It was very sad to hear the recent news that the one-time QPR FC forward of the early 1970’s, John O’Rourke had passed away at the age of 71.
John O’Rourke throughout his career at his clubs including; Luton, Middlesbrough, Ipswich, Coventry and QPR, was a high ratio goal scorer. His finishing was sharp and he was the archetype 1960’s/1970’s ‘Johnny on the spot’.
Rangers signed John from Coventry City in October 1971 for a fee of ¬£60,000 and he later moved to Bournemouth for a very limited spell to finish off his pro-playing days.
During his period at Loftus Road he played in 37 first team games and scored 12 goals. It has to be said that whilst with the R’s, John was at the tail-end of his career, but none the less he still retained that goal scoring touch at Division Two level.
In my view, perhaps his goals tally could have been higher if firstly he had found it easier to dovetail with Rodney Marsh, or later, had not played a number of games in a semi-wide position instead of a more central role.
Once Stan Bowles, Don Givens and Dave Thomas came on the scene during the 1972/73 season his days were obviously numbered. Consequently, there was not much option for John but to move on, but let us not forget that he proved to be a decent player in his short stay at our club.
Bernard Lambert (Kerrins)
John O’Rourke was born in Northampton on 11th February 1945. He didn’t make much of an impression at his first clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea, and decided to drop down to the 4th Division with Luton Town.
In his spell with the Hatters he managed 64 goals in just 84 appearances. He was transferred to Middlesbrough in July 1966. Two years later Ipswich paid ¬£30,000 for his services.
QPR snapped him up for ¬£60,000 from Coventry City in October 1971. He made his 1st team debut later that month against Luton Town on 19th October.
John went on to make 37 appearances (including one as a sub) and scored 12 goals. Notably on one occasion in 1972, he scored all four goals in a reserve game against Arsenal.
Rangers transferred him to Bournemouth for ¬£40,000 in January 1974, and the following year he played in South Africa. He later went on to play for Poole Town, Weymouth and Dorchester Town.
Following his retirement he ran a newsagents on the South Coast.
Suffering from cancer, he sadly passed away on 7th July.
The Chairman of the FPA and former Middlesbrough captain, Gordon Jones, said: “John was not only a good footballer, but a good bloke. He was held in high regard as a footballer on the pitch and a gentleman off it.”
May he Rest in Peace.
(The above pic was taken by John Brough in 1972 and captures John’s “goal” at Bristol City which was unfortunately disallowed)