The 3-0 victory for Queens Park Rangers over Sheffield United on Monday night increased their lead at the top of the Championship to 9 points over 2nd placed Norwich City and 13 points from the play-off positions. With only seven games left to go, the team from West London are extremely close to ending their 15 years spent outside of the top flight since relegation from the Premier League in 1995/1996.
Whilst Rangers fans have suffered a further relegation since then and the joy of promotion back to the 2nd tier of English football, we have also had to deal with the “you’re not famous anymore” chants from opposing fans. Although Rangers can’t boast about a full trophy cabinet, we did enjoy some great spells in the top flight of English football over the years, from the first few seasons when the Premier League was formed in 1992, back to when it was simply known as English Football Division One previously.
For fellow R’s supporters reading this, it’s our moment in the spotlight following what has been a tremendous season under Neil Warnock and his team in the Championship so far and there’s nothing more suitable than enjoying a Top Ten moments in the top flight for Queens Park Rangers.
Non-Rangers fans may still want to check this out for some football history, before the likes of Chelsea and Fulham got rich, we could boast being the best team in West London and for a few seasons, the best team in the Capital.
So, let us enjoy the top ten moments because being a Rangers fan for the last 15 years has not been easy but promotion this season will be some justice to what our loyal fan base has had to endure with the faint hope of the following glory returning to Loftus Road. C’mon You R’s!
10) – Best team in London 1987/1988 – One of three occasions where Rangers finished 5th in the top division under the management of Jim Smith. In this season the R’s finished on 67 points, behind the likes of the 1980’s most dominant teams, Everton, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and Liverpool and a point above Arsenal in 6th and Chelsea were relegated out of the top flight.
9) – 5-5 Draw with Newcastle United – In the 1984/1985 season the top flight saw one of its highest scoring score draws of all times. Played on Rangers’ infamous plastic pitch at Loftus Road in the middle of the 1980’s, Newcastle took a 4-0 lead at Half-time. In the 2nd half the R’s started to make a comeback before Newcastle added a 5th, but it didn’t stop QPR getting an equaliser to cap off a great come back.
8 – David Seaman & Les Ferdinand – Two of Rangers’ most successful players in the last few decades. Goalkeeper, David Seaman signed for Rangers in the 1980’s and earned his England call-up under Bobby Robson playing for the R’s before eventually moving onto Arsenal for a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper in 1990. Striker Les Ferdinand went to school only 100 yards away from Loftus Road and grew up to play for the club where he was eventually known as ‘Sir Les’. Like Seaman, he also earned an England call-up whilst at Rangers, scoring 60 goals in the first three Premier League seasons for the Super Hoops, before moving to Newcastle United for £6 million in 1995.
7) – Roy Wegerle’s goal of the season – In 1990/1991 season, Rangers fans enjoyed watching the skilful American striker Roy Wegerle up front for the R’s. In a 3-2 victory away to Leeds United, Wegerle scored the goal of the season in the top flight for that year.
6) – 5th in the Premier League – For the Premier League’s second season since it’s formation, Rangers enjoyed another season in the top flight finishing 5th and again the best placed team in London for that season. Under the guidance of former player Gerry Francis as manager, the R’s finished one place above the likes of Liverpool and included a 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at home. The team included players like Les Ferdinand, Ian Holloway, Alan McDonald, Andy Impey and Ray Wilkins. Unfortunately there was no European qualification for finishing 5th during this season.
5) – QPR 6-0 Chelsea 1985/1986 – Whilst Chelsea have gone onto pastures new since Rangers’ top flight appearances, there was once (and still is, for R’s fans) a fierce rivalry between the two clubs from West London. In the Eighties, it was more of an even playing field and this 6-0 result is often remembered. The game on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, saw Chelsea 4th in the league and needing to win if they were to stay in the title race but a hat-trick from Rangers striker Gary Bannister plus two from John Byrne and one from Leroy Rosenior sealed off an impressive victory over the London neighbours.
4) – Three Hat-tricks by three different players against Everton – A rather remarkable record but certainly a highlight, especially as it came under the glamour of the Premier League. In the 1992/1993 season, QPR defeated Everton 4-2 at home in December with Andy Sinton scoring a hat-trick. The return fixture, in April saw Rangers win 5-3 at Goodison Park where Les Ferdinand scored a hat-trick. The following season, Rangers travelled to Goodison Park where Bradley Allen scored a hat-trick for a 3-0 victory.
3) – Terry Venables, finish 5th and European football – Former Rangers player, Terry Venables took over the club as manager in 1980 where QPR were in the 2nd tier of English football. He took the Rangers side to Wembley for the 1981/1982 FA Cup Final which they drew against Tottenham Hotspur and lost in the replay. The season later, Rangers won the Second Division and promotion to the top flight where they finished 5th in their first season back in 1983/1984 season, again finishing the best London club that season. Unlike the two other 5th finishes, it was more impressive as Rangers were 10 points clear of 6th place Arsenal and only a point behind Manchester United in 4th and 7 points adrift of Champions Liverpool. Venables left at the end of the season to take over at Spanish giants, Barcelona despite the 5th finish qualifying Rangers for the UEFA Cup.
2) – Manchester United 1-4 Queens Park Rangers 1991/1992 – The first live football game to be shown on television on New Year’s Day saw Rangers record an impressive victory at Old Trafford. In a game where United hadn’t lost at home all season and were chasing Leeds United for the title, the R’s turned up to ruin Alex Ferguson’s 50th birthday celebrations from the day before. The QPR side, under Gerry Francis attacked from the start and went two up with goals from Andy Sinton and Dennis Bailey. The latter, scored a second to make it 3-0 before Brian McClair pulled one back but Bailey netted his hat-trick to be have the record of the only English man to score a hat-trick at Old Trafford against United. Dennis Bailey was never a first choice striker and didn’t do much of note since this game, but will always be seen as a Rangers legend for this result.
1) – Division One Runners-Up 1975/1976 – The 1970’s saw one of the best QPR sides in history which boasted players like the charismatic and skills of Stan Bowles and the battling midfielder Gerry Francis who went onto captain England. A season where Rangers finished only 1 point behind champions Liverpool, many fans feel that history could’ve been changed had the R’s won the league in a season where they played entertaining attacking football. Liverpool’s league victory meant qualification for the European Cup, which they won the following season and their league victory occurred after an end of season win at Wolves which was played at a later date than the rest of the final league games, due to the Reds’ UEFA Cup commitments. Rangers however, suffered a 3-2 defeat at Norwich in the third last game of the season which cost them winning a major trophy. The R’s however, were undefeated at home all season with a team that also included the likes Frank McLintock, Don Givens and Dave Thomas, it was a chance that got away but also one of Rangers best ever seasons in the top flight. The following season saw Rangers play in the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history but were knocked out on penalties in the Quarter-Finals against AEK Athens.