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The 1968 Villa Park promotion game - history
The 1968 Villa Park promotion game - history
Wednesday, 13th Mar 2013 22:21 by Clive Whittingham

As QPR prepare for a monumentally important game at Villa Park on Saturday, LFW recalls a meeting between the two from 1968 when the R’s needed a win to secure their first ever promotion to the top flight.

Recent Meetings

QPR 1 Aston Villa 1, Saturday December 1, 2012, Premier League

Harry Redknapp’s first home match in charge of QPR was against Aston Villa at the start of December. Having tightened the leaky defence and secured a 0-0 draw at Sunderland during the week in his first outing the new manager will have been disappointed to see goalkeeper Robert Green concede a soft goal early in the game. Brett Holman’s volley from the edge of the box was firmly struck, but Green should still have done more than simply palm the ball into the corner of his own net. The R’s were quickly on terms when Jamie Mackie expertly guided a header home from a Samba Diakite cross but they lacked sufficient creativity and cutting edge to grab a first win of the season in the second half and ultimately had to settle for a point.

QPR: Green 5, Bosingwa 6, Hill 7, Nelsen 7, Traore 5, Diakite 7 (Hoilett 67, 5), Mbia 7 (Derry 40, 5), Granero 5 (Park 46, 4), Taarabt 7, Wright-Phillips 6, Mackie 8

Subs not used: Murphy, Cisse, Ferdinand, Fabio

Goals: Mackie 18 (assisted Diakite)

Bookings: Derry 61 (foul)

Villa: Guzan 8, Lowton 6, Clark 6, Baker 6, Lichaj 6, Westwood 6, Bannan 6 (Delph 67, 6), Holman 7 (El Ahmadi 70, 6), Herd 6 (Williams 65, 6), Agbonlahor 7, Benteke 7

Subs not used: Given, Ireland, Bent, Weimann

Goals: Holman 8 (unassisted)

Bookings: Baker 47 (foul), Lowton 62 (foul)

Aston Villa 2 QPR 2, Wednesday February 1, 2012, Premier League

The Mark Hughes era began in earnest at Villa Park last season the day after the close of the transfer window. With Djibril Cisse making his debut and Bobby Zamora and Samba Diakite also secured late on Hughes felt ready to take on the challenge and Rangers made a lightning start to the game. Cisse kept his record of regularly scoring on debuts going with a crisp volley into the far corner when Shaun Wright-Phillips had a shot that deflected into his path. And the lead was doubled when a cross from another newcomer Taye Taiwo was headed into his own net under no pressure by Stephen Warnock. However, Darren Bent bagged one before half time and when Charles N’Zogbia volleyed in ten minutes from time Rangers were hanging on for a point. Ultimately the R’s were lucky to get away with a late handball appeal in their own penalty area. As it turned out, they’d have to wait until August to take another point from an away match.

Villa: Given 6, Hutton 7, Cuellar 6, Dunne 6, Warnock 5, Clark 6 (Bannan 70, 6), Ireland 6, Petrov 7, N’Zogbia 7, Keane 7, Bent 7

Subs not used: Guzan, Lichaj, Baker, Gardner, Heskey, Weimann

Goals: Bent 44 (assisted Hutton), N’Zogbia 80 (assisted Petrov)

QPR: Kenny 7, Young 6, Onuoha 6, Ferdinand 6, Taiwo 5, Mackie 5, Derry 5 (Ephraim 73, 6), Barton 6, Wright-Phillips 6, Cisse 7 (Macheda 81, -), Hulse 6 (Smith 54, 6)

Subs not used: Cerny, Hill, Hall, Balanta

Goals: Cisse 11 (assisted Wright-Phillips), Warnock og 22 (assisted Taiwo)

Bookings: Young (foul)

QPR 1 Aston Villa 1, Sunday September 25, 2011, Premier League

QPR needed an injury time own goal from Richard Dunne to rescue a point from the Loftus Road meeting between these sides last season after falling victim to a series of incorrect refereeing decisions. Villa took a second half lead from the penalty spot when referee Michael Oliver very harshly adjudged that Armand Traore had pulled back Gabby Agbonlahor at the back post when he’d done nothing of the sort. Barry Bannan converted the spot kick but Oliver further incensed the home ranks when he twice turned down penalty appeals for handball at the other end, including a blatant one from Alan Hutton who palmed Anton Ferdinand’s goal bound header away for a corner. Some justice was done in stoppage time when Dunne hacked into his own net after hard work from Helguson but QPR would have won the game with a different referee in charge.

