West Ham United (0) – QPR (4) – ‘And Ferdinand Wrapped it all up, Rounding two Defenders in a Delightful Solo Effort’

FA Carling Premiership

Team: Roberts, Bardsley, Wilson, Wilkins (Ready 76 mins), Peacock, McDonald, Impey, Ferdinand, Sinclair, Penrice (Allen B. 83 mins), Barker

Attendance: 18,084

The R’s travelled to Upton Park on 28th August 1993. Ian Gibb wrote the following match report:

‘If England manager Graham Taylor wanted the perfect reference for striker Les Ferdinand’s international job prospects, he got it from QPR tough guy and leader Alan McDonald.

The Northern Ireland central defender, back to insert a steel rod of defiance into Rangers’ back-bone, gave the old military message a dusting down by saying: “I don’t know what he does to the opposition – but he certainly frightens me!”

And while the big clubs may be checking their bank vaults again, ready to toss QPR £3m plus for Ferdie’s services, Rangers boss Gerry Francis claims that the selling stopped with Andy Sinton’s departure to Sheffield Wednesday.

Ferdinand’s two-goal show brushed West Ham’s pathetic defending aside, and McDonald said: “The man is frightening. I’m not exactly known as a shrinking violet, but I don’t even like facing him in training games at the club. In this form he is unstoppable.”

Big Les admits he got a gee-up from boss Francis, who thought he was sulking and that his commitment had not been total.

Francis had a 30-minute heart-to-heart with his players on Friday and told them that Ferdinand would not be going.

Their rediscovered spirit was typified by McDonald and midfield veteran Ray Wilkins, who suffered a busted nose, but still broke West Ham’s hearts by laying on the first three goals – for Peacock, Ferdinand and Gary Penrice. And he stayed on grittily until the last 15 minutes after colliding with Martin Allen’s boot.

Keeper Tony Roberts made some splendid saves, but, overall, this was a promising Rangers unit destroying a West Ham side that looks in for a desperate struggle against relegation.’

And elsewhere Vikki Orvice submitted this match report:

‘There was an urgent message for a supporter whose wife had gone into labour: “Please leave the ground immediately”, announced a voice over the tannoy. Not that the thousands of others who joined him through the turnstiles soon after needed any such excuse as West Ham crashed to a 0-4 defeat by Queen’s Park Rangers in their worst performance of the season.

Even former England cricket captain Graham Gooch had come along to watch, hoping to enjoy a rare Saturday off after Essex were trounced by Middlesex in another East versus West competition.

Bur West Ham are quickly beginning to realise that their new life in the Premier League is a little different to last season. Make a mistake and you will be punished, give the ball away and you will be hurt. “Hurt badly”, said manager Billy Bonds. “In the First Division you could get away with it lightly but here they really mean business.”

After the mid-week defeat by Chelsea, QPR really did mean business, exposing the Hammers’ weak defence with their pace, power and poise.

Les Ferdinand was in especially good form, prompting Francis to argue strongly for his inclusion in the England squad against Poland.

Admittedly West Ham were unlucky to be a goal down at half-time, a Ray Wilkins corner perfectly finding Darren Peacock, who headed it in.

But minutes after the break, Ferdinand converted a Wilkins pass. Gary Penrice was given the space to turn on the ball to make it goal number three and Ferdinand wrapped it all up, rounding two defenders in a delightful solo effort.

Bonds said his side gave away “soft goals” and could not control Les Ferdinand.

The West Ham side included the likes of Ludek Miklosko, Clive Allen, Tim Breacker, Martin Allen and Keith Rowland.

Rangers followed up this emphatic victory with a 2-1 home win over Sheffield United a few days later.

Steve Russell