Francis, Holloway lead slew of QPR-Rovers connections - History
Tuesday, 28th Aug 2018 08:46 by Clive Whittingham
QPR and Bristol Rovers may not have met competitively since 1980/81 prior to this evening, but the managerial reigns of Ian Holloway and Gerry Francis mean the clubs share an unusually high amount of player connections.
Gary Penrice >>> Bristol Rovers 1997-2000, 1984-1989 >>> QPR 1991-1995
Bristol-born Penrice became one of a clutch of former Rovers players who moved to Loftus Road in the early 1990s to play for manager Gerry Francis.
Penrice had initially been a trainee at Bristol City before being released into non-league football because the coaching staff at Ashton Gate felt he was too small. He played for Mangotsfield while training as a plumber but got a second bite of the league football cherry when Bristol Rovers offered him a deal after a trial.
Rovers was the club Penrice and his father supported and he bagged 20 goals in his first full season – 1988/89 – as they made the Third Division play-off final only to lose to Port Vale. Rovers won the league a year later but Penrice had been bought by Watford before the end of the season for a club record fee of £500,000. He scored 18 goals in 43 appearances during a year at Vicarage Road before his ascent up the leagues continued with a move to First Division Aston Villa for £1m.
His progress was halted at Villa Park by a broken leg, and with the likes of Dean Saunders and Dalian Atkinson heading to that corner of Birmingham, Penrice was deemed surplus to requirement after just one goal in 20 appearances. Enter QPR, who were by now under the charge of former Bristol Rovers manager Gerry Francis who was looking for a partner for the new hot property of English football Les Ferdinand.
Penrice cost £600,000, leaving Villa after just eight months, and soon found himself surrounded by former Pirates team mates including Steve Yates, Devon White and his former school friend Ian Holloway. Penrice actually made his QPR debut as a substitute against Villa in a 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road, but was in and out of the team initially and had to wait seven appearances and two months for his first goal. Like buses, when one came another quickly followed. On as a sub in a game at Coventry that QPR trailed 2-0, Penrice scored twice near the end to salvage a point and quickly followed that up with his first at Loftus Road in a 1-1 draw with Wimbledon.
Penrice scored six in the 1992/93 campaign, including a memorable double in a 4-1 home win against Spurs, as QPR finished fifth in the first ever Premier League. He got eight the season after including strikes in a 4-0 away win at West ham and a 4-3 success at Norwich. Penrice then suffered from the emergence of Kevin Gallen which moved him down the pecking order in the 1994/95 season, although he bagged another brace against Coventry and a hug-a-stranger-moment length of the field effort against his old Aston Villa side in the very final minute of a tense 2-0 win at the end of October.
Ray Wilkins replaced Gerry Francis midway through the campaign and Penrice was mostly used as a substitute, if at all, after that. Three substitute appearances at the start of the 1995/96 relegation season preceded a move back to Watford and then later a return to Bristol Rovers where he first played with Ian Holloway again, and then joined the coaching staff alongside him when he became manager.
Since retirement he has coached alongside Holloway at Bristol Rovers, QPR, Plymouth and Leicester and worked as a European scout for Stoke City. He returned to QPR as de-facto head of recruitment a year and a half ago, although his ongoing status at the club has been cast into some doubt by the switch from Holloway to Steve McClaren and, seemingly, yet another change in transfer strategy from the club.
Others >>> Joe Lumley, QPR 2014-present, Bristol R 2017 (loan) >>> Ian Holloway, QPR (manager) 2016-2018, (manager) 2001-2006, 1991-1996, Bristol R 1980-1985, 1987-1991, (manager) 1996-2001 >>> Bobby Zamora, QPR 2012-2015, Bristol R 1999-2000 >>> Tom Hitchcock, QPR 2012-2014, Bristol R (loan) 2014 >>> Scott Sinclair, QPR (loan) 2007, Bristol R 2004-2005 >>> Lee Brown Bristol R 2011-2018, QPR 2008-2011 >>> Gary Waddock, QPR (manager) 2006, 1991-1992, 1979-1987, Bristol R 1992-1994 >>> Jamie Cureton, QPR 2004-2005, Bristol R 1996-2000 >>> Marcus Bignot, QPR 2004-2007, 2001-2002, Bristol R 2000-2001 >>> Ross Weare, Bristol R 2000-2001, QPR 1999-2000 >>> Junior Agogo, Bristol R 2003-2006, QPR 2002 >>> Christer Warren, Bristol R 2002, QPR 2000-2002 >>> Trevor Challis, Bristol R 1998-2003, QPR 1994-1998 >>> Bradley Allen, Bristol R 2002-2003, QPR 1988-1995 >>> Michael Meaker, Bristol R 1998-2001, QPR 1990-1995 >>> Gerry Francis, Bristol R (manager) 2001, (manager) 1987-1991, 1985-1987, QPR (manager) 1998-2001, (manager) 1991-1994, 1981-1982, 1968-1979 >>> Gary Penrice, Bristol R 1997-2000, 1984-1989, QPR 1991-1995 >>> Devon White QPR 1993-1994, Bristol R 1987-1992 >>> Steve Yates, QPR 1993-1999, Bristol R 1988-1993 >>> Garry Thompson, Bristol R (manager) 2001-2002, QPR 1991-1993 >>> Dennis Bailey, QPR 1991-1995, Bristol R (loan) 1991, (loan) 1989 >>> Justin Channing, Bristol R 1993-1996, QPR 1986-1993 >>> Andy Tillson, Bristol R 1992-2000, QPR 1990-1992 >>> Brian Williams, Bristol R 1981-1985, QPR 1977-1978
Head To Head >>> QPR wins 26 >>> Draws 13 >>> Bristol Rovers wins 25
1980/81 Bristol Rovers 1 QPR 2 (King, Langley)
* = League Cup
** = FA Cup
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