Di Carmine derails Blues' promotion bid - History
Friday, 8th Feb 2019 11:30 by Clive Whittingham
As Birmingham City come to town on Saturday, we look back to a memorable meeting between the two sides under the lights at Loftus Road in 2008.
QPR 1 Birmingham City 0, Tuesday October 28, 2008, Championship
A poll in the London Evening Standard at the end of the 2007/08 season named Flavio Briatore the most popular football club chairman/owner in London. How different things were six months later.
Optimism continued to sweep the newly monied Rangers that summer, as Real Madrid’s Daniel Parejo led the incoming stars just a year after the club had been trying to scratch enough money together to sign John Curtis and Daniel Nardiello. The hype reached ridiculous levels when one of the exotic foreign newbies, Emmanuel Ledesma, scored a fine hat trick in the League Cup against Carlisle for Iain Dowie’s side – the club shop produced commemorative shirts.
Dowie, who’d taken over from Luigi De Canio, didn’t have a bad record at Loftus Road – he won eight of his 15 matches in charge, including a League Cup success at Premier League side Aston Villa. But there had been talk of Briatore’s over-bearing presence long before the first game even kicked off. Dowie insisted he had the final say on the team, but had been told in no uncertain terms that new arrival Radek Cerny would be starting ahead of Lee Camp from day one.
Briatore, who would attend matches with Naomi Campbell, cannot possibly have picked Dowie for the job himself and the full scale of the animosity between the two was later laid bare in the Four Year Plan documentary. “He’s a fucking hooligan, he has no strategy,” said Briatore after a defeat at Birmingham in early October and by the time the return fixture rocked around at the end of that month he’d been sacked.
Hogan Ephraim, part of the team at the time, recently told the QPR Podcast that Briatore had delivered a team selection for an away game at Reading to Dowie who had then attended training that Friday, explained the situation to the players and practised with his own line up. When Briatore saw the session, Dowie was sacked immediately.
With the fans starting to realise just what they were in for with the megalomaniac Italian, cult hero Gareth Ainsworth stepped up to take caretaker charge of the team – getting a goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium to begin with.
That set up a Tuesday night visit to Loftus Road of Alex McLeish’s big-spending, high-flying Birmingham side. With the likes of Kevin Phillips and Cameron Jerome leading the line, Brum had lost only one of their first 13 league games and were setting the Championship pace.
Ludicrously that night, with Gareth Ainsworth in caretaker charge, Rangers used midfielders ranging from Martin Rowlands and Gavin Mahon to Ledesma and Italian veteran Damiano Tommasi who Briatore was insisting on involving. A home gate of just 13,594 spoke volumes.
Things didn’t look good for the R’s when referee Stuart Attwell strode over with a card in one hand and his cock in the other right on the stroke of half time to send off Mikele Leigertwood for a tackle that was late but far from malicious or dangerous. But Ainsworth always was a positive, upbeat character as a player and as a manager he decided to remain with two strikers in the second half, and demand more work of a three man midfield, rather than retreat into a shell.
The attacking outlook caught Birmingham cold on a night of heavy snow, and nine minutes after the break Italian loanee Sam Di Carmine rifled in an unstoppable drive from 20 yards out at the Loft End. Di Carmine, on loan from Fiorentina at the time, was a truly dreadful footballer of almost zero natural ability and his single season spell at QPR was enough to drive a man to drink – but he didn’t half get hold of that one.
Suddenly it felt like one of those nights under the lights at Loftus Road. There may have been plenty of empty seats but the snow, the scoreline and the numerical disadvantage all combined to create an electric atmosphere inside the ground. Birmingham threw on Marcus Bent to join Kevin Phillips and Cameron Jerome in their attack and then added former Arsenal trainee Quincy Owusu-Abeyie for good measure.
But Rangers stood firm. Tommasi and Rowlands were magnificent together in midfield, working like dogs to make up for the extra man.
It could have been in vain of course – Attwell tormented the home crowd further by adding an outrageous amount of stoppage time to the end of the game during which Kevin Phillips stole into the six yard box and tapped home an equaliser that deflated Loftus Road like few goals that have ever been scored there. Through the gloom, the sleet and the snow however a linesman’s flag saved the day, and the points, for QPR.
