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Helguson's Stoke masterclass has QPR flying high - History
Tuesday, 13th Feb 2024 14:35 by Clive Whittingham

Ahead of Wednesday's crucial trip to Stoke, we look back at a QPR win on this ground in 2011 that put them eighth in the Premier League and had optimism coursing through the club - within ten games Neil Warnock had been sacked and Mark Hughes approached.

Memorable Match

Stoke City 2 QPR 3, Saturday November 19, 2011, Premier League

It is very easy, with the benefit of hindsight, to look back on the decisions made by QPR under the Tune Group ownership and ask what on earth they’ve been playing at.

Some of the moves they made were obviously stupid at the time – hello spending your parachute payments on Jay Emmanuel Thomas and Paul Konchesky – but some were not. There have been a few moments over the last decade where I thought we’d really cracked it, and were all set for our time at the top of the cycle, safe in the Premier League and pushing on for Europe. The capture of Junior Hoilett, from Blackburn, for example, was one of a club going serious places in my view at the time. Those places, as it turned out, were Burton, Yeovil and MK Dons.

One of those brief, glorious moments of happiness and optimism came in November 2011. Tony Fernandes had replaced this disliked Flavio Briatore and corrected a chaotic summer of recruitment with a late trolley dash for the likes of Joey barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore and Luke Young. Rangers had won at Everton with a Tommy Smith goal, memorably beaten Chelsea at home in the return of that derby game which simultaneously blew up John Terry’s career, given a terrific account of themselves in a 3-2 home defeat against Man City, and turned in a superb performance in a televised home draw with Newcastle. At Wolves the R’s won 3-0, with Ale Faurlin scoring and running the midfield. It was the performance of an accomplished side and, with the win at Goodison Park, Neil Warnock’s side were well on their way to already having the number of away wins they’d need to survive. They headed to Stoke comfortably in midtable.

The Britannia Stadium in Tony Pulis’ time in charge was a graveyard of the Premier League’s more established names – a cliched difficult place to go. QPR made it look easy, winning away for a third time already in the Prem and moving up to eighth in the league.

They were good value for it as well, out passing and outplaying Stoke to recover from an early Jon Walters goal and not only equalise when Luke Young got on the end of a flowing move to score his first goal for the club but then take the lead when Traore crossed and Helguson rammed in an unstoppable header. One of those goals I can still see in my mind’s eye now, the cross arcing perfectly away from Sorensen (Traore did deliver one every now and again), Helguson striding onto the ball and meeting it perfectly, the ball flying into the top corner and net bulging right in front of us. Helguson, with a fracture cheekbone, smashed in the face during the celebrations.

The lead was extended still further after half time when Helguson got on the end of Barton’s excellent cross and moments later Shaun Wright-Phillips hit the post in pursuit of a fourth. This part of a start to life at QPR that had seen Wright Phillips hit the post against Newcastle, Wolves and Stoke and have a goal incorrectly disallowed against West Brom – how different his reputation and time in Shepherd’s Bush might have been but for those fine marhins. A typically direct goal from Ryan Shawcross made for a nervous last 25 minutes but Stoke completed just 117 passes in the entire game and QPR richly deserved their win.

It was really rather all downhill from there. This would be Neil Warnock’s last win in charge – if you’d pitched the idea of sacking the miracle working promotion winner on the way out of Staffordshire that afternoon you’d have been laughed out of the room but nine games later he was gone. Ten without a win was a poor run of results, and again let’s not pretend there wasn’t a good deal of worry and unrest when it ended with a dreadful display in the FA Cup at MK Dons and a devastating season ending injury to Faurlin. But it included narrow 1-0 losses away at Liverpool and Arsenal, a home game with Man Utd, a draw with West Brom – where, like I say, we had a goal incorrectly disallowed – and a 2-1 home defeat to Norwich where Joey Barton got himself sent off.

All the same, the mark Hughes reign of terror was imminent. For one afternoon in Stoke, though, it felt like we were really a club on the up.

Stoke: Sorensen 6, Wilkinson 5, Shawcross 6, Huth 6, Higginbotham 6, Pennant 5 (Fuller 68, 6), Whitehead 5 (Whelan 85, -), Delap 5, Etherington 6, Walters 7, Crouch 6 (Jones 65, 6)

Subs Not Used: Begovic, Wilson, Upson, Palacios

Booked: Wilkinson (foul), Shawcross (foul), Delap (foul), Fuller (foul)

Goals: Walters 8 (assisted Crouch), Shawcross 64 (assisted Crouch)

QPR: Kenny 6, Young 7 (Orr 77, 6), Ferdinand 6, Gabbidon 7, Hill 7, Wright-Phillips 7, Barton 7, Faurlin 8, Traore 8, Mackie 7, Helguson 9

Subs Not Used: Derry , Buzsaky, Smith, Hewitt

Booked: Barton (handball), Helguson (foul)

