Rangers did not compete in the 1926-27 FA Cup competition because the club secretary forgot to submit the entry form in time ! The R’s could of missed out again years later for very different reasons. In 1981 the club installed a plastic pitch at a cost of £350,000 which proved to be very controversial. Nigel Clarke wrote the following article which appeared in the Daily Mirror on 24th November, 1981:
‘Queen’s Park Rangers are ready to pull out of the FA Cup. Chairman Jim Gregory made that clear yesterday during a Press conference that produced a two-point ultimatum to the Football Association.
On the day the FA gave permission for ties to be staged on Rangers’ controversial artificial pitch “for the 1981-82 competition only” Gregory blasted back: “If they refuse to consider one or either of our options, QPR will withdraw from the competition.”
The options are:
1 – If Rangers are drawn at home on January 3 they will offer to play the tie on a neutral ground.
2 – That the FA agree to a three-year trial period for ties on the pitch, similar to the Football League’s trial period.
Gregory went on: “I am very disappointed with the FA decision. Our gates are up and our supporters are all telling us they like the new surface. We put it down to make the club viable. It’s the best thing we have ever done. I’m amazed at the anti-reaction. I didn’t want to be a pioneer. I’d have given someone £50,000 to do it first. We didn’t have to spend £2 million on better players if we had thought the pitch could have won promotion for us.”
Added Gregory: “When Rangers came second in the First Division a few years ago, clubs complained about the mud on our pitch. When we were nearly relegated the following year our players complained about the mud on the pitch.”
Gregory now feels that he has no option but to launch an official appeal and that will be made today. The FA are still not convinced that the artificial surface does not give Rangers an unfair advantage. Their secretary Ted Croker said: “No club will have the right to refuse to play there. The decision was not unanimous, but we have said that the ground is suitable.”
Both Crystal Palace and Leicester have said they would not play at Loftus Road if drawn there in the Cup.’
Rangers drew Middlesbrough in the 3rd Round and after a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road on 2nd January 1982, won the replay 3-2 after extra time. Ironically Crystal Palace were to be the visitors to Loftus Road for the quarter-finals. Then following the defeat of West Brom at Highbury, the R’s finally made history by making it to an FA Cup Final, but things could quite easily have been very different.