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League Cup triumph anniversary - History
Tuesday, 5th Mar 2024 16:00 by Clive Whittingham

Having done the 1982 FA Cup semi-final for the away game at West Brom, we're going back further for the home game and looking back at QPR's only major trophy success which happened in this week in 1967.

Memorable Match

QPR 3 West Brom 2, Saturday March 4, 1967, League Cup Final, Wembley

The 1960s and 1970s were glorious times to be a QPR fan by and large as the club moved from its previous status as Division Three South minnows into the big time and almost finished up as champions of England. There were ups and downs along the way of course but the club we know today was shaped during those two decades under the guidance of chairman Jim Gregory.

It was Gregory’s takeover of the club and the management of former army major Alec Stock that brought the R’s their one and only domestic cup triumph to date and two successive promotions. Stock had cup pedigree having famously knocked Sunderland out of the 1949 FA Cup while with Yeovil and his good work with the youth team at Loftus Road paid dividends when Gregory arrived and supplemented it with money for bigger name signings such as Les Allen from the double winning Spurs team, and Fulham pair Jim Langley and Rodney Marsh.

In 1967 QPR were still a Third Division side but they made it all the way through to the first League Cup final to be played at Wembley Stadium thanks to victories over Colchester, Aldershot, Swansea, Leicester, Carlisle and finally Birmingham in the semi final. This was a truly exceptional QPR team that not only boasted Allen, Langley and Marsh, who scored ten goals in the eight games leading up to the final, but also included great QPR favourites like Mark Lazarus, Roger and Ian Morgan, Mike Keen and Frank Sibley.

In the final however they came up against their toughest test yet, First Division West Bromwich Albion and their legendary striker Jeff Astle in front of 98,000 fans. By half time the game had gone much according to the script with the Baggies two goals to the good thanks to a brace from Clive Clark who’d played previously for QPR and would return to Loftus Road later in his career. Clark scored after seven minutes, collecting Doug Fraser’s pass and firing past Peter Springett, and then again before half time after sneaking through the Rangers’ offside trap.

But miraculously Rangers fought back in the second half. The warning signs had been there in the first half when Marsh had an acrobatic overhead kick disallowed for offside and West Brom were living on their nerves when Roger Morgan scored with a header on the hour from Allen’s free kick. Then Marsh scored one of the all time great Wembley goals from long range after a mazy dribble through the West Brom half with 15 minutes still left to play. The Baggies felt aggrieved that the crucial third goal was allowed by referee Walter Crossley, Mark Lazarus slamming the ball home after centre half Ron Hunt put in a physical challenge on the goalkeeper Shepherd, but there was no stopping Rangers by this point and the cup was theirs.

Interest in the competition had been dwindling prior to this, and a place in the Fairs Cup (later the UEFA Cup) was added as a prize to give teams and incentive to compete more for the trophy. QPR though were denied their first European entry because of their lowly league status and West Brom went forward into Europe instead. The League Cup was only just the beginning though — Rangers won the Third Division title that year and rocketed straight through the Second Division into the first the following season.

Roger Morgan later told The Times: "The young players would inspire each other. There were about five or six of us who had grown up together, and there was tremendous team spirit. Alec was prepared to put his faith in youth, but we learnt from the experienced players around us."

The late Mike Keen, club captain on the day, added: "Even though we were in the Third Division, we were playing some quality football, and there was a good attitude in the team. We had come back from 2-0 down in other games that season and were told to simply go out and enjoy the. Day.”

QPR: Springett, Hazell, Langley, Hunt, Keen, Sibley, Sanderson, R Morgan, Lazarus, Allen, Marsh.

Classic Encounters

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 West Brom packages are embedded below, give him a subscribe on YouTube or follow @QPR_Memories on Twitter.

Recent Meetings

West Brom 2 QPR 0, Tuesday October 24, 2023, Championship

The Gareth Ainsworth reign at QPR drained away into a sad end with an insipid midweek performance at The Hawthorns. QPR showed almost no ambition at all throughout the game, either to score a goal or either have the ball. West Brom, well below par, won easily after Jimmy Dunne got himself sent off for entering the field of play without permission and then trying to scuff up the penalty spot before Thomas-Asante converted the opening goal. Grady Diangana sealed things with a second soon after.

