The Gouldfather - History
Thursday, 1st Apr 2021 15:30 by Clive Whittingham
As Coventry City head to Loftus Road on Good Friday we look back to a 5-1 victory over the Sky Blues in 1993 which did for Bobby Gould's second reign at Highfield Road.
QPR 5 Coventry 1, Saturday October 23, 1993, Premier League
In a nomadic playing and coaching career stretching from 1963 to 2012, Bobby Gould spent the sum total of two months at Queens Park Rangers in December and January of 1990. Nevertheless it’s a spell that has gone down in Rangers folklore, and is still talked about around Loftus Road to this day.
Gould had won the FA Cup, and achieved finishes of sixth and seventh in the First Division, in his previous managerial stint at unfancied Wimbledon. His assistant at Plough Lane for a good portion of that had been Don Howe, and his arrival at Loftus Road was something of a role reversal with Howe now the main man in charge of Rangers after the unhappy, unsuccessful and mercifully brief Trevor Francis reign of terror.
But Howe’s promising young team had been horribly hamstrung by a biblical injury list – centre backs Alan McDonald, Danny Maddix and Paul Parker all missing at once one of a number of key issues. They lost eight in a row through the autumn, a run broken only by a seat-of-your-pants 3-2 home win against fellow basement dwellers Sunderland, and followed immediately by another three defeats and a draw.
That Howe survived to lead the team through a strong second half of the season – one defeat and eight wins from 13 – was largely due to an emergency winter recruitment drive led by Gould and his intrinsic knowledge of the lower leagues. Rufus Brevett and Darren Peacock arrived from Doncaster and Hereford respectively and both would grow into Rangers stalwarts for years to come. Andy Tillson wasn’t quite as successful, but was still a very steady signing indeed from Grimsby Town. It set QPR up for a comfortable ease away from danger, a first ever league win away at Liverpool (3-1), and subsequent 4-1s against title challengers Man Utd and Leeds the following season.
Gould moved on after a couple of months to take charge at West Brom and then, in 1992, pitched up for a second stint in charge of Coventry City, where he’d started his playing career in the 1960s, scoring 40 times in 82 league games as a teenager. He had the Sky Blues fourth in the inaugural Premier League in 1992/93 until as late as January before a late season slide to fifteenth, but that didn’t look to have carried into the following season too badly when they won 3-0 at Arsenal on the opening day with a Micky Quinn hat trick. In fact, City didn’t lose at all in the first eight league games of the season, beating Liverpool 1-0 along the way, although there were five draws among those games.
A bad run started in mid-September with a 2-0 home loss to Leeds, 1-0 defeat at Norwich, and 4-2 League Cup shock at lower division Wycombe. A 1-1 draw at home to Southampton steadied the ship somewhat before they arrived at Loftus Road. Gerry Francis had taken Howe’s team, and the burgeoning talent of a young Les Ferdinand, onto a fifth place finish in the first Premier League, and despite losing the first two games of 1993/94 heavily to Villa and Liverpool were already looking good to at least match that. West Ham had been slayed 4-0 at Upton Park, Ipswich dismantled 3-0 at Loftus Road, and the week before the Sky Blues’ visited Ferdinand had been in unplayable form for a 2-1 away win at Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle with Jan Stejskal saving a penalty with the final kick of the game at St James’ Park. The Coventry game would be part of a run of five consecutive league and cup wins.
And how. Unusually attacking the Loft End in the first half, Rangers wasted no time in putting the visitors to the sword. A long punt from Alan McDonald after 15 minutes had Ferdinand in behind and rather than take a touch, draw the keeper, or anything else, he decided to just nonchalantly stick his boot through a perfectly placed first timer into the far bottom corner from the edge of the box. That lead was doubled on the half hour as Ferdinand won the first ball from a Stejskal clearance and Simon Barker intelligently nodded Bradley Allen into the left channel from where he found the opposite corner to Ferdinand with a typically sharp, accurate finish.