QPR: Kenny 7, Young 7, Ferdinand 8, Hall 7, Traore 6, Faurlin 6, Derry 6 (Helguson 79, 7), Wright-Phillips 7 (Smith 86, -), Taarabt 7, Barton 6, Bothroyd 7 (Campbell 66, 6)

Subs Not Used: Murphy, Orr, Buzsaky, Connolly

Sent Off: Traore 90 (two bookings)

Booked: Traore (foul), Traore (foul)

Goals: Dunne 90 og (assisted Helguson)

Aston Villa: Given 7, Hutton 5, Collins 7, Dunne 8, Warnock 6, Petrov 6, Ireland 5, Delph 7, N'Zogbia 6 (Weimann 85, -), Bannan 8 (Albrighton 72, 7), Agbonlahor 6

Subs Not Used: Guzan, Delfouneso, Beye, Lowry, Gardner

Booked: Warnock (foul), Hutton (foul), Collins (foul), Petrov (foul), Agbonlahor (foul), N'Zogbia (foul)

Goals: Bannan 58 (penalty)

Villa 0 QPR 1, Wednesday September 24, 2008, League Cup

QPR sprang a surprise in the League Cup when they visited Villa Park in 2008. Having seen off Swindon and Carlisle in earlier rounds with Iain Dowie in charge, no mean feat for a club with our recent cup record, QPR travelled to the West Midlands backed by a sizeable away following. The crucial goal came from the head of Damion Stewart who was magnificent that night, marking John Carew superbly. Gareth Barry went through on the goal late in the game but chose to try and execute and ambitious chip which he made a mess of. Rangers went on to play at Old Trafford in the next round, losing 1-0 to a late penalty, but by that point Dowie had been given his marching orders by Flavio Briatore.

Aston Villa: Guzan 6, Gardner 6, Cuellar 6, Knight 5, Shorey 6, Osbourne 5 (Routledge 67, 5), Petrov 5, Barry 5, Ashley Young 7, Harewood 4 (Agbonlahor 67, 6), Carew 7

Subs Not Used: Friedel, Delfouneso, Davies, Salifou, Reo-Coker

Booked: Cuellar (foul) Gardner (foul)

QPR: Cerny 7, Connolly 7, Hall 8, Stewart 9, Delaney 5, Mahon 7, Rowlands 8, Parejo 8, Ledesma 8 (Balanta 90, -), Buzsaky 7 (Leigertwood 81, -), Agyemang 6 (Di Carmine 66, 6)

Subs Not Used: Camp, Blackstock, Gorkss, Ephraim

Booked: Delaney (foul)

Goals: Stewart 58 (assisted Parejo)

Previous Results


Head to Head >>> Villa wins 17 >>> Draws 12 >>> QPR wins 22

2012/13 QPR 1 Villa 1 (Mackie)

2011/12 Villa 2 QPR 2 (Cisse, Warnock og)

2011/12 QPR 1 Villa 1 (Dunne og)

2008/09 Villa 0 QPR 1* (Stewart)

2004/05 Villa 3 QPR 1* (McLeod)

1995/96 Villa 4 QPR 2 (Dichio, Gallen)

1995/96 QPR 1 Villa 0 (Gallen)

1995/96 Villa 1 QPR 0*

1994/95 Villa 2 QPR 1 (Yates)

1994/95 QPR 2 Villa 0 (Dichio, Penrice)

1993/94 QPR 2 Villa 2 (McGrath og, Penrice)

1993/94 Villa 4 QPR 1 (Ferdinand)

1992/93 QPR 2 Villa 1 (Ferdinand, Allen)

1992/93 Villa 2 QPR 0

1991/92 Villa 0 QPR 1 (Ferdinand)

1991/92 QPR 0 Villa 1

1990/91 QPR 2 Villa 1 (B Allen, Tilson)

1990/91 Villa 2 QPR 2 (Wegerle pen, Sinton)

1989/90 QPR 1 Villa 1 (Clarke)

1989/90 Villa 1 QPR 3 (T Francis 3)

1988/89 QPR 1 Villa 0 (Sinton)

1988/89 Villa 2 QPR 1 (T Francis)

1986/87 Villa 0 QPR 1 (Keown og)

1986/87 QPR 1 Villa 0 (Bannister)

1985/86 QPR 0 Villa 1

1985/86 Villa 1 QPR 2 (Bannister 2

1984/85 Villa 5 QPR 2 (Bannister 2)

1984/85 QPR 2 Villa 0 (Bannister, Gregory)

1984/85 QPR 1 Villa 0* (Gregory)

1983/84 Villa 2 QPR 1 (Charles)

1983/84 QPR 2 Villa 1 (Stainrod, Withe og)

1978/79 Villa 3 QPR 1 (C Allen)

1978/79 QPR 1 Villa 0 (Harkouk)

1977/78 Villa 1 QPR 1 (Smith og)

1977/78 Villa 1 QPR 0*

1977/78 QPR 1 Villa 2 (Eastoe)

1976/77 Villa 1 QPR 1 (Abbott)

1976/77 Villa 3 QPR 0

1976/77 Villa 2 QPR 2 (G Francis, Eastoe)

1976/77 QPR 0 Villa 0

1976/77 QPR 2 Villa 1 (Masson, Clement)

1975/76 Villa 0 QPR 2 (G Francis, Hollins)

1975/76 QPR 1 Villa 1 (G Francis)

1972/73 QPR 1 Villa 0 (G Francis)

1972/73 Villa 0 QPR 1 (Leach)

1969/70 QPR 4 Villa 2 (Bridges 2, Marsh 2)

1969/70 Villa 1 QPR 1 (Marsh)

1968/69 Villa 2 QPR 1** (I Morgan)

1967/68 Villa 1 QPR 2 (Leach, Bradley)

1967/68 QPR 3 Villa 0 (Sanderson 2, Lazarus)

1919/20 Villa 2 QPR 1** (Birch)

* - League Cup

** - FA Cup

Memorable Match

Aston Villa 1 QPR 2, May 11 1967, Second Division

QPR don’t win promotion often, but when they do they’ve developed a habit of sealing it with an away match. The 2-0 win at Watford in 2011 meant nobody else could catch us and in 2004 promotion from the Second Division was completed with a 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday which kept us a nose ahead of Bristol City who also won their game heaping pressure on Ian Holloway’s men.

Back in 1968 it came down to a game at Villa Park for Rangers who were embroiled in a three horse race at the top of the Second Division with Ipswich and Blackpool. Rangers had never been in the First Division before, and had only recently begun a meteoric climb from the bottom division under the management of Alec Stock and visionary chairmanship of Jim Gregory. In 1967 they’d won the Third Division at a canter, a full 12 points clear of Middlesbrough in the days of two points for a win scoring 103 goals in the process. They’d also won the League Cup in the competition’s first Wembley final, roaring back from two goals down to beat odds on favourites West Brom from the First Division 3-2.

Stock’s team, with Rodney Marsh in attack, Mark Lazarus on the wing, the Morgan twins, Les Allen and so on was good enough to then take the Second Division by storm at the first attempt but it was never likely to be the cakewalk the season before had become. Jim Langley retired before the season began and Stock added Chelsea’s Allan Harris as his replacement. Rangers also completed a unique deal with Sheffield Wednesday, swapping brothers Ron and Peter Springett who both played in goal. Rangers started the season without Marsh, injured in pre-season training, but won five and drew one of their first six matches at the higher level to top the early table.

As the season drew to a close league leaders Ipswich had held Rangers to a 2-2 draw at Portman Road four games from the end of the season which meant going into the final day the teams were separated by just two points at the top – Ipswich on 58, QPR on 56. Town would host midtable Blackburn Rovers on the final day. In third place Blackpool, also on 56 points, were worrying the Rangers faithful after putting together a run of six straight victories going into their last match at Huddersfield Town.

By contrast Rangers were wobbling somewhat. They’d been three points clear with six games left to play but lost in successive games to Middlesbrough and Cardiff to set up a tense finish.

Ipswich got the point they needed to make absolutely sure of promotion, drawing 1-1 at home to Rovers, and Blackpool made it seven in a row with a 3-1 win at the old Leeds Road ground in Huddersfield to leave QPR requiring a victory to take the second automatic promotion spot. In front of thousands of travelling fans at Villa Park the R’s trailed 1-0 at the break and news filtered through that Blackpool were winning.

The QPR equaliser was controversial, Mick Leach claiming a goal after the ball bounced down on the line after hitting the underside of the bar. The decision went his way to the fury of the home players and delight of the travelling masses. Blackpool were now 3-1 up and time was running out. Then, with eight minutes left, Villa full back Keith Bradley got a clearance attempt badly wrong and inadvertently hacked the ball into his own net to set up wild celebrations which included several QPR players kissing the Villa man as they ran past him. Stock’s men were promoted by 0.21 of a goal from Blackpool.

