I was 19 at the time and the years between 1964 and 1968 I think, were the best ever (I hope my wife understands) Everything was great, we were a Club on the up, Gregory was Chairman, Stock was the Manager, Keen was Captain and for a 3rd Division team, we had one of the League’s biggest stars, Rodney Marsh. Life was good, the music around then was brilliant. The Rolling Stones were and still are, my favourite band. Janis Joplin was just becoming well known although tragically, not for long.
My Dad was also Rangers through and through and he used to go to games with his mates in the 50’s and then with me and my mates. Although he had faded away slightly in attending games, he was at Birmingham for the 1st Leg Semi Final. Beating them had become easy and so the R’s made it to Wembley. It wouldn’t be my first visit there as in the early 60’s, Schools used to get tickets for Schoolboy Internationals. In those days, it was easy to drive to and park at the Stadium, so we jumped in Dad’s car and arrived at Wembley at around 12.30pm for the 3.30pm kick off.
A hell of a lot of Rangers fans had walked to the Stadium from Kensal Town, led by a well known family named Orsmond. Their friends and relatives had become famous for banging the drum on the half way line at Loftus Road. I used to stand behind them and once again at Wembley, me and Dad sat behind them. As we saw at Cardiff in the Play Off Final when we had over 30,000 fans there, people will turn out for Finals. I think we still hold the record for the most tickets sold by one Club at Wembley, 44,000 against Oxford in 1986. In 1967, my Sister went to her only ever football match, complete with hand made QPR bonnet. Getting to the Ground 3 hours before kick off would normally mean most of that time would be spent having a drink. But on that day there was just too much to take in. It was to be my Dad’s last game as he passed away 3 years later. It was good for both of us that we had seen the R’s win at Wembley, together.
Everyone knows how the game panned out. One of our greatest players, Clive Clark who had previously been sold to West Brom, had given them a two goal lead. Rodney’s great overhead kick had been ruled offside, Roger Morgan’s headed goal, Rodney’s brilliant dribble and finish followed by the winner from my own personal favourite at the time, Mark Lazarus, with a lot of help from unsung hero, Ron Hunt, He was one of QPR’s hardest ever players who saw off many a centre half coming into the Club ! Other things stick in my mind, like Lazarus laying out Williams twice I think, giving his famous ‘palms up’ sign to the Rangers fans when getting stick from the opposition supporters. The players going up the 39 steps to receive the Cup and their tankards followed by Mike Keen raising the Cup to the fans. Then there was the lap of honour, Rodney crying, Jim Langley, it’s all coming back ! Nowadays after such a victory, it would be back to the pub with mates and celebrate for hours but me and Dad got back into the car, went home, then waited and waited for Match Of The Day to see highlights of our greatest day.
Sunday morning meant buying all the newspapers. This current Season is my 49th but to me on that day in 1967 we won our only major trophy. I have seen the R’s in four Finals (including Cardiff), promoted five times and win two trophies in Europe, Bruges and Ibiza, but that day, 4th March 1967, will always be THE day. It put QPR on the map and for one reason or another, have never been off it.