West Brom: Palmer N/A; Kipre 7 (Taylor 86, -), Bartley 6, Pieters 5 (Gordon 86, -); Furlong 6, Chalobah 6 (Molumby 75, 6), Yokuslu 6 (Mowatt 54, 7), Phillips 7 (Fellows 75, 6); Wallace 5, Diangana 8; Thomas-Asante 7

Subs not used: Griffiths, Higgins, Love, Shaw

Goals: Thomas-Asante 59 (penalty, won Diangana), Diangana 68 (assisted Thomas-Asante)

Bookings: Thomas-Asante 66 (foul)

QPR: Begovic 5; Kakay 3, Dunne 2, Clarke-Salter 4 (Smyth 45, 4); Cannon 6, Colback 5, Dozzell 4 (Armstrong 71, 4), Field 4, Paal 4; Chair 4 (Willock 81, -), Dykes 4

Subs not used: Archer, Dixon-Bonner, Larkeche, Kelman, Duke-McKenna, Merryfield

Red Cards: Dunne 58 (two yellows)

Bookings: Colback 30 (foul), Chair 40 (foul), Dunne 57 (re-entering field of play illegally), Begovic 58 (dissent), Dunne 58 (dissent)

West Brom 2 QPR 2, Monday April 10, 2023, Championship

QPR staged quite the resurrection at The Hawthorns on Easter Monday. Rapidly descending the table towards relegation after topping the table in October, the R’s quickly went 2-0 down through the by now usual collection of appalling defending and goalkeeper errors – Thomas-Asante and Ajayi both able to score into open goals from close range. But for the first time under Gareth Ainsworth, Rangerrs managed to rally to take a point from a losing position. Lyndon Dykes’ flying header from Ilias Chair’s cross was the sort of goal proper football teams score, and Dykes’ tireless hard work on the close down after half time allowed Chris Martin a chance to block Griffiths’ clearance and send the ball spinning into the empty net from 40 yards out. Andre Dozzell and Taylor Richards both came within inches of winning the game in the final few minutes.

West Brom: Griffiths 4; Furlong 6, Ajayi 5, Pieters 4, Townsend 5; Chalobah 4 (Molumby 76, 5), Gardner-Hickman 4 (Rogic 61, 5); Wallace 5, Albrighton 5 (Grant 62, 5), Swift 5; Thomas-Asante 7 (Dike 76, 6)

Subs not used: Palmer, Ingram, Andrews

Goals: Thomas-Asante 10 (assisted Swift), Ajayi 13 (unassisted)

QPR: Dieng 4; Dunne 5, Dickie 5, Balogun 5, Paal 5; Adomah 5 (Lowe 71, 6), Amos 6 (Dozzell 82, -), Field 7, Chair 6 (Richards 83, -); Dykes 7, Martin 6

Subs not used: Johansen, Willock, Archer, Laird

Goals: Dykes 22 (assisted Chair), Martin 49 (unassisted)

Bookings: Lowe 81 (foul)

QPR 0 West Brom 1, Saturday November 5, 2022, Championship

QPR’s 2022/23 decline really started in earnest as October turned to November. Faced with three fixtures against clubs in the bottom four in the week before the World Cup break, instead cementing their position in the play-offs they contrived to lose to all three of Huddersfield, West Brom and Coventry. The Baggies were second bottom with two wins from 14 when they came to Loftus Road but they were good value for a 1-0 win supplied by Kyle Bartley’s headed second half goal.