QPR: Cerny 8, Leigertwood 6, Stewart 8, Hall 8, Connolly 8, Ledesma 7, Rowlands 8, Tommasi 8, Cook 5 (Mahon 46, 7), Blackstock 6 (Buzsaky 68, 7), Di Carmine 7 (Ephraim 74, 7)
Subs Not Used: Cole, Parejo
Sent Off: Leigertwood 45 (serious foul play)
Booked: Tomassi (foul), Cerny (time wasting), Ledesma (diving)
Goals: Di Carmine 54 (assisted Tommasi)
Birmingham: Maik Taylor 7, Parnaby - (Wilson 12, 5), Martin Taylor 5, Ridgewell 5, Queudrue 6, McFadden 6, Carsley 5, Nafti 6 (64, 4), Agustien 6, Phillips 6, Jerome 5 (Bent 64, 6)
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Quashie
Booked: Wilson, Queudrue
Birmingham City 0 QPR 0, Saturday September 1, 2018, Championship
The first meeting between these sides this season was one of the worst games of football I’ve ever seen before in my life.
Birmingham: Camp 6; Colin 5 (Harding 59, 6), Morrison 6, Dean 5, Pedersen 6; Maghoma 6, G Gardner 6, Kieftenbeld 6, Jota 6; Adams 6 (Solomon-Otabor 68, 6), Jutkiewicz 6 (Bogle 86, -)
Subs not used: Roberts, Mahoney, C Gardner, Trueman
Bookings: Maghoma 30 (foul), Pedersen 53 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 6, Leistner 6, Lynch 6, Bidwell 6; Eze 6, Cousins 6, Luongo 5, Freeman 6; Wells 6 (Smith 85, -), Hemed 6 (Cameron 89, -)
Subs not used: Ingram, Baptiste, Osayi-Samuel, Wszolek, Smyth
QPR 3 Birmingham City 1, Saturday April 28, 2018, Championship
A QPR team containing Joe Lumley, Osman Kakay, Darnell Furlong, Ryan Manning, Ebere Eze, Ilias Chair and Bright Osayi-Samuel swept aside relegation-haunted Birmingham last April at Loftus Road despite having little to play for. Che Adams have the visitors the lead before the half hour but Osayi-Samuel smashed in his first goal for the club almost immediately to equalise and Rangers took the game away from the Blues in the second half with a close range effort from Chair and a rare goal with his feet from sub Matt Smith in stoppage time.
QPR: Lumley 6; Kakay 5 (Onuoha 67, 7), Furlong 7, Bidwell 7, Manning 7; Scowen 7; Eze 7, Chair 8, Freeman 8, Osayi-Samuel 7 (Mackie 69, 7); Sylla 5 (Smith 77, 7)
Subs not used: Smithies, Cousins, Smyth, Tilt
Goals: Osayi-Samuel 29 (assisted Chair), Chair 70 (assisted Freeman), Smith 90+2 (Unassisted)
Bookings: Manning 57 (foul), Chair 88 (foul)
Birmingham: Stockdale 7; Harding 5, Morrison 5, Roberts 5, Colin 5; Davis 5, Ndoye 5 (Gardner 73, 5); Jota 6, Adams 6 (Gallagher 57, 5), Maghoma 7; Jutkiewicz 4
Subs not used: Grounds, Kieftenbeld, Dacres-Cogley, Kuszczak, Lubala
Goals: Adams 27 (assisted Maghoma)
Bookings: Davis 63 (foul)
Birmingham City 1 QPR 2, Saturday December 16, 2017, Championship
QPR finally won their first away game of the season, their first win away from home in 18 attempts going back to February, with a 2-1 win at St Andrew’s just before Christmas. Rangers hadn’t won away since they beat Birmingham 4-1 the previous season but were on their way to another success on the same ground when Jack Robinson scored his first goal for the club, heading home Luke Freeman’s first half free kick. A rare mistake from Alex Smithies let Sam Gallagher in for an equaliser on the hour and the R’s started to drift out of the game before Robinson, out of the blue, whopped in a second from long range.
