Opening day delight for Gerry's reformed Rangers - History
Monday, 22nd Nov 2021 14:26 by Clive Whittingham
With Huddersfield in town on Wednesday we look back to the opening day of the 99/00 season when unfancied QPR got the campaign off to a surprisingly good start against the big spending Terriers.
QPR 3 Huddersfield 1, Saturday August 7, 1999, First Division
Expectations were low at Loftus Road on the opening day of the 1999/00 season when Steve Bruce’s Huddersfield Town side came to W12.
Rangers had been relegated from the Premier League four years previously but chronic mismanagement of both the team by first Stewart Houston and then Ray Harford, and the club as a whole by chairman Chris Wright, had left the R’s cash-strapped and far more likely to drop down to the third tier than climb back to the first. In fact the only reason Rangers were starting out in the First Division that year at all was because of a series of unlikely results masterminded by new manager Gerry Francis at the end of the previous season culminating in a 6-0 home win against Crystal Palace on the final day which nudged Rangers over the line.
Francis found cut price solutions to his problems, bringing in Stewart Wardley and Jermaine Darlington from non-league Saffron Walden and Aylesbury respectively, and persuading Bradford to part with Swedish target man Rob Steiner who’d impressed during a loan spell the previous season. Francis said: “We were in a lot of trouble financially, so we had to go to non-league areas. We got all our scouts into the non-league looking at talent that might be available, then the senior scouts went and took a look and then I went and had a look myself. We ended up finding the likes of Jermaine Darlington, Stewart Wardley and Ross Weare from well below the Conference. All three ended up playing for the first team at some point.”
Huddersfield by contrast were aiming big. They’d spent £1m on Greek winger George Donis from Sheffield United and £750,000 on Bury centre back Chris Lucketti and Leeds striker Clyde Wijnhard. Kenny Irons cost £500,000 from Tranmere and by the end of September they’d brought in nine new faces, including Dean Gorre from Ajax, for just under £4m. They were one of the hot favourites for promotion to the Premier League.<
But Rangers, free from the morale sapping shackles of the previous season’s relegation battle, caught them cold on day one. Playing a three centre back system that utilised Jermaine Darlington’s ability well as a wingback the R’s stormed into a two goal half time lead. First Darlington collected a loose ball midway inside the Huddersfield half and jinked through two tackles before lashing in from long range. Then Ian Baraclough hung a deep cross up to the back post for Steiner to guide back across goal to Chris Kiwomya who could hardly miss from a yard out against his home town club.
Huddersfield were stung into action and they halved the deficit midway through the second half when Wijnhard wriggled free of Matthew Rose tight to the byline and fired into the roof of the net. But after a nervous ten minutes Rangers put the game to bed when Kiwomya tricked his way past his man wide on the left and crossed for Gavin Peacock to head in from close range. Peacock would go on to set a club record for scoring in the club’s first five matches of the season.
Francis’ men went on to enjoy a splendid season all things considered. They finished tenth having threatened a run to the play offs at one point. Huddersfield underachieved, finishing eighth and missing out on the end of season knock out.
Francis though was keen to sound a note of caution. He said: “You can’t keep doing it. You can’t keep finding players in non-league. Sooner or later you have to compete and buy players of proven quality.” And so it proved. A repeat in 2000/01 was beyond him, not helped by a career ending injury for Steiner, and Rangers were relegated.
QPR: L Miklosko, T Breacker, (K Gallen, 90), D Maddix (K Rowland, 90), M Rose, S Morrow, I Baraclough, R Langley, G Peacock , J Darlington (S Wardley, 87), R Steiner, C Kiwomya
Subs not used: L Harper, A Scully
Goals: Darlington 16, Kiwomya 38, Peacock 79
Bookings: Breaker, Peacock, Kiwomya
Huddersfield: N Vaesen, S Baker (J Dyson, 82), C Armstrong, C Lucketti , J Vincent (W Allison, 82), Y Donis, C Beech, K Irons, S Sellars (B Thornley, 64), M Stewart, C Wijnhard
Subs not used: B Horne, M Margetson
Goals: Wijnhard 65
Bookings: Baker, Vincent, Lucketti
Referee Mike Dean
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 Huddersfield home packages are embedded below, give him a subscribe on YouTube or follow @QPR_Memories on Twitter.