Goals: Helguson 22 (assisted Traore), 54 (assisted Barton), Young 44 (assisted Mackie)

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

Recent Meetings

QPR 4 Stoke 2, Tuesday November 29, 2023, Championship

QPR’s rescued their 2023/24 season after dangling it by a thread for much of a terrifyingly enthralling game with Stoke at Loftus Road in November. All looked to be going well when Steve Cook was wrestled down for an obvious penalty converted by Lyndon Dykes early on but a series of disasters befell the R’s either side of half time. First Dykes ran clean through on goal thanks to a botched back pass by Ciaran Clark, but fluffed the finish horribly. Within 30 seconds Stoke had stormed to the other end, drawn a great save from Asmir Begovic, and then scored through Ryan Mmaee from that corner. Enda Stevens started the second half by getting sent off for tugging back Paul Smyth, but the ten man visitors then took an unlikely lead through Burger and the mood around W12 was bleak. Dykes showed what a curious player he really is with a fantastic finish on the volley to equalise out of the blue with ten to go – how a player who can do that can miss as he did in the first half remains one of modern QPR’s great enigmas. There was a glorious moment of schadenfreude to come when pantomime villain Ben Pearson put through his own net in the last minute after persistent approach work by Ziyad Larkeche. Chris Willock netted a fourth in stoppage time to bring the house down with a mixture of joy and relief.

QPR: Begovic 5; Kakay 5 (Cannon 62, 7), Cook 7, Dunne 4 (Clarke-Salter 73, 7), Paal 5; Field 5 (Kelman 73, 6), Colback 5 (Larkeche 88, -), Dixon-Bonner 6 (Willock 62, 6); Chair 7, Dykes 6, Smyth 6

Subs not used: Archer, Richards, Duke-McKenna, Drewe

Goals: Dykes penalty 11 (won Cook), 79 (assisted Willock), Pearson og 89 (assisted Larkeche), Willock 90 (assisted Kelman)

Bookings: Colback 86 (foul), Begovic 90+6 (time wasting)

Stoke: Bonham 5; Gooch 4, McNally 6, Clark 2, Stevens 3; Burger 7 (Laurent 82, -), Pearson 4; Campbell 6 (Leris 70, 5), Vidigal 6 (Hoever 58, 5), Bae 6 (Johnson 70, 5); Mmaee 6 (Wesley 80, -)

Sub not used: Rose, Gayle, Thompson, Simkin

Goals: Mmaee 45 (assisted Bae), Burger 59 (assisted Mmaee)

Red Cards: Stevens 53 (two yellows)

Bookings: Stevens 10 (foul), Burger 19 (foul), Stevens 53 (foul), Campbell 56 (dissent), Mmaee 56 (dissent), Gooch 74 (delaying restart), Johnson 81 (dissent)

Stoke 0 QPR 1, Saturday April 25, 2023, Championship

After a six-month long collapse, QPR avoided dropping into League One by the skin of their teeth with two unlikely away wins in the final three games. A 2-1 win at champions Burnley, their only home loss all season, breathed life into the club’s flagging survival hopes the week before and, with Reading docked six points, all it needed then was another positive result at Stoke to get the job done. Stoke had lost a club record 12 games at home, and had nothing to play for, so in many ways were perfect opposition. Rangers had only 20% of the ball, but used it to fashion the only goal of the game for Albert Adomah straight after half time. Doubt it’ll be troubling the ‘memorable match’ section of this column in years to come but it was what we needed on the day.

Stoke: Bonham 5; Sterling 5, Taylor 5 (Hoever 61, 5), Jagielka 4, Fox 4, Tymon 5; Smallbone 6 (Baker 71, 6), Pearson 5, Laurent 5; Gayle 3 (Powell 61, 5), Campbell 6

Subs not used; Thompson, Macari, Fielding, Howard-Wilkinson

Bookings: Campbell 75 (foul)

QPR: Dieng 6; Laird 6, Dickie 6, Dunne 7, Paal 7; Adomah 6 (Martin 78, 7), Field 6, Iroegbunam 5 (Amos 64, 6), Chair 6 (Willock 90, -); Dykes 7, Lowe 6

Subs not used: Clarke-Salter, Johansen, Archer, Drewe

Goals: Adomah 48 (unassisted)

Bookings: Laird 20 (foul), Field 53 (foul), Amos 90+7 (foul)

QPR 0 Stoke 0, Saturday September 17, 2022, Championship

A very entertaining September meeting at Loftus Road somehow finished 0-0 despite a plethora of near misses at both ends of the field. Dwight Gayle finished an early flowing move for the visitors but had strayed just offside before finding the top corner, then hit the top of the crossbar with a nicely struck free kick from 25 yards. At the other end Stoke keeper Josef Bursik had a terrific game, saving Stefan Johansen’s long ranger before half time after man of the match Ethan Laird had rampaged through the team, then producing even better stops to deny Kenneth Paal stealing in at the back post from a corner and Jimmy Dunne unmarked on the end of an Ilias Chair cross. Tyrese Campbell beat Seny Dieng all ends up with a well struck volley in the final seconds of injury time, but it flashed an inch wide of the bottom corner.