Birmingham: Stockdale 5; Colin 5, Morrison 5, Dean 5, Grounds 5; Davis 6 (Maghoma 75, 6), Gardner 5; Jota 5 (Jutkiewicz 87, -), Kieftenbeld 5, Boga 5; Gallagher 7
Subs not used: Nsue, Bramall, Ndoye, Trueman, Gleeson
Goals: Gallagher 57 (assisted Kieftenbeld)
Bookings: Gallagher 66 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 5; Baptiste 6, Onuoha 6, Robinson 8; Wszolek 6, Bidwell 7; Freeman 7 (Hall 88, -), Luongo 6, Scowen 7; Washington 5 (Samuel 84, -), Smith 6 (Sylla 75, 7)
Subs not used: Cousins, Lumley, Chair, Wheeler
Goals: Robinson 17 (assisted Freeman), 83 (assisted Freeman)
Bookings: Scowen 45+1 (foul), Smith 68 (repetitive fouling)
Birmingham City 1 QPR 4, Saturday February 18, 2017, Championship
The best performance and result of Ian Holloway’s second spell in charge subsequently turned out to be the last away win in 18 attempts. In the midst of a total meltdown under Gianfranco Zola at Birmingham, Rangers turned up and destroyed the hosts in the second half having gone in 1-0 up at half time through a Matt Smith header from a corner. Conor Washington doubled the lead straight after the break and then Idrissa Sylla and Yeni Ngbakoto added a third and fourth off the bench – the latter turned out to be QPR’s Goal of the Season. Nsue scored in injury time to wreck Alex Smithies’ clean sheet but this was a dominant display that promised so much more to come. Lol.
Birmingham: Kuszczak 6; Nsue 6, Cogley 5 (Koyunlu 45, 5), Shotton 5, Grounds 5; Keita 5 (Robinson 31, 5), Kieftenbeld 4, Tesche 5 (Storer 82, -), Stewart 7, Adams 5; Sinclair 5
Subs not used: Legzdins, Gleeson, O’Keefe, Bielik
Goals: Nsue 90+3 (assisted Adams)
Bookings: Tesche 21 (foul), Robinson 56 (dissent), Storer 87 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 6; Furlong 7, Onuoha 8, Lynch 7, Bidwell 6; Manning 8, Hall 7, Freeman 8; Washington 8 (Ngbakoto 85, -), Smith 8 (Sylla 80, -), Wszolek 7 (Lua Lua 85, -)
Subs not used: Mackie, Ingram, Luongo, Perch
Goals: Smith 18 (assisted Freeman), Washington 47 (unassisted), Sylla 84 (assisted Wszolek), Ngbakoto 88 (free kick – won Manning)
Bookings: Lynch 50 (foul), Bidwell 82 (foul), Manning 90 (foul)
QPR 1 Birmingham City 1, Saturday September 24, 2016, Championship
QPR had lost three on the spin, including a 6-0 home defeat to Newcastle, prior to the first meeting between these sides in September that seasn and must have feared the worst when Jutkiewicz headed in from close range to give Brum an early lead. But Steven Caulker headed in an equaliser from a Tjaronn Chery corner before half time and with substitute Pawel Wszolek impressing in the second half the R’s were unlucky not to win with Ledgzdins saving from Sylla and Borysiuk in particular.
QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 5, Caulker 6, Hall 5, Bidwell 6; Borysiuk 7, Luongo 6; Cousins 5 (Wzsolek 14, 7), Chery 6, Shodipo 6 (Polter 65, 5); Sylla 7
Subs not used: Lynch, Washington, Ingram, El Khayati, Henry
Goals: Caulker 39 (assisted Chery)
Bookings: Shodipo 35 (encroachment), Hall 89 (foul)
Birmingham: Ledgzdins 6; Spector 6, Shotton 5, Morrison 7, Grounds 6; Gleeson 6, Kieftenbeld 6; Davis 6 (Robinson 82, -), Adams 5 (Stewart 82, -), Maghoma 7; Jutkiewicz 6 (Storer 85, -)
Subs not used: Cotterill, Wiggins, Brown, Trueman
Goals: Jutkiewicz 23 (assisted Maghoma/Morrison)
Bookings: Kieftenbeld 68 (foul)
QPR 2 Birmingham City 0, Saturday February 27, 2016, Championship
One of QPR’s better performances of the 2015/16 campaign came in the home fixture against Birmingham City. The Blues were still well in the play-off mix at the time but Rangers set about them impressively and took the lead when James Perch fed Tjaronn Chery in the area and the Dutchman turned on the ball and cutely sought out the far corner. The lead was doubled before half time when Seb Polter was felled and Junior Hoilett converted the penalty and although Karl Henry had to clear from the goal line soon after half time, it was QPR who created the better chances in the second half and Massimo Luongo went close to making it three.
QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 7, Angella 7, Hall 6, Perch 7; Henry 7, Luongo 7, Phillips 6 (Washington 82, -), Chery 8 (Tozser 76, 6), Hoilett 6 (El Khayati 90+3, -); Polter 7
Subs not used: Konchesky, Faurlin, Ingram, Petrasso
Goals: Chery 35 (assisted Perch), Hoilett 38 (penalty, won Polter)
Birmingham: Kuszczak 6; Shotton 5, Morrison 5, Robinson 6, Grounds 6; Gleeson 6, Kieftenbeld 6 (Vaughan 71, 5); Cotterill 7, Fabbrini 4 (Toral 63, 6), Maghoma 6 (Buckley 79, 6); Donaldson 4
Subs not used: Legzdins, Spector, Davis, Caddis
Bookings: Fabbrini 15 (foul), Morrison 39 (foul), Donaldson 60 (dissent), Toral 81 (foul)
Birmingham City 2 QPR 1, Saturday October 17, 2015, Championship
Chris Ramsey’s position as QPR manager came under increased threat following this defeat. . Soon after co-chairman Tony Fernandes had publicly stated promotion meant everything to him this season the club picked an hour before the game at Birmingham to announce that Neil Warnock would be returning to the club in an advisory capacity. Things looked ok when Matt Phillips turned and fired in an opening goal but when Paul Konchesky let Paul Robinson in for a free header equaliser and Nedum Onuoha conceded a soft penalty for Paul Caddis to put Birmingham in front the away end turned nasty with chants for Ramsey’s head, Warnock’s elevation, and some nasty anti-German abuse for late substitute Seb Polter.
Birmingham: Kuszczak 6; Caddis 7, Morrison 7, Robinson 7, Grounds 6; Gleeson 6, Kieftenbeld 6, Davis 6 (Shinnie 74, 6); Gray 7, Donaldson 7 (Solomon-Otabor 87, -), Maghoma 7
Subs not used: Legzdins, Toral, Spector, Lowry, Brock-Madsen
Goals: Robinson 24 (assisted Gray), Caddis 63 (penalty, won Donaldson)
Bookings: Caddis 67 (kicking ball away)
QPR: Green 6; Perch 4, Onuoha 5, Hall 7, Konchesky 4; Henry 5, Sandro 6 (Tozser 72, 5); Phillips 5, Fer 6 (Luongo 71, 7), Chery 6; Emmanuel-Thomas 7 (Polter 84, -)
Subs not used: Doughty, Faurlin, Smithies, Angella
Goals: Phillips 16 (assisted Onuoha)
Bookings: Perch 24 (foul), Onuoha 63 (dissent)
Birmingham City 0 QPR 2, Saturday March 8, 2014, Championship
Both clubs were in something of a crisis when they met at St Andrew's in March 2014. QPR had suffered injuries to key players and won just one match in eight, killing off any hopes of automatic promotion. Accounts released earlier in the week showed the scale of the problem if promotion wasn't won. Brum meanwhile had seen owner Carson Yeung convicted of money laundering in Honk Kong in the lead up to the game and came into the match on a run of one win from 15 home matches. Ravel Morrison won the game for the visitors with a spectacular long range free kick in the first half, and a crisp finish on the end of a decent move in the second.
Birmingham: Randolph 6; Caddis 6, Ferguson 6 (Blackett 73, 6), Robinson 5, Spector 5; Ibe 6 (Novak 67, 5) , Ferguson 5, Adeyemi 6, Huws 7, Packwood 5, Burke 6; Zigic 4 (Macheda 58, 5)
Subs not used: Martin, Doyle, Lee, Shinnie
Bookings: Robinson 12 (foul), Caddis 45 (foul)
QPR: Green 7; Onuoha 7, Hill 6, Dunne 6, Assou-Ekotto 6; Hoilett 5 (O’Neil 70, 6), Barton 7, Jenas 7, Traore 7; Morrison 8 (Carroll 87, -); Doyle 7 (Keane 84, -)
Subs not used: Hughes, Henry, Murphy, Benayoun
Goals: Morrison 14 (unassisted), 73 (assisted Jenas)
QPR 1 Birmingham City 0, Saturday September 16, 2013, Championship
Ultimately, QPR’s first meeting with Birmingham City since 2008 finished exactly as their last did – a 1-0 home win – but there was none of the drama and entertainment of the ‘blizzard’ match as the R’s struggled past Lee Clark’s side back in September. In the type of performance that became typical of the first half of QPR’s season Rangers never once clicked into gear, and relied on the defensive abilities of Richard Dunne and Nedum Onuoha to keep a Birmingham side that created, and missed, several decent chances at bay. Back in those days of course, one Charlie Austin led the attack and four minutes after half time he bundled in the only goal of the game from a yard out after a corner caused a goal mouth scramble. These days, without Austin, it’s not quite so simple.
