- Picture by HaQPR1963: One Year Ago - The FA Verdict on QPR and Faurlingate
- Join in the QPR-Stoke Live Chat
- One Year Ago - Waiting for The FA Verdict on QPR and Faurlingate
- Five Year Flashback: The Blitz Loan
- Another Loss for Ex-QPR Chairman, Gianni Paladini
- Snippet: Ron Phillips on Dave Sexton as QPR Manager
- QandA With Ex-QPR Frank McLintock (Another great Interview from QPRNet)
- Steve Perryman in the Hospital...Flashback to when Linked to the QPR Managerial Job
-Video: London Football (Including QPR) 1868-1989
- Video: Snippet of QPR 1993 Five-a-Side Football
- Martin Allen Keeps Barnet in the Football League...43rd Birthday for Ex-QPR Manager, Jim Magilton.
QPR VS STOKE
Wigan 36 -22 37
QPR 36 -23 34
Bolton 36 -31 34
Blackburn 36 -28 31
Wolves 36 -41 24
- STOKE - Shared Players/Past Results/Old Photos
From the Last-QPR-Home-Match of the Season QPR vs Stoke Programme of 1968.69
Dave McIntyre/West London Sport - Hughes: Relegation would not affect QPR’s long-term aims
Rangers face Stoke on Sunday desperately needing a victory as they battle against relegation, especially as their final match of the campaign is away to title-chasing Manchester City.
But manager Hughes is convinced the R’s will bounce back if they drop down to the Championship.
“All relegation would do is slow down the process,” he said.
“At some point in the future the club will be stronger and will be in a position to be successful over a longer period – but that will be accelerated if we stay up this year.
“If we’re not able to achieve our goal this year then it would be a setback, but it won’t change what will happen at this club.
“There’s no need to think in those terms though. There’s two games to go and it’s still in our own hands.” West London Sport
Lancashire Evening Post - A tug of war for mint Murray
Star man: Paul Murray with his Player of the Year award after a satisfying season with Hartlepool, where he has been a virtual ever-present
Published on Sunday 6 May 2012 08:00
Paul Murray faced an agonising choice.
Should he sign for the club of his adopted home city or try a totally new adventure overseas?
There was much to ponder for the combative midfielder during the January transfer window back in 2004 as he plotted his next career move from his home in Lostock Hall.
Preston North End manager at the time, Craig Brown, was keen to add Murray to his squad, but a number of other Championships clubs were also interested in his services – while an alluring opportunity to play in Portugal the following season was also on the table.
Murray was nearing the end of his time at Oldham Athletic.
He had rebuilt his career at Boundary Park after a number of injuries had hindered his time at Queens Park Rangers and Southampton.
Ian Dowie had been on the phone attempting to persuade him to move back down south to Crystal Palace, while Stoke City had been in touch about a switch to the Britannia Stadium.
In the end, Murray narrowed his options down to a straight choice between North End or joining up with Mick Wadsworth at Portuguese Primeira Liga outfit Beira-Mar.
It had been Wadsworth who had given the 17-year-old Murray his Football League debut at Carlisle United many years before.
In the end, after much soul searching, the prospect of a totally new adventure on the continent, along with joining up with his old boss, proved too much to turn down and Murray rejected the chance of a move to Deepdale.
Murray said: “I had three-and-a-half good years at Oldham. We had some success in League One and got to the play-offs
“But it was the January transfer window and there were a few clubs in for me.
“I didn’t want to go to Crystal Palace because it would mean going back down to London.
“I was not keen on going to Stoke – so Preston was the main one.
“Craig Brown was the manager and Billy Davies was the assistant at the time.
“I was sitting in my conservatory with the missus in Lostock Hall – it was pressure time because I think the transfer window was closing that day.
“Preston rang me up with the offer. The fee was agreed – £50,000.
“I was thinking, ‘What shall I do?’ then I just thought, ‘Well I’ve never played abroad’, so I decided to go to Portugal.
“It was risky, but when I went to Portugal, the European Championships had just been held there so it was a good time to go to the country.
“To be fair, it was brilliant. Playing abroad was something I had always wanted to do.
“My daughter was only three when we moved over there, but she learned to speak Portuguese. My son was born there.
“The weather was brilliant – we were always at the beach. I had a really great time.
“Unfortunately, I got a bad knee injury which restricted my appearances a little bit, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing in the Primeira Liga.
“I remember we beat Benfica in the Stadium of Light – I set up the winning goal. So I experienced things there, I would never ever experience again.
“The standard of football was a bit like playing in Scotland.
“There were a mixture of teams, but you had your top three or four teams like Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon – it was a bit like Celtic and Rangers in Scotland.
“You probably had more decent teams.
“It was just great. The stadiums were brilliant because they had just had the Euros, so all the stadiums had been re-built or were brand new.
“The thing which took me a little time to get used to was that they play all their games on a Sunday.
“In England, we play Saturday and then we’ll have midweek games, cup games.
“They play on Sunday, so it always seemed like a long time to wait before we played.”
Despite rejecting North End, Murray loves the city of Preston – it is why he has lived here since 2001, barring the two years he had in Portugal. His children have been brought up in Preston and attend Walton-le-Dale Primary School.
Murray, who originally hails from Carlisle, feels as though he has laid down enough roots here to call himself a Prestonian.
