QPR’s ’67 legend on Wembley glory, Stock, his team-mates – and full-backs ‘locked up during the week’

Saturday is the 50th anniversary of QPR’s famous 1967 League Cup triumph.

Then a Third Division side, Alec Stock’s men were given little chance against top-flight outfit West Brom – especially when 2-0 down at half-time.

What followed in the second half at Wembley went down in Rangers folklore.

Roger Morgan pulled a goal back and Rodney Marsh scored a brilliant equaliser before Mark Lazarus netted the winner to clinch a sensational victory.

Not only did it win the trophy for Rangers, it proved to be the platform for them to become an established top-flight side during the following three decades.

Lazarus, now 78, shares his memories of the day and QPR as it was back then.

Memories of the day

“It doesn’t seem like 50 years. I’ve got all memories of the day and the game. I think it was history making at the time. The more people you meet, they don’t stop you remembering it. Everyone talks to you about it – they don’t let you forget and it’s not something I would forget.

“It was a goal to be there. We’d already achieved in that we were playing at Wembley and making history. We’d achieved our goal by getting there.

“We thought we could win before the game, but when you’re 2-0 down at half-time you don’t think that.

“If it was a league game, Alec would have had a real go at us. Because we were at Wembley and playing West Brom, a First Division team, it was nice and calm.

“He said ‘Go out there and play like you can play. Our goal was to get here, now go and show the people what you can do’. And that’s what the attitude was like in the dressing room.

“Nerves may have played a part in the first half. In the second half, the nerves may have gone as we were losing 2-0 and they (West Brom) may have calmed down a bit after having 45 minutes at Wembley in front of 100,000 people.

“We started getting on top. Rodney started performing. I started performing. Things went our way and we deservedly won.

“Everything about the day was lovely for us. All our families and friends were there. You can’t beat it – to score a winning goal.

“I don’t think I’d be here (being asked to speak about ’67) if I hadn’t scored a winning goal for the only trophy QPR have won. I remember everything about it.”

Before and after the game

“The Winton Hotel in Queensway! (seen in the background at the start of the above video, co-owned by the father and the uncle of Harold Winton, later QPR benefactor and honorary president) – I remember it well. I also remember going out on the morning of the game to get cufflinks as I forgot to bring a pair. It was a good night. There was a party going on! Afterwards was just fantastic. Fats Domino was there as he was staying at the hotel as well – he played us a tune or two.”

Alec Stock

“He was brilliant. He was well respected and a man’s man and he never treated you as kids – and we had a lot of kids here.

“The players wanted to play for him and he brought the best out of them, and not just in football. People did have problems in those days and he was only too willing to hear you and see if he could help.

“He was a captain in the army and he held himself like a proper gentleman. You’d walk into a dressing room and he had that way that he was in charge. He was formidable. He played football himself. He wasn’t that good a player, but he had an aura about him.

“The stars he created, from John O’Rourke to Malcolm McDonald, who he turned into a centre-forward. He changed lives.

“And he was a great PR man as well. He could sell coals to Newcastle. He was that sort of manager.

“He was really good at going into teams where they had Third Division players and turn them into First Division players.”

His team-mates

“I love all that team. There isn’t one player in that team that I didn’t genuinely like and respect. Some of them, god rest their souls, are dead now.

“Rodney sends me a happy-birthday every year. I don’t hear too much from Ronnie Hunt and Frank Sibley. who I respected. Mike Keen; the whole side.

“Jimmy (Langley) was the nicest bloke you could ever meet. There isn’t anyone in that side that I wouldn’t do anything for.

“If they asked me to go to so-and-so I’d do my best to get there for any one of them. We’ve lost a lot of them, which is a shame.

“That team is the best team I played for, and I’ve played for Wolverhampton Wanderers where I was the only player in the side not an international.

“If we’d been playing today, we’d be in the Premier League without any doubt.”

Loftus Road

“It’s changed so much -for the best I might say. None of this was here when I was here. The pitch wasn’t the same. Everything’s changed. I have great memories of the place. It was a happy time and I remember it all really well.”

Modern football

“Balls, football boots, kits; everything has got a higher degree than what we played with. I’d hate to think what we could do with the ball today. You couldn’t do some of the things you see now with the balls we played with.

“The (current) players themselves, I just can’t handle it. I can pick out the individuals there are, but there are a lot of footballers that I think are very fortunate to be playing and that includes in the Premier League. A lot of those players wouldn’t have got in that 1967 team.

“Diving wasn’t the done thing. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as referees would ignore it. That was the game.

“Some players you had to kick the ball past them and run sideways around them on the running tracks. Some of the tackling was hard but it was acceptable.

“You’d look like Humpty Dumpty. Cotton wool around the legs, books at the back of the legs acting as shin pads.

“It was a horrible experience when you went to Bolton, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn. You’d go there and the full-backs would be locked up during the week and teased with a football. Come Saturday, they kicked everything that moved.

“It was ‘If you go past me again, I’ll break your legs’. That’s what they’d try to do and studs would come at your face. They’ve got it so easy today.”