QPR: Dieng 6; Laird 6 (Armstrong 90, -), Dickie 4, Balogun 5, Paal 6; Field 6, Iroegbunam 6 (Adomah 84, -), Amos 5 (Dozzell 61, 5); Chair 5, Dykes 6, Willock 5

Subs not used: Dunne, Archer, Thomas, Shodipo

Bookings: Field 68 (foul)

WBA: Palmer 6; Furlong 7, Bartley 8, O’Shea 7, Pieters 5 (Townsend 84, -); Yokuslu 7 (Livermore 90, -), Molumby 7; Wallace 7 (Gardner-Hickman 90, -), Swift 7, Diangana 6 (Thomas-Asante 64, 7); Phillips 6 (Reach 84, -)

Subs not used: Button, Rogic

Goals: Bartley 68 (assisted Swift)

Bookings: Pieters 16 (foul), Molumby 90+1 (time wasting)

QPR 1 West Brom 0, Saturday January 15, 2022, Championship

Charlie Austin’s headed winner from an offside position at the Loft End eight minutes from time settled a pulsating match in W12 in January 2022. David Button had made several saves from long range before his team got into the game and came on strong late — David Marshall lucky to get away with one cross that deflected past him and skirted along the goal line, and there was a huge penalty appeal still to come. When sub Daryl Dike smashed Yoann Barbet into the advertising hoardings and split his head opened it ratcheted the atmosphere and mood up another few notches which set the scene for Austin’s late winner.

QPR: Marshall 6; Adomah 7, Dickie 6, Dunne 8, Barbet 9, Wallace 7; Johansen 7, Field 7, Willock 7 (Ball 90+3, -); Dykes 6, Gray 6 (Austin 54, 7)

Subs not used: Amos, Thomas, Dozzell, Odubajo, Walsh

Goals: Austin 89 (assisted Willock)

Bookings: Dickie 9 (foul), Field 70 (foul)

West Brom: Button 6; Gardner-Hickman 6, Furlong 6, Clarke 7, Townsend 6, Reach 5; Livermore 6, Molumby 6; Robinson 6, Phillips 6 (Dike 59, 7), Grant 6

Subs not used: Diangana, De Castro, Taylor, Ashworth, Palmer, Fellows

Bookings: Molumby 90+7 (handball)

West Brom 2 QPR 1, Friday September 24, 2022, Championship

QPR took the lead almost immediately in the first meeting, Andre Gray making the most of a busted offside trap and indecision from Sam Johnstone to slide into the empty net. A rather ropey backs-to-the-wall effort then manifested itself and took hold until 15 minutes from time when Seny Dieng’s poor mistake at his near post allowed Karlan Grant’s weak shot to squirm through him for an equaliser. Tails up, West Brom put together their first real move of the game with two minutes to go and Grant swept home a late winner.

West Brom: Johnstone 5; Furlong 6, Ajayi 6, Bartley 7, Townsend 6, Reach 6; Livermore 6, Mowatt 6; Diangana 6 (Hugill 55, 5), Phillips 5 (Robinson 54, 7), Grant 7 (Bryan 90, -)

Subs not used: Molumby, Kipre, Snodgrass, Button

Goals: Grant 75 (assisted Robinson), 88 (assisted Robinson)

Bookings: Hugill 90+3 (time wasting)

QPR: Dieng 4; Odubajo 5, Dickie 6, De Wijs 6 (Kakay 77, 5), Dunne 6, Barbet 6; Ball 6, Johansen 5 (Dozzell 77, 5), Chair 5; Gray 5, Willock 5 (Dykes 66, 6)

Subs not used: Austin, Thomas, Walsh, Adomah

Goals: Gray 1 (assisted Odubajo)

Bookings: Kakay 86 (foul)

West Brom 2 QPR 2, Wednesday July 22, 2020, Championship

Deep into the first lockdown, QPR played their final game of the elongated 2019/20 season at West Brom in the middle of July. With West Brom fighting it out with Brentford for the final automatic promotion spot, and Rangers nothing to play for, it was one of those unusual occasions when even the QPR fans weren’t sure if they really wanted us to win or not. That attitude is alien to Mark Warburton though, he picked a strong team, including Ebere Eze an injury to whom could have jeopardised a club transforming £20m move to Palace that close season. Eze responded with one of the goals of the season to seal a 2-2 draw. Ryan Manning had earlier given Rangers the lead from distance before goals either side of half time by Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson turned it around.