He chose the city as a place to live because it was an ideal location to commute to his club at the time Oldham, while offering him the chance to drive up to Carlisle to see his family regularly.
“I was going to move to Manchester,” Murray said.
“But that meant an extra half-an-hour or 40 minutes on top to go back to Carlisle.
“So I had a look at Preston and found a house in Lostock Hall – and I’ve been here since 2001.
“I have lived here that long now – 11 or 12 years – I don’t know if you can count me as Prestonian, but I suppose I probably am.”
Aged 35 now, Murray may now be in the sunset of his career, but he is still going strong and has played virtually every game this season for current club Hartlepool United in League One
His form has been so good this season that he was named the club’s player of the year and he is hoping to extend his stay at Hartlepool next season.
Murray has lined-up twice against North End this season – both matches ending in 1-0 defeats for United – although Pools are currently two points above Preston in the table.
They are hopeful of remaining in their current position of 11th in the league, but they face a difficult final match of the season as they attempt to stop champions Charlton Athletic breaking through the 100-points barrier at Valley Parade today.
He added: “I think I’ve started 44 games this season.
“I’ve been voted the player of the year, so hopefully that will stand me in good stead and I will be here next season.
“We’ve had a good season. I’ve been here two years now and the season before I came, the club stayed up on the last day of the season. Last season we finished 16th and hopefully, this season we will stay around 10th or 11th and that’s a big improvement for a club like Hartlepool.
“Hopefully, we can kick on next season.
“We’ve got Charlton for our last match and they will be getting the Championship trophy, so there’s going to be a bit of a party atmosphere.
“I don’t think it’s going to be one of these nothing games that you often get at the end of the season.
“They want to break through the 100-points barrier and we want to do well to make sure we finish a high as we can, so it should be a decent game.”
Primarily a rugby player in his youth, Murray didn’t start taking football seriously until well into his teenage years.
His talent soon pricked the attention of home-town club Carlisle United and he signed schoolboy forms at Brunton Park.
Wadsworth was the manager of the Cumbrians at the time and Murray remembers clearly his first ever conversation with the much-travelled manager and coach.
“I was only 17 – I think I had just signed for the club,” he said.
“The youth team manager at Carlisle introduced me to Mick. It was the first time I had met him.
“I shook his hand and said, ‘By the way, I’ll be in your team by Christmas’.”
Murray may have come across as bit cocksure at that age, but his confidence and exuberance obviously struck a chord with Wadsworth.
Murray was as good as his word as, by Christmas, he had made his debut for the Cumbrians away to Darlington.
Wadsworth would go on to sign Murray for six different clubs, including his current club Hartlepool.
“Mick probably thought I was a cheeky so and so at that age.
“But that was just the way I was. I was so focused on where I wanted to get to.
“From that instant, me and Mick became friendly.
“He’s been good for my career and I’ve learned a lot from him over the years.”
Murray, who has also played for Gretna and Shrewsbury Town, soon established himself in the Carlisle first team and his performances began to attract interest from bigger clubs.
Liverpool were one such club who expressed their interest in the young midfielder to Carlisle’s then-chairman Michael Knighton.
Said Murray: “Michael Knighton came up to me in the tunnel before one match and said, ‘Play well today and you’ll make yourself a lot of money, and me a lot of money, because Liverpool are watching you’.
“I ended up having an absolute stinker. I’ve actually got the newspaper cutting after the match and I got a four out of 10 for my performance.
“Liverpool ended up signing Danny Murphy from Crewe.”
While the Reds passed up on the opportunity of signing Murray, QPR did no such thing.
He joined on loan for the Hoops towards the end of the season that the club were relegated from the Premier League in 1996 – he made his debut in the final match at Nottingham Forest.
The following season he signed permanently and soon established himself at Loftus Road as the club began life in the Championship.
“There were a whole clutch of clubs who were said to be interested, but QPR were the ones who put the money up.
“I went on loan at first because I had torn my thigh and I wasn’t fit. They wanted to have a look at me first.
“I got myself fit and it was a big-money move.
“It got bandied about in the Press that the fee was £350,000, but it was actually £750,000 plus £250,000 for a full England cap.
“But I loved it down there. It was a big thing to move from Carlisle.
“I was still a young lad, but I ended up staying with a friend just outside Oxford Street.
“I travelled to training on the tube. I had just an amazing time at first there.”
Murray made more than 150 appearances for QPR in a five-year stint, although injuries interrupted his progress at times. He suffered a broken leg, a broken foot and also had various knee problems.
It was, however, during his spell at Loftus Road that he won international honours.
He was called up four times for England Under-21s and also won a B cap in a friendly match against Chile at West Bromwich Albion’s Hawthorns ground in 1998.
“That was a great experience. Players like Jamie Carragher and Frank Lampard were in the squad...Emile Heskey, Paul Merson, Ray Parlour, Matt Le Tissier.
“The Chile match was just before the 1998 World Cup.
“To be fair, the England manager at the time Glenn Hoddle came in and said to us, ‘There’s a chance you can get in the squad for the World Cup.
“Look, it probably never would have happened, but you never know.
“But I got an opportunity to play for England.
“I took it, I played well and it was a great honour to represent my country,” added Murray.