Despite being a regular reader, I’ve never contributed to the Indy R’s website before, but following a chat with Indy R’s stalwart Paul Finney about my family background and its long term love affair with QPR, I was coaxed to share. So spare me the indulgence if you will.
Edward Evans, my great-grandfather, was a former caretaker of the White City estate, and lived in both the estate proper before moving to a property on the corner of Ellerslie Road and Bloemfontein Road before his death.
A WW2 Normandy veteran (Middlesex Regiment), he was born near the Half Penny steps on Harrow Road and had watched QPR since the 1920’s. His son, Roy Evans and my grandfather, a greengrocer by trade and a fellow ‘R’ would go on to have a shop on the Uxbridge Road for several years in the mid-60’s and early 70’s.
Edward would take his grandson (Ted, my father) to QPR where they would sit in what was then the ground’s main Stand, Ellerslie Road. My father also grew up in the White City Estate and joined the QPR boys’ team before moving to Ireland.
Although there are no photos, my dad says his fondest memories of the time were being given a Mars bar by Rodney Marsh for cleaning his boots and swears blind that he was taught how to trap a ball by the Morgan twins on the Loftus Road pitch itself.
On my mother’s side, we have lived on Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill for over a century and continue to do so. Prior to the influx of immigrants from the Caribbean in the 1950’s, at the turn of the 20th century Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove had a surge of immigrants from the Iberian Peninsula, including my maternal grandmother’s family from the north of Spain.
Unbelievably, the QPR appreciation in my mother’s family comes from my grandfather, Peter Liversidge who despite being born in Bedlington, Northumberland, settled in West London in the early 50’s and took to supporting his local team, QPR.
Peter Liversidge would go on to be a trade union spokesperson for London Transport and spent nearly 20 years driving the number 7 bus, inevitably dropping off his fair share of R’s fans on their way to a game as the number 7 made its way to East Acton.
I’m the fourth generation supporting QPR and sit next to my father in F Block, South Africa Road. Born in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (Queen Charlotte’s in Stamford Brook), I’ve not strayed too far and now work in Shepherd’s Bush.
Although the first game I saw was against a pre-Alex Ferguson Manchester United, I’m afraid to say that I can’t remember much of it. I was only five at the time. However, the first game I do remember was against Arsenal in February 1988. Jim Smith was in charge and we had the wonderful ‘FLY KLM’ kit. The game has particular resonance for me because I went to the match with my father, uncle and cousin, the latter of which were part of the North London tribe of our family and consequently were Arsenal fans.
As we were walking to the ground before the match, the Arsenal first team coach stopped at a set of traffic lights right in front of us. My cousin and I made a beeline for the coach and stood right next to it proudly displaying our different teams’ kits.
We got a round of applause from several players and a wave from Arsenal’s then number nine Alan Smith. Needless to say for a seven-year-old that was the day’s highlight as the match ended up a bore draw, but something stayed with me that day. I’m not sure if it was the compact stadium or the welcoming family feel that Loftus Road is synonymous for, but from that day I was well and truly hooked.
(The top pic features Edward Evans senior and junior. Lonsdale Road, W11, is pictured below that and dates back to the late 60’s/early 70’s. The bottom one shows my dad and I and was taken in the mid-80’s)