West Brom: Johnstone 6; Furlong 6 (Townsend 81, -), Ajayi 6, Bartley 6, O’Shea 5; Livermore 6 (Phillips 90, -), Sawyers 7 (Brunt 71, 6); Pereira 6 (Grosicki 81, -), Diangana 7 (Austin 71, 6), Krovinovic 7; Robinson 7

Subs not used: Harper, Bond, Hegazi, Robson Kanu

Goals: Diangana 44 (assisted Robinson), Robinson 49 (assisted Diangana)

QPR: Lumley 6; Kakay 5 (Shodipo 81, -), Masterson 6, Barbet 5, Manning 6 (Gubbins 90+4, -); Cameron 6 (Ramkilde 57, 6), Ball 6, Amos 6; Osayi-Samuel 7 (Kane 79, -), Chair 7, Eze 7

Subs not used: Oteh, Bettache, Kelly, Clarke

Goals: Manning 34 (unassisted), Eze 61 (assisted Barbet)

QPR 0 West Brom 2, Saturday September 28, 2019, Championship

QPR had won four league games in a row through late August and early September to shrug off a summer of pessimism and set some early pace in the Championship. That optimism was tempered by a televised reality check from an excellent West Brom team at the end of the month. Rangers struggled to threaten their visitors and fell behind straight after half time when Joe Lumley allowed a routine shot from the outstanding Nathan Ferguson to squeeze underneath him and into the net. Lumley redeemed himself somewhat with a string of second half saves but when Yoann Barbet was red carded for bringing down Robson-Kanu when clear through on goal Pereira stuck the resulting free kick under the wall and into the bottom corner.

QPR: Lumley 5; Cameron 5, Leistner 7, Barbet 6; Kane 5, Manning 6; Eze 5 (Osayi-Samuel 70, 5), Ball 6 (Smith 85, -), Chair 6; Hugill 5, Wells 5 (Pugh 77, 5)

Subs not used: Wallace, Scowen, Masterson, Kelly

Red Cards: Barbet 83 (denying clear goalscoring opportunity)

Bookings: Cameron 22 (foul), Barbet 34 (foul)

West Brom: Johnstone 6; Furlong 7, Ajayi 7, Bartley 7, Ferguson 8; Livermore 7, Sawyers 7; Phillips 7 (Edwards 71, 6), Pereira 8 (Krovinovic 87, -), Diangana 8; Austin 6 (Robson-Kanu 61, 6)

Subs not used: Gibbs, Zohore, Bond, O’Shea

Goals: Ferguson 53 (unassisted), Pereira 84 (direct free kick, won Robson-Kanu)

Bookings: Furlong 16 (foul), Robson-Kanu 89 (kicking ball away)

QPR 2 West Brom 3, Tuesday February 19, 2019, Championship

Rangers were just starting to get into a serious freefall when these sides met in a midweek encounter at Loftus Road back in February 2019. This would be an eighth league game without a win, and fourth straight defeat in all comps, for the R’s as a combination of injuries, fixture congestion, rotten refereeing and an unusual run of games against the top six teams in the division all took a toll. West Brom had beaten them 7-1 in the first meeting and looked capable of repeating the feat when Montero scored with consummate ease after just four minutes but talismanic man of the match Luke Freeman banged in an equaliser before half time. The fortnightly horror show from Joel Lynch let Murphy in for a second for the Baggies, but Tomer Hemed impressed off the bench for the R’s — winning and scoring a controversial penalty for a second equaliser. Bright Osayi-Samuel immediately burst through and came within a fine Sam Johnstone save of giving Rangers the lead for the first time and with the visitors now looking rather unsure of themselves captain Jake Livermore launched into a tackle on Ebere Eze that was a red card challenge every day of the week. Referee John Brooks bottled a yellow, and when Freeman then pulled up with a hip injury and had to leave the field with all the subs made it was in fact QPR who finished the game with ten. Just to really put the tin hat on everything, Livermore won the game with the last kick of injury time.

