My 50 Years Of Support For QPR FC (7th September 1957 to 7th September 2007) Part One

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The date, Saturday 7th September 1957, Harold Macmillan the British Prime Minister informed me that I had, “Never had it so good” and dressed in my smart short grey flannel trousers and school blazer flushed with two shillings a week pocket money, perhaps he was right. Furthermore, as a bonus, I was being taken to my first ever football match at Loftus Road, QPR v Brighton & Hove Albion in Football League Division 3 (South)

My Father was a shift worker in those days and even worse, a Fulham supporter so I was attending the match with my best friend, Mick Stone and his Father. Although Mick and I were both eight year olds, unlike me, Mick was already hardened to R’s culture and adversity. The previous week he had travelled to Southend to see us lose 6-0 and was around during the 1956/57 campaign to witness the departure of our star winger, Mike Hellawell to Birmingham City. What, QPR FC selling their star wingers to other Clubs ? Can this be ?

We stood over the top of the Ellerslie Road terrace exit and watched the white shirts/navy shorts of the Rangers lose 1-0 to the yellow shirts of the Albion. The red jersey of Keeper Ron Springett suffered minor bloodstains as he cut his arm in a clash with a Brighton Forward…..so as Mao Tse-tung once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Thereafter for the remainder of 1957 up to 1962, the Boys Pen was my domain (sorry Bill Power but I was there first !) In those days, young kids could go to the match with their friends. The admission was cheap and in the main we were all within easy walking distance from the Ground. The Journeymen team of the late 1950’s (no offence to Pat Woods, Tony Ingham, Keith Rutter, George Petchey, Peter Angell, Ron Springett, Bobby Cameron, Pat Kerrins etc, you were all my heroes) evolved under the management of Alec Stock into the nearly men of the early 1960’s.

Oh the pain of those promotion near misses in 1960/61 and 1961/62, Clive Clark, John Collins, Brian Bedford, John McClelland, Bernard Evans et al, you deserved better reward and personally, I could have done without all that childhood trauma as well. Yes, the great might have been. The taste of many a fine cheese roll from the Loftus Road Tea Bar and the exciting sounds of the tannoy Pop Music (courtesy of WG Stores in Shepherd’s Bush Market) was not much compensation. Love is blind.

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In any proper relationship, you have to accept ‘Warts and All’ but believe me folks, it was virtually ‘All Warts’ for the 1962/63, 1963/64 and 1964/65 Seasons. The fans hoped for the best and the players tried their best. The Club made an attempt to move into an up-market venue at the White City. We even had a rich millionaire, John Bloom, desperate to takeover (Mr Paladini eat your heart out) Alas, success there was none. President Kennedy was shot but looking on the bright side, on that very same weekend, the R’s came back from being 4-1 down to get a 4-4 draw at Luton ! Take a bow Stuart Leary, Terry McQuade and Malcolm Graham) and through it all our goal scoring icon, Brian Bedford, carried on regardless. It was still far too much teenage angst for me, surely better days were coming soon ? Cilla Black seemed to think so and yes a sweet Loftus Road lullaby was on its way.

Bernard Lambert (Kerrins)

Checking the record books, the attendance for Kerrins first game was 11,139 and the team lined up as follows:- Springett, Woods, Ingham, Petchey, Rutter, Andrews, Kerrins, Longbottom, Finney, Smith and Angell. Cecil Andrews (shown above) was nicknamed ‘Archie’ after the well known ventriloquist and moved to Sittingbourne after the arrival of Alec Stock. Edward Smith was born in Marleybone and played part time as he owned a number of Newsagents in London. Charlie Finney was born in Stoke and only played 10 league games for the R’s, scoring one goal before his transfer to Crewe Alexandria. The other players who turned out that day are more familiar. The Brian Bedford pic is a Press photo from the match at Loftus Road against Newport County in September 1960.

