Then and now

It’s just over 15 years since QPR last fielded a side in the Premier League. Sadly it was marked by a 3-0 loss to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, which ensured a miserable season ended on a low point.

Here’s a round-up of what that 1996 team have been up to since. I’ve also chosen a combined XI based on what I think are the best players from that side and the current Rangers squad.

Some may disagree with my choices. For example, I’ve gone for an ageing Wilkins and Barker on the basis that they were proven performers at a higher level, whereas Alejandro Faurlin’s many admirers may have other ideas.

Juergen Sommer

Sommer or Paddy Kenny? Surely an easy choice

The American goalkeeper stayed with QPR until midway through the 1997/98 season before heading back to his homeland. He had spells in the MLS with Columbus Crew and New England Revolution. Since retiring he has spent time coaching at Indiana University.

David Bardsley

After nine great years at Loftus Road, the popular right-back had a second spell at Blackpool in 1998. After a brief stint at non-League Northwich Victoria, the England international went on to also establish a career in coaching in the United States, where he helps run Orlando FC in Florida.

Steve Yates

The Bristolian defender stayed with Rangers for three years after the club’s relegation before moving to Tranmere. His highlights on Birkenhead included playing in the 2000 League Cup final against Leicester and two goals in a derby against Everton in the FA Cup in 2001. Later had spells with Sheffield United and Huddersfield.

Alan McDonald

A true QPR legend who spent 16 years at Loftus Road before a final season in professional football at Swindon in 1997/98. Returned to the club as assistant to Gary Waddock in 2006. More recently he became manager of Glentoran in Northern Ireland, where he won the league title before departing in March 2010.

Rufus Brevett

Aged 26 at the time of QPR’s slide out of the top flight, the left-back still had the time and talent to relaunch his Premier League career with near neighbours Fulham, whom he joined 1998 and subsequently won promotion with in 2001. He later suffered another relegation to the second tier, this time with West Ham. He has spent time coaching in non-League and also works as a media pundit.

Simon Barker

The former Blackburn midfielder spent 10 years in Shepherd’s Bush and was rewarded with a testimonial against Jamaica, which brought lively scenes to the streets around the ground in 1998. He had a couple of seasons at Port Vale before going on to work for the PFA.

Paul Murray

At just 19 he was the baby of the team, who made his debut in this match while on loan from Carlisle. He completed a permanent transfer shortly after and stayed until 2001. Popular with fans, but failed to fulfil his potential and has had seven clubs since leaving west London, including Portuguese outfit Beira Mar. He is just beginning his second season with Hartlepool.

Ray Wilkins

Player-manager who was at the helm when the club went down and left soon afterwards. Spent the 1996/97 season winding down his playing career with cameo roles at a handful of clubs before moving back into management. Had a brief spell in charge at Fulham before coaching at Chelsea, Watford, Millwall, England-Under 21s and Chelsea again. Now a pundit.

Kevin Gallen

Gallen, 35, was 20 when QPR went down

Netted three goals in Rangers’ first two matches in the second tier, but suffered a serious knee injury while scoring the third, against Portsmouth. He was shown the door by Gerry Francis in 2000, but after a spell in Yorkshire with Huddersfield and Barnsley he returned to Loftus Road with the club struggling in Division Two and having just been walloped by Swansea in the FA Cup. His re-signing instantly transformed their fortunes and he was a key part of the team that reached the 2003 play-off final, were promoted the following year, and became established in the Championship. Is now coaching QPR’s Under-16s.

Danny Dichio

Hailing from Notting Hill, his time at Rangers ended in 1997 when he headed off for a short spell in Italy, firstly with Sampdoria. He played in the Premier League again during three-year stints at Sunderland and West Brom, before ending his time in England with Millwall and Preston. Finished his career at Toronto in the MLS, where he scored the first goal in their history.

Trevor Sinclair

The highly-rated winger stayed with QPR until January 1998 before West Ham took him back to the top flight in exchange for £2.3m and Iain Dowie and Keith Rowland. While a Hammer, he represented England at the 2002 World Cup. He joined Manchester City in 2003 and spent four years there before ending his career with Cardiff. Now a pundit.


Karl Ready

Welshman who began his career at QPR and spent 11 years at the club before moving north of the border to Motherwell in 2001. After only a season in the Scottish Premier League, he returned to England where he played for a string of non-League clubs including Aldershot, Aylesbury, Crawley and Farnborough. Retired in 2004.

Chris Plummer

Defender who remained at Loftus Road for a further seven years after this match. Had a season at Conference club Barnet before moving back into the Football League with Peterborough in 2004. In 2006 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and after making a full recovery decided to retire from professional football, running a financial services business with former R’s team-mate Matthew Rose. Plummer then played for United Counties League side Peterborough Northern Star and has gone on to become their manager.

Lee Charles

Striker who joined from non-League Chertsey Town at the start of the campaign but struggled to make his mark and after a couple of loan spells at Barnet and Cambridge United, made a permanent move to Hayes. Had further two-year stints at both Nuneaton andAldershot before retiring in 2004.

My combined XI:

Paddy Kenny, David Bardsley, Alan McDonald, Kaspars Gorkss, Rufus Brevett, Simon Barker, Ray Wilkins, Trevor Sinclair, Adel Taarabt, Kevin Gallen, Jay Bothroyd.