The 1929-30 season is best known for being the season that George Goddard scored 37 goals in 41 league matches – a goals-per-games ratio that is unlikely to ever be matched by another Rangers striker – and also for being the season when Loftus Road was closed due to crowd disturbances with the home game versus Coventry having to be played at Highbury as a result.
In the FA Cup that season, Rangers won their 1st Round tie away at Luton Town 3-2, with Goddard scoring one of the goals. Two weeks later, the 2nd Round tie versus Lincoln City was played at Loftus Road on Saturday, 14th December. The ‘Willesden Chronicle’ reported on the game the following Friday:-
‘Lincoln had the better of the goal-less first half, but it was Rangers who came closest to scoring when George Rounce beat 3 opponents to shoot and hit the post. The ball rebounded across the goal and initially the referee gave a goal. The Lincoln players protested and, after consulting both linesmen, the referee reversed his decision and disallowed Rounce’s goal.
After 54 minutes, John Burns scored for Rangers with a low shot on goal. This livened the game up significantly and Burns scored again midway through the half with a great shot. One minute later, the home team were awarded a penalty after George Goddard was brought down but shot the kick directly at Kendall in the Lincoln goal, who saved. With 6 minutes to go, Maidment headed in a goal from a corner to score for Lincoln but Rangers hung on to win the tie 2-1 in front of a 13,097 crowd.’
In the next round, Rangers were drawn away at Charlton Athletic and drew 1-1 at the Valley with Goddard scoring. In the replay at Loftus Road however, Rangers lost 0-3 to go out of the competition.
George Goddard was undoubtedly the greatest Rangers player of the inter-war period. He was top scorer for 7 consecutive seasons and, despite it being over 75 years since he played for the club, he can be considered an all time Rangers great. His signing from Redhill in the summer of 1926 did much to re-inspire the Rangers faithful after an appalling 1925-26 season that saw the club finish bottom of the Third Division (South) and having to apply for re-election after finishing 14 points behind Charlton. This was the second time in three seasons that re-election had to be applied for and was widely regarded as Rangers worst ever season. To top it all, the club also forgot to enter for the forthcoming 1926-27 FA Cup competition ! This combination of misfortunes were some of the reasons that the club decided to try and change its luck by switching colours from green and white hoops to the blue and white hoops now synonymous with the R’s, in the summer of 1926.
Goddard had scored 69 goals in his final season as an amateur at Redhill and went on to score an incredible total of 174 goals for Rangers in his 243 league games between 1926 and 1933. At the time of his signing, although a butcher by trade, he was working in a bus garage. Goddard was spotted initially by John Bowman in 1924, but he stayed on with Redhill as an amateur for two more seasons before signing professional terms with Rangers in 1926. Bowman was a Rangers player from 1901 to 1905 and by the 1920’s and early 30’s he was a club director and also, briefly, team manager. In the spring of 1931, Goddard by then was a real crowd favourite and widely admired by many other clubs,and married Bowman’s daughter.
After the financially disastrous period from 1931 to 1933 at the White City Stadium, where average attendances were under 10% of the stadium’s capacity, by the summer of 1933, Rangers were back at Loftus Road and were £34,549 in debt. In the last few weeks of the 1932-33 season circumstances were so bad due to very low attendances that the most junior director of the time, Albert Hittinger, had to ask the players to accept reduced wages of £4 per week until the club could afford to repay the balance owing. Thus there was little choice but to sell Goddard and in late 1933, he joined Brentford. He went on to also play for Wolves, Sunderland and Southend.
Sadly there does not appear to be any moving footage of Goddard but, for the Rangers fans of the 1920’s and 30’s, he was a real hero and a great goalscorer.
Thanks to Steve Bacon for the scan of the match ticket. This is the oldest ticket that is known to exist for a match at Loftus Road. If anyone has one from an earlier game, we would love to see a scan of it.
John Marks’s, ‘Heroes in Hoops’: An excellent source of biographical information and data on QPR players.
Gordon Macey’s, ‘Queen’s Park Rangers – the Complete Record’
Mark Shaoul’s, ‘The History of Queen’s Park Rangers’
Reg Hayter: ‘The Official History of Queen’s Park Rangers’
Steve Russell for the image of the cover of the Lincoln programme
The photos of George Goddard are taken from the QPR handbooks of 1926-27 and 1930-31. Thanks to Peter Ascher.