When QPR Threatened to Quit the FA Cup

Rangers did not compete in the 1926-27 FA Cup competition because the club secretary forgot to submit the entry form in time ! The R’s could of missed out again years later for very different reasons. In 1981 the club installed a plastic pitch at a cost of ¬£350,000 which proved to be very controversial. Nigel Clarke wrote the following article which appeared in the Daily Mirror on 24th November, 1981:

‘Queen’s Park Rangers are ready to pull out of the FA Cup. Chairman Jim Gregory made that clear yesterday during a Press conference that produced a two-point ultimatum to the Football Association.

On the day the FA gave permission for ties to be staged on Rangers’ controversial artificial pitch “for the 1981-82 competition only” Gregory blasted back: “If they refuse to consider one or either of our options, QPR will withdraw from the competition.”

The options are:

1 – If Rangers are drawn at home on January 3 they will offer to play the tie on a neutral ground.

2 – That the FA agree to a three-year trial period for ties on the pitch, similar to the Football League’s trial period.

Gregory went on: “I am very disappointed with the FA decision. Our gates are up and our supporters are all telling us they like the new surface. We put it down to make the club viable. It’s the best thing we have ever done. I’m amazed at the anti-reaction. I didn’t want to be a pioneer. I’d have given someone ¬£50,000 to do it first. We didn’t have to spend ¬£2 million on better players if we had thought the pitch could have won promotion for us.”tv 1
Added Gregory: “When Rangers came second in the First Division a few years ago, clubs complained about the mud on our pitch. When we were nearly relegated the following year our players complained about the mud on the pitch.”

Gregory now feels that he has no option but to launch an official appeal and that will be made today. The FA are still not convinced that the artificial surface does not give Rangers an unfair advantage. Their secretary Ted Croker said: “No club will have the right to refuse to play there. The decision was not unanimous, but we have said that the ground is suitable.”

Both Crystal Palace and Leicester have said they would not play at Loftus Road if drawn there in the Cup.’

Rangers drew Middlesbrough in the 3rd Round and after a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road on 2nd January 1982, won the replay 3-2 after extra time. Ironically Crystal Palace were to be the visitors to Loftus Road for the quarter-finals. Then following the defeat of West Brom at Highbury, the R’s finally made history by making it to an FA Cup Final, but things could quite easily have been very different.

Steve Russell

4 thoughts on “When QPR Threatened to Quit the FA Cup

  1. Hard to believe it’s all 30 years ago now. The irony of the “missing” 1926 FA Cup entry is that Rangers changed colours from the supposedly unlucky green and white hoops to blue and white hoops in the summer of that year, in an attempt to change their luck!

  2. So we can blame Jim for upsetting the FA..they certainly have long memories!
    It was a curious period and I seemed to spend half my life defending the pitch to all who knew I was an Rs supporter.
    The pitch was far removed from the modern versions and somewhat ‘lively’. Snow could still be a problem and it was ironic that one night game was called off due to a local power cut, against Nottm Forest I think (no doubt Kerrins will correct me!. It started to snow as well but we will never know if it remained playable with wet snow on it.
    I often wondered what happened to the groundsman of the time and if he had a small patch of grass behind a stand to keep his skills!

  3. If Man Utd installed a plastic pitch the FA would jump through hoops to help them.Why they even let them miss the FA Cup one year so they could play in some 2 bob tournament on the other side of the planet.

  4. I was there at the last game on grass (my first ever game). Remarkable not just for the 5-0 hammering of Cambridge United but the fact that we were assisted in digging up the pitch at full time by club stewards wielding forks and spades. Imagine that today. I carried home a clump in my pocket and it lived for a while in a flowerpot. Luton never minded the pitch. They beat us twice on it and went and bought one of their own.

Comments are closed.