On 19th August, ahead of the start of the 1939/40 season local newspaper the Marylebone Mercury & West London, posed the following question: ‘Is this Rangers’ Promotion Year?’
‘Manager Ted Vizard, Queen’s Park Rangers’ most important close-season “capture” believes he has abundant talent from which to mould a promotion winning side at Loftus Road this coming season.
Rangers held their first public trial on Saturday and there was evidence that Mr Vizard had spent a busy three months, along with former Chelsea “star”, Jackie Crawford, Rangers’ chief scout, in shrewd buying.
Dave Mangnall, whose leadership of the Millwall attack took the South Eastern London side to the semi-final of the FA Cup two seasons ago and gained them promotion to the Second Division, has been the Rangers most prominent capture so far.
Although Mangnall has been in the game for many years, he still has plenty of go left in him. By his showing on Saturday, as leader of the “Hoops”, presumably the probable league team, he established himself a firm favourite with the Loftus Road fans, who will no doubt be looking to this new centre-forward to rejuvenate the attack, which lost its pep when Tom Cheetham departed to Brentford.
However, Mangnall may not be the key-man of the attack, for Bonass, a youngster from Chesterfield, made a great impression on the left wing, a position which the Rangers had trouble to fill last season.
A pleasing part of Bonass’ game was the ease with which he worked with Joe Mallett, a cool-headed inside-forward whom the Rangers secured last season from Charlton.
Mallett, unfortunately, although a great favourite, failed to establish himself with the Rangers’ supporters, not, I think, through fault on his part, but because his fellow forwards did not settle down with him.
Many new faces will be seen in the Rangers’ front line, but what of the half-backs? Those grand wing-half stalwarts, Harry Lowe, who again will captain the team in his fifth season at Shepherd’s Bush, and Dicky March (his ninth season), together with Alf Ridyard, who filled the berth of pivot fairly regularly last season, are likely, on Saturday’s showing, to form the midfield trio.
It will not be surprising, however, if Barr, a young Scot from Third Lanark, challenges Ridyard, who has undoubtedly improved, before the season is very far advanced.
Barr was one of the outstanding players for the “Reds”. He faced a formidable attack, but came through with flying colours.
Ivor Powell, who won his spurs with the league side last season, when he made a sensational debut at right-half, played his usual enthusiastic game and displayed several flashes of brilliance, although Barr stole the thunder of the “Reds” half-back line.
Arthur Jefferson, who for the past four seasons has been the mainstay of the defence, might have as his partner at full-back a young Plymouth product in McColgan. This youngster, perhaps, was the outstanding player of Saturday’s trial.
At right-back, he played at times inspired football. He times his tackles to a nicety and has the kick of a mule in either foot.
If McColgan can maintain that form Ted Reay will certainly have to give of his best to keep his first team status, which he gained towards the close of last season.
Young Reg Allen, the former St. Marylebone boy who proved himself a wizard between the posts when he displaced Bill Mason last year was beaten twice by Kelly, a sprightly young forward from Cambuslang, and McCarthy, but this was no reflection on his grand goal-keeping.
Mason, who kept for the “Reds”, was also beaten twice, Bonass and Mallett were the scorers.’
Ted Vizard reported in the Club Handbook that ‘new gates have been erected at the Ellerslie Road entrance to the ground and the whole of the forecourt had been concreted, so that wet weather will now hold no terrors for the folk who use this entrance.’
Whilst the Supporters’ Club notes included a message for the new members from the White City: ‘We especially welcome new members from the new White City Estate, and hope that a tentative visit to our ground may leave with them some incentive to become regular attenders.’
As for the team, they kicked off the new season against Northampton Town in a Football League Jubilee Fund match.
(My thanks to Colin Woodley and Gordon Macey for their assistance)