QPR 0 Huddersfield 1, Saturday March 13, 2021, Championship
QPR had won eight from 12 as they turned their 2020/21 season around in spectacular style after Christmas, while Huddersfield’s form was heading off the edge of a cliff with just one win from 13 games since the January arrival of Richard Keogh. Todd Kane missed a first half sitter and that proved crucial as Juninho Bacuna thumped home a first time shot from the edge of the area ten minutes into the second half.
QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 5, Dickie 5, Barbet 5; Kane 4 (Adomah 76, 5), Field 5 (Thomas 88, -), Johansen 5, Chair 5 (Dykes 76, 4), Wallace 5; Willock 6, Austin 4 (Bonne 88, -)
Subs not used: Lumley, De Wijs, Ball, Cameron, Hämäläinen
Bookings: Johansen 86 (foul)
Huddersfield: Schofield 6; Edmonds Green 6, Keogh 6, Sarr 6; Pipa 7, Bacuna 7, O’Brien 7, Hogg 7, Rowe 5 (Duhaney 52, 6); Campbell 5 (Sonogo 67, 6), Mbenza 6 (Holmes 52, 7)
Subs not used: Minguez, Stearman, Ward, Brown, Pereira, High
Goals: Bacuna 55 (assisted Pipa)
Huddersfield 2 QPR 0, Saturday December 5, 2020, Championship
QPR were about as bad as they’ve been all season when these sides met in West Yorkshire at the start of December. Josh Koroma was allowed to run most of the length of the field and curl a nicely taken opener in unchallenged after three minutes, and he got the assist for Toffolo’s close range second before half time, but in truth Huddersfield should have won by many more while QPR barely made it as far as their penalty area all afternoon.
Huddersfield: Hamer N/A, Pipa 7 (Bacuna 73, 7), Schindler 6 (Edmonds-Green 79, 6), Sarr 6, Toffolo 8; Eiting 8, Hogg 8, O’Brien 7; Mbenza 7 (Duhaney 87, -), Campbell 7 (Ward 73, 6), Koroma 8
Subs not used: Pritchard, Diakhaby, Brown, Schofield, Daly
Goals: Koroma 3 (unassisted), Toffolo 39 (assisted Koroma)
QPR: Dieng 7; Kane 4, Dickie 5, Barbet 4, Hämäläinen 5; Cameron 4 (Ball 56, 4), Carroll 5; Osayi-Samuel 4 (Kelman 82, -), Chair 4 (Adomah 82, -), Willock 5 (Thomas 56, 5); Dykes 4 (Bonne 46, 4)
Subs not used: Masterson, Bettache, Kelly, Kakay
Bookings: Ball 62 (foul), Osayi-Samuel 71 (foul)
Huddersfield 2 QPR 0, Saturday February 8, 2020, Championship
Despite another mesmeric performance from Ebere Eze, and Grant Hall’s first half header striking the inside of the Huddersfield post, QPR slipped to a 2-0 loss when these sides last met in West Yorkshire in February. First goal – header from a cross. Elias Kachunga heading in from close range after Ryan Toffolo had got to the byline and cut a chipped ball back. Second goal – penalty conceded by Lee Wallace, Mounie thrashing home from the spot after Kachunga was fouled.
Huddersfield: Lossl 6; Simpson 7, Stearman 6, Schindler 6, Toffolo 7; Hogg 6, O’Brien 6; Kachunga 8 (Willock 90, -), Smith Rowe 7, Bacuna 6 (King 74, 6); Mounie 7 (Campbell 72, 6)
Subs not used: Chalobah, Coleman, Pyke, Stankovic
Goals: Kachunga 57 (assisted Toffolo), Mounie 61 (penalty, won Kachunga)
QPR: Kelly 6; Kane 6, Masterson 6, Hall 5, Wallace 5; Ball 7, Amos 5 (Clarke 67, 5); Osayi-Samuel 5 (Oteh 87, -), Eze 7, Chair 6 (Pugh 67, 5); Hugill 5
Subs not used: Lumley, Manning, Rangel, Barbet
Bookings: Hugill 27 (foul), Amos 41 (foul), Ball 82 (foul)
QPR 1 Huddersfield 1, Saturday August 10, 2019, Championship
Grant Hall scored a late headed equaliser to win QPR a deserved point from the first meeting between these sides last season. Rangers played quite nicely against the newly relegated Terriers but conceded straight after half time when a typically rash Yoann Barbet tackle led to a penalty converted by Karlan Grant. That looked like it might be the winner until Hall headed home a Ryan Manning assist with two minutes of normal time remaining.
QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 6 (Kane 71, 7), Hall 7, Barbet 7, Manning 6; Cameron 7, Amos 5 (Wells 82, -); Eze 6, Scowen 5 (Chair 55, 7), Osayi-Samuel 6; Hugill 6
Subs not used: Pugh, Ball, Kelly, Leistner
Goals: Hall 82 (assisted Manning)
Yellow cards: Barbet 48 (foul, penalty concession), Osayi-Samuel 90+2 (foul)
Huddersfield: Grabara 6; Hadergjonaj 6, Elphick 6, Schindler 7, Kongolo 6; Bacuna 5 (Kachunga 45, 6), Hogg 6, O’Brien 6, Diakhaby 6 (Quaner 76, 5), Pritchard 6 (Stankovitch 90+5); Grant 7
Subs not used: Bockhorn, Koroma, Brown, Schofield
Goals: Grant 48 (penalty, won Kachunga)
Yellow cards: Diakhaby 2 (diving), Bacuna 43 (foul), O’Brien 69 (foul), Quaner 79 (foul), Grant 90+2 (foul)
QPR 1 Huddersfield 2, Saturday February 11, 2016, Championship
QPR started well, finished strongly, but ultimately proved no match for David Wagner’s swashbuckling promotion chasers when these two sides met at Loftus Road in February 2016. Conor Washington struck a post via fine save from Danny Ward, and Ryan Manning blazed a good chance wide as Ian Holloway’s team looked to take it to the Premier League-bound side early. But a quickfire double at the end of flowing moves by Izzy Brown and Nahki Wells gave the visitors a two goal half time lead. Luke Freeman pulled a goal back on the hour in emphatic fashion to set up a grand stand finish in which Ward saved brilliantly with his hands from Matt Smith and with his feet from Mass Luongo as he fired through a crowd of players late on.
QPR: Smithies 6; Wzsolek 6 (Ngbakoto 80, -), Perch 6, Onuoha 5, Bidwell 5 (Lua Lua 53, 6); Hall 6, Manning 6, Luongo 5; Mackie 5 (Freeman 53, 7), Smith 7, Washington 6
Subs not used: Goss, Ingram, Furlong, Sylla
Goals: Freeman 60 (unassisted)
Bookings: Manning 45+1 (foul), Hall 58 (foul), Luongo 85 (foul)
Huddersfield: Ward 8; Cranie 6 (Smith 80, -), Hefele 7, Schindler 6, Lowe 6; Mooy 7, Hogg 6 (Billing 20, 8); Kachunga 6, Brown 8, van la Parra 6 (Lolley 79, 6); Wells 7
Subs not used: Payne, Quaner, Stankovic, Coleman
Bookings: Brown 62 (dissent)
Huddersfield Town 2 QPR 1, Saturday September 17, 2016, Championship
Shell shocked QPR headed north to Huddersfield for the first meeting that season just days after being annihilated 6-0 on their own ground by Newcastle. With Town having lost only one of their first seven games they were strong favourites and, in truth, their victory was far more comfortable than a 2-1 scoreline suggests. Kasey Palmer and Ellias Kachunga headed goals for the home team either side of half time and although Tjaronn Chery set Idrissa Sylla up for a back post header to halve the deficit late on the Town win never looked under serious threat.
