In November 1962, QPR manager Alec Stock was the guest writer in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly:
‘Now it has happened and we are on our way. Right now I should say that the switch from Loftus Road to the fabulous White City Stadium for the rest of the season’s games is just about the most interesting happening in football this season.
I could start by citing our brochure which details the covered accommodation, the bars and restaurants and the spacious facilities we now enjoy to give you some idea of what this means to us and the people who follow the Rangers.
But even that would not give you, as a Soccer supporter, the proper picture in this new setting. You may have been to the White City for athletics, dogs or the “Horse of the Year” show. But you really have to look at this through football eyes to appreciate what we have always acceptedand just what can be done.
Suddenly, in this part of West London, football gets all the trimmings and the chance to become what we are always trying to claim on its behalf – big-time entertainment; suddenly, all of us connected with the club, feel that we are actually putting on a show.
From our side of the fence – that is directors, players and management – we are still on trial. We have to provide the right backdrop on the field to the lush surroundings about us. As I write this my hope is that we have a league position somewhat in keeping with it all.
For, of course, when we start to talk on the one hand about escalators that take you to your seats, meals in most luxurious surroundings before and after the game, a quick drink at the American Bar at the interval and the rest, we also want to talk in the same breath about a team that will match up to all this.
This new home of ours, this great stadium is, I believe, at least 40 years ahead of any other in England. The club of the future must be one with a first-class stadium. That is not a clever observation, just plain common sense.
I feel that it is fair to claim that if we win promotion this season to the Second Division we will have made more progress in one season than is possible in 20 seasons by any other club you care to name.
For along with all the amenities and the benefits to our supporters there is, for me, this one great gain. All at once, we have that most happy state in relation to football administration. A top class training set-up, our own Loftus Road ground on which to hold our reserve and junior games and training. So the old place is as important to us as ever, but in a different fashion.
Good football, that we must strive for. But perhaps the emphasis must be equally on good entertainment with the possibilities that are now presented to my club. Now we can bring along any foreign representatives to “our ground” and we do not have to do much to sell it as a home for attractive friendlies. For the first time we can give foreign clubs the facilities they are used to, the kind which we have previously envied them.
Dreams? I have plenty of them now. As a manager I have had a great uplift by moving less than a quarter of a mile down the road. I believe that football outside my own club should take a good look at this stadium and consider its possibilities. It would be a crying shame if the stadium is not used for something like the World Cup series or games on that level.
There is continuous cover round the ground, there are seats for nearly 11,000, it can comfortably take over 50,000 and there are the restaurants, snack-bars and licensed bars we have already spoken of.
But what may strike you, as it did me with memories of years of fighting to my seat on many grounds, is the fact that you are able to MOVE around easily. If that does not sound much, just try to cast your mind back to some of the tight squeezes you have been in.
We in football have been heartened by the early season returns which show a small drift back to the game by one-time followers. Our great hope now is that we can encourage a man AND his wife to come along, the girl-friend with the boy-friend just because there is at White City the sort of comfort SHE expects.
I read Joe Mercer on the same subject recently and how Aston Villa had HER in mind when planning improvements. We must get out of that old, too-ready acceptance of things as they are. I can talk this way now because of the wonderful vista that opens for Queen’s Park Rangers, but the thought has been there for all too long. Now, thank goodness, we are able to do something about it.
Why, we can even boast of the lovely flower beds dotted around the arena. Soft? Not really. This is no less important to me than the fact that so many more people can actually SIT down and watch my team play. I do not feel good just for my own supporters, though that is a great satisfaction, but I am glad for the sake of football generally.
We have the people who have looked down their noses at all these new-fangled ideas as being something foreign to football watching. We still have the doubters who hint darkly about “what happened last time”.
“Last time” was in the 1931-32 season when the Rangers played at White City. I am not in a position to say just what stopped the venture then, but when the doubters talk about “lack of atmosphere” and shake their heads I go back over the records.
The opening game was against Bournemouth and it brought in 19,000 fans. It was not a brilliant start, Rangers lost 0-3. But on Boxing Day, against Torquay, there was a handy 25,000 and on January 2, never a great day for football, the visitors were Brentford, our neighbours, and 33,508 (33,553?) turned up.
The average for the season was 14,000. That’s history now. So is our unfortunate first night-to-be against Hull City which was washed out. But this I do know..
My Rangers’ followers have the sort of luxurious comfort and surroundings which make them the envy of any in Britain. And that these are long over-due for them and most other fans.
I can only strive even harder than ever to see that the football they watch and the results they get will match up to these great and challenging days for the club.’
A very enthusiastic, visionary assessment there from the legendary Alec Stock, but due to a series of indifferent results and also taking into account the severe weather factor that winter which led to a fixture pile up at the end of the season, this latest experiment once again, ended in failure.
The R’s finished in 13th position and started the following season back at Loftus Road.