Barnsley (0) – QPR (0) – 22nd August 1964 – ‘An Hour after the Final Whistle, Willie, of Commercial Street, Barnsley, was still Snoozing!’

Team: Smith, Brady (P), Taylor, Malcolm, Brady (R), Angell, Collins, Bedford, Leary, Keen, McLeod

Attendance: 5,544

Rangers kicked off their 1964/65 league campaign with a visit to Oakwell. The following match report appeared the next day:

‘Barnsley’s forward-line came in for an unfair burst of slow handclapping from the fans near the end of the game.

Unfair? Of course. What did they expect their men to do against the power of the Rangers defence? A lot of better forward-lines than Barnsley’s will be beaten by this rear-guardbefore the season is over.

Especially if centre-half Ray Brady is in yesterday’s form. He was in complete control, which was just as well for Barnsley’s leading scorer, centre-forward Tony Leighton might well have caused havoc, so hard did he try.

Barnsley’s newcomer, left-half Willie Cunningham, could not have had a tougher debut against Rangers’ right-wing pair, Bedford and Collins.

Barnsley’s inside-forwards, Byrne and Kerr, weaved some clever paths in midfield, and their ideas will reap better rewards against defences not as strong as Rangers’.’

And I must also include this article that appeared in the Daily Mail:

‘It was a pretty dull match so Willie Webster, 83, dozed off just after half-time. He slept in his centre-stand seat through the cheering, the shouting, and even a bout of slow-handclapping.

An hour after the final whistle, Willie of Commercial Street, Barnsley, was still snoozing. Pressmen who were just leaving Oakwell Football Ground, where Barnsley had drawn 0-0 with Queen’s Park Rangers, spotted the lonely figure in the stand.

Willie, wakened by their shouts, looked at his watch and said: “It is all right. There is another hour to go.” Then he realised it was all over. He made his way to the stand door only to find that he was locked-in.

Club secretary Raymond Vicary, who was still at the ground, was called upon to the rescue and Rip Van Willie was “released”.

Outside the ground, season ticket holder Willie said: “I remember the match starting after the interval and I must have dozed off just then.”

Willie, who has been an ardent Barnsley fan for the last 52 years, added: “Nothing like this has ever happened before. It was lucky that someone was still at the ground or I might still be there.”

“It was a pretty boring game and that is probably why I fell asleep. By the way…what was the score?”

Steve Russell

(Thanks again to Paul Handley for kindly passing on his excellent collection of newspaper reports)