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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Queens Park Rangers (Part 3)

11/12/2004: Queens Park Rangers 2 Ipswich Town 4 (Coca-Cola Championship)

Loftus Road

If any side should have the name Wanderers, it is Queens Park Rangers, who at twelve have had more home grounds than any other League club. Many of these have since been covered over by housing, or in the case of two grounds at Park Royal, by industrial units, making it almost impossible to find any trace of them today. But with the help of two books, Football Grounds of London by Alex White & Bob Lilliman and The Football Grounds of Great Britain by Simon Inglis, I’ve managed to put together this handy map that shows, with varying degrees of accuracy, the location of most of them...


View The various homes of QPR in a larger map

Of all the grounds they have played at it is the two in Park Royal, the Royal Agricultural Society's ground and Park Royal Stadium that intrigue me the most.

Rangers moved to the RAS ground in 1904 after their landlord at the Kensal Rise Athletic Ground attempted to double their rent. The RAS site, two miles south of what is now Wembley Stadium, was spread out across a hundred acres of land between the Grand Union Canal and the Great Western Railway. Within the site was an oval shaped arena, reputed to have a capacity of 40,000, and it was here that QPR played their home games for the next three years, albeit some distance from their fan base. In 1907 the heavily indebt RAS were forced into selling the site and Rangers were on the move again, but this time just a few hundred yards south to the newly opened Park Royal Stadium.

Loftus Road

An almost exact copy of Archibald Leitch's Ayresome Park in Middlesborough, Park Royal Stadium was built my the Great Western Railway Company. The stadium held 60,000, with cover for 9,000 and 4,000 seats on one side where there was a barrel-roofed stand with a trademark Leitch arched gable. The remaining three sides were uncovered terracing. Why did the Great Western Railway Company decided to build a stadium. It certainly wasn’t purpose built for QPR? Had the Great War not intervened it may well have become one of the leading sports venues in the capital - it was certainly the largest at the time – and Rangers may well have continued to play at ground where they’d enjoyed a period of relative success winning the Southern League in 1908 and 1912.

However, Rangers were evicted from Park Royal in early 1915 when the ground was requisitioned by the Army forcing the R’s to complete their fixtures at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and back at their old stomping ground in Kensal Rise. The newly formed Park Royal FC used Park Royal Stadium between the two wars - minus most of the barrel-roofed stand that QPR took with them to Loftus Road - but the place has since disappeared under industrial development.

Loftus Road

Fast forward 89 years and the pictures here of Loftus Road, where QPR finally settled, were taken in December 2004 when Ipswich came from behind to record a memorable 4-2 victory. Darren Currie, nephew of former Rangers midfielder Tony Currie, was making his debut for Town that day and marked the occasion with a goal, a fierce drive from outside the box. Currie, at the time, was reportedly the most tattooed footballer in the game, and in this interview with FourFourTwo magazine he talks about his not so secret vice.

A few more pictures here.

posted by chevblue at 2:14 pm






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extreme groundhopping

a (mainly) pictorial account of one man's obsession with football stadia, floodlight pylon's and ipswich town football club

recent posts

Olympic fever grips Ipswich!
Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Land Shark Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Nationals Park, Washington DC
San Nicola Stadium, Bari
Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
Palazzettoo dello Sport, Rome
Queens Park Rangers (Part 2)
Goalball
Queens Park Rangers (Part 1)

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Milwaukee Bavarians
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