Tommy Ray’s 1956 Open Letter to the Queen’s Park Rangers Manager

The following letter from Tommy Ray of the Goldhawk Road, appeared in the West London Observer on 14th December 1956:

‘Dear Jack Taylor – What is the future for the Rangers? Gates are down, and floodlighting does not seem to be the answer.

At the time of writing your team has only scored 24 goals in 20 league matches, and there are only four clubs with a worse record in the Third Division South.

The reason for the lack of interest in the club is simply that the Rangers are a poor and uninteresting side, with no flair for getting GOALS. For years this has been the root of the trouble. To win the championship a team should aim to get 100 goals.

I have watched the lads play over a number of years and, in spite of my letter, will continue to do so; but how I would welcome some colour, some change of ideas, anything but the same humdrum fare that is served up at the Bush.

How can this welcome, but radical, change be brought about? May I humbly suggest a completely new approach to the art of getting those all-important goals?

First of the most important changes should take place in the forward line. As I see it, the Rangers are a bunch of goal-makers instead of a bunch of goal-getters.

The flicks of Balogun are delightful, but the very slow, deliberate style of Cameron is a handicap to the rest of the line. Leslie Locke is a good player, but he is spending too much time defending.

Longbottom, in all the games I have seen him play, has never impressed. He is poor in the air, easily knocked off the ball, and not aggressive.

Peter Angell will never be an outside-left. With that beautiful left-foot of his Angell will always be a half or a back.

Tom Quigley is a basher and a plucky player who, given the right help, could be 100 per cent more effective.

This is the move that might pay off; shift Mike Hellawell to inside-right, buy a good outside-right (if you haven’t got any cash experiment with Dean or Knibbs).

Tell Locke to save his energy for scoring, and restore Kerrins to the outside-left position.

And, finally, it’s not too late to win the Division Championship.
Yours,
Tommy Ray,
Goldhawk Road’

The following day the R’s drew 1-1 at home to Reading.

There was a period during March and April when we scored just three goals (all in one match against Southend) in eight games!

Rangers finished the season in tenth position and Jack Taylor continued as manager until May 1959. Alec Stock replaced him three months later.

Steve Russell

(My thanks to Colin Woodley for unearthing Tommy Ray’s letter)

3 thoughts on “Tommy Ray’s 1956 Open Letter to the Queen’s Park Rangers Manager

  1. I would have been eight in 1956. I certainly remember Peter Angell, one of my favourite players at that time, and Arthur Longbottom, later Langley, if only for his unusual name, guaranteeed to appeal to a child. Best of all, attendances were such that I could easily run up and down the terrace of the Loft from the tea stand at the top where my dad and his pals hung out to the edge of the pitch and back, whenever I felt like it. An interesting letter, and maybe today’s Rs are also short of ‘goal-getters’.

    • Clark. nice comment. Ah that climb up the terrace from the boys pen to the Loftus Road Tea Bar! They sold the best cheese rolls I have ever tasted in my life and only four old pence too!

  2. Interesting article and more so to me the comment about Arthur Longbottom. I first started going in Sept 1957 as an eight year old and was struck by the amount of “stick” from the adult members of the crowd given to Arthur Longbottom in certain games. Personally I thought he was our best goal scorer and his career record stats are impressive. However although a subsequent hero at Port Vale and Oxford Utd at QPR surprisingly he was not a crowd favourite.

    In that 1957/58 season things had not changed much from 1956!. We certainly were not a goal scoring team and lacked punch in the forward line that’s for sure. However the defenders were all good players.

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