24-12-1948. On this day in 1948 QPR legend Stan Bowles was born in Manchester. Bowles was renowned for his rock’n’roll likestyle. His manager at Crewe, Ernie Tagg, said:
“If Stan could pass a betting shop the way he could pass a ball he’d have no worries whatsoever.”
Bowles was an entertainer and prankster. QPR visited Roker Park days after that Second Division Sunderland had won a famous FA Cup Final victory over the then dominant Leeds United at Wembley. The Sunderland team took a lap of honour to display the trophy in front of their triumphant supporters before it was placed on a table by the side of the pitch. Bowles continues the story:
“There were a couple of us who had a bet on who could knock it off the table with the ball first,” he recalls. “With the ball at my feet I tear off straight across the park. