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Thursday, January 31, 2008

QPR's Brilliant England Winger, Dave Thomas - Profiled and Interviewed

Yet another great interview on the Official Site. (Although could have mentioned Gordon's Jago and Jim Gregory's very bold step in signing Thomas as a replacement for the terribly-injured Martyn Busby. QPR at the time, a second Division club, paid a Division record transfer fee for a player dubbed "the best young player in Europe." Also no note of Gregory's sale of Thomas to Everton just before the start of Frank Sibley's first season in charge

In our latest instalment of exclusive past player interviews on www.qpr.co.uk, R's legend Dave Thomas comes under the spotlight. Dave Thomas (1972-1977)

The fans at Loftus Road have always loved a winger. There is no greater sight than seeing a wide man race down the flank, take on a string of defenders and cross the ball at full pace.
One of the greatest exponents of this art was Dave Thomas. He was a real livewire in our marvellous team from the mid 1970's - a period he recalls with much affection.
Thomas said: "My spell at QPR was one of the best in my playing career. Happy days! Fantastic!
"Everything that happened to me was really nice. I was newly married in 1972 when I signed for Rangers. Then we had our children. So they were wonderful times.
"The Club started to take off and became successful in the top-flight. I enjoyed playing on the wing and it was good for me. I've always felt it is the best way to break defences down. The majority of goals come from wide areas with the most dangerous ball in football being whipped into the box.
"I was a two-footed player so I could cross from the right or the left wing. I was very fortunate in that respect and it never bothered me what area of the pitch I played on."
The Super Hoops just missed out on the League title by a point to Liverpool in the 1975/76 season. However, Thomas feels we should have been Champions that year.
He said: "Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but yeah we should have clinched it. We lost 3-2 at Norwich on Easter Monday and if we had won that game then we would have been there.
"I remember Liverpool playing Wolves in their final match after we had finished our fixtures. The whole QPR squad was out in Israel for an end of season tour just before that decider at Molineux. We stuck a load of messages in the Wailing Wall to see if they would bring us any luck but they didn't!
"Toshack and Keegan sealed victory for Liverpool and that was it. It would have been nice for everyone at Rangers to win the League but it wasn't to be. We were all very disappointed."
The R's played a potent brew of attacking football at the time. According to Thomas, our exciting style of play was masterminded by Manager, Dave Sexton.
"He was a great coach as well as being a gentleman and a genius. Dave just wanted you to become a better player. The quality of our passing was fantastic and it was all down to him.
"We believed in that way of playing. Maybe I am old hat but I feel that football has always been the same. It is all about passion and skill. It is a very, very simple game. We tried to entertain and I think the Rangers fans enjoyed the way we played.
"We had some very strong players in that side - from Phil Parkes in goal right the way through. Each of my team mates were excellent in their own right and we all respected each other - both as individuals and footballers.
"So we formed a good team that was quite difficult to beat. We were all different characters in every way and there was a great spirit in the camp."
Thomas won eight England caps during his time at Loftus Road and those international appearances were the icing on the cake for him.
"I was one of the very few who played for my country at every level. I went from schoolboy international all the way through to the full side and I was very proud of that.
"It was a real highlight for me to represent England. That is hopefully everyone's ambition when they start off as a footballer. It is the highest accolade one can get in an individual career."
Thomas, who is now 57 years-old and lives on the South Coast, still has an involvement in the sporting environment.
"I teach PE at a secondary school in Sussex. I've been there for 16 years now. I just work part-time - I do about 10 hours a week. I really enjoy it and there is a nice staff of people at the school. I also coach the young men at a local university for an hour a week. So life is good for me."
Not surprisingly, Thomas still follows all the fortunes at Loftus Road too - 'Once a Hoop, always a Hoop.'
"QPR were a great part of my life, so naturally I will never forget my days in Shepherds Bush.
"I look out for their results all the time. In fact, I was thinking of applying for the Manager's job before Mr De Canio got it!
"Seriously though, it has been very sad to see how Rangers have declined in recent years. But I am hoping things will pick up now with the new regime in charge. I would really love to see the Club do well." QPR

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