The third, in first half stoppage time, was all about exactly the sort of searching ball behind a defence that Ray Wilkins so specialised in during his time with Rangers. This one drew Jonathan Gould, son of, from his goal for a clash with Phil Babb that saw the ball spurt out to Allen who could hardly miss an open goal from 12 yards. Eye in, Wilkins repeated the dose in the second half, sending a quick free kick up for Ferdinand to nod down towards Andy Impey who finished brilliantly into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
There was a sighting of latter days Roy Wegerle from the Coventry bench, and Peter Ndlovu profited from a collective catastrophe in which David Bardsley, Darren Peacock and Jan Stejskal all played a part to make it 4-1. But the sort of clever, cute, perfectly executed, outside-of-the-boot pass that only Ray Wilkins was capable of soon had Ferdinand hitting the bar with another header and Simon Barker followed in for an unmissable fifth.
Gould resigned in the tunnel at full time. "Gentlemen, this will be short and sweet,” he told the waiting press. “I have just informed the players and the chairman that I have resigned. A statement will be made on Monday and that is all I am going to say."
There were memorable days still to come for that QPR team. A 3-0 win at Everton with a hat trick from Allen followed soon after, and further classic away days at Coventry (1-0, Devon White), Ipswich (3-1, Wilkins masterclass), Norwich (4-3, Bruno, Bruno), and Spurs (2-1, a Sinclair double) would cheer the masses. But it struggled to fulfil its potential, rather limping home in ninth in a season when two more wins would have had them sixth, and four more fourth and into Europe. Darren Peacock’s sale to Newcastle two thirds of the way through, with the player of the year award likely heading his way, sparked a hale of anti Richard Thompson protests and pitch invasions at home games and Rangers would win only two of their final 11 home games – a run that most egregiously included a 3-1 home loss to whipping boys Swindon, their only away win all season.
Gould, who went onto a banterous spell in charge of Wales (“let’s circle”), was replaced at Highfield Road by Phil Neal and they were able to climb clear of relegation trouble into an eleventh placed finish with exactly the sort of late flurry of results that became a trademark of theirs, and Southampton, around this time – Norwich, Ipswich, Spurs, Blackburn and Chelsea all beaten, Sheff Wed, Everton and Man Utd all held to draws, in their final nine fixtures.
QPR: Stejskal; Bardsley, McDonald, Peacock, Wilson; Impey (Holloway 86), Wilkins, Barker, Sinclair; Allen, Ferdinand
Goals: Ferdinand 15, Allen 30, 45, IMpey 74, Barker 88
Coventry: Gould; Atherton, Babb, Borrows, Morgan; Boland (Williams 73), McGrath, Flynn; Ndlovu, Quinn, Jenkinson (Wegerle 60)
Goals: Ndlovu 75
LFW regular and AKUTR’s columnist Dave Barton has set up a QPR Memories YouTube channel, with a mixture of clips, classic games, and old highlights packages. His three recent meetings with Coventry are embedded below, give him a subscribe on YouTube or follow @QPR_Memories on Twitter.
Coventry City 3 QPR 2, Friday September 18, 2020, Championship
Having started the season with a surprisingly comprehensive victory at home to Nottingham Forest, QPR made a right pig’s ear of their opening away match at Coventry City in front of the Sky cameras. Utterly dominant for the vast majority of the first half, they led through a typically firmly struck Lyndon Dykes penalty after Bright Osayi-Samuel had been tripped, but a succession of defensive mistakes led to an equaliser for Matt Godden on half time. Things didn’t improve greatly after the break when O’Hare profited from another catalogue of errors at the back and although Yoann Barbet equalised for the R’s they then spent the last ten minutes of the game giving up free headers from corners, eventually at the expense of a decisive fifth goal in the game from McFadzean.