QPR: Lumley 6; Furlong 5, Leistner 6, Lynch 4; Wszolek 6 (Osayi-Samuel 71, 7), Bidwell 5; Cousins 6, Luongo 7, Freeman 8; Smith 5 (Eze 46, 7), Wells 5 (Hemed 71, 7)

Subs not used: Ingram, Scowen, Manning, Kakay

Goals: Freeman 35 (assisted Wells), Hemed 75 (penalty, won Hemed)

West Brom: Johnstone 6; Holgate 7, Hegazi 8, Dawson 6, Gibbs 7; Livermore 7, Johansen 6 (Barry 65, 6); Montero 7 (Harper 57, 6), Field 6 (Phillips 81, -), Murphy 8; Rodriguez 7

Subs not used: Bartley, Edwards, Bond, Adarabioyo

Goals: Montero 4 (assisted Murphy), Murphy 61 (assisted Lynch), Livermore 90+3 (assisted Holgate)

Bookings: Livermore 74 (foul)

West Brom 7 QPR 1, Saturday August 18, 2018, Championship

QPR suffered a cataclysmic collapse, and their worst defeat since 1986, when these sides met at The Hawthorns back in August 2018/19. Remarkably, it was 1-1 at half time, with Joel Lynch’s close-range effort cancelling out an opener from Rangers old boy Matt Phillips. But a succession of defensive implosions in the second half saw the Baggies run riot with goals from Gibbs, Rodriguez (twice), Gayle, Phillips again and Robson-Kanu.

West Brom: Johnston 6; Adarabioyo 6, Bartley 5, Hegazi 6, Gibbs 7; Livermore 7, Brunt 7 (Barry 73, 6); Phillips 8, Barnes 8 (Morrison 86, -), Rodriguez 8; Gayle 8 (Robson Kanu 83, -)

Subs not used: Myhill, Townsend, Burke, Field

Goals: Phillips 28 (assisted Barnes/Gayle), Gibbs 53 (assisted Barnes), Rodriquez 55 (penalty, won Gayle), 82 (penalty, won Rodriguez), Gayle 67 (assisted Gibbs), Phillips 88 (assisted Robson Kanu), Robson Kanu 90+1 (assisted Morrison)

Bookings: Brunt 18 (foul), Bartley 45+3 (foul)

QPR: Ingram 2; Kakay 3, Leistner 2, Lynch 3 (Baptiste 77, 4), Bidwell 3; Scowen 3, Cousins 2; Eze 4 (Washington 58, 3), Freeman 3, Luongo 3; Smith 3 (Wszolek 81, -)

Subs not used: Lumley, Chair, Smyth, Sylla

Goals: Lynch 35 (assisted Freeman/Smith)

Bookings: Scowen 54 (foul)

Previous Results

Head to Head >>> QPR wins 17 >>> Draws 12 >>> West Brom wins 24

2023/24 West Brom 2 QPR 0

2022/23 West Brom 2 QPR 2 (Dykes, Martin)

2022/23 QPR 0 West Brom 1

2021/22 QPR 1 West Brom 0 (Austin)

2021/22 West Brom 2 QPR 1 (Gray)

2019/20 West Brom 2 QPR 2 (Manning, Eze)

2019/20 QPR 0 West Brom 2

2018/19 QPR 2 West Brom 3 (Freeman, Hemed)

2018/19 West Brom 7 QPR 1 (Lynch)

2014/15 West Brom 1 QPR 4 (Vargas, Austin, Zamora, Barton)

2014/15 QPR 3 West Brom 2 (Austin 3)

2012/13 West Brom 0 QPR 1* (Bothroyd)

2012/13 QPR 1 West Brom 1* (Dyer)

2012/13 QPR 1 West Brom 2 (Cisse)

2012/13 West Brom 3 QPR 2 (Taarabt, Granero)

2011/12 West Brom 1 QPR 0

2011/12 QPR 1 West Brom 1 (Helguson)