QPR: Dieng 6; Laird 7, Balogun 7, Dunne 6, Paal 6; Dozzell 5 (Dykes 46, 6), Field 6, Johansen 7 (Iroegbunam 78, 6); Willock 6, Roberts 5 (Adomah 78, 6), Chair 7

Subs not used: Kakay, Archer, Bonne, Masterson,

Bookings; Balogun 90 (foul)

Stoke: Bursik 8; Taylor 6, Flint 7, Fox 6; Wilmot 6, Baker 7, Thompson 6 (Laurent 75, 6), Smallbone 7, Fosu-Henry 6; Delap 5 (Powell 67, 6), Gayle 6 (Campbell 67, 7)

Subs not used: Wright-Phillips, Fielding, Sparrow

Bookings: Taylor 87 (foul), Bursik 90+1 (time wasting)

Stoke City 1 QPR 0, Saturday April 23, 2022, Championship

What thin play-off hopes remained for QPR in 2022 after the Easter Monday home victory against Derby were finally extinguished with a pathetic performance and limp 1-0 defeat at Stoke the following Saturday. Jacob Brown’s scrambled goal from a typically abysmally defended corner in first half injury time summed up the game, and Rangers’ season end, and decided the match.

Stoke: Bursik N/A; Wilmot 7, Jagielka 7, Harewood-Bellis 7; Allen 6, Smith 6, Baker 7, Sawyers 6 (Clucas 82), Tymon 7; Maja 6 (Fletcher 76), Brown 7 (Campbell 90)

Subs not used: Philogence-Bidace, Chester, Vrancic, Bonham

Goals: Brown 45+1 (unassisted)

QPR: Westwood 7; Sanderson 4, Dunne 6, Barbet 6, McCallum 5; Field 5, Amos 5 (Adomah 57, 5), Dozzell 4, Thomas 5 (Gray 70, 5); Chair 5, Dykes 4 (Austin 57, 5)

Subs not used: Mahoney, Kakay, Hendricks, Ball,

Bookings: Dunne (foul)

QPR 0 Stoke City 2, Sunday December 5, 2021, Championship

Charlie Austin’s weak penalty miss proved crucial as Rangers were beaten 2-0 at Loftus Road in a Sky Sunday game back in December. Tyrese Campbell had already raced away to give the visitors a 1-0 first half lead on the counter attack, and Steven Fletcher also struck the post before halftime as Rangers struggled to get going. Jimmy Dunne being manhandled at a second half corner provided a lifeline but Austin abandoned his usual technique, tried to fool the goalkeeper, and produced a really rather pathetic effort that was easily saved. That left the road clear for Mario Vrancic to seal the win with a second goal 12 minutes from time.

QPR: Dieng 7; Kakay 5, Dickie 6, Dunne 6, Barbet 5, Field 5 (Thomas 80, 5); Johansen 5, Dozzell 5 (Amos 67, 6), Chair 6; Willock 7, Austin 5 (Gray 74, 6)

Subs not used: Ball, Archer, Duke-McKenna

Stoke: Davies 8; Smith 6, Wilmot 8, Baath 7, Fox 7, Tymon 6; Sawyers 6 (Clucas 58, 7), Allen 7, Vrancic 8; Fletcher 6 (Ince 90, -), Campbell 8 (Brown 67, 7)

Subs not used: Chester, Doughty, Bonham, Sima

Goals: Campbell 14 (assisted Vrancic), Vrancic 78 (assisted Clucas)

Bookings: Fox 54 (foul)

Stoke 0 QPR 2, Saturday May 1, 2021, Championship

QPR continued their storming end to 2020/21 with another away win at Stoke at the start of May. Lyndon Dykes won the ball back as the home team tried to play out from the back in the first half, feeding it into Charlie Austin to hammer home the first from the edge of the box. Austin thought he’d made it two after half time when a low first time shot from a corner was brilliantly kept out with a leg save by Adam Davies. The second goal did follow soon though, albeit from an unlikely source as Osman Kakay overlapped down the right to such an extent he found himself on the end of a flowing move and Stefan Johansen assist to finish into the far corner.

