I had met Ron Springett briefly at a Youth Team Kit Sponsors Evening and through his daughter Terry, an interview was then arranged prior to the Millwall game a few years ago. Mark Jamieson kindly agreed to come along and help out with the recording etc. We all sat down in Bobby Ross’s office and the first part of the interview follows:-
SR: Ron, you were born in Fulham and your first team was Victoria United. Who were they and did you support anyone as a boy ?
RS: They were a local Sunday league team. I didn’t follow anyone as a kid but me and a mate used to bunk in down at Chelsea.
SR: You joined the Rangers in February, 1953 and played over 140 league and Cup games in two spells, do you remember your first match for the R’s ?
RS: I remember there was Stan Gullan, Harry Brown, Alan Silver, who was an England Schoolboy International, and me. I was fourth choice. When I left school, I went to work as an apprentice as a motor mechanic. We used to play football outside during our lunch hour and I used to dive around on the concrete ! My mate said to me: “You should take this up” and he wrote off for a trial for me. He wrote to Fulham and QPR. Fulham were the first to reply. It wasn’t a fair trial really as they stuck two of us in goal and they had Johnny Haynes shooting in. He was putting the ball in between us, so I was going for it and so was he. We looked like fools ! They said that I was too small and could I come back in a couple of years.
The Rangers then wrote back and said that they were having their trials. I sat down in the old Stand and there were hundreds of us. With about 20 minutes to go, Alf Ridyard and Jack Taylor, the Manager, said: “Has everyone been ?” I was too shy, but I ended up going in goal. I made two or three good saves and after the match, he said that he wanted those chaps to come back next week. My name was there, so I came back the following week to play a whole match and done pretty well. He said: “We’ll be in touch.” I didn’t hear anything for weeks and weeks. I was off sick from work with tonsillitis and went to the doctors to get off the register to get back to work. Rangers then phoned me up and asked if I could play at Watford in a Youth Cup game. I said that I was supposed to be back at work, so I went back to my doctors to get a certificate for another week off work. I played at Watford but broke my finger after 5 minutes. I carried on playing and done alright. We beat them 1-0 I think ? It went from there and I signed professional the following day.
SR: You played under three different QPR Managers, Jack Taylor, Alec Stock and Tommy Docherty. What are your memories and thoughts about them ?
RS: Alec Stock was a quiet man. He wasn’t like the Bolton Manager, effing and blinding. He would pull you to one side and say this or that. If you weren’t doing that properly, he would show us how to do it. He was a very, very, nice fatherly figure, a bit like Alan Brown from Sheffield Wednesday when I was there.
Jack Taylor was also quiet. I thought that his tactical sense of the game was very good, but other than that he was ordinary day-to-day Manager.
Tommy Docherty was bad news ! Alan Harris, Bobby Keetch and that lot were there. Someone had written to the Press about his tactics and they weren’t right, so he put us in the Reserves. One of the players said that if the Manager’s 1st team want to play us, we’d give them a game and that annoyed him even more. After that I had one year left on my contract. I said: “No, I’ve finished, I’ve been here long enough.” So I packed up.
SR: When you returned to the club, there were characters like Bobby Keetch and Mark Lazarus. Any funny stories, who were the characters around in the 50’s ?
RS: Pat Kerrins was the winger, he was supposed to be the Best Man at my wedding but he got dropped.
SR: Wasn’t he from your area ?
RS: Yes, Fulham, Lilley Road. Peter Angell turned out to be the Best Man at my wedding in the end. They were all good people and we had a good laugh. Always phoning up players pretending to be top Reporters ! Yes, Bobby Keetch and Mark Lazarus were right characters as well.
SR: Bernard Lambert would like to know if you really did live in Galloway Road ?
RS: That’s right. I think it was number 15. All the kids lived in digs back then. I think the club were paying a fiver a week. I was living with a nice couple, Mr and Mrs Beard who had twin daughters. I was there for two or three years.
SR: Stan Sykes, who lives in Australia, told me that he bumped into Bobby Cameron a few years ago.
RS: He was a star man when he was here and he said to me when I got into the 1st team: “Ron, I bet within two years when you leave this club, you will be playing in the England side.”
SR: Somebody else would like to know what Alec Stock’s team talks and training methods were like ?
RS: His team talks were a bit like Alf Ramsey’s really, very interesting. He went right into the basics of football, stuff we should of known but after he’d done the talk, we found out we were doing the wrong things at the wrong times. Training wise, he was very mad on running, up and down the terraces, which was the fashion then.
SR: Do you have any memories of your relationship with the fans, funny stories ?
RS: They always cheered you on. I had a bad game at the end and they really slated me. I think it was against West Brom, everything went wrong that day.
SR: Do you know of any ex-players that still come to games ?
RS: Gordon Quinn comes down every other match.
SR: Who were your own heroes ?
RS: My favourite goalkeeper was Bert Trautmann. I played in his Testimonial match which I thought was a privilege. I used to enjoy throwing the ball out quite accurately and he taught me how to do that.
SR: I know that Reg Allen was before your time at Rangers, but did you ever come across him ?
RS: I saw him once when I was doing some training. He had left by then but he walked into the dressing room, dressed immaculately and said: “Can someone give me a football ?” It was pouring down, we were ankle deep in mud and he said that he was going in goal. A few apprentices were there and they were shooting at him. He was diving all over the place, it amazed me.