When South Shields took on QPR’s glamour boys in the FA Cup

Relaxing in their hotel in London, South Shields players Ronnie Rutherford, Len Smith and Billy Thompson read about their chances against QPR in the FA Cup.
Relaxing in their hotel in London, South Shields players Ronnie Rutherford, Len Smith and Billy Thompson read about their chances against QPR in the FA Cup.

Congratulations to South Shields football team for securing promotion to the First Division of the Northern League.

In the light of the team’s recent resurgence, I thought it would be timely to take a look back at another memorable moment from the town club’s illustrious past.

How the London paper Evening Standard covered Queens Park Rangers v South Shields.

How the London paper Evening Standard covered Queens Park Rangers v South Shields.

So, with the help of South Shields FC’s commercial assistant, Bob Wray, we travel back to 1970, and the day the Mariners took on the “flashy” high-flyers of QPR, in a headline-grabbing FA Cup clash.

Gazette reporter of the day Dick Kirkup set the scene for a match, which despite ending in defeat, showed the fighting spirit of the magnificent Mariners.

“The weather could not have been better for South Shields’ greatest ever match as a non-League club when they faced the £500,000, star-studded might of Second Division promotion challengers Queens Park Rangers in the third round of the FA Cup at Loftus Road, London, today,” declared Kirkup.

“There was a nip in the air but the pitch, lightly sanded in places, gave a firm foothold, and at the kick-off a brilliant sun broke through a clearing sky.

The match programme for the Queens Park Rangers v South Shields FA Cup tie.

The match programme for the Queens Park Rangers v South Shields FA Cup tie.

“There was a great cup atmosphere in this compact ground, with both sets of supporters trying to out do the other with chants and scarf waving.

“Loftus Road really is a tight pitch to play on, the supporters being only slightly more than a yard away from the touch-line and by-lines.

“The Mariners were at full strength, inside men Gerry Donoghue and Ken Ellis having fully recovered from their mid-week bout of flu, while Queen’s Park Rangers had glamour boy Rodney Marsh back in the side at inside-left – his first senior team game following a four-week suspension.

“Marsh, valued at around £200,000, had plenty of expensive company in the Rangers line-up.

“Centre-forward Frank Clarke, who cost £30,000, is the brother of Alan Clarke, the £165,000 Leeds United striker, while at outside-right was Barry Bridges, signed for £55,000, and currently the joint-top scorer in the Football League. “Supplying the class in midfield was Terry Venables, a £70,000 signing from Tottenham Hotspur.”

The match turned out to be a cracker, as I will reveal tomorrow in the next part of a series of articles, which once again highlights the glamour of the cup.

* What are your memories of the match? Did you travel to London to cheer on the Mariners?