QPR: Green 6; Simpson 6, Onuoha 7, Dunne 7, Hill 6; O’Neil 7, Barton 6, Carroll 6 (Jenas 82, -), Hoilett 5 (Phillips 39, 5); Zamora 5 (Wright-Phillips 46, 6), Austin 6
Subs: Murphy, Assou-Ekotto, Faurlin, Henry
Goals: Austin 49 (assisted Onuoha)
Bookings: Barton 43 (repetitive fouling)
Birmingham: Randolph 6; Burn 6, Bartley 6, Robinson 6; Elliott 7, Spector 6, Caddis 6, Adeyemi 6 (Lovenkrands 82, -); Burke 7, Novak 6, Shinnie 6 (Ferguson 55, 6)
Subs: Doyle, Ambrose, Reilly, Lee, Brown
Bookings: Shinnie 49 (foul), Spector 78 (diving), Robinson 86 (foul), Burn 90+1 (foul)
Birmingham City 1 QPR 0, Saturday October 4, 2008, Championship
Iain Dowie was still in charge when the sides met at St Andrews’ in October 2008 for an early Saturday match screened live by Sky. Fitz Hall and goalkeeper Radek Cerny shared the blame for a dreadfully soft winning goal, scored on the stroke of half time by Kevin Phillips, but in truth the R’s rarely threatened the goal at the other end and the home team deserved their win. The game is best known by R’s fans as the opening scene of the Four Year Plan documentary where Flavio Briatore is seen in the car after the game branding Dowie a “hooligan” with “no strategy”.
Birmingham: Taylor 7, Parnaby 7, Jaidi 8, Ridgewell 8, Murphy 7, Larsson 8, Carsley 7 (Nafti 50, 6), Agustien 6, Owusu-Abeyie 7 (McFadden 75, 6), Phillips 7 (Jerome 80, -), O'Connor 8
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Martin Taylor
Booked: Ridgewell (deliberate handball)
Goals: Phillips 45+1 (assisted O'Connor)
QPR: Cerny 6, Ramage 4 (Connolly 87, -), Hall 5, Stewart 6, Delaney 4, Rowlands 5 (Ledesma 80, -), Leigertwood 6, Mahon 6 (Buzsaky 68, 6), Cook 6, Blackstock 5, Agyemang 5
Subs Not Used: Camp, Parejo
Booked: Leigertwood (foul)
Head to Head >>> QPR wins 21 >>> Draws 14 >>> Birmingham wins 22
2018/19 Birmingham 0 QPR 0
2017/18 QPR 3 Birmingham 1 (Osayi-Samuel, Chair, Smith)
2017/18 Birmingham 1 QPR 2 (Robinson 2)
2016/17 Birmingham 1 QPR 4 (Smith, Washington, Sylla, Ngbakoto)
2016/17 QPR 1 Birmingham 1 (Caulker)
2015/16 QPR 2 Birmingham 0 (Chery,
2015/16 Birmingham 2 QPR 1 (Phillips)
2013/14 Birmingham 0 QPR 2 (Morrison 2)
2013/14 QPR 1 Birmingham 0 (Austin)
2008/09 QPR 1 Birmingham 0 (Di Carmine)
2008/09 Birmingham 1 QPR 0
2006/07 Birmingham 2 QPR 1 (Cook)
2006/07 QPR 0 Birmingham 2
2000/01 Birmingham 0 QPR 0
2000/01 QPR 0 Birmingham 0
1999/00 QPR 2 Birmingham 2 (Steiner, Kiwomya)
1999/00 Birmingham 2 QPR 0
1998/99 Birmingham 1 QPR 0
1998/99 QPR 0 Birmingham 1
1997/98 Birmingham 1 QPR 0
1997/98 QPR 1 Birmingham 1 (Barker)
1996/97 QPR 1 Birmingham 1 (Spencer)
1996/97 Birmingham 0 QPR 0
1985/86 Birmingham 2 QPR 0
1985/86 QPR 3 Birmingham 1 (Bannister, Rosenior, Dawes)
1983/84 Birmingham 0 QPR 2 (Gregory, Fenwick)
1983/84 QPR 2 Birmingham 1 (Stainrod, Fenwick)
