Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The League Cup final was played in February – by May the dust settled: Manchester City was 8th in the League’s final table, Newcastle – 15th. Other clubs faired no better… Birmingham City, with Trevor Francis, barely escaped relegation and was 19th. London clubs were disaster… West Ham United, with Trevor Brooking and strong European season, finished just a place above Birmingham. Arsenal was 17th… Tottenham Hotspur was 9th. The three relegated clubs were Sheffild United, Burnley, and Woolverhamton Wanderes. Just three years ago the Wolves looked like conquerors in a year or two – instead, they were going down. Derby County and Leeds United, 4th and 5th at the end, maintained strong positions, but it was already inertia – both were visibly declining and their better places were, to a point, due to worse performance by others. Ipswich Town finished 6th, another solid year for them. Manchester United returned to 1st Division with vengeance – FA Cup final and 3rd place in the League, only 4 points less than the champions.
Strong season for ManUnited and looking for even better future – the new squad was promising, but yet unfinished and unpolished. The painful replacement of the great stars of the 1960s at least was completed – only Alex Stepney and Lou Macari remained. Now it was just a matter of fine tuning and neat adjustment – the new team was clearly organized around Sammy McIlroy and Steve Coppell.
The real bang came from unlikely side – the pariah of London, Queens Park Rangers. They lost the title by a point, finishing second.
This was the strongest season ever for QPR. Unlike the rest of London clubs, QPR was well balanced and relatively young. They were not looking for aging stars either. Even by appearance they signified a positive change: QPR was one of the first English clubs to use ‘continental’ fashion, playing with Adidas kit.
Sitting, from left: Gillard, Masson, Beck, Westwood, McLintock, Hollins, Rogers, Thomas, Clement.
Second row: Jones, Cunningam, Givens, Tagg, Busby, Parkes, Webb, Pritchett, Teale, Abott, Leach, Shanks, Bowles, Gerry Francis.
New powerhouse? With G. Francis, Bowles, Givens, Gillard there was no stopping QPR in the next years. Bright team equals bright future… by 2010 the bright future is still in the future. 1975-76 season is the best one in QPR history.