2009/10 QPR 3 West Brom 1 (Simpson, Connolly, Buzsaky)

2009/10 West Brom 2 QPR 2 (Olsson og, Gorkss)

2007/08 QPR 0 West Brom 2

2007/08 West Brom 5 QPR 1 (Ainsworth)

2006/07 QPR 1 West Brom 2 (Blackstock)

2006/07 West Brom 3 QPR 3 (Stewart, Gallen, Nygaard)

2000/01 QPR 2 West Brom 0 (Plummer, Koejoe)

2000/01 West Brom 2 QPR 1 (Kiwomya)

1999/00 QPR 0 West Brom 0

1999/00 West Brom 0 QPR 1 (Wardley)

1998/99 QPR 2 West Brom 1 (Ready, Peacock)

1998/99 West Brom 2 QPR 0

1997/98 West Brom 1 QPR 1 (Dowie)

1997/98 QPR 2 West Brom 0 (Sheron, Peacock)

1996/97 West Brom 4 QPR 1 (Spencer)

1996/97 QPR 0 West Brom 2

1985/86 QPR 1 West Brom 0 (Bannister)

1985/86 West Brom 0 QPR 1 (Robinson)

1984/85 West Brom 0 QPR 0

1984/85 QPR 3 West Brom 1 (Stainrod 2, Fenwick)

1983/84 QPR 1 West Brom 1 (Fereday)

1983/84 West Brom 1 QPR 2 (Stainrod, Fenwick)

1982/83 West Brom 3 QPR 2* (Fenwick, Micklewhite)

1981/82 QPR 1 West Brom 0* (C Allen)

1978/79 West Brom 2 QPR 1 (McGee)

1978/79 QPR 0 West Brom 1

1977/78 West Brom 2 QPR 0

1977/78 QPR 2 West Brom 1 (Bowles, Eastoe)

1976/77 West Brom 1 QPR 1 (G Francis)

1976/77 QPR 1 West Brom 0 (Gillard)

1972/73 West Brom 2 QPR 1** (Givens)

1968/69 QPR 0 West Brom 4

1968/69 West Brom 3 QPR 1 (Clarke)

1966/67 QPR 3 West Brom 2** (R Morgan, Marsh, Lazarus)

1948/49 West Brom 1 QPR 1 (Pointon)

1948/49 QPR 0 West Brom 2

* - FA Cup

** - League Cup


Ray Harford >>> West Brom (manager) 1997 >>> QPR (manager) 1997-1998

The first two months of the 1997/98 season suggested that the First Division title would be keenly contested by Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion. Rangers, flush with Chris Wright’s cash and with the division’s two leading scorers from the previous season John Spencer and Mike Sheron leading the line, went joint top of the table at the end of September with a 2-1 midweek home win against Portsmouth.

At The Hawthorns the Baggies were keeping pace with Rangers every step of the way — winning four and drawing two of their first six games before losing 2-0 at Loftus Road a goal from Mike Sheron and one from Gavin Peacock. According to QPR board member Nick Blackburn in an interview with A Kick Up The R’s West Brom’s manager at the time Ray Harford has told him after the game in the players’ lounge: “If I had your two forwards, Spencer and Sheron, I guarantee I’d win the league.”

Harford the player had been a centre half who started his career at Charlton, spent two years with Fourth Division Exeter, played almost 200 games for Lincoln City, joined Port Vale fro Mansfield for £5,000, won promotion and the Player of the Year award in 1974 at Colchester United and finished his career at non-league Romford when a knee injury became too much for him to continue playing.

As a manager and coach he cut his teeth at Fulham, first as assistant to manager Malcolm Macdonald and then later as number one in his own right but the club suffered a financial collapse which necessitated the sale of players and Harford resigned after relegation from the Second Division in 1986.

He made his name at Luton Town, first as assistant to David Pleat’s replacement John Moore as the club finished seventh in the top flight in 1987. Harford then replaced Moore that summer and won the League Cup in his first season, beating Arsenal 3-2 in the final. They also reached the FA Cup semi-final before losing to eventual winners Wimbledon, and returned to Wembley a year later to lose their League Cup crown to Nottingham Forest in the 1989 final. Harford was sacked during the 1989/90 season as the club battled against relegation.