Coventry: Marosi 6; Ostigard 6, McFadzean 6, Hyam 6; Dabo 7, Shipley 6 (Sheaf 90, -), Giles 7, Allen 7, Hamer 7; Godden 7, O’Hare 7
Subs not used: Mason, Rose, Pask, Walker, Bakayoko, Billson
Goals: Godden 44 (assisted Giles), O’Hare 50, McFadzean 84 (assisted Hamer)
Bookings: Shipley 60 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 5; Kakay 5, Dickie 5, Barbet 5, Wallace 3; Carroll 5 (Smyth 71, 5), Cameron 5; Osayi-Samuel 6, Amos 5 (Ball 82, -), Chair 5 (Thomas 82, -); Dykes 5
Subs not used: Kane, Oteh, Masterson, Kelly
Goals: Dykes 41 (penalty, won Osayi-Samuel), Barbet 75 (assisted Chair)
Bookings: Chair 65 (foul), Wallace 88 (foul)
QPR 2 Coventry City 1, Saturday January 23, 2011, Championship
Having blitzed their way through the first half of the 2010/11 season, unbeaten in their first 19 matches, Neil Warnock’s QPR endured a few more fraught encounters in the season half of the campaign as they ground their way relentlessly towards the Championship title and promotion. To go with the ten man win at Reading, last gasp Ishmael Miller goal against Leicester, and 89-minute hang on job at Barnsley came a tight and tense televised victory at home to Coventry. The visitors took a first half lead when mild mannered Marlon King stopped nicking cars and beating women up long enough to get on the end of Gary McSheffrey’s low cross and open the scoring at the Loft End. A frustrating first half against an unashamedly direct (park side) Coventry finally started going QPR’s way in injury time when Adel Taarabt collected a Paddy Kenny clearance, faced up his man on the corner of the penalty area and bent an exquisite chipped shot over perennial scourge of QPR Kieran Westwood and into the far corner. Better was to come ten minutes from time when Taarabt crafted a ball down the line with the outside of his right boot that got debutant Wayne Routledge in for an immaculate first touch round the keeper and crisp finish.
QPR: Kenny 7, Orr 7, Connolly 6, Gorkss 6, Hill 7, Derry 8, Faurlin 7, Routledge 8 (Ephraim 90, -), Taarabt 8, Smith 7(Hall 83, -), Helguson 6 (Miller 55, 7)
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Clarke, Hulse, Moen
Booked: Derry (foul)
Goals: Taarabt 45 (assisted Kenny), Routledge 79 (assisted Taarabt)
Coventry: Westwood 8, Keogh 5, Wood 6, Cranie 6, O'Halloran 6, Gunnarsson 6, Doyle 5 (Clingan 67, 6), Baker 6, McSheffrey 6 (Platt 79, 5),King 8, Eastwood 7 (Jutkiewicz 46, 6)
Subs Not Used: Ireland, Bell, Clarke, Cameron
Booked: Doyle (foul), O'Halloran (foul)
Goals: King 25 (assisted McSheffrey)
Coventry City 0 QPR 2, Tuesday December 28, 2010, Championship
In the face of one of the most obvious and basic long ball games seen in recent times QPR survived a period of pressure in the first half thanks to two good saves from Paddy Kenny and a goal line clearance by Alejandro Faurlin before comfortably winning the game in the second. Kyle Walker thought he’d scored the first senior goal of his career when his shot flew into the roof of the net after a typically lung-busting run down the right, but television replays showed that he had in fact crossed the ball and the goal would have to go down against the name of City keeper Keiran Westwood. Tommy Smith made it 2-0, flicking home Adel Taarabt’s superb cross and Kaspars Gorkss missed a great chance to make it 3-0 after arriving on the end of a corner at the back post.
Coventry: Westwood 5, Keogh 5, McPake 6 (Eastwood 87, -), Cameron 7, Wood 5 (O'Halloran 70, 5), Bell 5 (Wilson 71, 4), Carsley 6, Doyle 6, McSheffrey 7, King 6, Platt 4
Subs Not Used: Ireland, Jutkiewicz, Cranie, Baker
Booked: McSheffrey (foul)
QPR: Kenny 8, Walker 8, Connolly 7, Gorkss 7, Hill 7, Derry 7, Faurlin 7, Mackie 6, Taarabt 7 (Rowlands 84, -), Smith 7 (Clarke 80, 6),Helguson 6 (Orr 89, -)
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Agyemang, Hulse, Tofas
Booked: Helguson (foul), Faurlin (foul)
Goals: Westwood 49 og (assisted Walker), Smith 61 (assisted Taarabt)
Results and Scorers
Head to Head >>> QPR wins 36 >>> Draws 28 >>> Coventry wins 45
2020/21 Coventry 3 QPR 2 (Dykes pen, Barbet)
* - FA Cup
Kenny Sansom >>> QPR 1989-1991 >>> 1991-1993
For a long time England’s most capped international full-back, Sansom became Crystal Palace’s youngest ever debutant in 1975 - a record since been broken by Jon Bostock - after leading Palace to youth cup victory just a few weeks before.
