‘Yes I Do Dive, But Only to Avoid Injury !’ – Rodney Marsh

The following interview with Rodney Marsh appeared in ‘Shoot’ magazine sometime, I would think, during the 1970-71 season:

Q: You have a reputation for being a soccer clown. Is this deserved ?

A: It used to be. When I was playing for Fulham I made the crowd laugh purely by chance – I had been fouled a lot and finally I went down and bowed my head in the direction of the player who had tackled me. The crowd laughed and I have often played for laughs after that. But that’s all behind me now – I’m a much more mature player and I go hot under the collar when I think of my early days.

Q: How do you react when the Queen’s Park Rangers crowd starts its ‘Rod-nee’ chant ?

A: I love it…who wouldn’t ? And I’m sure our supporters are worth a goal to us. The ground is so compact you feel the fans are on the pitch with you.

Q: It’s often said that you play better when there’s a 50,000 crowd, or the T.V. cameras are there. Is this true ?

A: Yes and no. I would play better in front of a huge crowd, but so would the rest of the team – the atmosphere would help us all to raise our game. The T.V. cameras, though, don’t make the slightest difference to me.

Q: What about the famous remark that you do take dives in the penalty-area ?article yes I do dive

A: I do dive, yes, but not in the way everyone means. I do have to fall in a certain way because I injured a shoulder when I was young, and so I’ve learnt to hit the ground in a certain way to avoid getting hurt. This might look a bit spectacular, but there is a good reason for it. But I don’t sham fouls in the area – it’s much more sensible to try and hang on to the ball and go on and score that way.

Q: How did you acquire your remarkable skill with the ball ?

A: Some of it must be inborn, but I put in a vast amount of practice when I was young as, indeed, I still do. One of my tricks was to throw one of my mum’s bakewell tarts on to my foot, flick it in the air and catch it in my mouth. My mum is a good cook, so I didn’t often miss.

Q: You suddenly hit a golden patch after starting the season poorly. Why ?

A: I missed the first match with flu and it took me a long time to shake off the effects of the illness. I felt sluggish and lost my sharpness. It took me three or four matches – before I was back to full fitness. Then I felt better than ever.

Q: Have QPR any chance of promotion ?

A: It’s still difficult to say, but the lads haven’t given up yet. I expect the last weeks of the promotion race will be a lottery.

Q: Which other sides do you fear ?

A: None. Although there are several I admire. Like Hull City, who have always been prepared to attack and are getting some reward for it. Sheffield United are also a good footballing side. But there are no teams around as good as Derby County in the season they won promotion.

Q: What is the biggest drag in soccer ?

A: Injury, without a shadow of a doubt. You can’t legislate for it. It can happen at any time. But it’s something that footballers have to live with. Once, during my Fulham days, I ran into a post. The doctors said I’d never play again…that’s an experience I don’t want to have twice.

Q: Which team do you follow apart from QPR ?

A: None really. I used to watch Arsenal as a boy. Now I have a slight feeling for Spurs. But QPR always comes first.

Steve Russell

9 thoughts on “‘Yes I Do Dive, But Only to Avoid Injury !’ – Rodney Marsh

  1. It all seems like yesterday.

    Rodney Marsh.
    The finest player that I have seen wear the Hoops.

    Nuff said.

  2. Rodnee diving!!??

    Falling over his own feet by accident, admittedly in the area, yes..but not diving.

    Great player and great memories

  3. One of my early Rs memories was seeing Rodney play for Man City at Maine Rd vs the Rs in Nov 1973. Rodney stumbled (okay, he took a dive!) as Terry Venables slightly brushed past him. TV was livid and Franny Lee of course netted the resulting penalty! The first game I went to that was later on MOTD that night. Hard to believe it’s nearly 40 years ago.

  4. The reason I have been watching Qpr since 1967 is Rodney.
    The best I have ever seen at LR, yes Stanley was a R`s great and a better finisher but Rod always played to enjoy the game and transmit to the supporters that joy. Before South Africa stand was built we used to stand opposite the halfway line and when we knew which way R`s were attacking
    move to that end and then move to the other end at half time so for 90 mins we could watch Rodney and the Rangers attack. Happy days.

  5. A truly great player and entertainer with character…. he had it all.
    My father always said he was blessed to have been so fortunate to see such a class act grace LR… we all were.

  6. I can’t put words into his mouth, but if Alec Stock was still around, I like to think it would have gone something like this………

    Rodney……wasn’t it eh? Marvelous.
    15 thousand pounds from Fulham……deal of the Century wasn’t it eh?

    Collected him myself, in the old Ford Prefect……beep beep, wasn’t it eh, ho ho.
    No road rage in those days, wasn’t it.

    Rodney……..in his Pomp…Stroking it in from all angles…….wasn’t it eh.

    It was a long time ago, wasn’t it?
    Almost Two Generations…….

    Have we seen better since?
    I should Co Co.

    Queen’s Park Rangers?
    Proper Club.
    Family Club…………..Isn’t it eh.

  7. A true QPR “great”

    The plaintive chant of Rod-neee echoing round the ground…Harold Wilson Prime Minister wasn’t it..The pound in you pocket eh..Zico in short trousers..jumpers for goalposts.

    Hmmm Marvellous wasnt it.

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