‘Quality…Progress…Realisation’…that’s what the 1962/63 Season Ticket application stated. Inside, were details of the Stadium’s amenities such as:-

Continuous covering all round the Ground

Seats for nearly 11,000 and a “comfortable” capacity of 51,000

First class restaurants for meals before and after the game

Snack bars and licensed bars plus good sanitary arrangements

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The White City’s centrally situated Olympic Enclosure offers access by lifts, escalators and stairs to wonderful lush lounges, bars and buffets. There are 300 numbered seats in the heated, glass fronted enclosure……It was also stated that an Open Day would be held when ‘interested supporters can inspect all facilities’
In stark contrast, just a few years earlier, the 1958/59 Handbook includes an article titled, ‘No More Drips’:-

‘Something of a major operation was carried out during the close Season when a complete new roof was fitted to the Main Stand. No more will Stand patrons have to turn their coat collars up when the rain is pelting down (an incessant drip down one’s neck can be most irritating), no more will a shower of rust descend on the unhappy occupants when a hefty clearance results in the ball thudding on sheets of corrugated iron which have long ceased to warrant the term ‘galvanised’. Instead a gleaming new roof awaits them……..’
The White City dream wasn’t to last very long but as the Club enters a new era it may once again signal further talk of moving to a new Stadium ?

Steve Russell



39 Responses to My 50 Years Of Support For QPR FC (7th September 1957 to 7th September 2007) Part One

  1. ChrisPTenner says:

    Great story and pictures, in particualr the one of the White City Stadium.Younger readers, the stadium was situated where the Tescos now is, as you enter South Africa Rd from the White City tube end.

    And a Finney played for us ?? I wonder if he was a ‘real fan’??

  2. linda08 says:

    Fascinating piece of personal history Kerrins. Thanks for sharing your memories, and looking forward to hearing more. Good old WG Stores! They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

    Cheers, too, Steve for the pictures and stats. What a great motto “Quality, Progress, Realisation”. Something to aspire to, especially nowadays!

  3. Liamoliam says:

    Bernard
    Many thanks for sharing your memories. I can recall that era with fond memories and it seems like only yesterday. I remember the motto which inspired me to write to the club suggesting “Quality Produces Results”. I got a note back thanking me for my suggestion together with a copy of a match programme which was probably surplus to requirements! I wish now I had of kept it.
    Best wishes

    Bill Wilson

  4. Steve Zico says:

    Great memories Kerrins.
    That’s White City how I remember it, also the South Africa rd terraces.
    ‘Archie Andrews.
    I think he had an ‘Off License’ when he retired.
    Ledbury rd/Westbourne Park rd.

  5. Fawny says:

    Excellent! I too saw some games at The White City when I was a lad, I always hoped we would move there and do basically what Chelsea did at Stamford Bridge, ie square off the stadium and make it into a football ground.
    Mind you, who could have guessed as we left White City what a story was to unfold just 2 or 3 years later?
    Wouldnt it have been great to take our place in the First Division in 1968 with a ground like that?

  6. Nathan NI says:

    I find these old articles really interesting to me as a younger fan, especially being a ‘foreigner’.

    Nice to see a site with a real interest in the club and it’s heritage.

    Great work.

  7. Bill Elkins says:

    Such evocative memories Bernard. Thank you very much for sharing them with us. I think that I was at the Newport County game – Amber shirts Black shorts and an old Welsh international at full back called Alf Sherwood. Did anyone spot that wonderful winger Clive Clark in the background?

    Thank’s again.

    Bill.

  8. Thanks for all your comments folks…and Steve Russell thanks for your input.

    I hope you will all enjoy Part two. It is more of a success story!

  9. jj says:

    What an interesting read. Lest we ever forget what an important part of our lives QPR plays. Not just now but the great memories we share with our families and fans alike. Thanks Kerrins.
    Looove the pictures.
    Looking forward to part 2.

  10. pete-ranger says:

    Superb Bernard, great times, even if we weren’t that good.
    I really don’t know how you manage to remember everything, I can scarcely remember who was playing last season.
    Coincidentally, my first ever game was that Newport County one in 1960.
    I’ve no idea what the score was, do you?

  11. Spooky says:

    Just a few years ahead of myself. All sorts of memories of White City, including going to the dogs in the early seventies.

    My dad always used to park his car in the cinder car park on the opposite side of Wood Lane to the WC.

    And of course my uncle ALWAYS went to WG after the game to see what new releases they had. What time did the market close in those days?

  12. Funky says:

    Once again another terrific article well done Steve and all that contribute to the outstanding content on this website.

    100% really enjoyed reading that top pictures as well.

