Remembering Stanley Hudson

Alf Parkinson told me some time ago about a player who had sadly died whilst he was at QPR. He recalled that there was a large crowd in the Bush the day of his funeral. According to the Memorial Match programme, Stanley Hudson was born in Fulham on the 10th February, 1924. He died on the 21st June, 1951 aged just 27. There is an interesting story in the home programme against Fulham in 1949 about how Stan first got involved at Rangers.

‘Stan first took an interest in Queen’s Park Rangers when he learned that his school chum George Powell, had transferred his affections from Craven Cottage to Loftus Road. On being demobbed, Stan called at this ground and asked for a trial. This was in August, 1947. He played several times for our second team that season and on September 25th last, he was signed as a professional. His first meeting with our Manager, however, had taken place four years earlier in rather amusing circumstances. Mr Mangnall and Mr Alf Ridyard were on Police duty in Hammersmith Broadway and decided to question a lad in civilian clothes, obviously of military age, who had been standing around the Broadway for some time, thinking he might have been a deserter. After looking at the lad’s papers, Mr Mangnall was satisfied that he was in fact, a Merchant Seaman, on leave. That lad was Stan Hudson and when he came to the ground the incident was recalled, so they gave a trial to the lad whom they had tried to send for trial four years ago.’


He soon became known as ‘Soapy’ after the well known brand of soap and made his 1st team debut in September 1948 against Brentford. Stan went on to make 10 appearances and scored 4 goals that season. He also played 22 times for the Reserves and netted 8 times. The following season which tragically was to be his last, he made 13 1st team appearances and scored 4 goals. Additionally, he played 37 times in various Reserve, Combination Cup and Midweek League games and scored 28 times. Stan became ill and was then forced to retire. The Club stated in the West Ham programme at the start of the 1951 – 52 Season: ‘All supporters will have learned with deep regret of the passing of Stanley Hudson. Our heart felt sympathies go out to his widow and young son. The Club have decided to set up a Trust Fund to secure to some extent, the future of “Young Stan” and in due course a match will be arranged for this purpose. More about this when further details have been settled.’

The details were announced the following year in the Leicester City programme as follows:

‘The football match in aid of the Stanley Hudson Memorial Fund will be played on this ground on Monday 28th April, kick off 6.15pm. QPR League side will play Alec Stock’s Eleven which will include several ex-Rangers. Arthur Jefferson has agreed to play in this match and it is hoped Reg Allen will also take part. Our supporters will remember how Stan Hudson died after a painful illness just when he was on the threshold of his career as a professional footballer and it was decided to set up a Memorial Fund to be administered for the benefit of Stanley’s young son. Make a note of the date, 28th April, and come along that evening.’

According to the team changes noted in the programme, the R’s lined up as follows: Brown, Poppitt, Ingham, Heath, Spence, Farrow, Muir, Hatton, Addinall, Stewart and Shepherd. There are no team changes shown in the programme for Alec Stock’s X1: Allen, Tyler, Jefferson, Powell (I), Aldous, Mallett, Newcombe, Phillips, Rees, Brown and Flint. The Supporters Club section stated that, ‘Yes – Stan was indeed “one of us” – and we were proud to welcome him as a member of the Supporters Cluba local lad, his heart and soul were with QPR.’ It also mentions that his Membership number was 368. The programme notes go on to say: ‘It was during the summer of 1950 when the club first learned that “all was not well” with Stan, for after he had been examined at a local hospital, Stan was advised not to start training. After further examinations he was advised to give up professional football and take less strenuous employment. Stan played football because he loved the game and the doctor’s advice came as a very bitter pill to him, so much so that the club decided to get a second medical opinion. Unfortunately, that second opinion confirmed the first and the club learned afterwards that the examining specialists predicted almost to the day, the date of his death.’

Two Directors and a member of the Supporters Club Committee agreed to act as Trustees of the Trust Fund. A Trust Deed was drawn up and an account was set at a local bank. The programme recorded that £215 7s had been raised so far. Apart from the donations, there was also a game at the Stonebridge Recreation Ground and a local cricket match to help raise money for the Trust Fund. If anyone knows where he is buried or has any further information then please get in touch:
Lastly, thanks to Steve Bacon and Moreno Ferrari for lending me some of the memorabilia I’ve included for this article.

God Bless Stan.

