One of the matches played during the Summer Tour in 1986 was in the small Swedish town of Hoganas, the place where I have lived all my life. Hoganas, with a population of about 25,000, is located in the south of Sweden, 15 miles north of Helsingborg and 50 miles north of Malmo, Sweden’s third town. The game was played at Julivallen on Saturday, 2nd August. This happened to be the day of my aunt’s 30 birthday. My aunt lived just short of 160 miles from me in an area of Sweden where my family spent most summers.
I tried in vain to talk my parents into going home and skipping the birthday party or to put me on the train home. Getting home by train would have meant changing trains once during the trip and also taking the bus the last 15 miles. It doesn’t sound too hard, but I was eleven years old at the time. ‘Maybe you can go to England and watch them play when you get older’ were the encouraging words from my mother. She was right after all. The story from the game could have ended here but thanks to Mikkael Jonsson, a Hoganas player at the time and nowadays on the coaching staff of the club, I was able to borrow some memorabilia from the game back in 2003. He and two other players in the Hoganas side also told me some anecdotes from the day.
The first mention of the match was in the local newspaper, ‘Helsingborgs Dagblad’ on 19th March. The Hoganas BK chairman told the paper that they had a choice between Nottingham Forest and QPR, and quickly decided on QPR. In an attempt to attract a bigger crowd to the game, Hoganas normally had an attendance of about 250, the club tried to get former Swedish internationals Bjorn Nordqvist (born in 1942, 115 caps) and Ralf Edstrom (born in 1952, 40 caps and 15 goals) to strengthen their side. This fell through the day before the game and the Hoganas amateurs, a fourth division side, had to rely completely on their own players. The match programme had a presentation of QPR in Swedish. Some of the facts were incorrect, but translated it read something along these lines:
‘Queens Park Rangers will be the first English side to visit Hoganas. An extraordinary day awaits. QPR, from a part of London called Shepherds Bush are just over 100 years old, being founded in 1885. The first years were spent in the shadows of the famous clubs Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea. The club won the Third Division in 1948, gaining promotion to Division 2 where they were to spend the next five seasons. 1966 the club was back in the Second Division and also won the League Cup after beating West Bromwich in the final.The team came from 0-2 down to win 3-2.The year after the club won promotion into the top tier, but only spent one season there.
Among the club’s great players from that era were tricky forward Rodney Marsh, the goalkeeping brothers Ron and Peter Springett, Les Allen and Roger and Ian Morgan.
1973 the club once again won promotion into the top ttier, and this time they were to stay. In 1979 Terry Venables became manager and success was to follow. In 1982 the club got into the FA Cup Final, forcing Tottenham into a replay. The club also played in the UEFA cup during this era. When Terry Venables joined Barcelona in ’84 a temporary downfall followed, but present manager Jim Smith managed to turn things around and this spring QPR played in the League Cup final, losing by one goal to Oxford, beating Liverpool on the way to Wembley.
Today’s QPR side is very even in strength, but a couple of players stand out. Captain Terry Fenwick has several caps for England and came close to a World Cup ticket to Mexico. Mick Robinson is an Irish international whose former clubs include Liverpool. The goalkeepers are English youth international Peter Hucker and the rising star Paul Barron.
QPR have always been known for playing an open and attractive kind of football and we are in for a nice evening. A man not to be forgotten is chairman Jim Gregory. He took up his position about 20 years ago and without his commitments for his beloved club most success would never have happened. His visions and positive approach has been there during his years as chairman.’
QPR won the match 6-0 in front of a crowd of 1,161. The Swedish amateurs still recall the physical English style of football, with the use of elbows and going into challenges studs first. Hoganas had a few scoring opportunities themselves. Jonsson, mentioned earlier, had a shot that hit the crossbar and one that Hucker turned out for a corner via his left hand post. Jonsson also recalls being rewarded for his shot off the bar by getting an elbow on the back of his head by Alan McDonald following a corner a couple of minutes mater.
The exact QPR team on the day was never written down by Hoganas. The match programme are missing three of the goalscorers, but Steve Wicks is mentioned despite having been sold¬† to Chelsea earlier in the summer. Apart from Wicks the programme includes the following players:
Peter Hucker, Gary Chivers, Ian Dawes, Gary Waddock, Alan McDonald, Terry Fenwick, Robbie James, Gary Bannister, Mick Robinson, John Gregory, Wayne Fereday, Martin Allen, Steve Burke, John Byrne and Paul Barron. Also playing were Alan Brazil, who had joined from Coventry¬† during the summer, Trevor Hebberd and Mel Sage. Fenwick didn’t play after returning injured from the World Cup. He was in the England squad despite the match programme saying that he wasn’t.
I have also learnt that in a previous match on the tour two days earlier, Justin Channing, Leroy Rosenior and a young player called Mark Loram played so they may have been involved as well ? The goalscorers were Robinson, Bannister , Hebberd, Waddock, Brazil and Sage.
There was an article about the match in the local paper the day after. A couple of QPR players that got mentioned: ‘…the defensive work of veteran defender Robbie James and the hard work put in by forward Mick Robinson. Robinson did only play 45 minutes but his replacement was not bad. A gentleman by the name of Alan Brazil…
After the game both teams were treated to a meal by the town of Hoganas. To the astonishment of the QPR players, there was no steak or meat served. In Swedish midsummer times the town council thought that a herring sandwich was more appropiate. And professional athletes don’t drink alcohol, do they ? To avoid the Hoganas players embarrassing themselves, the available drinks were mineral water, coffe and light beer. There was also a slideshow of photos from Hoganas and its surroundings held by one of the town’s representatives.
For the teams this was a somewhat abrupt end to a nice day. The year after Hoganas played Nottingham Forest, again losing 6-0. After the match Brian Clough’s men took a quick shower, sneaked out through a back door to avoid the autograph hunters and went on the team bus. But that’s a different story.
About the Images:
1. The ground ‘Julivallen’ is located pretty central in Hoganas and was opened back in 1928. The brick wall was there from the opening. The small Stand that you see to the right replaced an old yellow and brown wooden Stand a couple of years after QPR played there.
2. This pic was taken during a National Day celebration in the 1940’s and shows a part of the old Stand.
3. I took this one of the QPR pennant and match poster in the club office.
4. And lastly one of the pitch.