Huddersfield: Ward 6; Smith 7, Hudson 6, Schindler 6, Lowe 6; Mooy 8, Hogg 6; van La Parra 7, Palmer 8 (Whitehead 86, -), Kachunga 8 (Bunn 81, -); Wells 7 (Hefele 90+1, -)
Subs not used: Scannell, Coleman, Cranie, Payne
Goals: Palmer 14 (assisted van La Parra), Kachunga 62 (assisted Smith)
Bookings: Hogg 21 (unsporting), Hudson 44 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 4, Caulker 5, Hall 5, Bidwell 4; Henry 4 (Borysiuk 46, 6), Luongo 4; Cousins 5, Chery 5, Shodipo 5 (Sylla 73, 7); Washington 4 (Polter 46, 6)
Subs not used: Lynch, Ingram, Wszolek, El Khayati
Goals: Sylla 76 (assisted Chery)
Bookings: Chery 21 (unsporting), Polter 87 (repetitive fouling), Borysiuk 90+1 (foul), Sylla 90+3 (Unsporting)
QPR 1 Huddersfield 1, Monday December 28, 2015, Championship
These sides fought out a dire 1-1 draw at Loftus Road over Christmas 2015, as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink continued to struggle to make an impact after taking over at QPR. It looked like he might get his first win as Rangers manager when Seb Polter bundled in the opening goal amidst a scramble from a long throw ten minutes from time. Matt Phillips had earlier missed an absolute sitter when played clear through on Joe Murphy in the Huddersfield goal. But the visitors deserved a point and won it with four minutes to go as Nahki Wells was able to beat Robert Green with a free kick from somewhere over by White City tube station.
QPR: Green 6; Onuoha 6, Hall 6, Hill 6, Konchesky 6; Tozser 4, Sandro 4 (Polter 65, 7); Phillips 5 (Emmanuel Thomas 77, 5), Henry 5, Hoilett 6, Fer 4 (Chery 69, 6)
Subs not used: Faurlin, Luongo, Smithies, Angella
Goals: Polter 80 (assisted Emmanuel Thomas/Onuoha)
Huddersfield: Murphy 6; Smith 6, Hudson 6, Cranie 6, Davidson 6 (Chilwell 60, 6); Hogg 6, Huws 7, Bunn 6, Carayol 5 (Lolley 60, 7); Paterson 5 (Scannell 73, 6), Wells 7
Subs not used: Allinson, Lynch, Billing, Bojaj
Goals: Wells 86 (free kick won Lolley)
Yellow Cards: Hudson 79 (foul), Huws 89 (foul)
Huddersfield 0 QPR 1, Saturday August 29, 2015, Championship
QPR ground out a 1-0 win from a scrappy game when these sides met for the first time that season on August Bank Holiday weekend. Twice in the first half low crosses from Matt Phillips almost forced own goals from Huddersfield players, the in the second he drew a save from home keeper Brian Murphy, but the game looked to be drifting off to a 0-0 draw. That was until Tjaronn Chery slid onto a low cross at the back post and converted the only goal of the game from close range with eight minutes left.
Huddersfield: Murphy 6; Smith 5, Hudson 6 (Cranie 45, 6), Davison 6, Lynch 7; Whitehead 7, Butterfield 8, Hogg 6, Scannell 7(Lolley 72, 5); Miller 6, Wells 5 (Carayol 80, 6)
Bookings: Hogg 62 (foul)
QPR: Green 6, Perch 5, Onouha 8, Hall 7, Konschesky 7, Doughty 6, Faurlin 6, Phillips 7, Chery 6, Luongo 6, Austin 6
Subs not used: Emmanuel-Thomas, Hoilett, Smithies, Blackwood, Furlong, Comley, Kpekawa
Goals: Chery 84 (assist Luongo)
Bookings: Konchesky 63 (foul), Perch 90 (foul), Phillips 92 (ungentlemanly conduct)
QPR 2 Huddersfield 1, Saturday January 18, 2014, Championship
QPR overcame a sluggish start to record a narrow 2-1 victory against Huddersfield at Loftus Road in January of the 2013/14 promotion season. Ward twice went through on Rob Green and Oliver Norwood had a free kick well saved by the keeper inside the first 12 minutes but with the scoreline still deadlocked, Charlie Austin made the Terriers pay for their profligacy. The striker finished powerfully from just inside the area after half time and then, after Nahki Wells had headed Town level from Adam Hammill’s cross, headed home a late corner from close range to seal the win.
