We catch up with QPR’s 1985-86 Milk Cup fi­nal­ists

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Neil Fissler

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.

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