In Memory Of Paul Gooch

Paul Gooch was part of my childhood. It’s as simple as that. We grew up together in 1950’s Shepherds Bush and attended the same primary school, Victoria Junior Boys in Becklow Road. Although I have not spoken to Paul since January 1976 (Euston Station for the 2-0 defeat of Villa) it does not diminish the twinge of grief I feel at his sad and premature death.

We played football in the original ‘jumpers for goalposts’ format at Ravenscourt and Southfields Parks and also at the Victoria School playground during the far off days of the late 1950’s era. Paul was QPR through and through. I know for a fact that he was going to Loftus Road two seasons before me so that marks him down as an R’s supporter since the 1955/56 season. I’m sure there are many stories and anecdotes that can be told about his entire life but I am only able to relate mainly to those early years of long ago.

Paul was a likeable, eccentric kid from Emlyn Gardens, lithe with light brown hair, with a tendency to just stand around and ‘goal hang’ on the left wing. This was not always a popular style of play with some of the other lads, perhaps that’s why he subsequently became a referee ! Yes he had it tough as a child. I understand that there was an unfortunate family bereavement when his Father had a tragic fall from some scaffolding and certainly his personal circumstances were a struggle. It is also true to say that Paul had generosity and a kind heart as the following example will illustrate. Once when involved in a ‘kick about’ over at Ravenscourt Park with my brand new Frido plastic football, a great big German Shepherd dog came from nowhere and sunk its teeth into the ball, bursting it in an instant. As a ten year old boy I was distraught and in tears. Paul did his utmost to console me (no easy task I can tell you), when he bought me a glass of milk from the Tea House and generally calmed me down. He then went on to make every effort to trace the owner of the dog to seek redress.

The QPR stories about Paul are legion. My particular classic is from the December 1959 2nd Round FA Cup tie at Loftus Road against Port Vale. A thrilling 3-3 draw and Paul was in the Boys Pen decked out in traditional bobble hat and scarf, parading up and down the enclosure ringing this bell which had the longest piece of blue and white ribbon attached to it that I had ever seen in my life, dragging along the ground as he walked like some Royal bridal gown ! Alas all this fanatical display of support was to avail. Port Vale equalised five minutes from time and we lost the replay 2-1.

God bless you Paul, a true and loyal R’s supporter and childhood friend. In 1972 at the entrance to Turf Moor, you were thwarted in your attempts to air your views with Chairman Jim Gregory. Okay Paul you may have failed at the Burnley Gates but your chance has come again in the proximity of the Pearly Gates ! This time no brush off eh

Bernard Lambert (Kerrins)

17 thoughts on “In Memory Of Paul Gooch

  1. Not much to add to that Bernard, except to say I’m so glad Mr Bakhai took it upon himself to get Pauls passing in the local press.I read it with sadness then flagged it up on all the website messageboards.From there on in, QPR fans from far and wide pulled together to give Paul a great send off.Not many of us , or any , will have a QPR legend attend our funeral. And no one should go out of this world alone, and thankfully Goochie didn’t.This is proof we are still a peoples club.

  2. A touching tribute to someone I only knew to just say hello, but someone who was fortunate enough to be a part of this great family, and had them and a legend attend his funeral… says it all really.

  3. Great write up Bernard, and great that R’s fans saw Gooch out with some dignity.A great supporter has gone, but the response shows that he has left some great ones behind as well.How much would he have enjoyed the Lords test match this week, England playing well for a change.
    He used to talk about cricket as well as QPR, seemed the two big interests of his life.

  4. Thanks Bernie for your words.Goochie was also part of my childhood and as I have said in other posts he never seemed to look any different. Our paths crossed outside The Loft end last season and he still looked as he did the last time we spoke many seasons ago. My big regret now was that I did not stop to speak to him.Very much a one off and very much part of the rich tapestry that is QPR history.
    It please me that he had a fitting send off.

  5. Bernard well said fella.
    Last time i seen Paul was also outside the ground when he stoped to ask me how me and Steve were after we left the committee.
    He was a decent man.
    RIP Paul and give Daphne our love.

  6. A very moving tribute Bernard.

    Paul was a unique individual, and will never be forgotten. What a wondeful gesture from his QPR’family’ to make sure that Paul was not alone on his final journey. Well done.


  7. A terrible loss to the supporters and the club. I now feel an awful guilt in trying to avoid him due to his zealous reminisences of his days in the Torbay Parks Department. I look forward to the day I can sit down with him and let him bend my ear to his hearts content. Please excuse my absense from the funeral, but my current circumstances wouldn’t let me travel that distance.

    Gawd bless ya Goochie, you were the shining example of a Hoops fan. Loftus Road will be an empty place without you.

    Ray Cutler

  8. ..Yes

    I know I will always remember
    When we were two little boys.

    PS Minor point folks 2-0 defeat “OF”(not AT) Villa. Typographical error upon publication.

  9. I am really glad I was able to make the funeral and to see so may QPR fans there who came to say goodbye to Paul.

    Special thanks to those who said a few words including Brian Rowe and Stan Bowles of course and also to Paul Finney for the wonderful flowers.

    R.I.P Paul

  10. I did not know him but he sounded a great character and a true QPR fan .

    A sad loss to the “qpr” family R.I.P.

  11. it seems strange to think that come next season I’ll not see ‘Goochie’ wandering around the back of Loftus Road either before or after the game and exchanging a ‘hello, how are you’. Football needs it’s characters and Paul’s passing certainly emphasises that.
    RIP Goochie we’ll never forget you mate!

  12. Great Tributes both from yourself and Steve Russell, “Goochie” was truly a unique West London character, he will be sorely missed oh! to have him in our old LSA club again saying about “certain members of the referees association painting both sides of the fence for their own needs”!.
    RIP Goochie may your legend live on in the many stories people have of you ,you were one of our great campaigners whether it was local transport, refereeing or our beloved Football club.

  13. We were saddened to learn on Wednesday of the death of my cousin Paul Gooch. Although I haven’t seen Paul for some time most of my early years in London were spent with him and our other cousin Alan. Unfortunately, as no-one seemed to know he had relatives, we were not aware of his passing and, as a result, sadly missed his funeral. I have two sisters who are quite a bit younger than me who are also, obviously, saddened to learn of his death. My father (Pauls Uncle) was a devoted QPR fan all his life and his love for the team has passed to my eldest son. Rest in Peace Paul and we shall be routing for QPR for you!

  14. I grew up in Coverdale road 2 houses along from the school ,i started at the school in 1953 I remember the first day as if it were yesterday and was there till about the age of 7 then moved on to Peckham ,i have fond memories of QPR and have been supporter ever since

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