Keith Friend’s 1977 Interview with Peter Eastoe for the ‘Superhoop’

Issue No.7 of the Supporters Club magazine, ‘The Superhoop’ included an interview with Peter Eastoe. Keith Friend recorded the interview at Rangers Stadium on the afternoon of the League Cup Semi-Final on 1st February 1977:

KF: Right, Peter, would you like to outline your career so far.

PE: Yes, well I was spotted by a Wolves scout while I was playing in my home town of Tamworth on a Saturday afternoon. He asked me to train two nights a week with Wolves. I have got to thank my parents for pushing me, they took me over to Wolves every Tuesday and Thursday and it was about 30 miles away from Tamworth. They eventually asked me to sign apprentice when I was about 16 which was rather pleasing because I had just started work at Alders Paper Mill and that was very hard work.

KF: Did you manage to establish yourself in the first team?

PE: No, I had about five games when Bill McGarry signed me as a pro at eighteen. One against Webby (Chelsea) and one against Frank McLintock but I did not do too well.

KF: Then from Wolves you went to Swindon.

PE: That did me a world of good, dropping down two divisions. I went for quite a large fee really, about £88,000, considering I had only had a few games. But Swindon wanted to pay that much for me because they had already had me on loan and thought I was worth it.

KF: How did Dave Sexton sell the club to you?

PE: Very well, mind you, it did not need that much selling when you are top of the 1st Division and I used to watch the Rangers on television and they played the football I liked.

KF: Did he tell you he was buying you as a cover?

PE: No he said he wanted me to play in the team, but that I might have to wait to get in the side.

KF: You were on the side-lines for a long time, did you think at any stage that you had made a mistake?

PE: Yes this did cross my mind. I’ve got to be quite honest here, because it’s always a worrying time when you are not in the first team. Being a regular in the first team at Swindon with 90-100 games behind me, I knew what it was all about and I did not want to fall back into the rut I was in at Wolves. It’s a hard time and a very depressing time for the family and everyone concerned.

KF: What do you think are the main differences between QPR and Swindon?

PE: The play mainly. At Swindon we always used to try and play good football, but that’s not always a good thing in the Third Division because sometimes we used to get hammered away from home. But at Rangers it comes off. More skilful football really, that sums it up. Also, we never had our own tracksuits at Swindon. That makes a lot of difference having all your kit ready when you come in, in the morning. It makes a difference how you train.

KF: Were you the hero at Swindon?

PE: Well, sort of, I suppose. It’s not really up to me to say.

KF: When you sat on the bench, as you did do a few times, did you remember that game when the whole ground started chanting your name? What was going through your mind?

PE: I just about remember it. The team were going through a bad patch at the time. It did encourage me. It’s nice to know that you have got the crowd on your side.

KF: It’s a good chant, isn’t it?

PE: Yeah, I suppose it is.

KF: Do the other players pull your leg about it?

PE: Not so much now I’m in the team, but when I was not I was getting quite a bit of stick.

KF: What are your favourite grounds?

PE: Manchester United, they have got a great set-up there. I have not played at many really.

KF: Have you an outstanding or memorable goal that you have scored?

PE: My most memorable goal was against Cardiff on Boxing Day, we beat them 4-0 and I scored with an overhead kick.

KF: How about influences Pete, who has influenced your career?

PE: Well a lot of people really; my father and family; Gordon Egglestone, he used to be with the Youth Team at Wolves then moved down to Swindon. He was the one who brought me to Swindon.

KF: Is there any part of your game that you feel you have got to develop and improve on?

PE: I am always trying to improve my game anyway I can. If I’m not working hard enough or my heading is not coming along, I like someone to tell me, then I work on it. I think I’m working a lot harder these days because I think you have got to in the First Division or you’re not doing your job properly.




KF: What sort of effect do postponed games have on players?

PE: It really depresses you, people look forward to the match especially like the Villa game tonight which has been called off twice. We were all keyed up for the game then when we arrived at the ground it was called off. It really deflates you.

KF: How long do you spend preparing for a game?

PE: Two or three days. But you really start thinking about it the day before. Then Dave pulls you aside on your own or with two or three players and runs through a few things with you.

KF: Moving around to different parts of the country, have you found it difficult to adjust?

PE: Not really, I and my family feel more settled down here than we did at Swindon. Maybe because we have got our own house now, at Luton, which is only two hours from the Midlands.

KF: Have you lost contact with your friends?

PE: Well I keep in contact with one friend, John McLoughlin, from Swindon, but I’ve been away from home, Tamworth that is, since I was sixteen which is a long time.

KF: Who is your closest friend at QPR?

PE: Well they are all good mates really. I get on well with all of them.

KF: You keep referring to your family, Peter, who does it consist of?

PE: Well, I’m married with one daughter, called Natalie. She’s just a year.

KF: How would you spend a good social evening?

PE: I would take my wife out for a meal, I think, have a drink and a good bottle of wine.

KF: What do you do in your spare time?

PE: Well I used to play golf, but I have not played for that long now. I just take it easy and do odd jobs around the house. Unfortunately, I am not very good.

KF: Tell me, how did you get the nickname of Villa?

PE: I think it was John Hollins. He first started it. He got it off Jasper Carrot and gave it to me because I’m the only Midlander in the team.

KF: Well there should be a few chanting Villa tonight?

PE: It will lift me anyway.

KF: Jimmy Hill consistently gives the team a rough deal. How do the players feel about him?

PE: Well they don’t openly criticise him. He does slag the team down and the fellows know this.

KF: He gives the wrong impression as well.

PE: Yes, take the Man. Utd game last Saturday, he got across that we were killed. A lot of people get told of the game and probably get the wrong impression because it was not like that at all.

KF: How bad is that Man. Utd pitch?

PE: Very bad. On the one side you could not stand up. Let’s say if we had been training, we would not have trained on it. It was too dangerous.

KF: It was a tremendous game considering.

PE: Yeah it was.

KF: Well Peter, the supporters waited a long time to see you in a first team shirt and they certainly have not been disappointed so far, with what they have seen. I wish you all the best for the future and tonight’s game.

That league cup semi-final tie at Loftus Road ended in a goalless draw. Then, an exciting second leg at Villa Park finished 2-2 after extra time with Peter Eastoe scoring our second equaliser which meant that the tie had to go to a third game. And I remember only too well that night at Highbury when Brian Little killed us off with his hat-trick!

Steve Russell