My happiest and best times were at QPR, even though I played for six Clubs during my career. It’s just a shame that they’re not that appreciative of what we achieved. The Supporters Club had a 25th anniversary dinner for us but the club has done nothing up until now although I do get well received whenever I go there. There’s still plenty of fans that appreciate what we achieved. I got all the players to attend a game against Sheffield United a couple of years ago, but that was my doing, nothing to do with the Club.
I get invited to Palace more often – four or fives times a year, but Rangers haven’t done a lot. This weekend will make up for that. We always felt we should be appreciated a bit more. People at the club talk about Stan Bowles and Terry Venables but they came well after us. They’re not the people who put the club where they are. We feel we’re the ones who put the Club on the map. Rodney Marsh, Les Allen and Roger Morgan are the ones who deserve the recognition. We were being watched by only 3,000 people until we took us to the final and a crowd of 100,000. I suppose that game was the finest moment of my career although I’ve had other very good times, such as when I was transferred to Wolves to play First Division football. I felt I was close to playing for England at one stage.
It’s obviously a highlight. Not everyone plays at Wembley and not everyone scores a winning goal. I’ve got a video of the cup final and it’s a vivid memory. I’ve got wonderful memories of it. We were in a hotel in Lancaster Gate the night before and had a quiet night in and got up early to go for a walk the next morning. We jumped on a coach and had some terrific laughs on our way to Wembley, seeing the crowds as we looked out of the window. It took the nerves away, seeing our fans. I remember four guys in mourning suits carried a mock wooden coffin with ‘West Bromwich Albion’ written on it – all the way from Westbourne Park to Wembley. The procession got longer and longer and by the time we got to the ground there were thousands following this coffin. Cars alongside us were all painted in blue and white. People were on the kerbs cheering us. We thought we were royalty. It was a good laugh.
I remember it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining so much that when you see a film of the match, one side of the pitch is too bright to see the players. After the game we went back to the hotel and there was a big party. To be honest, we’d thought we’d done a good job just getting to Wembley and that the result was secondary. It wasn’t until we walked in at half-time 2-0 down that Alec Stock reminded us that we should be enjoying it more and that we could still win it. And that’s exactly what we did. We had a very good side, mind. I could have had a hat-trick that day. I had a volley from a corner kicked off the line and I hit the post late on in the second half. At 2-2, we knew were going to win it and I think West Brom did as well. Everybody sensed that we were going to get another goal.
I got the ball from Ronnie Hunt and flicked the ball up with the outside of my foot. There was a load of spin on the ball as it went in the air. The ball ran through to the keeper but Ronnie kept going and collided going for the ball. It bounced out to be and all I had to do what put it into the back of the net. Marshy thinks it would be ruled out for a foul on the keeper now and that Ronnie would have been sent off in today’s game, but I think it was a legitimate goal. When it went to 2-2 the crowd started chanting ‘we want three’ and when the third went in they started chanting ‘we want four!” We were given tankards as winners but I don’t have mine now. I stuck all my silver trophies in a bag two or three years ago because I don’t have a cabinet. It got left near the bins and I think most probably a dustman picked it up. It wasn’t very well looked after I must admit.
Mark Lazarus was talking to Gazette sports editor Yann Tear