Rangers relied heavily on their home form that season – 18 wins and only one defeat with just nine goals conceded – but they produced a fine performance and result on the road at the death to get them over the line. Sadly the club’s first taste of First Division football was all too much for them and they were relegated in bottom place with just 18 points and four wins from 42 games played.

QPR: Kelly, Watson, Harris, Kean, Keetch, Hazell, I Morgan, Leach, Clarke, Allen, Marsh.

Highlights >>> Villa 1 QPR 3, 1989 >>> QPR 1 Villa 0, 1973 >>> Villa 2 QPR 1, 1969


John Gregory >>> Aston Villa 1977-1979 >>> QPR 1981-1985 >>> Aston Villa (manager) 1998-2002 >>> QPR (manager) 2006-2007

John Gregory is unique among the connections between these clubs as he has both played and managed both of them. In both roles, with both clubs, he did a very fine job indeed and yet he's not particularly fondly remembered by either which probably more down to his personality and public persona than his ability either as a coach or a midfield player.

As a young man Gregory, born in Scunthorpe, came through the ranks with Third Division Northampton Town and developed a reputation in the game as a promising up and coming player. That persuaded Aston Villa, then in the First Division and soon to be European Champions, to take a chance on him and during two seasons there he set a club record for playing in every outfield position at one time or another. He scored ten goals in 65 appearances before moving on to newly promoted Brighton and then, after two years on the south coast, back into the Second Division with QPR.

Gregory was a big hit at Loftus Road, scoring 36 goals as Rangers reached the FA Cup final as a Second Division side and took Spurs to a replay, then won promotion a season later, and then qualified for the UEFA Cup after a fifth placed finish back in the First Division. Gregory formed a central midfield partnership with Gary Waddock and both won international caps – Waddock for the Republic of Ireland and Gregory for England who selected him six times between 1983 and 1984.

Gregory fell away with the rest of the team after manager Terry Venables left for Barcelona and ended up dropping down two divisions to sign for Derby County who he would also go on to manage later in his career. He won two promotions with Derby between 1985 and 1988 as they moved from the Third to the First Division and then retired after one season back in the top flight. Although he later played a handful of games as a player manager at Plymouth , and then at Bolton following his sacking at Home Park , that was his lot as a player.

As a manager Gregory's career started badly with nightmare spells at Plymouth and Portsmouth that lasted only a few months. He took a step back and cut his teeth as a coach with Brian Little at Leicester and then at Aston Villa before moving back into the hot seat at Wycombe in 1996 where he immediately saved them from what looked like a certain relegation from the Second Division. Gregory did enough at Adams Park for Doug Ellis to entrust him with the Villa hot seat in 1998 and that faith looked well placed as Gregory initially put together a hugely successful and entertaining side at Villa Park.

With players like Paul Merson, Stan Collymore and Gareth Southgate to the fore Villa were actually the Premiership league leaders midway through the 1998/99 season – winning eight and drawing four of their first 12 league games. However legend has it that the players went on a mini lap of honour after a devastating 4-1 win over Southampton at The Dell and immediately went into a slump. They lost their next match 4-2 to Liverpool and won two of their next seven games, eventually finishing sixth in the table. In 2000 he took them to the FA Cup final at Wembley but they were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea . These are still not inconsiderable achievements when you consider what has gone on since at Villa Park i.e. not a lot. Nevertheless by 2002 the 'Gregory out' banners were starting to be unfurled at home games and Gregory was involved in angry confrontations with supporters. He resigned on the back of two victories, blaming the pressures of the job, despite saying he would never walk away from the club just days before although it's highly probably that it had more to do with a sudden vacancy at another of Gregory's former clubs Derby which he seized within days of leaving Villa.

Derby were in dire straits at the time but Gregory was unable to keep them up – enduring a very public falling out with his captain Craig Burley. The financial goings on at Derby at the time have since led to court cases and prison sentences for the board members involved and having sacked Gregory for misconduct in 2003 they were forced to pay out £1m in compensation to him for false dismissal.