  13. eileenhoops says:

    fantastic story kerrins , cant wait for the 2nd half , really interesting for someone who wasnt born till 1969 to read x

  14. finney says:

    Thank you Kerrins for working on this and with the images from Steve.
    This should be read by all football fans not just R’s .
    A true great that puts Nick Hornby and his ilk to shame.
    Please cut and paste this all over the web as many people as pos should read this.

  15. julia says:

    Brilliant, thanks Bernard.

  16. Colin

    I think you would have been to one or two games at the R’s BEFORE me…. remember your Father was a true and loyal Supporter…but as you say 59/60 was approx the time the “Kelmscott group” used to go together.

    I dont recall the drunk Irish Guys incident but I think the Dodgy goalkeeping match at White City may have been against Bristol Rovers Lost 5-3? Peter Springett or Frank Smith?. The record books will need to be checked on this one!

    Whilst posting I think I amongst others should now apologise to you for coming round early one Sunday Morning in Jan 1962 and knocking you up for a game of Football when you and your Father had not long been back from Burnley after seeing the R’s get beat 6-1 in a third round cup tie at Turf Moor.

    How were we to know that you wanted a lie in bed!!? lol

    regards Bernard

  17. Colin lol

    White City Pitch Invasion…v Northampton? lost 3-1? BBC NEWS Cameras were there. One of the few games played that weekend during the Big Freeze of ’63

    I will have to log off now…Too much strain on my memory banks!

  18. Steve Russell says:

    Colin…Just looked up that Burnley Cup tie…as you say,Bernard Evans scored the goal…good crowd of 28,352 that day.
    Do you remember what sort of Rangers turnout there was ?
    Must of been a fair few if there was a special train.
    Alan Barnes was talking about that incident at White City. He was also saying that the cameras were there.

  19. Steve Russell says:

    Just asked Alan again about the White City incident and he said that when Brian Bedford was nutted by the centre half,John Kennedy came on and chinned him.
    Kenneth Wolstenholme in his commentary said something like,”A fan is on the dogtrack,he’s now on the pitch and he’s hit a Northampton player….”
    When he went to Court he was asked why he had done it, he told the Judge because he had head-butted Brian Bedford who was his favourite player.

  20. Delroy says:

    Congratulations Kerrins, really liked the write up, thanks to steve also.

  21. Irish Jack says:

    Steve Russell take a bow. I have been reading this and the respondent posts from readers and I feel like I have egg on my face. Is it alright to mention Arsenal on this holy ground site? I am not a Rangers supporter..but I have a love unrivalled for Shepherd’s Bush, I WAS a war baby there in 1944. Non-nationals were literally running out of London when the bombs were dropping and my old lady God bless her was running in the opposite direction from Cork with me under her arm and she then got a job at the munitions factory in CAV in Acton. Does that stamp my passport? I hope so. Unintended circumstances made me an Arsenal supporter. However, reading Steve’s memoir and Colin Woodley and Bernard Lambert’s memoirs of Rangers playing at White City plus other equally valid posts from readers I unhesitatingly congratulate Steve on his 50 years of supporting Queens Park Rangers. The team is irrelevant, the man or woman who takes up the cry and stays true is what matters. I take my hat off to you Steve and no doubt there are senior men to you who I’m sure you hold a relative respect for. It’s like that old boy, the octegarian, often seen on camera who supports Newcastle, I would like to shake his hand and buy him a pint. Though I know Steve and Bernie are a long way from achieving such maturity.

  22. Jack

    Thanks for your comments…BUT its still egg on your face here! lol

    Its MY 50 years… Ahem Steve Russell is not quite as old as me!

    I presume typographical error.

    Kind Regards
    Bernard

  23. Irish Jack says:

    My deep apologies…the blame has to be put on unexpected Sunday night drinking Murphys whilst her indoors suddenly became ‘her Outdoors’ when she took on a holy pilgrimage to Knock with my daughter. How could a sprog like Steve Russell possibly be older than the great Bernie Lambert ? Congratulations Bernie on your fifty years of supporting Rangers.

  24. Steve Russell says:

    I’m just a newcomer with a mere 47 years of support !!!

