The name Derek Buxton is familiar to many QPR fans who are old enough to have read the match programmes in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. A couple of weeks ago, we received the sad news that Derek had passed away on Saturday, 23rd January, 2010 at the age of 74, following a short struggle with cancer. He is survived by two daughters and a son.
Derek was a QPR legend in his very own special way. His regular “Statistics” feature in the official match programme is legendary for the incredible amount of detail and facts about QPR players and playing history. He would write the most detailed and sometimes even strange facts about games played in the past against the opposing team in question. He would regularly inform the reader how the R’s had done in games played on that particular date in the past etc. He would often manage to include a funny angle into these facts. The fact that he supplied his statistics feature in the programme for a total of 28 years is a record that will be very hard to beat.
The background to these facts was his “ledger” in which he made his notes, and which contained all the facts about the history of QPR. The background work to all that was laid down from 1968 onwards, when Derek was asked by QPR to try to reconstruct the playing history of QPR following a fire which had destroyed or badly damaged the club’s own records. The hours spent on this were many and long and he deserves all the credit for that job that one can think of.
Derek was born in October 1935 and started following QPR regularly from 1946 onwards. For decades he attended every home match apart from a period in the 1950’s when he was doing his National Service and stationed in Germany. The support of QPR in the family will continue through one of his daughters, who is also a lifelong fan.
Apart from the programmes, my first direct contact with Derek was in 1990 when I sent him my first letter or ‘snail mail’ as Derek would call it. Over the years, we exchanged numerous letters and then later, emails about the R’s, but also many other things in life. He would be as detailed and accurate in his response to an ignorant foreigner who knew nothing about cricket and wickets, bails and bowlers or in his own manner to explain to me the old British monetary system with shillings and pence. He was always prepared to help anyone who contacted him with any query regarding QPR. I will always remember his kindness and patience in supplying me with information to numerous statistical questions. His motto was: “No to drugs, Yes to QPR.”
One feature that was typical of Derek was that he always replied quickly. I remember one snail letter in particular which started like this: “Thank you for your letter which arrived five minutes ago – sorry for the delay in answering but I had to read it first !”A few years ago this characteristic lead to a situation where someone sent the Police to check on him as they hadn’t received an email from him for a while. It turned out that due to some technical problem with BT he couldn’t access his emails ! Derek had a good laugh about it.
It may come as a surprise to many that at least in later years, football was not his first choice sport. Football always came second to cricket or “the game where not a lot is happening” as he put it. A Test Match on TV would take preference to a football match anytime. Football would only get promoted after the cricket season had ended.
Derek had a wonderful sense of humour and loved a good laugh. I’m painfully aware of the fact that I’m not able to present that side of his character. As I write this, and even though this is a sad occasion, I feel that all this would be lacking in something unless it contained a joke. So I will include one which was among the very last ones he sent me, just a few days before he passed away. I do so because I’m quite sure that Derek would have approved.
‘A refuse collector is driving along a street picking up the wheelie bins and emptying them into his compactor. He goes to one house where the bin hadn’t been left out and in the spirit of kindness and after having a quick look around for the bin, he gets out of his truck and goes to the front door, knocks but there’s no answer.
Being a kindly and conscientious bloke, he knocks again – much harder.
Eventually a Japanese man comes to the door. “Harro !” says the Japanese man.
“Gidday mate, where’s ya bin ?” asks the collector.
“I bin on toiret” explains the Japanese bloke, a bit perplexed.
Realising the fellow had misunderstood him, the bin man smiles and tries again.
“No Mate ! Where’s your dustbin ?
“I dust been to the toiret, I toll you” says the Japanese man, still perplexed.
“Listen,” says the collector/
“You’re misunderstanding me, where’s your ‘w h e e l i e’ bin ?”
“Ok, Ok” replies the Japanese man with a sheepish grin on his face and whispers in the collector’s ear. “I wheelie bin in bed wiffa wife’s sista !”
Kenneth Westerberg – Finland
QPR match programme subscriber since 1975