QPR: Green 7; Simpson 7, Dunne 6, Hill 6, Assou-Ekotto 7; Kranjcar 6, Carroll 5, Henry 6, O’Neil 5 (Phillips 45, 7); Johnson 6 (Traore 81, 7), Austin 7
Subs not used: Wright-Phillips, Onuoha, Diakite, Zamora, Murphy
Goals: Austin 55 (assisted Johnson), 79 (assisted Assou-Ekotto)
Bookings: Johnson 43 (foul), Hill 45+2 (foul), Carroll 86 (foul)
Huddersfield: Smithies 6; Wallace 6, Gerrard 6, Smith 6; Dixon 6, Hogg 7, Clayton 7, Norwood 6 (Scannell 67, 7), Hammill 7 (Gobern 78, 6); Ward 5 (Vaughan 51, 6) Wells 7
Subs not used: Woods, Bennett, Lolley, Holmes
Goals: Wells 68 (assisted Hammill)
Huddersfield 1 QPR 1, Saturday August 10, 2013, Championship
QPR flexed their Premier League quality, without ever really threatening to cut loose, in the first away game of that league season at Huddersfield in August. The home team took the lead ten minutes before half time when James Vaughan aggressively attacked a fine Oliver Norwood cross and powered home, but Junior Hoilett bundled in an equaliser almost immediately. In the second half Rangers had much the better of it but goalkeeper Alex Smithies was in fine form, denying Shaun Wright-Phillips with a decent save, and Charlie Austin hit the bar with a close range header. In the end both sides were happy with their shared points.
Huddersfield: Smithies 8, Clarke 6, Lynch 6, Gerrard 6, Norwood 6, Carroll 6 (Hunt 63, 6), Hammill 5 (Ward 72, 6), Gobern 6 (Scannell 82, -), Clayton 7, Vaughan 7, Paterson 6
Subs not used: Bennett, Wallace, Crooks Stead
Goals: Vaughan 35 (assisted Norwood)
Bookings: Lynch 73 (foul)
QPR: Green 6, Simpson 6, Hill 6, Onuoha 7, Suk-Young 6, Barton 7, Granero 5 (Wright-Phillips 70, 6), Henry 5 (Jenas 84, -), Hoilett 7, Johnson 6, Austin 7
Subs not used: Murphy, Dunne, Ehmer, O’Neil, Zamora
Goals: Hoilett 38 (assisted Suk-Young)
Bookings: Granero 15 (foul)
Huddersfield 0 QPR 3, Tuesday March 4, 2003, Second Division
The last time these sides met prior to that the 2002/03 season when QPR were destined for play-off final heartbreak against Cardiff, while the Terriers were fighting an ultimately fruitless battle against relegation to the fourth tier. That gulf in class showed in both meetings, particularly in the midweek game in West Yorkshire in March. Rangers had endured a torrid autumn featuring the infamous defeat by Vauxhall Motors in the FA Cup, but had come out fighting over the winter with seven wins from ten matches catapulting them into the play off reckoning. That resurgence had been led from the front by the much maligned Paul Furlong and although a draw at home to Mansfield and heavy defeat to Sam Parkin-inspired Swindon had stalled progress in the lead up to this game, it took the former Chelsea man just five minutes to stride through on goal and emphatically open the scoring. Danny Shittu doubled that lead before half time with a typically powerful header from a corner. The victory was sealed in injury time when Furlong added a third in front of the hardy travelling fans behind the goal.
