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Monday, April 17, 2006

Gerry Francis Looks Back Thirty Years! THE Norwich Defeat

Daily Mirror - by Aidan Magee
QPR 1 Derby 1

GERRY FRANCIS wants QPR to thrash Norwich today - to help him ease 30 years of pain.
The former England skipper was a key part of the exciting Rangers side which narrowly missed out on the old First Division title in 1976.
And QPR all but blew their hopes on April 17 that year by losing 3-2 in a Carrow Road thriller - before being pipped by Liverpool shortly after.
Incredibly the two sides meet again today on the same pitch all these years later - but with little more than Championship pride to play for.
Rangers would probably have been the smallest club ever to be crowned league champions, in the end finishing just a point behind the Reds.
Dave Sexton's side was packed with glorious names from the Seventies like Francis, Frank McLintock, Phil Parkes, David Webb and Stan Bowles.
Francis said: "It's amazing that the fixture list has thrown this up exactly 30 years to the day, and at Carrow Road too.
"I remember the day well. It was a great match but it was destined not to go our way.
"It was our only defeat in the last 17 games of that season. We then beat Leeds and Arsenal to finish the season.
"Then Liverpool played at Wolves 10 days later needing a win. They were losing until 15 minutes from time and then they scored three.
"It was unfair because now all the teams would play concurrently on the final day, but Liverpool knew exactly what they had to do.
"They were great times, with great players and some great haircuts - in fact I've still got mine!"
Marc Nygaard headed home Lee Cook's 59thminute cross, but Tommy Smith rescued a point for Derby which ensured their Championship status.
They played the last three minutes with 10 men after Darren Moore was sent off for a second booking following a foul on Cook.
Alan McDonald is ready to answer Garry Waddock's SOS call and pledge his future to QPR.
He agreed to step in on a short-term basis but is now ready to sign a two-year contract

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