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My Greatest Ever QPR XI - by journalist John Crowley who first saw The Hoops play aged three

John Crowley is digital editor of Europe and a QPR season ticket holder. His Dad took him to his first game at Loftus Road at the age of 3 and he recently took his own son – aged four - for the first time. Here, he picks his greatest ever QPR XI and manager:

Manager: Dave Sexton (1974-77)

John says: 'Sexton gets the nod for coming within a whisker of winning the league title in 1975-76 when we were runners-up, just one point behind Liverpool. Gerry Francis, Gordon Jago, Alec Stock and Terry Venables could also make firm claims.'

QPR, 1970s team QPR club badge on shirt

Goalkeeper: David Seaman (1986-90)

John says: 'Known for his long service at Arsenal, but cut his teeth and earned his first England cap with QPR. He's sometimes remembered for fluffs in the latter part of his England career but I remember being pretty much flawless at Rangers and he then took that on to Arsenal and the national team.'

Right back: David Bardsley (1989-98)

John says: 'Many a threaded pass down the channel from Bardsley would set Les Ferdinand galloping on his way. He never went hiding and knew his defensive duties but I loved his frequent forays down the flank. Had a bit of the maverick in him and I copied his habit of playing with his shirt out. Capped twice for England.'

Left back: Clive Wilson (1990-95)

John says: 'He was a silky player. Short, stocky, no-nonsense in defence and an unerring penalty taker. He would nearly always find a man with a pass. He was underrated but really loved and respected by the Rrrrs faithful, including myself.'

Centre back: Alan McDonald (1981-97)

John says: 'Mr QPR. He joined as a teenage trainee from Northern Ireland and was a natural born leader, who would make the current so-called hardmen look like pussy cats. It's still hard to take on board that he’s not with us anymore [McDonald died aged 48 in 2012]. There’s talk of a permanent tribute to Macca at Loftus Road and it couldn't come too soon.'

Centre back: Terry Fenwick (1980-87)

John says: 'Most people would probably have Paul Parker but Fenwick was one of my favourites. He got stuck in and wore his heart on his sleeve but he wasn't a hoofer. He scored in the 1986 Milk Cup semi final first leg before we forced Liverpool to score two own goals at Anfield! Maradona ghosted past him for his goal of the century in Mexico 1986. You should have cut him in two, Terry!'

Midfield: Gerry Francis (1968-79 and 1981-82)

John says: 'The heartbeat of the 1975-76 side and he was so unlucky not to lift the league trophy. I didn’t see him play in the flesh but I’ve seen plenty on video. A proper box-to-box player, his give-and-go passes would set many a move in train. He was manager in the early 1990s in QPR’s most successful stint in the top tier.'

Midfield: Ray Wilkins (1989-94 and 1994-96)

John says: 'He’d done it at AC Milan, he’d done it at the hated Chelsea and he did it at QPR, still playing as if in his pomp. He always kept the side ticking over. I remember him helping Les Ferdinand to bag a crop of goals with his slide-rule passes.'

Midfield: Dave Thomas (1972-77)

John says: 'Stan Bowles and Gerry Francis are most talked about from that 1975-76 team but Dave Thomas also bagged many goals and assists. QPR has a fine tradition of wingers – think of Trevor Sinclair, Andy Sinton and Mark Lazarus. But Dave could play on either flank. My Dad thinks he contributed just as much as some of the bigger stars.'

Forward: Stan Bowles (1972-79)

John says: 'Another I didn't see in the flesh but he helped garner QPR's reputation for playing the right way. I’m afraid we’ve lost that in recent years. If he weren't playing, he'd probably have been in the stands getting jarred with the fans and my Dad often used to see him in Shepherd’s Bush betting shops. That link has gone in modern football.'

Forward: Rodney Marsh (1966-72)

John says: 'He put QPR on the map. His goals and particularly his display in the famous 1967 league cup win – when he smashed in an equalizing goal after a mazy run - announced us on football’s big stage. We were in the third tier at the time!'

Striker: Les Ferdinand (1987-95)

John says: 'Sir Les, as he's known at Loftus Road, didn't have the most auspicious of beginnings. He couldn't hit the proverbial barn door and was sent out on loan to Besiktas in Turkey. But he returned to QPR and the rest is history. So strong, quick and he had that knack of jumping earlier and hanging in the air longer than anyone else. Now Director of Football at the club.'


Explaining his choices, John added: “Your choice of a greatest XI is inevitably coloured by the players you've seen in the flesh and grown up with, hence my choice of many players from the 1980s and 90s. But I couldn’t ignore some of our earlier greats, including our finest players from 1975-76 when Liverpool pipped us to the championship. None of the current crop make it but I’d give honourable mentions to Adel Taarabt and Charlie Austin. I’m sure I’ll get some stick for omitting the likes of Phil Parkes, Paul Parker and Trevor Sinclair.