Stoke: Davies 7; Smith 5 (Vokes 76, 5), Batth 6, Souttar 5, Norrington-Davis 6; Obi Mikel 5; Matondo 7, Clucas 6, Powell — (Thompson 13, 6), Tymon 5, Fletcher 5 (Brown 56, 6)

Subs not used: Cousins, Forrester, Noukeu, Coates, Norton, Jones

Bookings: Brown 86 (foul)

QPR: Dieng 6; Dickie 7, De Wijs 7, Barbet 7; Kakay 7, Johansen 8 (Bettache 83, -), Chair 7 (Thomas 75, 6), Willock 7 (Bonne 82, -), Wallace 7; Dykes 7, Austin 7 (Field 63, 6)

Subs not used: Kane, Carroll, Hämäläinen, Walsh, Adomah

Goals: Austin 17 (assisted Dykes), Kakay 70 (assisted Johansen)

Bookings: Barbet 28 (foul), Bonne 90 (foul)

QPR 0 Stoke 0, Tuesday December 15, 2020, Championship

One of only two games at Loftus Road with any sort of crowd in the 2020/21 season sadly drained away into a damp squib when QPR and Stoke met in December. Lyndon Dykes missed a glorious early chance to open the scoring, and Ilias Chair could hardly have done any more to win his team the game, but it wasn’t one that will live long in the memory.

QPR: Dieng 6; Kane 5, Dickie 6, Barbet 6, Hämäläinen 6; Cameron 4, Carroll 5 (Ball 57, 5); Adomah 5 (Willock 57, 6), Chair 6, Osayi-Samuel 5; Dykes 5 (Bonne 77, 5)

Subs not used: Thomas, Masterson, Bettache, Kelman, Kelly, De Silva

Bookings: Barbet 31 (foul), Hämäläinen 50 (foul)

Stoke: Bursik 6; Collins 6, Souttar 6, Chester 6, Fox 6; Cousins 5; Ince 5, Tymon 5 (Thompson 79, 5), Powell 5 (Oakley-Boothe 82, -), McClean 5 (Verlinden 82, -); Brown 5 (Fletcher 66, 5)

Subs not used: Batth, Vokes, Smith, Shawcross, Lonergan

Bookings: Souttar 86 (foul)

QPR 4 Stoke 2, Saturday February 15, 2020, Championship

It looked like being another one of those unforgiving winter afternoons in the rain at Loftus Road when first Sam Clucas and then Tyrese Campbell skipped through a fractured backline to put visitors Stoke 2-0 up at Loftus Road in February 2020, but a quickfire School End double from Jordan Hugill and Ebere Eze restored parity and QPR went on to destroy the visitors in the second half. Bright Osayi-Samuel put the R’s in front for the first time from an acute angle and Ilias Chair sealed the win in stoppage time off a rebound from Ryan Manning’s long range shot.

QPR: Kelly 6; Rangel 7, Hall 5, Barbet 6, Manning 8; Ball 8, Cameron 8; Osayi-Samuel 8, Eze 8, Pugh 7 (Chair 61, 7); Hugill 7 (Oteh 90+4, -)

Subs not used: Lumley, Kane, Amos, Masterson, Clarke

Goals: Hugill 34 (assisted Manning), Eze 38 (assisted Pugh), Osayi-Samuel 71 (assisted Barbet), Chair 90+1 (assisted Manning)

Yellows: Osayi-Samuel 24 (foul), Cameron 41 (foul), Manning 80 (foul), Rangel 88 (foul)

Stoke: Butland 5; Smith 5, Batth 4, Chester 5, Martins Indi 6; Allen 5 (Ngoy 79, -), Clucas 6; Ince 4, Powell 7, Thompson 5 (Cousins 66, 5); Campbell 7 (Vokes 79, -)

Subs not used: Davies, Gregory, Oakley-Boothe, Collins

Goals: Clucas 27 (unassisted), Campbell 31 (assisted Powell)

Yellows: Clucas 55 (dissent), Smith 74 (foul)

Stoke 1 QPR 2, Saturday August 3, 2019, Championship

QPR got their season off to a winning start with victory at Stoke on the opening day back in August. Expectations were low after a big pre-season overhaul of the squad and further cost cutting, but when Bright Osayi-Samuel made the most of the first in a series of Jack Butland mistakes to start the season, new signing Jordan Hugill was presented with an early open goal to get things started. The second goal, at the end of a long passing move which started with goalkeeper Joe Lumley, was sublimely finished by Ebere Eze. Late nerves came in the form of a Sam Clucas goal and what looked like a blatant handball in the area waved away by referee Darren Bond, but QPR hung on for the win.

