Chelsea (0) – QPR (3) – 28th December, 1974 & Our First League Victory At Stamford Bridge

Team: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Masson, McLintock, Webb, Thomas, Francis, Beck, Bowles, Givens.
Sub: Shanks
Attendance: 38,917

John Hollins captained the opposition and Ray Wilkins also played. Ken Jones’s match report appeared in the Sunday Mirror the following day:

‘Dave Sexton was delighted, but he wouldn’t let it show. Gloating is not his style. “I was nervous,” he admitted, as though embarrassed by the completeness of his comeback. Sacked by Chelsea three months ago, his return to Stamford Bridge as manager of Queen’s Park Rangers had turned out to be a triumph. “I was like a player going back to face a club who gave him a free transfer,” he said. “There was something to prove.”

The proof came with the sudden excellence of Rangers football in the second half. They scored three times and left Chelsea’s defence in ruins. But not before referee Bob Matthewson had been stretched to the limits of his patience by the seamier side of British football. “The worst referee we have had this season,” muttered someone in Chelsea’s tea room at half-time. It was a common complaint. The criticism ignored a constant flow of fouls and bickering back-chat. Mr Matthewson wasn’t always right. Referees rarely are. You take the good with the bad which is what the players were not prepared to do. “Cool it,” instructed both managers at half-time.

Cool it they did, but not before referee Matthewson had rightly booked Clement and Francis of Rangers and Chelsea’s Droy and Harris. By then, Parkes had kept Rangers going with a collection of outstanding saves as Chelsea surged forward with a wicked wind at their backs. Kember, Garland and Wilkins will all support Chelsea manager Ron Suart’s opinion that Parkes, on his day, is as good as there is. Losing Hutchinson with a back strain didn’t help Chelsea’s cause and with Kember at half speed they were suddenly there to be taken.

The damage was done on the floor by lively, intelligent running at the heart of a leaden-footed defence. But first it was Francis with a shot from nowhere in the fiftieth minute who sickened Chelsea. He found the top far corner of Phillips’ goal with an angled twenty-five yarder. A linesman’s flag delayed the jubilation, but only for a second or two. Referee Matthewson knew a good thing when he saw it. Within two minutes, Givens flat-footed Hay and the cumbersome Droy to strike Beck’s pass low and left-footed for the second.

He was six inches away from another barely a minute later. But it was Givens who got the third, running Bowles’s fine pass beyond Phillips to squeeze a shot through the legs of three defenders. “A game of two halves, “said Chelsea manager Suart. The right one belonged to Sexton. Man of the Match: Phil Parkes.

The back of the Press photo reads: ‘Ron Harris (Chelsea) receives treatment after being brought down by Gerry Francis of QPR (holding nose on left) who was booked for the incident. Stan Bowles takes advantage of the opportunity and sits on the ball for a breather’.

Martin Percival passed on the following quote from Stan Bowles that he found in an interview in ‘Street Life’ from May 1976. When asked about Ron Harris, he replied: “Yes, I must give him a mention. We’ve played Chelsea ten times and he’s been booked every time for tackles on me.” It was also very lively off the pitch, inside and outside the ground, but the R’s recorded an historic victory that day over our rivals who were also relegated that season.

Steve Russell

11 thoughts on “Chelsea (0) – QPR (3) – 28th December, 1974 & Our First League Victory At Stamford Bridge

  1. Yes I remember the game well. Droy was a complete donkey but in the first half we kept hitting high balls which he just butted away, I could be wrong but I thought a very young Steve Wicks was playing alongside him? Anyway 2nd half we just kept passing it behind the defenders, who couldn’t cope. We scored 3 goals in about 10 minutes and could have easy scored another 3 in that period.
    Chelsea were run ragged.

  2. That was the game when one side of the ground was a building site and we played in the classic red and white shirts.We should’ve won the season before as we tore them apart but somehow drew 3-3, Mick Leach could/should’ve got a hat-trick.
    The 295 bus ride home to Latimer Rd was all the more sweeter as half of our little gang were QPR the other half the unwashed (including my brother). It felt all so easy back then when we played them as we never seemed to lose , in fact I saw 7 games (home/away) before we lost to the SW6 pikeys. What we wouldn’t give to see our 5th win over there eh?.

  3. Steve, I read your Chelsea story and although I had yet to make my first ever visit to LR, (that happened in Sept 1976) this was the nucleus of the team that so nearly did it.
    A good story, brings back other kind of memories for me, like sitting by the old radio trying to listen to BBC World Service and James Alexander Gordon reading out the full-time scores. Occasionally the broadcast would ‘fade’ just as he got down to QPR’s result and re-appear as he was down to Southampton’s which drove you mad because you had to wait until the next morning when the newspaper arrived before you could find out how they had done!
    That’s what it was like following QPR from Finland in those pre-internet days.

