QPR and Northern Ireland legend Alan McDonald sadly passed away on this day in 2012. And as a way to commemorate him I’ve reproduced the following 1989 interview, which I think, appeared in ‘Shoot’ magazine:
Q: First of all, Alan, why have you decided to stay at Loftus Road?
AM: Basically because Trevor Francis has been able to convince me that we are not going to be second-class citizens any more.
I sat down with Trevor two weeks before the end of the season and we sorted things out. I have three years left on my contract and I intend to see them out.
Q: What did you think was wrong at the club?
AM: I was disillusioned by the lack of ambition at QPR before Trevor became boss. We seemed to be selling all our best players.
A couple of years ago we were fifth in the League and instead of using that as a springboard we suddenly let players go here, there and everywhere. But with so many good players arriving recently, I feel Trevor is putting together a team capable of mounting a serious challenge for all the honours.
Q: How much did the arrival of your Northern Ireland team-mate Colin Clarke influence your decision?
AM: Colin Clarke isn’t just a Northern Ireland team-mate, he is also my room-mate for international trips.
Naturally he has made some difference to my thinking but then so have the other newcomers such as Andy Gray, Nigel Spackman, Peter Reid and Andy Sinton, our new signing from Brentford, who is perhaps the best discovery of all.
AM: I had a couple of run-ins with him to start with. I think the Press were winding him up and maybe he was reacting a little too strongly to certain things.
He fined me for a report in the papers, which had nothing to do with me. But although he perhaps made some mistakes to begin with, he has settled in now and he will keep learning as he gains more experience. I am happy to stay and there are no problems between Trevor and myself.
Q: Are you disappointed that during your six months on the transfer list, you didn’t attract the right sort of offer from the big clubs?
AM: I was probably a bit disappointed at the time not to get the move. I was so fed up at that stage and I knew it was really better for both the club and myself if we parted.
But it would have been a hell of a big step because after ten years at the club I was part of the furniture. I don’t think I’ve missed my big chance because I am only 25 and I haven’t reached my peak yet.
Q: With Northern Ireland’s chances of World Cup qualification looking thin, are you envious of Eire’s recent success?
AM: Not really, because I have my own marvellous memories of playing in the Mexico World Cup in 1986 against superb sides such as Brazil.
Northern Ireland’s chances of qualifying don’t look good and we are already depending on what happens to other sides. But if God is kind to me, maybe I will still be around for the next World Cup.
Q: As a centre-back, who do you think are the best men for the centre of England’s defence?
AM: Des Walker has settled in really well with Terry Butcher, who should still be okay for Italy if England qualify.
They can also fall back on the likes of Tony Adams, Gary Pallister, Mark Wright and Dave Watson. Paul Parker is a better man-to-man marker and there is no one quicker than him.
He could be partnered by a similar player at the back, with a third man acting as a sweeper. But that isn’t really England’s way.
Q: Finally, what do you think about QPR’s early start to pre-season training?
AM: We seemed to start a week earlier than everyone else but that was ok by me. You might as well get the hardest part over and done with.
Our pre-season programme involves a week at Exeter University taking on local sides, then up to Scotland for some tough fixtures. That is much better than playing sub-standard teams on tours abroad and should leave us well prepared for the coming season.
Alan McDonald – a true QPR legend who will never be forgotten.
(The above photo was taken at the QPR Open Day around 1990)