolise.
It was always Stainrod for me, I worshipped him.
But throw in so many of the other great players Roeder, Byrne, Parker, Macca, Bardsley, Wicks, Wilkins, sir les, Peacock D, C Wilson, Sinclair, Wegerlie, Sinton I could go on.
But it was always Stainrod....
Finally perversely the 6-0 defeat by Newcastle. In London as my dad died the previous day. Had been registering the death and sorting the funeral and was at a loose end in the evening so thought what else was I going to do. So glad the old man didn't have to witness that with me.
Rangers till he died, one year on Tuesday and miss him every day. I think of Loftus Rd and think of him.
It's a fantastic football club.Going to Loftus Rd is like going home.
I’ve seen my fair share of the glory matches but rather than repeat moments like Micklewhite’s equaliser against Newcastle or any of the play-off or promotion successes, I’ll list, in vaguely chronological order, some other moments that have stuck with me.
To start at the top, Stan Bowles. Bizarrely I don’t have one abiding memory of him, but a collage of outrageously skilful moments of sheer genius, whereas with Gerry I remember one match against Leicester (I think) where he scored twice. For his first he powered through their defence before slotting past the keeper. Then their defenders held their position, only to watch in awe as he unleashed a stunning shot from outside the area leaving the keeper totally stranded. Well, that’s how I remember it, it was a long, long time ago.
The slightly more solid memories start with former England captain Emlyn Hughes (RIP) being taunted by the Loft while player manager of Rotherham. Still in the first half, in response to the choruses of “Emlyn, Emlyn, what’s the score” he turned to the crowd and raised 4 fingers on one hand while making a zero with the other. John Gregory’s single-minded pursuit of his hattrick insured that 4-0 was the final score too.
To quickly skip through a couple more, Ian Dawes bursting down the left and into Leicester’s box to set up Michael Robinson’s winner in a 4-3 match which secured our top-flight status towards the end of the 1984/5 season, and Sammy Lee’s scorching volley in the FA Cup 4th (yes 4th) round victory over the same opponents a couple of years later.
Terry Fenwick’s body check on Norman Whiteside in the dying moments of an incredibly bad-tempered and hopelessly badly controlled match against United. Whiteside had been kicking lumps out of Stevie Wicks all match, inevitably Wicks had been sent off for retaliation. The ref called for time rather than brandish a second red card.
John Byrne dancing through the Oxford defence for a last gasp equaliser. Ray Houghton had been yards off side for their goal and it had looked like being another of those days where the ball just wouldn’t go in for us until Byrne’s amazing run.
If I may slip in a non-QPR memory, watching Frank Worthington’s pre-match routine was always a joy. No thoughts of stretching and warming up his muscles, he always gave a stunning exhibition of ball juggling, immaculate control and precision shooting. For me, he was second only to Stan.
After a semi-enforced beak from Loftus Road because of work, children and finally apathy, I returned during Warnock’s great season. Ale Faurlin’s goal against Sheffield United was one of the highlights of the season. How he maintained his sanity in the face of the FA’s investigation, let along his dignity and grace is totally beyond me. His teammates’ joy at him scoring was blatantly obvious, no one ever deserved it more.
One of my greatest ever moments at Loftus Road came the following season when Djibril Cissé swept home the ball very late in our last home match against Stoke. Almost before our celebrations had calmed down, the guy in front of me turned and showed me that Bolton had let their 2-goal lead slip and we were still in with a chance of staying up.
Adel Taarabt’s fine goal opening against Fulham the following season has a peculiarly reason for being on my list. Yes, it was a beautiful goal and yes it set us on the way to our first victory of the season, but it was especially painful for my mate Rod who badly misjudged how low the beam above his head was when he punched the air with delight!
Tom Hitchcock shoving Redknapp’s “look I’m down to the bare bones and am forced to play some kid you’ve never heard of” routine down his throat warrants a mention. Young Tom was so elated at scoring, after celebrating his goal with his team mates in front of the Loft, he set off back to the half way line and then turned back a celebrated some more.
Just as Charlie Austin’s hat-trick in the Premier League to complete a superb comeback after West Brom had ripped us apart for the first 20 minutes and should have been more than 2 goals ahead is probably the greatest individual performance of recent times, perhaps the most symbolic picture in the same era is the one of Clint Hill leaving the pitch for the last time as a QPR player and reaching up and touching the “We Are QPR” sign.
Finally, something of a far more personal and poignant occasion. Through the Not606 forum I became very good friends with David. As the moderator of that forum, he shaped it into an all-encompassing and whole-heartedly welcoming talk-shop with no heirs nor graces. After his tragic death, we arranged a commemoration which was attended by his widow, son and son’s partner. We started in the garden of the Crown and Sceptre, endured our dull-as-dishwater home match with Birmingham, before ending at the Thatched House. It was a sad, but wonderful, day – so QPR, so Loftus Road.
As much as I understand, accept and even promote, our need to move, it will be a desperately sad day when we do. Just like you, I’ve got a huge emotional investment in the archaic old wreck that is Loftus Road.
The Twitter @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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Blogs 28 bloggers
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