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.