  25. John Storey says:

    Just come across your article whilst looking up old Rangers players. Bobby Cameron was my first hero and then Arthur Longbottom ( changed his name to Langley for obvious reasons ). I can remember Eddie Smith (hopeless)and Tessie Balogan (even worse)but I loved it down there and still do. Saw 0-0 draw with Northampton at White City and the only good thing about the day was we saw in the evening paper we got 4 aways on Littlewoods and won about 14 bob.When I think of all that’s happened at Rangers since the middle fifties it’s amazing – all the ups and downs but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cheers

  26. Kerrins says:

    Hello John. I have only just seen your comment to my article.

    Yes Eddie Smith really got “stick” from the R’s spectators back then. Some of the language was too much for this sensitive 9 year old. lol He did however have a reasonable scoring record at his other clubs Colchester Northampton and Watford but at Centre Forward for us it was one goal in over 20 first team games…and there is still debate whether or not he scored in that 5-1 win at Northamton in Nov 57. His Ginger hair made him stand out whenever he missed “sitters”

    Bobby Cameron was a cultured player and class inside forward..much has been written about him.

    Arthur Longbottom did not seem to be greatly appreciated by the Loftus Rd crowd despite his decent goalscoring tally over a number of years. He appeared to do better at his subsequent Clubs and I know from sources that he was a favourite at Port Vale. Personally I thought he was a bit over rated but never the less he was a good club servant for QPR FC

    Tessie Balogan was one season before my time.

    I have to correct you on that game against Northampton at White City Feb 63..We lost 3-1..and a Fan invaded the pitch!

    Yes those days are long gone..but certainly not forgotten by some of us eh?

    Bernard Lambert

  27. Paul Harris says:

    Great memories Bernard
    I’ve been watching the R’s since 1957 & have most of your memories. The last thing you mentioned about the fan invading the White City pitch to square up to a Northampton player, I remember that so well & it was Stuart Leary who grabbed hold of the supporter to hand him over to the stewards
    Like your self Tessie Balogun was a year before I started going
    Paul H

  28. Kerrins says:

    Thanks for your comment Paul H.

    I wonder if we both stood in the LR Boys Pen back then in 1957…as our young eyes started to watch QPR History unfold lol

    Bernard Lambert

  29. John Henebury says:

    I can remember my first visit to QPR. I was 11years old
    it was qpr vs aldershot 31 January 1948.
    the team was Reg Allen, George Powell, Arthur Jefferson,
    Ivor Powell, George Smith (Capt.) Harry Daniel,
    Bill McEwan, Fred Ramscar, Danny Boxhall, Cyril Hatton,
    Johnny Hartburn. It ended in a 0-0 draw, but a week later I went to QPR vs Luton 5th round FA cup, and many
    games after that.

  30. Andy Wardle says:

    Holy shit Kerrins, I didn’t twig you were the one and the same person/player. Vic Gibbons would’ve seen you play heaps. He started going in 1946. Great read and your follow up comments.

    Total respect mate. Lived the dream and sharing the views. I love the badge on your playing jersey. Maybe not quite as good as our latest but…… (You know my dry humour)

  31. Kerrins says:

    John Henebury. Thanks for your comments

    I would have loved to have gone to Loftus Rd in the 1948 era and watched all those famous players from the post war QPR history….but my parents would not let me out of the pram

  32. Kerrins says:

    Andy… lol

    Yep Pat Kerrins the goalscoring left winger with the Teddy Boy hairstyle left a lasting impression on me.

  33. Neil Kaufman says:

    Hi

    Hope you are all well, nice to see QPR doing so well.

    I’m trying to establish some stats for PETER ANGELL

    League apps and goals (I have seen both 408 League apps and 417 League apps with both 37 goals(I beleive mostly from penalties)
    FA Cup apps and goals
    League Cup apps and goals
    Other Cup games apps and goals