This model of arriving as an assistant only to eventually take over the top job continued at Wimbledon where he initially worked under Bobby Gould, and Blackburn where Kenny Dalglish’s side won the Premier League title after being bankrolled by Jack Walker. Dalglish then moved upstairs and Harford replaced him but Rovers could only rally from a poor start to the 1995/96 season to finish seventh and miss out on European football altogether, then the following year won none of their first ten league games and Harford resigned.

West Brom came next. Promoted to the First Division in 1993 the Baggies had mostly struggled against relegation ever since under the manager that promoted them Ossie Ardilles, and then Keith Burkinshaw. Harford replaced Alan Buckley, an objectionable figure more known for his three separate spells as Grimsby manager than anything he achieved at The Hawthorns, and initially this seemed a good fit as he attempted to rebuild his reputation as a manager rather than simply a good coach or assistant. He saved West Brom from relegation in 1996/97 with five home wins and a big 4-2 success at Norwich. The following year his tea started like a train, losing only that QPR match in their first 13. QPR however, after winning six of their first ten, then suffered a trough in form with four defeats and four draws from nine matches amid talk of dressing room problems between the players and manager Stewart Houston’s assistant Bruce Rioch.

Houston was sacked after two three goal defeats to Swindon and Middlesbrough in a week and Harford, who never signed a long term contract at The Hawthorns, walked out and replaced him. QPR travelled to West Brom on February 15 1998 but there was certainly no love in, as the Rangers fans team coach and visiting supporters were subjected to an angry reaction from the home supporters amidst a heavy police presence.

The move turned out to be a disaster for all parties. QPR had only won two of Harford’s first 14 matches to that point, and only won three of 29 after his appointment through to the end of the season when they survived by the skin of their teeth courtesy of six consecutive draws after Vinnie Jones and Neil Ruddock had been brought in to strengthen the team. West Brom won four straight matches through November but then won only five of their last 28 league games and dropped out of the promotion race to finish in midtable.

Speaking to A Kick Up The R’s at the time, Nick Blackburn takes up the story…

“Ray Harford wanted to come. Ray was West Brom manager. They were second in the table. There was huge uproar there, and they didn’t want him to go at all. I remember fanzines saying this is the best appointment you could have made. None of the fans criticised it and it turned out to be the worst appointment we could have made. Disastrous. Yet he was very successful at West Brom.

“I think he took the job for the wrong reasons. I think he wanted to come back to London. I think he was lazy. He worked through Clive Berlin and not with the board. And for transfers, they seemed to use just one agent. Barry Silkman. And this agent brought Heinola, Kulcsar, and Scully to the club. Apart from those, we also took Mark Kennedy on loan, which was good. He helped keep us up.

“Clive Berlin rang me up and said: ‘Nick, we want to sign this goalkeeper, Bankole.’ I said: ‘I’ve never heard of him.’ He said: ‘He’s at Crewe, in the reserves.’ I said: ‘Who’s the agent?’ Clive said: ‘Barry Silkman.’ I said: ‘What’s the deal?’ He told me Bankole’s salary, which wasn’t a lot. But he told me we had to give the agent some money. I can’t remember the reason why, but there was some reason. I told him I’d have to speak to Chris Wright. When I spoke to Chris, he asked me what I thought, and I told him I hadn’t heard of this goalkeeper, but they say he’s okay. So I rang up Ray Harford to ask him why they wanted to sign him, and he said, ‘Don’t worry, me and Clive will deal with this one’, and they signed him.

“About four of five months later, I was at a game at West Ham, funnily enough, and Glenn Roeder was sitting next to me in the directors box, long before he became manager there. He said to me: ‘I’m surprised you signed that Bankole.’ I said: ‘I’m fucking surprised too now I’ve seen him play!’ Glenn then said that when he was assistant manager at Burnley with Chris Waddle, Ray Harford had called him and said Barry Silkman was bending his ear about Bankole. He asked Glenn to have a look at him in his reserve match against Crewe and tell him what he thought. He said the score was something like 5-4, so Glenn told Ray Harford not to touch him with a bargepole. I don’t think Ray had personally ever seen him play.