  4. Good memories Kenneth. I remember listening to the World Service commentaries for Slovan Bratislava and AEK away in the UEFA Cup. I think Cologne was a full scale BBC Radio 2 broadcast – I chewed my nails away for that one!

    Yes those shirts were indeed classics Chris. I would like to see the red and white quarters available again. I saw them wear that kit at Spurs a few weeks before the Chelsea away game and then again at Southend in the FA Cup 3rd round a couple of weeks afterwards. We weren’t at the game at the Stamford Bridge dog track as we were staying away for Christmas with family unfortunately. I remember my Dad was pleased with the result though! There are some superb photos from the Chelsea game here – keep clicking through as there are c.40 photos in total:

  5. Thanks for all the comments.
    Martin, I’m also a big fan of the ‘quarters’ mate and listening to that match in Athens on the radio was so incredibly tense. When it got to the penalty shoot-out, I couldn’t sit or stand so I ended up laying on the floor !!! Thanks for putting up the link to the Mirror photo archive.

  6. I’d love to have a 3XL red quartered QPR shirt. James Alexander gordon, now there’s a name from the past. I started listening on short wave in 1975 to the World Service. Is he still alive? And what ever became of Paddy Feeny? God I loved that period of the clubs history. I was just starting out as a fan. Now I am a glutten for punishment

  7. Oh yes, the legendary Paddy Feeny – this is what one can find on Wikipedia on him and JA Gordon:

    James Alexander Gordon is a radio broadcaster for BBC Radio Five Live. He brings the classified check of the football results every Saturday at 5 o’clock on Sports Report.

    Gordon was born in Edinburgh on 10 February 1936.[1] During his youth he was paralyzed with polio and he spent a large part of his childhood in hospital.[2] He worked in music publishing before joining the BBC in 1972, becoming an announcer and newsreader (mostly on Radio 2) until the early 1990s. In 1974 he followed in the footsteps of John Webster, reading the classified football results, first on Radio 2 and later on Five Live.

    He has a distinguished voice and is known to pronounce “Wanderers”, in the name of several football clubs, as “Wanderer-ers”. He famously uses his inflection, as he pronounces the names of the clubs, to indicate whether a match ended in a home win, away win or draw.[1]

    James Alexander Gordon also works freelance, recording voice-overs and commenting on company videos.

    Paddy Feeny was a legend during his years at BBC Radio as presenter of the BBC World Service Saturday Special (later Sportsworld) programme from 1959 to 1995. It is difficult today to imagine the hold and importance of radio on culture before the days of satellite TV. Paddy, with his enchanting, hypnotic style, made the commonplace seem magical.

    The feature began with a duration of an hour in 1959 during the summer months. Slowly its scope expanded, and with football playing an ever bigger role in British life, it became possible to have long editions in winter months also. The program would run for 2+ hours, sometimes as long as 3 hours 15 minutes, with only two 15-minute breaks for the news on the hour.

    Paddy’s involvement with sports lessened after the death of his wife in 1994, and he presented his last edition in June 1995. He was a passionate supporter of Liverpool Football Club.

    He also presented a few other BBC programmes, including Write On…, a selection of reader’s letters. He was also one of the presenters of Top of the Form on BBC radio and television

  8. I purchased a red and white quartered rugby shirt recently and explained its significance to my kids.
    Many thanks for this excellent reminiscence of which I have fond memories.
    As a wide eyed 10 year old sitting in the old west stand on this afternoon, I can distinctly recall those goals flying in and a large vocal R’s fan down the front of the upper tier winding up the Chelsea element around us. There were also a fair number of us QPR fans chanting SEXTON! SEXTON! for good measure. Absolute bliss!
    Still rates in my top ten all time QPR results after 37 years of support.
    Santa Claus arrived in the guise of Dave Sexton that afternoon for sure!
    Strangely enough, I’ve just watched ten minutes of another QPR success at the old Bates emporia when we won 2-0 in that quarter final replay in 1986. Even stranger, as welcome as that result was, for some reason I just can’t feel the same as I did about that result in ’74. Perhaps there was a collective feeling something special was definitely on the way?
    Anyhow. Great feature once again and keep more of the mid 70’s and Venables years coming.
    Most grateful.

  9. Look at Stan Bowles all the mayhem going on around and cool as f**k just sits on the ball, What a Legend…..What a team….

Comments are closed.