WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
We catch up with QPR’s 1985-86 Milk Cup finalists
IT’S not uncommon that teams become stage- struck at Wembley and fail to perform to the best of their ability – and that could certainly be said about Queens Park Rangers.
Rangers were fancied to lift the League Cup for the second time in their history against Oxford United.
The U’s hadn’t won in seven games while the Hoops were unbeaten in eight.
Jim Smith’s side had disposed of Hull City, Watford, Nottingham Forest, Chelsea and Liverpool on their way to the Twin Towers.
R’s striker John Byrne believes their preparation for the big day had a lot to do with their lacklustre performance and, ultimately, the 3-0 defeat they suffered.
“I am not making excuses but I just think our preparation for that game wasn’t brilliant,” he said.
“The game was on a Sunday and we either met up on the Thursday night or the Friday.
“It was too far away from the game for me.
“There was a lot of hanging around, and then on the Saturday we trained and went to White Hart Lane to watch a match.
“On the Sunday there was nothing in the tank. When we went out for the warm-up it was like I had a piano on my back, and I think a lot of players felt the same.
“We had no energy, nothing. You know what players are like – we would rather just turn up at a game and play. We were only playing at Wembley, five minutes away.
“We just didn’t turn up and didn’t even give it a go. When I look back I have to say it was one of the biggest disappointments of my career.”
Oxford dominated the game in front of over 90,000 from start to finish and won thanks to goals from Trevor Hebberd, Ray Houghton and former Hoop Jeremy Charles.
“When you look at the two teams, on paper we more than matched them ability-wise,” added Byrne. “But they did have some good players, you cannot take that away from them.
“They had John Aldridge up front, Ray Houghton in midfield so they had some very good players.
“I remember trudging off at the end and thinking ‘what just happened there?’.
“We also had the build-up of Jim Smith going back to play against Oxford at Wembley, how often do you see that coming back to bite you?
“There are no excuses, we were just poor.
“We had a good record against Oxford, we had beaten them in the league that season. We had a lot of experience in the side and if I ever speak to QPR fans I always say its one to forget.” 1. David Kerslake: Defender who was a play-off winner with Swindon. Is working for one of his former clubs, Tottenham, in their academy. 2. Martin Allen: Midfielder who won a promotion with West Ham. Ran a soccer school before going into management. He has had five spells in charge of Barnet and is currently in charge of Chesterfield. 3. Robbie James: The Welsh international midfielder won four promotions with Swansea City. Collapsed and died while playing for Llanelli in February 1998 aged 40. 4. Wayne Fereday: The England Under-21 winger is based on the South Coast and has done stats work for the Press Association. Has worked in a car valet and a furniture shop in Christchurch. 5. Gary Waddock: The Republic of Ireland midfielder went into coaching and management after his playing days came to an end. Is currently in his second spell as Aldershot Town manager. Has also bossed QPR, Wycombe and Oxford United 6. Gary Bannister: England Under-21 striker worked in hotel maintenance and property development in Cornwall. Now lives in the West Midlands where he is back in hotel maintenance. 7. Gary Cooper: The England youth midfielder won promotion and a Football League Trophy with Birmingham City. Is living and working in London. 8. Frank Sibley: Managed both Rangers and Walsall and later became chief scout at Watford before retiring. 9. Steve Burke: The winger is now based in Lincolnshire. Ran a sports shop as well as a pub but is now a gaming machine collector for Butlins. 10. Alan McDonald: Northern Ireland centre-half played in the 1986 World Cup finals. Was QPR’s assistant manager and managed Glentoran. He died suddenly in June 2012 aged 48. 11. Paul Barron: Goalkeeper who was a PE instructor before turning professional. Became a goalkeeper coach and is now a freelance coach based in Las Vegas. 12. Peter Hucker: The goalkeeper played for Rangers in an FA Cup final. Runs his own successful soccer school in East London. Has also coached at Spurs’ academy and worked in adult education. 13. Micky Fillery: Midfielder was Chelsea’s Player of the Year in 1982. Became a TV presenter/ pundit before working as a school maintenance man. 14. Gary Chivers: The defender has worked as a chauffeur, then in the media and as a football coach at Collingwood School in Wallington. He has also earned a living as a speaker. 15. Dave Butler: The former Watford physio also served Tottenham and England. He then became a scout working for Middlesbrough and Spurs. 16. Ian Dawes: The full-back ran coaching schools before working at a pupil referral unit in Surrey. Then ran a mobile oven cleaning business. 17. John Gregory: The England midfielder has held a number of management posts and is currently the head coach of the champions of India, Chennaiyin. 18. Terry Fenwick: The England central defender managed both Portsmouth and Northampton Town. Is now owner and technical director of the Football Factory in Trinidad. 19. Jim Smith: The Bald Eagle is now retired after serving a number of clubs as manager and assistant manager. He also had three years on the board of Oxford United. 20. Michael Robinson: The Republic of Ireland striker played for Brighton in an FA Cup final. Is now a Spanish citizen after become a leading media pundit based in Madrid. 21. John Byrne: Striker who was an FA Cup finalist with Sunderland. Settled in Brighton where he is a musculoskeletal podiatrist for the Sussex Community NHS Trust. 22. Steve Wicks: The central defender won a promotion with Chelsea. Managed Crawley Town before becoming an agent and a property investor. Also worked in corporate hospitality at Loftus Road.