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Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Quarter of a Century since the "Plastic Pitch" came to English Football...at QPR!


It's a quarter of century since the highly-controversial "plastic" pitch came to English professional football. And the innovating team was Terry Venables (co-author of "They Used to Play on Grass" http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0140244220/026-1147284-3937223?v=glance&n=266239 & Jim Gregory's Queens Park Rangers! (And the term "controversial" and "plastic" were used in almost every description of QPR that season and the following couple of seasons.
The first-ever League game in England played on "plastic" was QPR against Luton Town, on September 1, 1981, with a crowd of almost 19,000 to see it. Andy King put QPR ahead....Luton scored twice to win it. QPR's Team: Burridge, Gregory, Hazell, Roeder, Fenwick, Waddock, King, Francis, Allen, Stainrod, Flanagan.
The season which began with an away win at Wrexham ended with an unlucky Cup Final Replay defeat at Wembley.QPR had to overcome a threatened ban on playing FA Cup games on the Loftus Road Plastic (which was fortunate since this turned out to be our FA Cup Final season). For whatever reason - the plastic pitch; the brilliant manager; the great players, those three years on plastic saw a stream of succes: FA Cup Final & just missed promotion; Second Division Championship; 5th Place in the First Division.
The 1982 QPR Team photo

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