1979/80 QPR 1 Birmingham 1 (Burke)
1979/80 Birmingham 2 QPR 1 (Allen)
1978/79 QPR 1 Birmingham 3 (Roeder)
1978/79 Birmingham 3 QPR 1 (Busby)
1977/78 QPR 0 Birmingham 0
1977/78 Birmingham 2 QPR 1 (Masson)
1976/77 QPR 2 Birmingham 2 (Masson, Webb)
1976/77 Birmingham 2 QPR 1 (Eastoe)
1975/76 QPR 2 Birmingham 1 (Masson 2)
1975/76 Birmingham 1 QPR 1 (Thomas)
1974/75 Birmingham 4 QPR 1 (Thomas)
1974/75 QPR 0 Birmingham 1
1973/74 Birmingham 4 QPR 0
1973/74 QPR 2 Birmingham 0* (Leach, Givens)
1973/74 QPR 2 Birmingham 2 (Bowles, Hynd og)
1971/72 Birmingham 0 QPR 0
1971/72 QPR 2 Birmingham 0** (Francis, Marsh)
1971/72 QPR 1 Birmingham 0 (Marsh)
1970/71 QPR 5 Birmingham 2 (Marsh 3, Venables, McCulloch)
1970/71 Birmingham 2 QPR 1 (Bridges)
1969/70 QPR 2 Birmingham 1 (Bridges 2)
1969/70 Birmingham 3 QPR 0
1967/68 QPR 2 Birmingham 0 (Leach, I Morgan)
1967/68 Birmingham 2 QPR 0
1966/67 QPR 3 Birmingham 1** (Marsh 2, Keen)
1966/67 Birmingham 1 QPR 4** (Marsh, R Morgan, Lazarus, Allen)
1951/52 Birmingham 1 QPR 0
1951/52 QPR 0 Birmingham 2
1950/51 QPR 2 Birmingham 0 (Farrow, Shepherd)
1950/51 Birmingham 1 QPR 1 (Addinall)
1913/14 Birmingham 1 QPR 2*(Gregory, Miller)
* - FA Cup
** - League Cup
Trevor Francis >>> Birmingham 1971-1979 >>> QPR 1988-1990
Trevor Francis was enjoying a fruitful Indian summer spearheading the QPR attack under Jim Smith towards the end of the 1980s when he was thrust into the managerial spotlight himself for the first time.
He'd been part of an English invasion at Glasgow Rangers under Graeme Souness, and won the Scottish League Cup in 1987 before moving back south of the border to Loftus Road. He was reasonably prolific for Rangers, starting 1988/89 in particularly decent touch, scoring three of QPR's first five goals before missing a penalty in fairly shambolic circumstances in a 3-2 loss at Millwall's hostile Old Den.
On the field he's best remembered among the faithful few in Shepherd's Bush for a remarkable hat trick in a victory against Aston Villa at Villa Park, the third a thing or real beauty and one in the eye for the home fans who'd abused him for his Birmingham City connections throughout the game.
When Smith left for Newcastle Francis was made player manager at Loftus Road but his inexperience, and perhaps arrogance, showed when he infamously fined midfielder Martin Allen for leaving the team hotel on the eve of a game at Newcastle to attend the birth of his child back in London.
Allen told QPRnet: "I have no regrets over the situation now. I was honest with Trevor Francis on the Thursday, and I told Peter Shreeves on the Friday night what I was doing. My wife went into labour at half past two on the Saturday morning, she was still in labour at half past six when I rang again and I have no regrets about getting on that aeroplane.
