Arthur Longbottom, the 1959 Team Barber & the ‘Crazy Gang’ at Loftus Road

The following article was written by Nixon Farr and appeared in the popular football weekly magazine, ‘Soccer Star’ on 28th November 1959.

‘It was laughs all the way when we ran into QPR’s star forward, Arthur Longbottom and three of his player pals. Phew, they have a reputation for taking their soccer seriously, but off duty they could be likened to the Crazy Gang. Arthur, who joined Queen’s Park Rangers from Methley United in 1954, is wisely looking to the future by training to be a hairdresser. And Mr Lewis, in whose establishment he works during the afternoons, says that Arthur is a “natural” at the job.

QPR right-back, Pat Woods, will not forget in a hurry the shave given to him by Jimmy Andrews. By his reckoning the Scottish winger has the makings of a regular Sweeney Todd ! Joking apart, however, the Loftus Road men rate Arthur highly with the scissors and they all entrust him with the task of keeping their hair in shape. Pat Woods will testify to the fact that Arthur’s amazing hair restorer is working wonders with him ! And Manager Alec Stock’s claims to having a team that would qualify for any Brylcreem advertisement, plus their fine soccer ability that keeps them high in the league table. He also knows that in Arthur Longbottom he has a man equally capable of giving close shaves to customers in the barber’s chair and to opposing defences on the field of play.

Rangers made one of their best ever starts to a Third Division programme this season, and topped the table for a few weeks. However, this pace was not maintained and they have slipped recently. Nevertheless, the fans – who are turning up at Loftus Road in bigger numbers – may be optimistic about the future, for the club is producing attractive, constructive football and the season is barely at the half-way stage.

With such a magnetic personality as Alec Stock at the helm and with new and improved training schemes in operation, signs are that a fresh onslaught for the title is imminent. Added to all this, Rangers have a chance to show up well in the FA Cup competition. They are at home to Port Vale in the second round next Saturday.’

The captions to the above pics read as follows:

(A) ‘No player enjoys training more than Arthur Longbottom, who our photographer caught in the act of adjusting his shoes (?) in the photo above.’

(B) ‘Team spirit at Loftus Stadium (?) has never been higher than it is now, under the leadership of manager Alec Stock. Here, below, is an excellent photo of Arthur and QPR centre-half, Keith Rutter, looking on top of the world. Having just come out of the showers, Arthur needed someone to rub his back down, and Keith smilingly obliged.’

(C) ‘After training one recent morning, Arthur dropped in at a local car dealers to look at one of the new, super models. Who should he run into there but team-mates Brian Bedford, Jimmy Andrews and Pat Woods. Being a bit of connoisseur, Arthur pointed out a few things to the lads. After this Arthur and the boys travelled, via Arthur’s car, home with him for a cup of tea.’

(D) “More sugar please !” says Pat Woods who is a glutton for the stuff while Brian Bedford and Jimmy Andrews stand by for further supplies of Arthur’s tea. Someone suggested a game of cards and things got under way. Hm, thinks Arthur, as he makes an excuse to adjust his tie. “Not doing so good…wonder if someone is dealing off the bottom of the pack ! Anyone want a haircut ?”

(E) ‘Having cleverly extricated himself from the card game, Arthur trims Brian’s hair then agrees to give Pat a shave. That’s a smashing lather Arthur has worked up on Pat’s chin, as our picture left confirms, but the situation becomes tense when Jimmy Andrews grabbed the razor and insisted on finishing the job for Arthur. One thing is certain, Jimmy had a wonderful stranglehold on Pat’s nose !’

(F) ‘At last, Arthur is exhausted by the QPR crazy gang’s antics and drops off to sleep in a chair. My turn now thinks Pat as he gets the lather brush to work once again.’

Well they don’t write captions like that anymore ! Rangers drew that FA Cup tie against Port Vale 3-3 at Loftus Road with Arthur Longbottom scoring two of the goals. However, they lost the replay two days later 1-2. Arthur eventually changed his surname to ‘Langley’.

Steve Russell

10 thoughts on “Arthur Longbottom, the 1959 Team Barber & the ‘Crazy Gang’ at Loftus Road

  1. Brilliant!..I dont ever recall reading the article but I certainly remember the Arthur Longbottom era only two well.

    That Port Vale Cup Tie 3-3..The Port Vale full back Raine equalised in the final three minutes…and I cried my eyes out on the way home at the distress of it all. Also that day Paul Gooch was in the boys pen with his bell and attached the longest bit of blue and white ribbon dragging along the floor you have seen in your life.

    Arthur himself did not seem to have been as popular with the R’s supporters as he should have been and probably did not get the credit he deserved. The stats say he was a decent goalscorer and club servant.

    I reckon he was more appreciated at his subsequent clubs especially Port Vale and Non League Oxford where he was a star in their cup runs of 1962 and 1964 respectively. A former work mate of mine who supported Vale thought the world of him.

    Also never to be forgotten was that epic goal he scored against Walsall in a vital promotion battle at Loftus rd in 1961. R’s won 1-0 and Arthur scored from the Half way line..I kid you not..better than David Beckham at Selhurst Park lol

  2. ..TOO well..oops bad typing not bad spelling honest! lol

    PS In his final season at Loftus Rd in 1960/61 Arthur Longbottom did not play as many games as usual.I have often wondered was he injured or was he being “phased out”

    Any views on this from other supporters around at the time?

  3. i has been standing behind the school end , the wallsall goalkeeper kick the ball out and it went stright to arthur on the half way line , right wing , who did not trap the ball , just kicked it back over the keeper into the net .

  4. Glad you liked it Bernard. Mike Tomkys told me that he’s alive and well and living back up north, Yorkshire I think he said. I’m going to do a seperate article on that wonder goal sometime.

  5. Did he really change his name and if so why? thanks for the article. A positive read although I did laugh at….” After this Arthur and the boys travelled, via Arthur‚Äôs car, home with him for a cup of tea.”

    These days that would read… “After this Arthur and the boys burned up some rubber, hit the clubs and did a couple of lines and onto the top shelf”

  6. Andy…Arthur Changed his name from Longbottom to Langley for the sake of his offspring.

    He considered his surname “unfortunate” and did not want to burden his kids with such a mickey taking situation.

    Thats how I have always understood it but if any one else out there thinks it was for a different reason I wound be interested to discuss.

    • Arthur is my uncle, I can confirm that he changed his name for the sake of my cousins growing up.

      • Saturday’s programme noted that your uncle was attending the match. I met one of his team mates last year, Mike Tomkys

  7. …and by the way folks the colour of those shorts in the photo of Arthur are NAVY BLUE or as near as makes no difference.

    Do not let any record book or computer grapic etc tell you that the shorts of that era were Chelsea type Blue or similar..Thats wrong!

  8. Great article, remember him well. Kerrins is right that his goalscoring record seems very respectable but he never seemed to get the full credit. Maybe it was seen as routine in that wonderful record breaking goal machine side of the early sixties.

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