QPR legend Tony Ingham sadly passed away on this day in 2010. In the Bolton Wanderers match programme dated 14th March 1970, regular contributor Michael Wale featured him in his ‘Report’ series:
‘Did you know that Rangers have a man on their staff who played in the First Division for Leeds United? One of the longest serving members of Queen’s Park Rangers is a Yorkshireman, Tony Ingham who hails from Harrogate. He came to Loftus Road from Leeds United in 1950.
The most famous talent spotter of our time, Major Frank Buckley, brought Tony into soccer in 1946 after seeing him as a centre-half in the West Yorkshire League whilst playing for Harrogate Town. He made his first team debut at Elland Road as a centre-half but decided perhaps he was a little short in height and switched to full-back. At Leeds he played with the great John Charles.
Tony recalls that John was a “natural” at sixteen years of age and today is still in the game as player-manager of Southern League club Hereford Town.
Tony had a record run of well over 500 league appearances for QPR and held a regular first team place until 1963 when at the age of 39 he decided to call it a day. Since then he has been partially responsible with Bill Hooper and a co-operative staff for building up one of the club’s most important fund raisers, the Pools Department.
There are 40,000 subscribers to the club’s pools and every time they spend a shilling they are helping to improve the ground and provide other amenities because that is where the money goes. It was Alec Stock who persuaded Tony to join the club’s Pools Department.
Until then the last years of his playing days were part time; he was also planning his future in an electrical business, because players in those not so distant days had to look outside the game for financial ways of subsidising their meagre pay packets.
During Tony’s career the maximum wage rose from ¬£12 to ¬£14 per week. Fittingly with a man who had dedicated his life to a sport that decreed that his wage be limited he was on the Players Union Committee at the time Jimmy Hill was abolishing the maximum wage.
Yet Tony says: “I think we went a bit wrong. I’d still like to see a liveable wage for players, plus a lot of incentives. Players can earn a lot of money now without even playing on Saturdays. Then there is this business of paying a player when he gets suspended. The club can now pay him 75 per cent of his wages, so it’s really the club and not the player who suffers”.
One of the changes in the game since he played, he notes that: “The pressures in the game today are so much greater. It’s no good coming second, you don’t get any medals for coming second”.
How does he feel as an ex-Rangers player as he watches the side at every home game? “Well,” he says honestly, “We’re all Alf Ramseys really, aren’t we?”
Talking with Tony Ingham, however, you can never get very far away from his present role with the club. He is almost shy when it comes to talking about his career. There are rumours that he was the original overlapping full-back. But when it comes to the organisation of the money earning pools he says: “Just take a good look at the new Stand. It was only made possible by people buying tickets at a shilling a time. You’d be surprised how shillings can mount up. If we can recruit even more subscribers it shouldn’t be long before we have one of the best grounds in West London”. And that includes Stamford Bridge.
Ask any player what difference playing at a really well built ground means, and you won’t be slow in competing for the ¬£1,000 a week prizes with Rangers Pools.’
Tony Ingham holds the club appearance record and apart from successfully running the Pools Department he was also Club Secretary for a while before becoming a Director in 1981. A function room at Loftus Road was named in his honour.