Huddersfield: P Senior, K Sharp (G Labarthe Tome, 73), T Heary, N Brown, A Moses, M Smith, K Irons (J Worthington, 56), D Mattis, S Baldry, A Booth, J Stead (J Thorrington, 56)
Subs not used: P Scott, A Jeffery
Bookings: Stead, Sharp
QPR: C Day, T Forbes, C Carlisle , D Shittu, G Padula , M Bircham , R Langley , S Palmer, L Cook (T Williams, 75), P Furlong , K Gallen
Subs not used: B Angell, D Oli, M Bean, L Griffiths
Goals: Furlong 5, 90, Shittu 38
Bookings: Carlisle, Bircham, Langley, Furlong
QPR 3 Huddersfield 0, Tuesday September 17, 2002, Second Division
The horrors of Vauxhall Motors and similarly disastrous defeats to Notts County, Cardiff and a draw with nine man Luton were all still to come when the teams met for the first time that season. At that stage it looked as though Ian Holloway’s men were a very good bet for promotion with four wins and two draws from their first nine matches. That was soon extended to eight wins and two draws from 12 as an emphatic home success against Huddersfield – with first Danny Shittu and later Clarke Carlisle exposing their weakness from set pieces – sparked a run of five wins from six games. Perennial QPR loanee Tommy Williams scored the second goal from open play between the two set piece strikes although he would finish the season best known for failing to pass the ball in a gilt edged chance in the play-off final, instead taking on a shot and missing before Cardiff won the game with a late strike.
QPR: S Royce, T Forbes, D Shittu, C Carlisle, T Williams, M Rose (D Murphy, 89), R Langley, S Palmer, K Connolly, K Gallen, D Oli (R Pacquette, 83)
Subs not used: F Digby, Doudou, A Thomson
Goals: Shittu 4, Williams 32, Carlisle 74
Huddersfield: S Bevan, S Jenkins, N Brown, E Youds (A Booth, 18), K Sharp, D Mattis, K Irons, C Holland, J Thorrington (S McDonald, 79), K Gallacher (J Worthington, 79), D Schofield
Subs not used: P Senior, S Baldry
Previous ResultsHead to Head >>> QPR wins 13 >>> Draws 9 >>> Huddersfield wins 15
2020/21 QPR 0 Huddersfield 1
2020/21 Huddersfield 2 QPR 0
2019/20 Huddersfield 2 QPR 0
2019/20 QPR 1 Huddersfield 1 (Hall)
2016/17 QPR 1 Huddersfield 2 (Freeman)
2016/17 Huddersfield 2 QPR 1 (Sylla)
2015/16 QPR 1 Huddersfield 1 (Polter)
2015/16 Huddersfield 0 QPR 1 (Chery)
2013/14 QPR 2 Huddersfield 1 (Austin 2)
2013/14 Huddersfield 1 QPR 1 (Hoilett)
2002/03 Huddersfield 0 QPR 3 (Furlong 2, Shittu)
2002/03 QPR 3 Huddersfield 0 (Shittu, Williams, Carlisle)
2001/02 Huddersfield 1 QPR 0
2001/02 QPR 3 Huddersfield 2 (Thomson, Rose, Palmer)
2000/01 Huddersfield 2 QPR 1 (Thomson)
2000/01 QPR 1 Huddersfield 1 (Connolly)
1999/00 Huddersfield 1 QPR 0
1999/00 QPR 3 Huddersfield 1 (Darlington, Kiwomya, Peacock)
1998/99 QPR 1 Huddersfield 1 (Baraclough)
1998/99 QPR 0 Huddersfield 1*
1998/99 Huddersfield 2 QPR 0
1997/98 Huddersfield 1 QPR 1 (Jones)
1997/98 QPR 2 Huddersfield 1 (Quashie 2)
1996/97 QPR 2 Huddersfield 0 (McDermott, Spencer)
1996/97 Huddersfield 1 QPR 2* (Peacock, McDonald)
1996/97 QPR 1 Huddersfield 1* (Hateley)
1996/97 Huddersfield 1 QPR 2 (Dichio, Brazier)
1983/84 Huddersfield 2 QPR 1* (Gregory)
1972/73 Huddersfield 2 QPR 2 (Francis, Leach)
1972/73 QPR 3 Huddersfield 1 (Givens 2, Thomas)
1969/70 Huddersfield 2 QPR 0
1969/70 QPR 4 Huddersfield 2 (Marsh, I Morgan, Bridges, Venables (pen))
1967/68 QPR 3 Huddersfield 0 (Marsh 2, Legg og)
1967/68 Huddersfield 1 QPR 0
1948/49 Huddersfield 5 QPR 0*
1948/49 QPR 0 Huddersfield 0*
1931/32 Huddersfield 5 QPR 0*
* - FA Cup
ConnectionsKevin Gallen >>> QPR 1994-2000 >>> Huddersfield 2000-2001 >>> QPR 2001-2007
Kevin Gallen’s time away from QPR between 2000 and 2001 was brief and unhappy, but it included one of the most memorable moments at Loftus Road in recent times.