“The other thing that I found out about Ray, which worried me, was that we were on a pre-season tour of Ireland and he came back from the tour a day early to go horse racing at Epsom. I rang up Ray Harford to see how things were going on tour. He wasn’t there. He didn’t clear it with the board or anything. You don’t come back early as the manager from a pre-season tour to go horse racing. So you get the feeling that something is wrong.”

Rangers started the 1998/99 season in lousy form, losing five and drawing five of their first ten. They broke their duck at the eleventh attempt with a 2-0 home win against Stockport but subsequently lost 4-1 in farcical circumstances at Oxford United after which Harford’s car was vandalised outside the ground.

Blackburn said: “Chris was away, so I had to deal with it. But Ray Harford called me up at 8.15am on the Sunday after the game and said: ‘I think I ought to resign.’ I said: ‘I think you ought to as well, Ray, frankly. I’m not going to argue with you,’ because the performance at Oxford was one of the worst footballing performances I’ve ever seen in my life. I remember one ping-pong goal, where the players kept kicking it against each other. Pathetic. It was sad, because I’d also known Ray Harford personally for a long time, and I was surprised to some extent that it hadn’t worked out. He’s a good coach.”

QPR subsequently recovered under Gerry Francis before suffering a financial collapse and relegation 18 months later. Harford went to Millwall as a coach, working under Keith Stevens and later Mark McGhee when the club won promotion from the Second Division. Sadly he fell ill with cancer during his time at The Den and died in 2003 aged 58 — his reputation as a fine coach who struggled as a manager still intact.

Others >>> Sam Field, QPR 2021-present, West Brom 2016-2021 >>> Darnell Furlong, West Brom 2019-present, QPR 2014-2019 >>> Charlie Austin, QPR 2021-2022, 2013-2016, West Brom 2019-2021 >>> Matt Phillips, West Brom 2016-present, QPR 2013-2016 >>> Danny Gabbidon, West Brom 1998-2000, QPR 2011-2012 >>> Rob Hulse, West Brom 2003-2005, QPR 2010-2015 >>> Ishmael Miller, West Brom 2007-2011, QPR (loan) 2011 >>> Ben Watson, QPR (loan) 2009, West Brom (loan) 2010 >>> Jay Simpson, West Brom (loan) 2009, QPR (loan) 2009-2010 >>> Steven Reid QPR (loan) 2009, West Brom 2009-present >>> Lloyd Dyer, West Brom 2000-2006, QPR (loan) 2005 >>> Georges Santos, West Brom 2000, QPR 2004-2006 >>> Brett Angell, West Brom (loan) 1996, QPR 2002-2003 >>> Jerome Thomas, QPR (loan) 2002, West Brom 2009-present >>> Paul Peschisolido, West Brom 1996-1997, QPR (loan) 2000 >>> Ray Harford, West Brom (manager) 1997 >>> QPR (manager) 1997-1998 >>> Andy McDermott, QPR 1995-1996, West Brom 1996-2000 >>> Danny Dichio, QPR 1993-1997, West Brom 2001-2004 >>> Nigel Quashie, QPR 1995-1998, 2010, West Brom 2006-2007 >>> Ossie Ardiles, QPR 1988-1989, West Brom (manager) 1992-1993 >>> Wayne Fereday, QPR 1980-1989, West Brom 1991-1994 >>> Gary Bannister, QPR 1984-1988, West Brom 1990-1992 >>> Paul Barron, West Brom 1982-1985, QPR 1985-1988 >>> Peter Eastoe, QPR 1976-1979, West Brom 1982-1985 >>> Andy King, QPR 1980-1981, West Brom 1981-1982 >>> Clive Clark, QPR 1958-1960, 1969-1970, West Brom 1960-1969

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