QPR and Liverpool old boys remember shock Hoops win

The day we stormed Anfield: 

Twenty years ago, struggling Queens Park Rangers travelled to champions Liverpool needing a win to move away from the relegation zone they were hovering above. They had never won at Anfield but pulled off a huge shock which saved their season and ruined Liverpool's.

The champions went on to lose to Southampton, Chelsea and Nottingham Forest before the end of the season and surrendered their title to Arsenal.

QPR return there on Saturday having not won since at Anfield.

Jack Davidson and Dominic King spoke to some of the protagonists from the unlikeliest of victories.

'We had a great squad in those days who could mix it with the best of them, so we were confident. I remember when we saw the team sheet and John Barnes wasn't playing, that gave everyone a boost. Don Howe told me before the game to do a job on Rushy, to make his life difficult. I always seemed to do well against him and it paid off, he hardly got a sniff at goal all game. There was a feeling with the big clubs, especially Liverpool, that they'd get the decisions, so of course all the lads were over the moon when we came away with three goals and the win. The highlight was Clive Wilson's goal. Liverpool had pulled one back and were pushing for an equaliser when Clive came on. Les Ferdinand rifled in a cross which missed everyone, it came off one of their players and Clive nipped in to slot the ball with his first touch of the game. From then on we always called him 'One-Touch Wilson'.

'I wasn't really worried about playing them because I was full of the confidence of youth. I was shoulder-to-shoulder with Rush and Beardsley in the box and I remember Ray Wilkins, who was the most experienced of us, coming over to me and shouting "Be careful – don't give 'em a chance". And in the second half that's exactly what happened: we conceded a penalty and were only 2-1 up, so it was a bit tight. Then Wilson came on and scored with his first kick of the ball and I remember Ray Wilkins doing a little celebratory dance on the touchline as if to say "game over". The thing which has always stayed with me was the reaction of the Liverpool fans after the game. To a man they stood up and clapped us off - that's what football meant at Anfield, they appreciated the way we'd played, even though we'd won. It was the same with the players, they were all in the bar afterwards laughing and congratulating us, there were no bad feelings at all. When we finally got back to Loftus Road there was a whole group of fans waiting for us, I'd never seen that before, and it brought home to me what we'd achieved.'

'We had a strong side at the time, top quality players like David Bardsley, Andy Sinton and Les Ferdinand. Bobby Gould had brought in Andy Tillson, Rufus Brevett and Darren Peacock, so we had the confidence to play our football with the best of them. And Jan Stejskal was a brilliant keeper - he was one of only nine foreign players in the top division, which goes to show how much things have changed. Anfield was my favourite away ground because of all that history and the fans were football purists. When the supporters sang "Walk On" it made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. 'We were well prepared, the lads were all really fit, Don had recently introduced sports psychologists and nutritionists to the club and that made a huge difference. I think we took the win for granted then, no one thought that twenty years on that would be the last time we beat Liverpool away.

'It was my first season since leaving Chelsea and it hadn't been a spectacular one. I was in and out of the team and hadn't started a game in a while. When we were 2-0 up I didn't think I'd get on the pitch, but then they pulled one back with a dodgy penalty and Don wanted to hold on for the win so I guess he brought me on to sure up the defence. It must have been scripted because the next thing I know I'm tearing up-field chasing a counter-attack and Les has put in a cross which just skimmed off Ray Wilkins on account of him not having any hair. I just stabbed a foot at the ball and it was in the back of the net. 'I was in shock. When the final whistle blew it really hit me, an overwhelming disbelief.'

'QPR had a decent side back then but, even still, losing to them in the manner that we did was a shock.  Danny was probably right that I never got a kick. Being man-marked was something that used to happen to me all the time against QPR. I was used to it from playing in Italy. It wasn't my idea of how you play football but, full credit to Danny, he did his job well.
We had been on a good run going into the game and, as we were defending champions, we were expected to beat those teams at Anfield before moving on but it never worked out that way. 'It was a funny end to the season. We all assumed after Kenny (Dalglish) had left six weeks earlier that Ronnie Moran would get the manager's job and things would carry on as normal. But Ronnie never wanted the job and we were missing Kenny's presence in the dugout at that time more than we realised. That defeat was the sign that our title was slipping away from us.

'The week before we played QPR, we had gone to the Baseball Ground and battered a Derby County side that contained Mark Wright and Dean Saunders 7-1. We felt we were right at the top of our game, we were full of confidence and we certainly did not expect to lose at home to QPR. Perhaps complacency played a part. The main thing I remember about the game was Les Ferdinand's performance. He was always a handful and had all the attributes to be a top striker – he was strong, quick, skilful and good in the air. You could see he was destined for great things.

Mike Hooper, 47, was last said to be working as a nightclub doorman in Durham.
Gary Ablett, 46, fighting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Had previously worked as a coach at Ipswich and managed Stockport.
Gary Gillespie, 51, regular pundit on LFC TV.
Glen Hysen, 52, commentator for Norwegian television.
David Burrows, 43, runs a childcare company in the south of France.
Steve Nicol, 49, has just finished a 10-year stint coaching New England Revolution. Lives in the USA.
Jan Molby, 48, pundit for Danish television.
Ray Houghton, 49, ambassador for the Football Association of Ireland and works in the media.
Steve Staunton, 42, had been working on Sunderland's coaching staff prior to Steve Bruce's sacking.
Peter Beardsley, 50, reserve team manager for Newcastle United.
Ian Rush, 50, Elite Performance Director of the Welsh FA and Liverpool's Head of International Soccer Schools Ambassador.

Jan Stejskal, 49, is the goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague.
David Bardsley, 47, runs an academy in the US.
Rufus Brevett, 42, owns a tanning salon in Egham.
Andy Tillson, 45, is the development coach for Exeter City.
Darren Peacock, 43, lives in Portugal with his family.
Danny Maddix, 44, coaches Sunday league side the Colebrook Royals.
Ray Wilkins, 55, commentator and pundit for Sky Sports. Simon Barker, 47, senior executive at the PFA.
Les Ferdinand, 44, forwards coach at Tottenham as well as working part-time for the BBC.
Roy Wegerle, 47, earning a living on the professional golf mini tour in the US. Bradley Allen, 40, U15s coach for the Tottenham Academy.
Andy Sinton, 45, manager of AFC Telford United.
Clive Wilson, 49, PE teacher at St John's CE secondary School in Epping, Essex.

Copyright - Daily Mail

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