Gallen’s time at Loftus Road had rather petered out, with manager Gerry Francis preferring Rob Steiner and Chris Kiwomya in attack. Gallen wanted first team football, and Rangers wanted to cut costs so although he signed off with a goal in a 3-1 win at Portsmouth on the final day of the 1999/00 season it did prove to be the last of his first spell with the club. A shame not only because of his connection with the club, but also because Steiner subsequently suffered a career ending injury.
By the time he came back to Loftus Road for the first time his former team were struggling badly. The plot line was fairly predictable, and sure enough Gallen took just eight minutes to hook home a spectacular opening goal. But there was a twist still to come. Rangers equalised through Karl Connolly before half time but should have lost the game when the visitors were awarded a penalty at the Loft End in the second half. Gallen, who had missed his previous penalty at that end of the ground in a Premier League game with Leeds, stepped up determined to hammer another nail in the coffin of his former club. Veteran Czech goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko plunged low to his left and saved it.
Gallen had been one of the most exciting youth prospects at QPR in years in the early 1990s. He’d broken scoring records in the South East Counties youth leagues that had stood since Jimmy Greaves’ day and helped the Rangers juniors to league and cup success. When he finally did make it into the first team, on the opening day of the 1994/95 season at Old Trafford, it was probably overdue. The 18-year-old scored that day, but a linesman’s flag meant he had to wait for the opening home game of the season to open his account – a seventy ninth minute winner against Sheffield Wednesday at the Loft End was a fitting way to start.
Gallen struck up a formidable partnership with Les Ferdinand that season but struggled somewhat the following year when Sir Les moved to Newcastle for £6m without adequate replacement. Ray Wilkins entrusted his old pal Mark Hateley with filling Ferdinand’s boots but he was a long way past his best by this stage and even turned up on the pitch for his unveiling prior to a home match with Spurs on crutches. Gallen finished the season with eight, but didn’t score at all until December 23 when he headed home a winner at home to Aston Villa. He and former youth team strike partner Danny Dichio battled valiantly to make it work, but their youth and inexperience caught up with them and QPR were relegated.
Gallen, who had been linked with Man Utd, was tipped to be a star at the lower level and when he scored in an opening day win at home to Oxford and followed it up with an early goal in a Friday night televised game at Portsmouth there didn’t look to be any stopping him. Sadly, in the act of scoring a late winner, he ruptured his cruciate knee ligaments and didn’t play again until the opening day of the following season. Gallen adapted his game post-injury from out and out goalscorer to hold up and lay man. He scored just four times in 31 appearances in 1997/98 as QPR, under first Stewart Houston and then Ray Harford, struggled badly. He scored eight goals the following year when the R’s needed a 6-0 win against Palace on the last day to survive but by then Gerry Francis, who had given Gallen his debut, had returned to the club and didn’t seem to rate his former protégé as highly any more.
Gallen went to Huddersfield under Steve Bruce, and scored ten goals in 2000/01 including the one against QPR. Bruce though was sacked and Gallen wasn’t offered a deal at the end of the season. He trained with QPR, now a Division Two side managed by Ian Holloway, that summer but when no deal was forthcoming accepted a two-year contract at Barnsley. He scored twice in his first five appearances for Tykes but then found, again, that the manager who brought him in, Nigel Spackman, left the club changing Gallen’s situation.
In an interview with Indy R’s Gallen recalled the situation.
He said: “I don’t think I was treated that badly. At the end of the 99/00 season, if I wasn’t playing that was the manager’s decision obviously. Gerry had his way of playing, I’ve got the utmost respect for Gerry, I love Gerry, I think he’s the greatest QPR player ever. I’ve got no problem with Gerry thinking that Chris Kiwomya, Sammy Koejoe and Rob Steiner were ahead of me, that’s no problem, but at the time I thought that I needed to get away. They were ahead of me in the pecking order but that was the manager’s decision. That’s why I left because I knew that I wasn’t going to play. We never fell out over that but that was the situation, I didn’t think that I was ever going to play. He didn’t say that I was in contention but he wanted me to stay as well. If I hadn’t left at that time, I probably wouldn’t have come back. I would have left the following year and that would have been the end because what happened with the administration situation, everything might of happened differently.