Stoke: Butland 5; Smith 5, Batth 5, Collins 4, McClean 4: Cousins 5, Allen 5, Clucas 5, Powell 5 (Gregory 5, 68); Afobe 4 (Ince 6, 71), Vokes 5 (Campbell 5, 81)

Subs not used: Federeci, Edwards, Martins Indi, Woods

Goals: Clucas 81 (assisted Ince)

Bookings: McClean (foul)

QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 6, Barbet 7, Hall 7, Manning 7: Cameron 7, Amos 7 (Pugh 68, 5): Osayi-Samuel 8 (Shodipo 72, 6), Scowen 6, Eze 8; Hugill 7 (Leistner 81, 6)

Subs not used: Kelly, Smith, Mlakar, Chair

Goals: Hugill 8 (assisted Osayi-Samuel), Eze 53 (assisted Cameron)

Bookings: Cameron (foul) 16, Scowen (foul) 22, Barbet (foul) 24

QPR 0 Stoke 0, Saturday March 9, 2019, Championship

After a torrid February in which injuries, fixture congestion, tough games and appalling refereeing came together in a perfect storm to derail QPR’s season, there was hope that a quieter March featuring home games against poor Stoke, Rotherham and Bolton sides would help ease Steve McClaren’s side back into form and through to a peaceful end of season. Things didn’t start well though, as Rangers toiled against ten-man Stoke for 82 minutes without ever looking like scoring after Sam Clucas’ early red card for a stamp on Josh Scowen. When Grant Hall went himself three minutes from time, the Potters actually came close to winning the game in the closing stages. Losses to Rotherham and Bolton followed and that was the end of Shteve.

QPR: Lumley 6; Cousins 6, Leistner 5, Hall 5, Bidwell 5; Wszolek 5 (Osayi-Samuel 46, 6), Scowen 4 (Shodipo 73, 5), Luongo 5, Freeman 6, Wells 5 (Furlong 89, -), Hemed 4

Subs not used: Ingram, Eze, Manning, Lynch

Red Cards: Hall 87 (two bookings, see below)

Bookings: Wszolek 45+1 (being a moron), Hall 60 (foul), Hall 87 (foul)

Stoke: Butland 6; Edwards 6, Shawcross 8, Batth 6, Martins Indi 6; Allen 8, Adam 8 (Williams 72, 7), Clucas 2; Ince 5, Afobe 5 (Diouf 85, -), McClean 5

Subs not used: Bauer, Fletcher, Bojan, Federici, Woods

Red Cards: Clucas 8 (being a moron)

Bookings: Allen 31 (foul), McClean 45+1 (being James McClean)

Stoke 2 QPR 2, Saturday November 24, 2018, Championship

Not the first time a QPR season has arguably peaked with an autumn showing at Stoke and slipped away downhill from there. QPR started and finished brilliantly, with a horrendous period in the middle, to secure a 2-2 draw in the Potteries in the first meeting between these sides this season. Nobody could quite believe Angel Rangel had made it as far forward as he had when he headed QPR in front in the first half, but Joel Lynch was soon rectifying the damage with a ludicrous pass out from the back that set up Saido Berahino for an equaliser. A poor start to the second half culminated in Joe Allen making it 2-1 with a goal that looked well offside, but Rangers responded well and equalised when Eze skilfully set up the onrushing Rangel for a thumping second.

Stoke: Butland 6; Edwards 6, Shawcross 6, Williams 6, Martins Indi 6; Woods 6; Ince 7 (Crouch 84, -), Clucas 6 (Bojan 72, 5), Allen 7, McClean 7 (Afobe 81, -); Berahino 6

Subs not used; Diouf, Martina, Fletcher, Federici

Goals: Berahino 21 (assisted Allen), Allen 60 (assisted McClean)

Bookings: Martins Indi 47 (foul)

QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 7, Leistner 6, Lynch 5, Bidwell 6; Cousins 6, Luongo 6; Wszolek 6 (Hemed 62, 6), Eze 7 (Hall 90+1, -), Freeman 5; Wells 6 (Smith 89, -)

Subs not used: Ingram, Scowen, Furlong, Osayi-Samuel

Goals: Rangel 7 (assisted Eze), 78 (assisted Eze)

Bookings: Lynch 3 (foul), Leistner 36 (foul), Bidwell 90+1 (foul), Cousins 90+7 (foul)

Previous Results

Head to Head >>> Stoke wins 13 >>> Draws 11 >>> QPR wins 22

2023/24 QPR 4 Stoke 2 (Dykes 2, Pearson og, Willock)

2022/23 Stoke 0 QPR 1 (Adomah)

2022/23 QPR 0 Stoke 0

2021/22 Stoke 1 QPR 0

2021/22 QPR 0 Stoke 2

2020/21 Stoke 0 QPR 2 (Austin, Kakay)

2020/21 QPR 0 Stoke 0

2019/20 QPR 4 Stoke 2 (Hugill, Eze, Osayi-Samuel, Chair)

2019/20 Stoke 1 QPR 2 (Hugill, Eze)

2018/19 QPR 0 Stoke 0

2018/19 Stoke 2 QPR 2 (Rangel 2)

2014/15 Stoke 3 QPR 1 (Kranjcar)

2014/15 QPR 2 Stoke 2 (Caulker, Kranjcar)

2012/13 QPR 0 Stoke 2

2012/13 Stoke 1 QPR 0

2011/12 QPR 1 Stoke 0 (Cisse)

