Ultimate team – Column
Friday, 10th Apr 2020 17:33 by Mel Huckridge
Following last week’s trend of supporters naming the ultimate team from the QPR players they’ve seen, Grounds for Divorce author Mel Huckridge has a stab at Rangers’ greatest 11 full stop.
As if you aren't already on the verge of familicide, or at least smashing up part of the house, here's something that should get the veins bursting amongst even the best of friends - an all time QPR best eleven.
Compiling this, I have attempted to be as even handed as possible, delving into a past before any of us were born, and have only resorted to taking positional liberties when it suits me.
1 – Reg Allen, 1938-1950
Three times in our not always quite so illustrious history we have been the recipients of the world record fee for keeper. The first of which was £11k from Man Utd in 1950, with whom reg later won the league, before, for want of a better explanation, going mad. A possible reason for this were his wartime exploits. A commando, captured, an attempted escape from a moving train but ultimately a PoW in Stalag 344 until the war's end. One would always trust a man like this as the last line of defence. Respect.
The other contenders, the great and likeable Phil Parkes and a pre-pony tailed David Seaman don't get the shirt because I was pissed off when we sold big Phil, and Spunky, because he never saved any penalties. For us. To further complicate the issue, who is to say that if it had not been for a pre-tournament injury to Ron Springett that one our former players may have been a World Cup winner?
251 appearances, signed from Corona in the Hanwell and District League
2 – Dave Clement, 1966-1979
As I'm sure you can see, this is tough already.
Two Daves vie for the right back spot, with Clement rather than Bardsley being my selection. Approaching 500 club appearances, Dave the elder can be considered a forerunner of the modern wing back, getting forward as much as getting back. He played most weeks from '67 until '79, great times for our club. Clement's death was as sad as was both players’ minimal international caps, Clement or Phil Neal? Bardsley or Lee Dixon? I know the two I would choose.
424 starts, four sub appearances, 28 goals
3 – Tony Ingham, 1950-1963
Mr QPR. Involved with Rangers for half a decade. There were undoubtedly better left backs but no one has ever pulled on the hoops as many times and I'm unsure if they ever will? Remember it isn't always about the stars, the moon controls the tides?
548 appearances, three goals, signed from Leeds United, full profile
4 - Evelyn Lintott, 1907-1909
Our first ever England international in 1908, he died six years later on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. He was one of the first footballers to be called up and his name is etched on the Thiepval Memorial in France if you care to look. His position was noted as half back, but I'm sure he could play centre half. Left QPR to play for Bradford but was injured and missed out on their 1911 FA Cup win.
No argument. As with Reg Allen, respect. Total respect.
35 appearances, one goal
5 - Terry Fenwick, 1980-1988
If reliability was a position, then this man played there. Hard, effective and a good finisher too. In fact there was quite a long time when he was the only player who had ever scored the few times when we were live on TV. This statistic only changed when two Liverpool defenders decided to become part of our history. Scored QPR’s only FA Cup final goal.
Omitting Ron Hunt, Frank McLintock, Steve Wicks, Macca and man marker Paul Parker wasn't easy but disregarding Anton Ferdinand was.
307 starts, one sub appearance, 45 goals
6 – Ale Faurlin, 2009-2016
Before the first of his three ACL injuries in 2012, OPTA stats had Faurlin rated as the number one midfielder in the Premier League for that season. Rumours abounded that Liverpool and Arsenal were going to bid huge amounts and Argentina wanted him alongside Messi. This was not hard to believe, at times he could run matches, brilliant left peg and pre-injury, ball winner as well. It's a testament to the man that he soldiered on despite these setbacks. As good as we've had, and this is no over exaggeration.
142 starts, 11 sub, five goals.
7 – Dave Thomas 1972-1977
My hero as a kid, and still bringing a tear to the eye when returning to Rangers discussing his sight loss problems. Hugh Johns commentary in our 4-2 win at Molineux in '74 had Thomas streaking down the wing, and how often he did. Exactly how a winger should play. Crossing with both feet. Head down, no nonsense mindless boogie. Shin pads not included.
219 starts, one sub appearance, 33 goals, signed from Burnley for £165k, sold to Everton for £200k
8 – Gerry Francis (c) 1968-1979, 1980-1982, 1991-1995, 1998-2001
Captain of our greatest ever side and skipper of our national team. It's a shame his back problems hindered his career somewhat. Driving forwards linking up with the attackers, the best example of this 1975's BBC goal of the season. Of course his relationship with the club goes far deeper than that as does his fondness for looking the cameraman square in the eye. Other nominees for the central berths are Mike Keen, Don Masson, Gary Waddock, John Gregory, Simon Barker and the late Ray Wilkins, who, had he been younger when he was with us may have got the nod.
347 starts, seven sub appearances, 65 goals, two separate spells as manager, finished fifth in the Premier League in 1992/93
10 – Rodney Marsh 1965-1972
Roooooodneeeeee, the ground sang, and rightly so. Our first superstar, the leader of the line who helped galvanise Queen's Park Rangers (with apostrophe) from also rans to ran 'em all close and ran some of 'em down the Uxbridge Road. Capped, our second England player, a gap of 63 years, attained whilst Rangers were in the Second Division. The catalyst for the start of our golden years. He normally only gets an orange.
242 appearances, 134 goals, League Cup winner in 1967
10 – Stanley Bowles 1972-1980
Our second, even greater superstar, although not so good on Superstars. These days social media would refer to him as #baller. Enhancer of the tradition of the number ten shirt that Stainrod, Byrne and Wegerle continued, stylish yet effective. Less selfish than Rodney but probably revered even more. Both MUST be included. This means I had to leave out Les, and George Goddard, Brian Bedford, Don Givens, Clive Allen, Gary Bannister, Kevin Gallen and Charlie Austin.
315 appearances, 97 goals
11 Adel Taarabt 2009-2015
Infuriating. Annoying. Hair tearing. Yet he is the most skilful footballer I have ever seen wear the shirt. To clarify, and to stop the hate mail, not the best, but the most dexterous. One passage of play at home to Reading in 2010/11 still has me believing it was done with mirrors to this day. Unplayable when in the mood, both for the opposition and his teammates when not. He's in, like it or not, for the reason that we watch live football, unpredictable moments of genius.
135 starts, 29 sub apps, 34 goals
Substitute. Mick Leach
Because. Surely he holds the record for sub. appearances?
Robert Zamora could also be considered for the 89th minute seismic impact.
Manager: Terry Venables.
Dave Mangnall, Alec Stock, Gordon Jago, Dave Sexton, and Mark Hughes.
All could stake justifiable claims but I have given the coach's job to El Tel because I believe we may have gone on to greater things, unlike the Dagenham lad whose career went spectacularly downhill once he choose to join a small provincial Spanish team.
This team, (sponsored by Guinness, no contest) after mastering the art of time travel, would undoubtedly be defeated on numerous occasions, but sometimes when egos are all aligned and Stan has a winner in the 2.45 at Haydock Park they would win by double figures. This is Queen's Park Rangers FC after all. (1886)
Mel’s book, Grounds for Divorce, (which, spoiler alert does end in a divorce) is still available via Amazon or (preferably, for money and that) through firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get a copy that isn’t signed.
Pictures – Action Images
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