Derek Buxton In Memoriam

The name Derek Buxton is familiar to many QPR fans who are old enough to have read the match programmes in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. A couple of weeks ago, we received the sad news that Derek had passed away on Saturday, 23rd January, 2010 at the age of 74, following a short struggle with cancer. He is survived by two daughters and a son.

Derek was a QPR legend in his very own special way. His regular “Statistics” feature in the official match programme is legendary for the incredible amount of detail and facts about QPR players and playing history. He would write the most detailed and sometimes even strange facts about games played in the past against the opposing team in question. He would regularly inform the reader how the R’s had done in games played on that particular date in the past etc. He would often manage to include a funny angle into these facts. The fact that he supplied his statistics feature in the programme for a total of 28 years is a record that will be very hard to beat.

The background to these facts was his “ledger” in which he made his notes, and which contained all the facts about the history of QPR. The background work to all that was laid down from 1968 onwards, when Derek was asked by QPR to try to reconstruct the playing history of QPR following a fire which had destroyed or badly damaged the club’s own records. The hours spent on this were many and long and he deserves all the credit for that job that one can think of.

Derek was born in October 1935 and started following QPR regularly from 1946 onwards. For decades he attended every home match apart from a period in the 1950’s when he was doing his National Service and stationed in Germany. The support of QPR in the family will continue through one of his daughters, who is also a lifelong fan.

Apart from the programmes, my first direct contact with Derek was in 1990 when I sent him my first letter or ‘snail mail’ as Derek would call it. Over the years, we exchanged numerous letters and then later, emails about the R’s, but also many other things in life. He would be as detailed and accurate in his response to an ignorant foreigner who knew nothing about cricket and wickets, bails and bowlers or in his own manner to explain to me the old British monetary system with shillings and pence. He was always prepared to help anyone who contacted him with any query regarding QPR. I will always remember his kindness and patience in supplying me with information to numerous statistical questions. His motto was: “No to drugs, Yes to QPR.”

One feature that was typical of Derek was that he always replied quickly. I remember one snail letter in particular which started like this: “Thank you for your letter which arrived five minutes ago – sorry for the delay in answering but I had to read it first !”A few years ago this characteristic lead to a situation where someone sent the Police to check on him as they hadn’t received an email from him for a while. It turned out that due to some technical problem with BT he couldn’t access his emails ! Derek had a good laugh about it.

It may come as a surprise to many that at least in later years, football was not his first choice sport. Football always came second to cricket or “the game where not a lot is happening” as he put it. A Test Match on TV would take preference to a football match anytime. Football would only get promoted after the cricket season had ended.

Derek had a wonderful sense of humour and loved a good laugh. I’m painfully aware of the fact that I’m not able to present that side of his character. As I write this, and even though this is a sad occasion, I feel that all this would be lacking in something unless it contained a joke. So I will include one which was among the very last ones he sent me, just a few days before he passed away. I do so because I’m quite sure that Derek would have approved.

‘A refuse collector is driving along a street picking up the wheelie bins and emptying them into his compactor. He goes to one house where the bin hadn’t been left out and in the spirit of kindness and after having a quick look around for the bin, he gets out of his truck and goes to the front door, knocks but there’s no answer.

Being a kindly and conscientious bloke, he knocks again – much harder.

Eventually a Japanese man comes to the door. “Harro !” says the Japanese man.

“Gidday mate, where’s ya bin ?” asks the collector.

“I bin on toiret” explains the Japanese bloke, a bit perplexed.

Realising the fellow had misunderstood him, the bin man smiles and tries again.

“No Mate ! Where’s your dustbin ?

“I dust been to the toiret, I toll you” says the Japanese man, still perplexed.

“Listen,” says the collector/

“You’re misunderstanding me, where’s your ‘w h e e l i e’ bin ?”

“Ok, Ok” replies the Japanese man with a sheepish grin on his face and whispers in the collector’s ear. “I wheelie bin in bed wiffa wife’s sista !”