2011/12 Stoke 2 QPR 3 (Helguson 2, Young)

2007/07 QPR 3 Stoke 0 (Leigertwood 2, Buzsaky)

2007/08 Stoke 3 QPR 1 (Vine)

2006/07 QPR 1 Stoke 1 (Rowlands)

2006/07 Stoke 1 QPR 0

2005/06 QPR 1 Stoke 2 (Ainsworth)

2005/06 Stoke 1 QPR 2 (Furlong, Langley )

2004/05 QPR 1 Stoke 0 (Cook)

2004/05 Stoke 0 QPR 1 (Gallen)

2000/01 Stoke 0 QPR 1 (Peacock)

2000/01 QPR 1 Stoke 0 (Thomson)

1997/98 Stoke 2 QPR 1 (Barker)

1997/98 QPR 1 Stoke 1 (Barker)

1996/97 Stoke 0 QPR 0

1996/97 QPR 1 Stoke 1 (Sinclair)

1984/85 Stoke 0 QPR 2 (James, Fillery)

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

1983/84 Stoke 1 QPR 2 (Allen, Fereday)

1983/84 QPR 6 Stoke 0 (Charles 2, Stainrod, Gregory, Stewart, Fillery)

1976/77 Stoke 1 QPR 0

1976/77 QPR 2 Stoke 0 (Bowles, Givens)

1975/76 Stoke 0 QPR 1 (Webb)

1975/76 QPR 3 Stoke 2 (Webb, Masson, Clement)

1974/75 Stoke 1 QPR 0

1974/75 QPR 0 Stoke 1

1973/74 Stoke 4 QPR 1 (Leach)

1973/74 QPR 3 Stoke 3 (Bowles 2, Givens)

1968/69 QPR 2 Stoke 1 (Leach 2)

1968/69 Stoke 1 QPR 1 (R Morgan)

1947/48 QPR 3 Stoke 0* (Hatton 2, Ramscar)

* - FA Cup


Clint Hill >>> Stoke 2003-2008 >>> QPR 2010-2016

This is a very similar signing to Shaun Derry in many ways. It’s a player at the wrong end of his career age wise, somebody who has not impressed when we have played against him in recent times and a limited footballer even in his prime. He is however very experienced at this level, known and liked by our manager, covering an area of the team that we’re lacking in, and cheap. As with Derry, and Leon Clarke, I cannot help but feel that we could and probably should be doing better than Clint Hill.

That's Clint Hill, as assessed by this site way back in 2010, on the day he signed from Crystal Palace. Don't ever say we don't roll out the red carpet for new arrivals. Or know what we're talking about.

There was little indication of the glorious season to follow at the start of that summer. Neil Warnock had turned things around in 2009/10 having arrived from Crystal Palace but the quickfire acquisition of Hill, Shaun Derry and Leon Clarke didn't exactly scream ambition and promotion. Hill and Derry, in particular, were both the wrong side of 30 and had been part of a Palace side that itself was almost relegated the year before — albeit with the considerable handicap of a points deduction and Paul Hart in charge for their final dozen games — and totally outplayed by Warnock's QPR at Selhurst Park in April. Derry had a particular nightmare that day, again with the caveat that he was trying to keep hold of Adel Taarabt and Akos Buzsaky.

Hill, 31, was only given a 12-month deal because he had an ankle "like a cement mixer". He was signed to play at left back, despite growing up at Tranmere and Oldham as a centre half, instead of Dusko Tosic, who'd impressed on loan from Portsmouth at the end of the previous season and was available on a free.

When Warnock first arrived at Crystal Palace he'd swapped his starting centre half, Leon Cort, for Hill from Tony Pulis' horrible Stoke side. Cort, who I quite rated, Warnock joked hadn't been booked yet that season and that would never do for his centre back. Typical bloody Warnock anti-football, signing a clogger from Stoke to kick people instead of a more talented, younger player. And now here it was happening to us.

Indeed, it was typical Warnock, we were right about that at least. Team over individuals, footballers over names, leaders across the park, dressing room spirit… by the end of 2010/11 QPR were champions, the seventh time Warnock had won a promotion from the second tier. Giving a speech in the dressing room at Watford's Vicarage Road ground after a 2-0 win in the penultimate match sealed the elevation, Warnock said Hill was a "fucking hero" after starting 45 matches that season.

The team had genuine ability, with the likes of Ale Faurlin, Adel Taarabt and Wayne Routledge better than anything else in the league in their positions. But it had a heart as big as a dustbin as well, with Derry, Hill, Paddy Kenny and Jamie Mackie absolutely key in Warnock's dressing room.

The wily old boss knew full well what it took to win promotions. It took people like Clint Hill.

It is easy to slip into the trap of talking about Clint Hill the leader as if that's all he is.

