1951 Youth Team International Tournament Winners In Germany

With the U18/U16’s travelling to Germany last July, this reminded me of an interesting story that Maurice Fitzgerald passed on some time ago. Someone had told him that their father was in a QPR Youth side that had won an International Cup Tournament in Germany many years ago. He had some pictures which Maurice passed over to the Club. Apparently the trophy was similar to the old massive European Cup. The article from the Club never materialised and sadly there is no trace of the Cup either !

Recently by chance, I came across the following article in the 1951/52 Club Handbook written by Alf Ridyard, who was the then Chief Scout, former player and who also assisted around the Office. Well done to the QPR Youth players who did the Club proud over 50 years ago and if anyone knows what happened to the Walter Bensemann International Youth Cup or has any further information, please get in touch.

About a fortnight before Easter, the Club had an invitation from the FA to send a Youth Team to take part in a Tournament at Karlsruhe in Germany. The other competing Clubs were from Switzerland, Austria, France, Bavaria and Karlsruhe. This was rather short notice, but we accepted the invitation and crossed to Germany on Thursday, 22nd March. We had a pretty fair journey and on arrival at Karlsruhe, were taken to our Hotel and introduced to the German idea of a decent dinner, large helpings of fillet steak, onions and other vegetables. After a reasonable rest, we went along to the Ground and to the surprise of the German Officials, our boys did a bit of training to loosen themselves a little after the long journey.

We played our first two games on Easter Saturday. In the morning at 10am, we played the team that had won this Tournament for the past 4 times, Wacker from Vienna, who were again the favourites. We drew the game 1-1 but I was quite confident of our chances as I knew we could play much better. In the afternoon at 3pm, we played Karlsruhe and though we only won by a score of 2-1, this in no way represented our superiority. In the semi-final on Easter Sunday, we were drawn against Wacker again and this time defeated them 2-0. After the game, the Viennese who were very annoyed at being beaten, rather lost their heads and would have commenced fighting but our boys kept cool in true British fashion. As a result of this, the Wacker team left the field in a very dejected manner !

We played the final game on Easter Monday immediately before a German First Division match. The Ground was full before our game started, a capacity crowd of 33,000 (nearly all seated) was present. A high wind made playing conditions difficult, our boys more than held their own and at the interval were beating Munich (Bavaria) 1-0. After the interval, when we kicked against the wind, we played much better and added a further goal which gave us a well earned 2-0 victory. After the game we were presented with a Trophy by Dr. Schrieker, the Secretary of FIFA, who gave high praise of our team, not only for their ability as footballers but also for their sporting behaviour throughout the games.

During our short stay (which as you will realise, was rather exacting having to play 4 games in 3 days), the German people treated us royally. We had plenty of good food and a banquet was arranged at the Karlsruhe Town Hall, which was attended by all the competitors. We also made a visit to the Opera House and on Tuesday we spent the day visiting the Black Forest. On arrival, we were amply repaid for our journey with another splendid meal. Speeches were made by several of the Officials and all were very liberal in their praise for our boys who have been invited to defend the Trophy next year.

We were only allowed to take 15 players and 2 Officials on the trip. Mr W.F.Turner was the Director in charge and I acted as the Trainer etc. The players were:- Readwin, Woods, Richardson, Crickson, M.Powell, Williams, Jordan, Robinson, Kenny, Burton, Nicholas, G.Davies, Marshall, Scrivens and Birch

Steve Russell

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