I awoke that sunny spring morning and made every effort to convince myself that I was not still dreaming. The R’s were at Wembley in the League Cup Final. My ten years of dedicated support was about to be rewarded. The first thing I did was to rush round to the Newsagents in Askew Road and buy a copy of each national newspaper to read the match previews. Then a quick breakfast, early lunch and off to the game decked out in my blue and white bobble hat and scarf, with half a dozen of my friends and fellow fans.
The trains were packed and the walk down Olympic Way was a sea of blue and white (West Brom had the same colours) I had never seen anything like it in my life ! Where were they all when we played Coventry City at White City in May 1963 in front of just 3,245 people I asked myself ? Inside Wembley, the majority of QPR supporters were massed at the Tunnel end. There were numerous banners on display,there was much chanting of ‘Rodnee’ and the “Drum” was beating out loud. The Stadium was at full capacity and when the teams entered the arena there was an explosion of sound from both sets of fans. R’s players had never before in their history walked on to a football pitch to such a crescendo of noise.
The game got underway, West Brom were on top and were leading 2-0 at half time courtesy of the ex-Rangers left winger, Clive Clark. Oh Clive how could you do this to me ? My childhood hero, scorer of one of the greatest goals ever to be seen at Loftus Road when we beat Tranmere 9-2 in the 1960/61 Season. I kid you not, he beat seven players and scored ! Tony Hazell was having a nightmare at right back trying to control him and had come in for the injured Ian Watson. When the 2nd half commenced, none of our group was downcast because in a number of games that Season, the R’s had recovered from being 2-0 down.
Hopes were raised with half an hour to go when a Les Allen free kick was headed in by Roger Morgan….1-2. The R’s pressed forward attacking the Tunnel end and where most Rangers fans were massed. The threat of the West Brom forwards, Clark, Hope and Astle seemed eliminated. Rodney Marsh got the ball outside the West Brom penalty area ….there were plenty of defenders against him but he weaved and he swayed….he dribbled the ball in a confined space, mesmerising everybody then hit a precise shot….cue chants of ‘Rodneee’ and mass jubilation….2-2. Onwards Rangers came and in the final stages, Ron Hunt the R’s centre half, chased a through ball and clashed with their keeper. No foul, if it was good enough for Nat Lofthouse it was good enough for us. The ball ran loose to Mark Lazarus who drove it home. 3-2, yes we had won it, Bedlam !
Up to the Royal Box went the captain Mike Keen followed by the rest of the team. After what seemed a strange delay, the trophy was held aloft to an outbreak of massive cheers. Off went the players on a lap of honour and off went a beaming Alec Stock in a different direction towards the dressing room…curious ? I am sure when the team reached our section of the terracing, Rodney gave me a special wave !!! Once the lap of honour was completed, the 40,000 or so R’s fans spilled out of Wembley. There was much celebration in Shepherd’s Bush that night although most still found time to break off and watch the highlights on ‘Match Of The Day’ (black and white of course with Ken Wolstenholme) A magnificent achievement, QPR the first 3rd Division side ever to win a major Cup Final at Wembley and beating a West Brom side which included seven of the same players that defeated Everton in the FA Cup Final the following year.
Bernard Lambert (Kerrins)