Vocal on and off the pitch in all the right ways, he went on to be an outstanding captain of QPR. As the club lost itself in piles of Malaysian and Premier League money, and lumbered itself with one self-absorbed footballer after another - interested only in the disgusting wages the club was forking out and not at all bothered whether they played or not, whether the club won or not, or what those who did care about that thought of them - Hill was a beacon of light. He carried himself with dignity, represented the club superbly, spoke with honesty and passion about the place and engaged with the supporters at a time when the club as a whole and most of his colleagues were moving away from those who cared most. Neil Warnock's wife Sharon said she hoped their son would grow up to be like Clint.

But that does a disservice to his playing ability, which quickly became apparent to the initial doubters and remains at a deceptively high level to this day.

Clint Hill is, first and foremost, a good footballer with a very decent left foot for a centre back, an undiminished ability to win the vast majority of the balls he competes for in the air and a reading of the game far superior to most centre backs in this league which always meant he could be relied upon for a timely interception and block. That, coupled with the leadership qualities, meant the defence was always more secure with him in it, right up until his final match against Bristol City. After leaving QPR he spent a season with Glasgow Rangers, scoring in an Old Firm derby and winning the club’s John Greig Achievement Award. After that he turned up at Carlisle, pushing 40, and was named the club’s Player of the Year.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s decision to release him in the summer of 2016 wasn’t the first time Hill had been written off at Loftus Road. Even Neil Warnock, surely one of his biggest fans, felt Hill was only going to be good for one more year, and contracted him accordingly. After promotion Rangers started chasing the so-called bigger names and better players, and Hill — who'd been sent off in an opening day thrashing by Bolton - actually spent the initial part of Rangers' return to the top flight out on loan at Nottingham Forest while Arsenal's Armand Traore settled into that position.

But after a 6-0 shellacking by Fulham, he was recalled, and put back in the team for a daunting visit from soon-to-be European Champions Chelsea. He was, of course, magnificent in a 1-0 win, and kept his place for the rest of the season, even when Warnock was replaced by Mark Hughes.

The spending only got more excessive, the names only bigger, the egos only more unbearable, when Hughes started moulding his team the following season. Hill and Derry joked that they'd know QPR were in trouble if either of them got back in the team. And so it proved. When the toads from Kia Joorabchian's client log sold Hughes, and QPR, down the river the Welshman turned to first Hill, then Derry, and finally Jamie Mackie as well as his reign fell apart. All three were better than the con artists and mercenaries that went before them, and Hill further endeared himself to the support by talking about his sadness at the direction the club, and the dressing room, had taken.

Relegation, apparently, prolonged Hill's career another year, back at "his level". But when QPR won promotion again in 2014, that surely would have to be that. Now 36, and only meant to stay for a year in the first place, another Premier League season would be beyond him. Of course it would. And besides, Rio Ferdinand was on the horizon. Arguably the nadir of QPR's shambolic, shameful approach to top flight squad building.

Needless to say, once again, it didn't go well and Hill, once again, was called for and, once again, turned in an outstanding effort. He even, finally, got the first Premier League goal of his career, a thumping header in a 3-3 draw at Villa Park. Although, as we know, he’d had a perfectly legitimate one ruled out by rank bad officiating in a crucial game at Bolton in 2012/13.

One torturous afternoon at West Brom, after which Hill himself admitted he couldn't handle left back any more and would have to be played at centre half from now on or not at all, and an afternoon of brutal schooling by Luis Suarez at Loftus Road apart, Hill has never looked his age, nor fitted with the perception of him.

He was that rare example of a modern day QPR player you felt cared about the result and how the club was progressing as much as we did, and we loved him for that. But more importantly, he was still the best all round centre back at Queens Park Rangers even at the point he was written off by the club for the final time and released.

Clint Hill had played at Wembley before. It had not gone well.

As a 21-year-old he’d been a defender learning his trade in a Tranmere Rovers team managed by John Aldridge which punched above its weight in the First Division, and was renowned for lengthy cup runs. In 2000 they went all the way to the League Cup final at the old Wembley to face Martin O’Neill’s Leicester City, beating Premier League Middlesbrough and Bolton on the way.

Leicester won 2-1. Matt Elliott twice came up from the back to head home at set pieces. Clint was sent off on the hour for a second bookable offence.

Hill was denied a redemption of sorts, albeit at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, in 2002/03 by the club he would later go on to serve with such distinction. It’s often forgotten that the loveable Scouser was part of Iain Dowie’s Oldham side beaten by that Paul Furlong goal on one of the greatest ever nights at Loftus Road.

He’d left Stoke City long before they started troubling Wembley occasions — the Potters lost to Manchester City in the FA Cup final of 2011 — and the Palace side he was part off lost a fractious 2008 play-off semi-final to Bristol City.