R.I.P Derek

Kenneth Westerberg – Finland

QPR match programme subscriber since 1975

13 thoughts on “Derek Buxton In Memoriam

  1. Excellent tribute, Derek’s page was always my favourite in the programme he really did have an incredible selection of stats, even down to how many goals went in at the loft or school end or How many years we were unbeaten on the day of the Grand National!
    I was delighted when Derek was brought back a while back but in true rangers fashion his column disappeared again.
    R.I.P Derek , I have every Rangers home programme from when I was born in 1970 till up to 3 or 4 years ago when I got sick of the same old bland rubbish.
    Your columns take pride of place in my collection I hope you’re ledger is in a safe place for future generations, as no doubt the club wouldn’t be interested in keeping a record of this.

  2. A fitting tribute to a man who I was always intrigued about.
    As a young lad going to games with my dad I was amazed at his knowlege and detail about all things QPR.
    Where did he get his stats from?
    Where did he find the time?
    What was he like?
    He must be Mr QPR himself!
    It was a very interesting feature in the programme, of which I still have many to this day.
    A good read at half time, on the way home, or when you got back late from a game still buzzing and reading it in bed cause you coudn’t get to sleep… how I miss those days.
    Thank you Derek. R.I.P.

  3. I also loved Derek’s page in the programme and I suspect a great many of us who find the history of the Rs a source of great interest were inspired as kids when reading Derek’s columns. For the last match of the 1988/89 season I was invited through a friend of a friend to sit in the press box in the back row of the South Africa Rd stand. Derek sat in the row in front of the press box and he was regularly asked for stats and info by the journos and you could tell he was always happy to help and glad to share his knowledge. Great to hear some of his family are still Rs fans.

  4. A good article and fitting tribute.
    His ‘Stats’ were always a highlight of the Programme, it must have been a real labour of love.
    Now that he has finally put his pen down for the last time, I hope that his suffering wasn’t unbearable during the past few years.
    Queen’s Park Rangers through and through.
    May he Rest in Peace.

  5. I always looked forward to Derek Buxton statistics. What springs to mind is when he always used to say, going to Maine Road next week our record there is not very good or if we played this team after Christmas our record is good, but as we are playing them before Christmas its poor. I was sad to hear of his death. Rip

  6. The original ‘statto’ and the best. He made us all into anoraks as youngsters and well into middle age.Thank you for your diligence over 28 years.Condolences to all your family and friends.It feels like we’ve lost a member of the QPR family , because we have.


  7. Sadly another brick falls out of the wall that was OUR QPR.
    Derek was part of my life during the period we had our great teams and the first page I looked at in the match prog.
    He was QPR.

  8. I knew derek on a personel level for 18 years as he was married to my mum.Every time i called we’d spend 5 mins ripping each other about our teams.I have been honoured to read on the different websites how well my step father was loved and apreciated by you all.He was qpr through and through.
    r.i.p dad missed and loved by us all xxx

  9. He to me was MR QPR in the way his facts page was read time and time again.
    A loyal QPR fan and a man who made my match day that much better for reading his page.
    Thank you Derek

  10. Excellent tribute Kenneth and well deserving of the man.
    I think I’d known Derek for about as long as you have and maybe a little longer.
    I first contacted Derek when he asked through his column in the programme for used stamps so that he could send them onto the RNLI for their fundraising campaign. I was happy to do so and I was still sending him used stamps up until the week he died.
    I had the good fortune to meet Derek on several occasions down the years, firstly at his home in Staines and then more latterly in Shepperton. Meeting him I had the same feeling of awe and happiness as that of meeting my footballing heroes such as John Byrne and Bob Hazell.
    I remember very clearly when he showed me those famous ledgers…it was like witnessing the Holy Grail!
    Very much a larger than life character his knowledge on the club was immense and much of the information that is known about QPR is down solely to that charismatic man.
    I will miss Derek greatly.
    When I learnt of his death from his daughter Sue it felt as if a family member had died.
    I still expect to get an email from Derek in my Inbox…

    RIP Derek
    We’ll miss you.

  11. Excellent article about a gentlemn who’s column was essential reading. Yet another treated shabbily by the club. I enjoyed his wit, his knowledge and of course his stats.

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