“I went up to Huddersfield under Steve Bruce who I thought was a good manager. I was only under him for three or four months and then he got sacked. I met some new people, a different way of life from London. I enjoyed my time but a year was enough really. I would like to clear up another thing, when during the following year when Ian Holloway was in charge, I went back training with QPR and I read somewhere along the lines of that they offered me a contract, which they didn’t. I went to Barnsley, no contract was offered to me at QPR that summer. The first contract I was offered was from Barnsley and Nigel Spackman was the manager. It was a decent contract, so I took it. QPR didn’t offer me a contract until I came back in November that year.”
Gallen’s return to W12 came at a difficult time for Rangers who’d been decimated by relegation and administration and recently beaten 4-0 in the cup by Third Division Swansea. Gallen signed straight after the game, made his debut that Tuesday and scored in a 4-0 win against Swindon in Shepherd’s Bush.
Gallen scored 14 goals the following year, 2002/03, as QPR made the Second Division play-off final but lost to Cardiff. Despite the defeat, his partnership with veteran Paul Furlong offered great promise. He scored 17, his best haul in a single season, in 2003/04 while Furlong managed 16. The pair both scored on the final day of the season in a memorable 3-1 win at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday to seal promotion.
At the higher level Holloway often used Gallen in the middle of midfield and he was a key part of the team that went on a seven match winning run shortly after promotion that threatened to take Rangers all the way into the Premier League. He scored in three of those games – 3-2 wins against Plymouth and Brighton and a 1-0 win at Stoke City. Along with fellow boyhood QPR fan Marc Bircham he became the heart and soul of a lively, spirited dressing room that played a big part in QPR being able to compete in the Championship despite being strapped for cash.
When Holloway left, and the money really started to become an issue, Gallen once again fell out of favour. He struggled with hamstring injuries and was ignored by the manager at the time John Gregory. He told Indy R’s: “I have to say that the way I was treated by John Gregory at the end of my QPR career still makes me a little angry really. The way I was pretty much banished, it wasn’t a nice time. I was glad to be out of that situation. I never got the chance to say goodbye, that’s a bit sad. Those weeks leading up to that – it was a case of, ‘I’ve got to get out of here’, it was difficult, speaking to my parents, my mum crying, we were really sad about it.”
Holloway had him again, on loan at Plymouth this time, but he didn’t want to uproot his family and so spells with MK Dons, where he won League Two and the JP Trophy, and Luton Town followed as well as a brief loan with Barnet. He scored his first ever professional hat trick in April 2010 for Luton against Grays in a 6-0 win.
Now retired, Gallen has turned out in non-league for Braintree, Leverstock and Aylesbury and is a regular at Loftus Road, and on the Open All R’s QPR podcast. He has scouted for MK Dons and more recently Crystal Palace. A QPR man through and through, and great servant to the club, one Huddersfield goal notwithstanding.
Others >>> Chris Willock, QPR 2020-present, Huddersfield (loan) 2020 >>> Nahki Wells, QPR (loan) 2018-2020, Huddersfield 2014-2017 >>> Alex Smithies QPR 2015-2018, Huddersfield 2007-2015 >>> Neil Warnock, Huddersfield (manager) 1993-1995, QPR (manager) 2010-2012 >>> Damien Delaney, Huddersfield (loan) 2002, QPR 2008-2009 >>> Fraser Digby, Huddersfield 2000, QPR 2000-2001 >>> Leon Knight, QPR (loan) 2001, Huddersfield (loan) 2001-2002 >>> Michel Ngonge Huddersfield (loan) 2000, QPR 2000-20001 >>> Steve Yates, QPR 1993-1999, Huddersfield 2003-2005 >>> Peter Eastoe, QPR 1976-1979, Huddersfield (loan) 1983 >>> Ted Goodier, Huddersfield 1922-1923, QPR 1931-1935
Pictures – Action Images
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