It seemed like it wasn’t meant to be. Palace are serial play-off competitors — their four promotions the joint most achieved through the end of season knockout along with Blackpool. If Hill couldn’t banish his demons at Selhurst Park, surely he wouldn’t find much more luck at Loftus Road. QPR, after all, had only been to Wembley four times in their history — twice for the same final — and won once, in 1967.

In 2013/14, despite the signing of Richard Dunne at centre half, and the addition of Benoit Assou Ekotto on loan from Spurs at ghastly expense to play left back, Hill completed another 46 matches. When Assou Ekotto, persistently half-arsed in his efforts for the club, once again cost QPR a goal through pisballing about in possession in a dangerous area at Brighton, followed by the traditional collapse and demand to be substituted with some mysterious injury or other, even Redknapp couldn’t tolerate him any longer and Hill was back in at left full back.

Along with Dunne, Danny Simpson and Nedum Onuoha he formed an impenetrable wall in the semi-final away leg at Wigan. One of the worst games in the short history of the play-offs, but a tie successfully killed which is what Rangers had set out to do. The home leg was no Oldham, but there was electricity in the Shepherd’s Bush air. Trailing by a goal after half time, it was Hill who was sacrificed - at the time, it was said, at his own insistence — to get the more attacking Yun Suk-Young on down the left side. Rangers won 2-1 in extra time.

At Wembley, Hill insisted on being removed. This time it was Gary O’Neil who saw red at the national stadium and that compounded a situation of Rangers’ own making. Harry Redknapp’s team selections, throughout the season, had often seemed to have been made with no regard for the opposition whatsoever, and frequently needed one, or sometimes two, substitutions at half time to get the side into the shape and system it should have been in to start with.

That was no different on the big day, where Redknapp’s insistence on picking his golden boy Niko Kranjcar despite his lack of first team action and hamstring injury meant the first change came after 23 minutes and saw left back Armand Traore come on. Another odd idea, playing Kevin Doyle wide, ended before the hour which meant that when O’Neil went off a short time later two substitutions had been used, and one attacking left sided player had already been brought on. Redknapp had worked himself into a position where either he had to take Bobby Zamora off three minutes after bringing him on, or take off top scorer Charlie Austin.

Hill’s demand that he be replaced instead, allowing Traore to come to left back, was self sacrifice on the highest stage, and helped swing the final dramatically into QPR’s favour despite the numerical disadvantage. He now stands on the touchline himself, as assistant manager at Fleetwood Town, and will maybe one day return to Loftus Road to manage the side.

Hill, choked, said afterwards: “13 years ago I let a lot of people down here, I got sent off and didn’t get a chance to go up those steps. I’ve regretted it throughout my career. These lads have made me a very proud captain today, by giving me a chance to get up them steps and rectify an error I made. I got a chance to lift a trophy at Wembley Stadium, something I never thought I’d do.”

In the process, Hill followed Mike Keen as the only QPR captains ever to have walked our team up the steps at Wembley Stadium. If there’s never another, the honour couldn’t have gone to anybody more deserving.

Others >>> Asmir Begovic, QPR 2023-present, Stoke 2010-2015 >>> Morgan Fox, QPR 2023-present, Stoke 2020-2023 >>> Josh Laurent, Stoke 2022-present, QPR 2013-2015 >>> Jack Clarke, Stoke (loan) 2021, QPR (loan) 2020 >>> Jordan Cousins, Stoke 2019-2021, QPR 2016-2019 >>> Geoff Cameron, QPR 2018-2021, Stoke 2012-2019 >>> Mark Hughes, Stoke (manager) 2013-2018, QPR (manager) 2012 >>> Jay Bothroyd, Stoke (loan) 2008, QPR 2011-2013 >>> Peter Crouch, QPR 2000-2001, Stoke 2011-2019>>> Jason Jarrett, Stoke (loan) 2005, QPR (loan) 2007-2008 >>> Chris Barker, Stoke (loan) 2004, QPR 2007-2008 >>> Andrew Davies, QPR (loan) 2005, Stoke 2008-present >>> Richard Johnson, Stoke 2004, QPR 2004-2005 >>> Paul Peschisolido, Stoke 1994-1996, QPR (loan) 2000 >>> Tony Scully, Stoke (loan) 1998, QPR 1998-2001 >>> Mike Sheron, Stoke 1995-1997, QPR 1997-1999 >>> Mark Stein, QPR 1988-1989, Stoke (loan) 1991, (loan) 1996-1997 >>> Simon Stainrod, Stoke 1987-1988, QPR 1980-1985 >>> Gary Bannister, QPR 1984-1988, Stoke 1993 >>> Paul Barron, Stoke (loan) 1985, QPR 1985-1988 >>> Robbie James, Stoke 1983-1984, QPR 1984-1987 >>> George Mountford, Stoke 1946-1950, QPR 1953-1954 >>> Des Farrow, QPR 1948-1952, Stoke 1952-1954 >>> John Bowman, Stoke 1899-1900, QPR 1901-1905

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