"When I was playing for West Ham against Trevor’s Sheffield Wednesday I ended up in hospital with a punctured lung and broken ribs. I had an operation on the Saturday evening and about eleven o’clock that night the sister came in and told me that Trevor had phoned the hospital asking how I was and wishing me the very best. I must admit when she told me I wondered if I was still under the aesthetic. But it was the truth, he did ring and since that day whenever we’ve met each other we’ve always had a smile, shook hands and wished each other well and so you should."
Rangers were in relegation trouble by the time he departed after little over a year in charge. His parting shot was a spectacular one though, second from bottom QPR beat second from top Liverpool 3-2 at Loftus Road with two goals from Paul Wright and a trademark spectacular shot from Mark Falco at the Loft End.
Francis, fresh out of hospital after an operation on a long-term injury, sat at the front of the director's box in South Africa Road and was jumped on by his wife Helen in a giant fur coat at full time. He subsequently agreed a deal to bring his old friend Ray Wilkins down from Rangers to join him – Wilkins subsequently forced to deny he was taking the job himself when Francis left a week later. Ultimately, Don Howe was given the responsibility.
Francis was originally a star teenager at Birmingham City, coming through the ranks to make his debut as a 16 year old, notably scoring four times in a match against Bolton and ending his first season with 15 goals from just 22 games. His goal against QPR in 1976 has gone down in club folklore and he made the England squad for the first time a year later under Don Revie.
After a brief loan/secondment playing in the first version of the MLS for Detroit, he became the first million pound player in the UK when he was bought by Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest in February 1979. At the City Ground he became part of the remarkable rise to the pinnacle of European football – registered in time to play in the semi-finals of the European Cup, Francis scored the only goal of the final against Malmo as Forest completed a remarkable rise from midtable obscurity in Division Two to champions of the UK and Europe in little more than two years.
He was regularly used as a winger by Clough, and missed the final the following year against Hamburg with an Achilles injury that plagued him for months and eventually saw him sold off to Man City. Once more injuries hampered him, and City's growing financial problems forced a £700,000 sale to Sampdoria where he was part of the side that won the Copa Italia for the first time in the club's history. A spell at Atalanta preceded his time in Scotland.
After QPR he joined Sheffield Wednesday, initially as a player under Ron Atkinson and then later as manager where he lost in both cup 1993 cup finals to Arsenal. A subsequent spell in charge at Birmingham brought numerous play-off near misses, and a League Cup Final defeat to Liverpool, before he was replaced by Steve Bruce.
He's had a less successful stint in charge of Crystal Palace and worked as a TV pundit since.
Others >>> Lee Camp, Birmingham 2018-present, QPR 2007-2009, (loan) 2004 >>> Grant Hall, QPR 2015-present, Birmingham 2014-2015 (loan) >>> Ravel Morrison QPR (loan) 2014, Birmingham (loan) 2013-2014 >>> Andros Townsend, QPR (loan) 2013, Birmingham (loan) 2012 >>> Andy Johnson, QPR 2012-2014, Birmingham 1997-2002 >>> Federico Macheda, Birmingham (loan) 2014, QPR (loan) 2012 >>> DJ Campbell, QPR 2011-2013, Birmimgham 2006-2007 >>> Marcus Bent, QPR (loan) 2011, Birmingham 2008-2011 >>> Rowan Vine, QPR 2007-2012, Birmingham 2006-2008 >>> Tommy Williams, QPR (loans) 2009, 2003, 2002, Birmingham 2002-2004 >>> Stephen Kelly, Birmingham 2006-2009, QPR (loan) 2003 >>> Paul Furlong, QPR 2002-2007, (loan) 2000, Birmimgham 1996-2002 >>> Paul Peschisolido, QPR (loan) 2000, Birmimgham 1996, 1994-1996 >>> Matt Jackson, Birmimgham (loan) 1996, QPR (loan) 1996 >>> Dennis Bailey, QPR 1991-1995, Birmingham 1989-1991 >>> David Seaman, QPR 1986-1990, Birmingham 1984-1986 >>> Mark Dennis QPR 1987-1988, Birmingham 1978-1982 >>> Don Givens, Birmingham 1978-1981, QPR 1972-1978 >>> Mike Kelly, Birmingham 1970-1976, QPR 1966-1970 >>> Barry Bridges, QPR 1968-1970, Birmingham 1966-1968 >>> Henry Clutterbuck, QPR 1899-1901, Small Heath 1897-1899
Pictures – Action Images
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