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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Andy Sinton Profiled and Rembers His QPR Experience

Another fine piece from the QPR Official site.

QPR Official Site - BLAST FROM THE PAST - Andy Sinton

In our latest instalment of exclusive past player interviews on www.qpr.co.uk, former R's winger Andy Sinton comes under the spotlight.

Andy Sinton (1989-1993)

Andy Sinton was the man who scored our first ever goal in the Premier League. He also played for England during his time as a Rangers player.

Sinton made his name as a speedy winger who also packed an explosive shot.

He started off as a youngster at Cambridge United before moving on to Brentford. Then QPR boss Trevor Francis signed him for £300,000 in March 1989.

"I was only 23 and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to move to Loftus Road, as the Club were in the top division," said Sinton.

"I'd had four years playing in the lower leagues for Brentford and I knew people were looking at me, but Rangers took the plunge.

"I always remember a journalist asking me on the day I signed 'How long do you think it will be before you get in the QPR first team?' And being quite cocky at the time, I said 'Two days!' He replied 'Why's that?' and I said 'Well we're playing away to Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend and I expect to play!'

"I always had faith in my own ability and Trevor Francis put me straight in there on the wing. We went up to Hillsborough and won 2-0. Then I scored the winner against Aston Villa in my home debut a few days later. So I more or less established myself straight away in the Rangers side."

Sinton went on to make 191 appearances for the R's and scored 25 goals. And he was part of the Super Hoops squad that held their own at the very highest level.

He said: "I really enjoyed my football at QPR as there were good players like Peter Reid and later Ray Wilkins who could give the ball to me out on the flank. They were great for a wide man as they would feed me and let me get on with it.

"I was always mindful that I had to work hard in games. I see wingers nowadays and people look upon them as a luxury. But I like to think I did a lot of running - up and down, up and down.

"I wasn't blessed with a few of the natural skills that some wide men had, but I could always go past people either side - left or right - and I chipped in with my fair share of goals. I also used to get plenty of enjoyment in making chances for strikers like Les Ferdinand, who finished off my crosses.

"We had an excellent team at QPR in my time with the Club. And there was no better stadium for atmosphere than Loftus Road when the place was full."

One of our most famous victories was the 4-1 win away to Manchester United on New Year's Day 1992. And although this is always remembered as the game where Dennis Bailey hit a hat-trick, it is also interesting to recall that Sinton scored the opening goal at Old Trafford.

"That is a great memory. Not many sides go up to Manchester United and beat them 4-1. We thoroughly deserved it too. Obviously, Dennis got all the headlines and quite rightly so.

"I notched the opening goal after three minutes and Dennis scored after six. So before you knew it, United were really on the back foot. They put is under a bit of pressure after that, but we were actually quite comfortable and it was a resounding victory in the end."

Another celebrated Sinton goal came in the 1-1 draw at Manchester City on August 17 1992. That was our first match in the new FA Premier League.

"Yeah and it was also the first Monday night live game on Sky TV. From an individual point of view, it was always nice to score on the television and it was a good goal. I cut inside and shot into the top corner from 20 yards so it was particularly pleasing.

"That started us off on a really fine season in the Premier League. Not just for myself, but for everyone at QPR as we finished as top London Club."

Sinton burst into the full England team during his time at Loftus Road and eventually won 12 caps. He was delighted to represent his country.

"I was very proud. When you start out as a kid, you dream of becoming a professional footballer and then of playing for England. If there was ever a prouder man than me to pull on a white shirt, then I would like to meet him!

"I know the game has changed these days, but when I hear of international players pulling out of the squad and missing friendlies then it does annoy me a little bit. I gave everything on every single occasion I went to play for England. And I felt it was also a reflection on my Club and the supporters and so I felt proud for them too.

"Without me playing in a good QPR side, without the coaching network at the Club and without the R's fans egging me on, I wouldn't have got to the England side. Without that backing, the individual doesn't get there. That's why I was probably the proudest man ever as I felt I was representing everyone at Rangers."

In August 1993, Sinton moved from Loftus Road to Sheffield Wednesday in a £2.75 million transfer. He subsequently played for Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burton Albion before retiring.

Sinton is now 41 years-old and is still involved in football as Manager of Fleet Town FC. His team are currently doing well in the British Gas Business (Southern) League Division One South and West.

"I never wanted to be a Manager but a friend of mine - Graham Smith - is Chairman of Fleet Town and he asked me to get involved. It has whetted my appetite even though it is hard work being in charge of a side with a limited budget.

"We got to the promotion play-off's last season and it ended with heartbreak. We were 1-0 up going into injury-time at the end of the match but finished up losing.

"We've started well this year and who knows what the future will bring. If I can put Fleet Town on the map and help some youngsters get into professional football, it will be absolutely terrific. It takes up a lot of my time but I am really enjoying it."

When his football managerial role allows, Sinton often pops back to Loftus Road to see Rangers in action. And he has been known to wipe a tear from his eye as he looks out on to the pitch.

"QPR is a super Club and a fantastic place to play. It was probably my most enjoyable spell as a professional footballer. So I love the place and it is always great to return so that I can reminisce about old times.

"I was very sad when Rangers went through that big decline after relegation from the Premier League. But from what has been reported about the recent takeover plans, things could start moving again.

"I hope that the R's can get back to where I think they should be - in the Premiership. If that happens, I will be very pleased as the Club played a big part in my career." QPR

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