That legal case dragged on for several months during which time Gregory could not work, so when QPR came calling in September 2006 it represented a chance for him to rebuild his reputation. Working with his friend Gianni Paladini as chairman he succeeded in keeping a QPR squad that was, by some distance, the worst in the Championship in the league after taking over from rookie boss and former team mate Gary Waddock. Gregory worked the loan market well, adding Jimmy Smith and Michael Mancienne from Chelsea initially and later Inigo Idiakez from Derby. He also got the best out of players like Marc Nygaard and was helped by the excellent form of Lee Cook, Martin Rowlands, Gareth Ainsworth and Dexter Blackstock. He rebuilt the spine of his team in the January transfer window – bringing back fans' favourite Lee Camp, adding Danny Cullip to the centre of the defence and bringing in Adam Bolder from his former club Derby.

It was a QPR team low on ability but high on pride, spirit and fight and it stayed up with something to spare at the expense of Leeds after a fine late run of results that included memorable away wins at Leicester (3-1) and Coventry (1-0). Sadly that summer, with the club heading towards administration, his transfer activity wasn't so impressive with none of Daniel Nardiello, John Curtis or Ben Sahar proving to be any good whatsoever and midfielder Simon Walton breaking his leg in a pre-season game. The club was then rocked by the death of Ray Jones and although a 2-2 draw at Bristol City on day one bode well the team failed to win any of its first ten matches and Gregory was sacked after a 5-1 defeat at West Brom by new owner Flavio Briatore.

Gregory is not particularly fondly remembered by many QPR fans. The West Brom game that sealed his fate was live on Sky and the cameras repeatedly caught shots of him laughing at how awful his team was. Behind the scenes images at training in the lead up to that game showed the players repeatedly engaging in some weird rugby league style game rather than conventional football training and there were murmerings of discontent about his conduct in the sale of Dean Parrett to Spurs - although given the financial position the club was in it's easy to see why he was keen for the boy to move. I've never really understood the frostiness towards him and my suspicion is it was because he was friends with Gianni Paladini which never goes down well with QPR supporters.

As a player he was excellent in a great QPR team and as a manager he took a team that should have finished bottom of the table by miles and saved it – providing some fine memories of wins against Cardiff , Southampton and Luton along the way. I thought he did a terrific job at Rangers in almost impossible circumstances.

Since 2008 he has been managing some of the less fashionable clubs in the Israeli league with limited success – Maccabi Ahi Nazareth and FC Ashdod - and most recently in Kazakhstan with FC Kairat.

Others >>>Luke Young, Villa 2008-2011, QPR 2011-present >>> Kyle Walker, QPR (loan) 2010, Villa (loan) 2011 >>> Wayne Routledge, Villa 2008-2009, QPR 2009-2010, 2011 (loan) >>> Stefan Moore, QPR 2005-2008, Villa 2001-2005 >>> Peter Crouch, QPR 2000-2001, Villa 2002-2004 >>> Steve Hodge, Villa 1985-1986, QPR 1994-1995 >>> Simon Stainrod, QPR 1980-1985, Villa 1985-1987 >>>John Gregory, Aston Villa 1977-1979, (manager) 1998-2002, QPR 1981-1985, (manager) 2006-2007 >>> John Burridge (again), Villa 1975-1978, QPR 1980-1982

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TacticalR added 01:29 - Mar 14
Stan Collymore recently used the first hour of his show to talk about his own career and agents, and John Gregory came out pretty badly.

After Gregory arrived at Villa Collymore was frozen out by Gregory, and forced to train with the youth team.

Eventually Collymore, Gregory, and Collymore's agent Paul Stretford sat down to discuss Collymore's future, and Gregory said Collymore had no future at the club.

Collymore and Stretford went to Greece to meet the Panathinaikos president because Panathinaikos wanted Collymore. 3000 fans went to meet him at the airport, and he was offered a very good deal.

A few days after they came back to England Stretford suddenly started saying Collymore should go to Fulham, which didn't seem to make sense, because both the player and the agent would get less money (Collymore agreed to go Fulham on loan).

Collymore eventually found out that Stretford was secretly representing both John Gregory and the Fulham manager Paul Bracewell.

You can listen to the show here:

richranger added 20:42 - Mar 14
Absolutely agree about Gregory and the good job he did keeping us up. We were down to the bare bones as a team, and also financially. I believe Gregory sometimes had to pay for the teams away accommodation out of his own pocket!
I think he knew he was going to be fired before the West Brom game - hence the laughing etc.

18StoneOfHoop added 04:41 - Mar 15
Gregory is very emotional here - especially at the end when Biggie bigs him up -showing just how much he put in to the 2006-7 season.

QPunkR added 11:15 - Mar 15
Yep, agree with the assertions on John Gregory, he had absolutely nothing to work with, compared with what we're spoilt with now, but hauled us up the table slowly but surely.

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