QPR’s first ever Match at the White City Stadium

Team: Shaw, McDonald, Pullen, Ovens, Mitchell, Wake, Revill, Tosswill, McKie, Thornton, Barnes

Attendance: 26,000

Rangers’ home game scheduled for the 5th April 1912 against Southampton had to be switched from Park Royal due to the consequences of sympathy action for the miners by Willesden railwaymen. This Good Friday fixture was the first time that QPR played at the White City. The following match report appeared in the local press:

‘Owing to the inability of the Great Western Railway to run trains to Park Royal during the coal strike, the Queen’s Park Rangers had to seek a temporary home during the holidays, and it was a happy chance that led them to the Stadium at Wood Lane, Shepherd’s Bush, where 62,000 (?) people – a record crowd for the Southern League – assembled to see them share two goals with Southampton.


The ground was in capital condition, and a really fine game was the result. Southampton had Gordon for Eastham, the Rangers introduced Tosswill in the front rank, Revill going on the right wing to make room for him.

Playing against the sun and wind the Rangers had all the better of the first half, but the Southampton backs played a very sturdy game, and Knight, in goal, was at the top of his form.

The visiting goalkeeper ran out twice, and effected daring saves, while on one occasion Mitchell hit the bar from a free kick, and at half-time there was a blank sheet.

In the second half Mitchell was away for some little time, and during his absence Prince scored for the visitors. With the return of the home centre-half however, the game again went in favour of the Rangers, and Tosswill equalised with a fine hook past Knight.

The same player should have put his team ahead shortly afterwards, but he sent wildly over the bar with no one to beat. Thornton hit the post a few minutes later, and the visiting defence holding out to the finish, a draw of 1-1 was the result.’

Regarding that reported attendance of 62,000, Gordon Macey explained in his history of the club that; ‘The papers of the day confirm the figure but it is certainly an oddity as the next day only 20,000 turned up and the normal gate for the season was under 10,000. In my opinion the most likely attendance was 26,000 (i.e. a typographical error in the papers) as the White City Stadium had a capacity of around 60,000.’

The chairman of the British Olympic Association, Lord Desborough, persuaded the organisers of the Franco-British Exhibition to build the stadium and on the 13th July 1908 the Olympic Games were opened by King Edward V11.

Steve Russell

(The above pic from the local archive was taken in 1910 and shows part of the stadium adjacent to the Exhibition)

One thought on “QPR’s first ever Match at the White City Stadium

  1. It is ironic that we were not only going to return to play at the White City again but we would finally end our nomadic existence five years later only a few hundred yards away.
    Yet another ground that ‘might have been’ in that nomadic period.
    Great bit of history.

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