    This for a book Im doing on Leyton Orient

    Best wishes

    Neil Kaufman
    Honorary historian Leyton Orient
    neilkaufman@succeed.co.za

  34. Mike Montague says:

    Hallo there, folks.
    I see that I’m in excellent company with some old-timers as far as support for the R’s is concerned!
    I thought I was doing pretty well in the “Old Supporter” stakes, but I see John Henebury was younger than I was when he first saw the Rangers in 1948, but my first attendance by myself was at age 13 at the game v. Northampton in November 1947 (1-0, goal scored by Billy McEwan). For my earliest attendances I used to go in the Loftus Road end stand about twenty feet from the announcer’s box. Later, as a budding goalkeeper, I used to get to the ground as early as poss before each game to lean on the fence as close to the centre of the goal as I could manage to watch Reg Allen in close-up action – or, of course, the visitors’ goalie who might be good, but never as good as Reg Allen. When Reg was transferred to Man U there wasn’t the urge any more so I took to standing around the half way mark up on the south Africa Road terracing.
    I have just contributed to the comments on Reg Allen’s Experiences,which I hope would make interesting reading if you want to have a look there.
    One’s memories, of course, are going to be fullest of the characters who we watched back around then.
    Apart from Reg Allen, Reg Saphin was a sound back-up keeper.
    Arthur Jefferson, barrel-chested tough full-back; there are photos on this site of him at his fish-and-chip shop, but I am certain that at one time he had a newsagent/tobacconist shop near what I think was a Westminster Bank branch at the Acton Vale/Old Oak Road corner at the Askew Arms.
    Don Mills, classy inside forward. Not everyone liked his style of play, dribbling the ball was too fancy for the majority of a Third Division and you could have been fooled into thinking his real name was actually Getridofit Mills.
    My favourite other than Allen during the late 40′s and 50′s was Cyril Hatton. I got to know him quite well conversationally when I was working at the branch of Boots the Chemists in Uxbridge Road which was opposite the end of Lime Grove. (My spies plus Google StreetView tell me there is still a Chemist shop there.) He was suffering from a slipped disc and was picking up medication there.
    Tony Ingham. Of course! Couldn’t leave out Tony Ingham.
    I was at the game when another favourite, Reg Dudley, broke his leg. Your could hear the break on the other side of the ground, quite sickening.
    Ernie Shepherd, cheeky winger. Saw him score a hat trick against Grimsby.
    Arthur Longbottom has already been mentioned above. Whatever happened to Tommy Best, the chubby black forward?
    I remember a couple of League games at White City, plus a cup-tie v Nuneaton.
    Arthur Jefferson being sent off v Bury. Their right winger was a really dirty so ‘n so and was getting away with murder and finally Jefferson ‘lost it’ and kicked the guy in the orchestra stalls and went for an early bath. Later in the game Reg Allen pulled off the greatest flying save I have ever seen, and the whole crowd, visiting team and even the ref and linesmen were applauding.
    But I’ll leave with that. There are many other players and events to mention but I think I’ve taken plenty of time and space.
    I haven’t been supporting R’s as well as I might have in the last 45 years because since 1966 I’ve been living in Melbourne! But I pick up every scrap of news I can and have watched all the available TV coverage I can.
    If I’m allowed back on site after I’ve used up so much of this site’s valuable space I might have another ramble through the late 40′s and the 50′s and early 60′s
    and see if I can stir up some fond memories of the boys for the fans of this site. All power to it!

  35. Kerrins says:

    Hello Mike just browsing through the comments section and belated I have only now noticed your post…Great read.

    You are spot on about Arthur Jeffersons Newsagents. In the 1950′s I lived nearby and always got my comics there.

    By the way did you ever witness that Clive Clark wonder goal at Loftus Rd in Dec 1960 when we beat Tranmere 9-2. If so I would love to hear you opinion and description of it. Gordon Macey (QPR historian) for me does not do it justice.

  36. geoff donald says:

    My dad took me to the R’s in 1937 and said “If you hear anyone swearing son ignore it”. R’s v Fulham with Ronnie Rooke. They lost 5-2. The days of Dickie March and Sam Abel. I used to go to every home match in the 40′s and ’50′s; now the tension is too much I love them and agree with Shankley’s comment on football you should know that !

  37. Kerrins says:

    Thanks for your comment Geoff Donald. Yes over the years I too have suffered bouts of the tension syndrome!

  38. Sean Reddington says:

    Loved the read, although I dont go back that far I have great memories of my first match at LR. My dad had taken me to a couple of Fulham games but I begged him to take me down the Rs it was a mid week FA Cup game 74/75 with the smell of cigars and my rosett pinned proudly on my chest my future was set, through a 10yo eyes i didnt think much of Gerry Francis (I was only 10) but fell in love with the greatest winger ever to play Dave Thomas. I did get to visit White City before the bulldozers moved in and Im sure Stan was there Too that night!

  39. Kerrins says:

    Thanks for your comment Sean Reddington..Parts two and three nearer your era.


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