Quick, calm, strong in the tackle and an excellent crosser of the ball, Sansom missed just one league game in 156, starting back in 1976, when Palace made their way from the Third Division to First and briefly topping it. His performances paved way for a £1million transfer to Arsenal, with Clive Allen going the other way despite only joining the Gunners weeks earlier and without a senior appearance to his name. In an eight-year spell in North London, Sansom cemented his place as Arsenal’s first choice left-back picking up their Player of the Year in 1981 and captaining the League Cup win six years later.
He was an integral part of Bobby Robson’s England side playing in the 1982, and 1986 World Cup finals. His record of 37 consecutive appearances between May 1984 and April 1987 has only been bettered by Billy Wright and Ron Flowers.
His relationship began to sour with George Graham at the end of the eighties and with Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon coming into the side and he left to join Newcastle United. A season later he returned to London at Queens Park Rangers where he would go on to play 80 games for the Super Hoops under Don Howe.
He was part of the QPR team that crawled through to the sixth round of the FA Cup in the 1989/90 season through a slew of replays. Cardiff were dispatched 2-0 at Loftus Road in the Third Round after a 0-0 draw in South Wales to set up a fourth round tie away at Sansom’s former employers Arsenal. QPR played for, and got, a 0-0 at Highbury in front of 43,483 and in the lashing rain at Loftus Road in the replay served up one of the classic Rangers performances of the era with Roy Wegerle in mesmeric form and Sansom hammering a goal in from the edge of the box in front of just shy of 22,000 crammed into the ground.
That was Sansom’s first goal for the club and his second came in a third replay against Blackpool in round five. Colin Clarke made it 2-2 at Bloomfield Road, but Rangers were then held themselves on their own patch by the lower division team. A toss of the coin meant a third replay in W12 and Sinton, Barker and Sansom sealed a 3-0 win. Replays as well in that quarter final as Wilkins and Barker scored in a 2-2 with Liverpool before the R’s finally, bravely, bowed out 1-0 at Anfield.
Sansom was ever present for Rangers in the 1990/91 league season right the way through to back-to-back 1-0 home wins against Man City and Coventry in early March, with a young Les Ferdinand getting the goals in both games. New signing Rufus Brevett replaced him after that for the remaining matches and Clive Wilson made the spot his own in 1991/92. Sansom moved to Coventry, the team he’d played last in QPR colours, and made 55 appearances for them over three seasons as the Premier League era dawned. There followed seven, eight and one-game stints at Everton, Brentford and Watford respectively before he retired into punditry. Sadly, addictions to alcohol and gambling, have made it a tragically unhappy retirement for one of the great English players of the 1980s.
Others >>> George Thomas, QPR 2020-present, Coventry 2014-2017 >>> Michael Petrasso, QPR 2013-2018, Coventry (loan) 2014 >>> Peter Ramage, Coventry 2016, QPR 2008-2012 >>> Leon Clarke, Coventry 2013-2014, QPR 2010-2011, (loan) 2006 >>> Jay Bothroyd, QPR 2011-2013, Coventry 2000-2003 >>> Gary Borrowdale, QPR 2009-2013, Coventry 2007-2009 >>> Martin Cranie, Coventry 2009-2012, QPR (loan) 2007 >>> Iain Dowie, QPR (manager) 2008, 1998-2001, Coventry (manager) 2007-2008 >>> Leon Best, Coventry 2007-2010, QPR (loan) 2004-2005 >>> Andy Impey, Coventry 2005-2006, QPR 1990-1997 >>> Peter Reid, Coventry (manager) 2004-2005, QPR 1989-1990 >>> Paul Furlong, QPR 2002-2007, (loan) 2000, Coventry 1991-1992 >>> Mark Hateley, QPR 1995-1997, Coventry 1978-1983 >>> Gerry Francis, QPR 1968-1979, 1981-1982, (manager) 1991-1994, (manager) 1998-2001, Coventry 1982-1983 >>> Gary Thompson QPR 1991-1993, Coventry 1977-1983 >>> Roy Wegerle, Coventry 1993-1995, QPR 1990-1992 >>> Gary Bannister, Coventry 1988-1990, 1978-1981, QPR 1984-1988 >>> Alan Brazil QPR 1986, Coventry 1986 >>> Dave Sexton, Coventry (manager) 1981-1983, QPR (manager) 1974-1977 >>> John Beck, Coventry 1976-1978, QPR 1972-1976 >>> John O’Rourke, Coventry 1971-1974, QPR 1969-1971
The Twitter/Instagram @loftforwords, @SideSammy
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