The 1968-69 Season – Third Account

Two quotes have stuck in my mind over the years about QPR in Season 1968-69. One was at the beginning of the Season and came from the Manager, Alec Stock, and the other one was at the end from the Chairman, Jim Gregory. The previous two Seasons had seen the R’s bag a net full of goals playing good football and the atmosphere at matches was unbelievable. Our first match of the 68-69 Season was at home to Leicester City and the game was featured on the lunchtime Grandstand spot. Alec Stock was interviewed and the pride he had for the club was evident. He did not promise anything for that Season but he urged people to go to Loftus Road and experience for themselves the transformation taking place. In particular the new South Africa Road Stand, before “the atmosphere generated by Rangers supporters begins to melt the metal structure.”

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In all honesty, particularly because Marsh would be out for several months with a broken leg, most of the QPR supporters I knew hoped for a good Season but in our hearts we knew the team wasn’t good enough. However it was history for the club in the making, we wanted to be part of it and we knew at least we would be entertained. The 1-1 draw against Leicester was a false dawn. We were the better of the two teams and we were optimistic that we could hold our own in the league with or without Marsh. Unfortunately no one was to know at the time that Leicester would be going with us into Division 2 at the end of the Season !

I went to almost all the home games that Season and all the London away matches. We expected to see lots of goals and we were not let down. The problem was that more than ninety of them were in the QPR net. However, I can honestly say that even though we finished bottom with the joint lowest number of points ever for a Division 1 club, I was never more proud of my team. Perhaps as our expectations were low there was little likelihood of us being very disappointed. The players seemed to give their all and we as fans could not ask for more than that. Despite being on the receiving end several times, the players always continued to try and play good football.

I am probably biased but I even felt refereeing decisions didn’t go our way – the Jimmy Greaves equaliser for Spurs was a blatant hand ball. The low point for me was the fact that Alec Stock (as I was led to believe by the Club at the time) was in poor health and had to step down as Manager early in the Season. The return of Marsh promised much but was by then too late to help our position in the league. The other high point was that Fulham were also relegated that Season (from Division 2 to Division 3). The quote from Jim Gregory after it was mathematically certain we were down was: “We will be back !” And we were.

Bill Wilson

(aka Liam O’Liam in Irish and cyberspace)

6 thoughts on “The 1968-69 Season – Third Account

  1. Great read.
    “The quote from Jim Gregory after it was mathematically certain we were down was: ‚ÄúWe will be back !‚Äù And we were.”
    And..Bill, we probably all expected to be back and that this was just a blip.There was a kind of certainty then that changes would follow failure and probably 68/9 assisted the ‘modernisation’ of the club.Not many mistakes were made after the 68/9 season to achieve the aim of us returning and we could do with some of that now!
    It is interesting that those of us who have contributed to this little bit of history have commented that the crowd remained behind the team despite the results and that cannot be said of some of the present supporters.Different times..different expectations. Simple days!

  2. Great piece. I also remember the programme some kind of quote in the editorial in the last programme, “with flag…drums rolling” type stuff

    Docherty in…Docherty out!

    So many games we really did dominate and lose – Even at home to Liverpool, we lost 2-1 but we were good.
    Tom goalscorers: Mick Leach & Barry Bridges – 8 each (not that bad compared to this season!)

    Thanks again for doing

  3. Bill..Thanks for that.

    Yes even if Rodney Marsh had been fit at the start of the season we would still have probably been relegated..but we would have certainly got more than a total of 18 points.

    Despite everything we were not as bad as the record suggests and I surely dont recall anybody being downhearted when we were eventually relegated.

    In fact in the last game of the season WE WON..2-1 at home to Stoke..and there seemed to me even a mild hint of celebration inside the

  4. Yes QPR that was embarrassing, especially as I think I listened to it on the radio and that game ranks alongside the other ‘listening to the radio’ experience in 1976. That was the Norwich match and I was travelling down from a family visit to Doncaster.Both equally frustrating but for different reasons.
    Incidentally Man Utd only finished mid-table in 69.

  5. Yes QPR REPORT you are correct my error.

    Chelsea away lost 2-1 was the last game. I saw the match too…but it seems any defeat by Chelsea I erase from my memory!! lol

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