Steve Russell

25 thoughts on “Remembering Stanley Hudson

  1. I remenber “Soapy” and always thought he would develope into a star winger.
    I believe he died on the day I was “demobbed” from National Service, towards the end of June 1951 (can’t remember actual date -although have not forgotten day called up!) One of the first things I did arriving home that Thursday was to buy the Evening News to discover the shattering item on the sports page.
    I attended the funeral the following week–if I’m correct it took place at a cemetery in the Uxbridge Road HANWELL area.I well recall GEORGE POWELL generously paying my bus fare on the journey back.
    Not sure if details of Stan’s affliction were ever disclosed but at the following Supporter’s AGM DAVE
    MAGNALL said if he had lived he would have gone blind and become a vegetable -not a nice thing to say ,but in this case death was a merciful release.

    I trust the above has been of some help ,only wish I could remember more -but as they say TEMPUS FUGIT and none of us get any younger.

  2. An interesting but sad account of a player so young who was Rangers through and through. It must have been devastating.
    So near yet so far.
    I guess £215 and 7 shillings was a tidy sum back then, with 2d for the programme!
    The memorabilia looks the part Steve.

  3. Great read Steve.

    I’m glad you posted up an account of this sometimes overlooked part of our immediate post war history.

  4. Sad story of one of our own. I suppose his son would be around sixty now. Wonder if he supports the R’s?

  5. Further to the recollections of Edward Watts (above).
    There are a couple of cemetaries on the Uxbridge Road itself in the Hanwell area. Kensington & Chelsea cemetary and Hanwell cemetary are opposite each other on the same stretch of the Uxbridge Road where it meets up with the Broadway.
    Chances are that Soapy is buried there.
    I think I’ll have to investigate that one…!

  6. Hello Moreno..I got a phone call yesterday from someone who lives in Hanwell and had located it mate

  7. Ron Stone told Kerrins that he remembered him living in Stebbing Street,Notting Hill for a while.

  8. reply to bevn yes his son was a big Rs fan and he would have been 63 on the 10th july
    reply to dom his mum would not let him play football as she blamed football for her husbands death so when he was old enough he joined the merchant navy
    please could anyone tell me where i can get a copy of the programme i would love to have one to show my son who is also a lefty….

  9. Peter
    I’ll take a look and see if I have a spare copy of the programme in my collection for you, if not will a photocopy suffice?

  10. My Grandad who recently passed away was Reginald Charles Fuller known as Bill, he always had a picture of Stanley Hudson on his wall and said that Stan was his cousin. He also told the story of how Stan went in goal when the keeper got injured and got injured himself receiving a kick in his side, which my Grandad said affected his kidneys and led to the illness which tragically ended his life.

  11. Hello All,

    Stanley was my Grandfather, I am the daughter of his only son.

    It is wonderful to read what a great player he was and what the club and fans did to help.


  12. Yes Sarah we are distant cousins! My Grandads mothers maiden name was margaret Roach and Stanleys mothers maiden name was Roach also, but ive not found who she was, maybe you could help?

  13. Hi. Thanks for this Steve. I’d heard of Stanley, but it was interesting, if rather sad, to read the full story.
    Stanley’s mother’s name was Katie Roach. She was the sister of Margaret and Patrick (among others). Patrick was my grandfather and my mother was also the first cousin of Stanley (and of course of Jason’s grandfather Reginald too). It’s a raelly big family. Regards to all.

    • Do you have any information as to what happen to Kate’s first husband and or the name of Stanley’s father? Thanks

  14. This is wonderful to read. Soapy was the half brother of my great uncle Charles Heath. I grew up with this sad story.

    • Hi do you have any information on Stanley’s father? Did Charles father pass away young or did he and Ate divorce? Thanks

  15. Thanks for replies. I’m trying to do a little research about the rest of Stanley’s family.
    Thank you Jason and Jeremy.
    Do either of you happen to know his fathers name?
    I’m trying to find more info on the Hudson family.

    • Hi Sarah, it would be very interesting to see what you come up with regarding Stanley Hudson. He was my half uncle, through his brother Charles Heath. I remember his sister-in-law Alice Heath, married to Charles, who often told us as kids how the route to the cemetary was lined with people paying their respects, and that they had to pay for every borough that the funeral passed through. It was kidney failure, I believe, that was responsible for his death

  16. Hi Sarah, just spoke to my husband about Stanley Hudson, he does have quite a bit of info, as he does our family tree. Email him to the email address above and he will try and fill you in on any info he has.

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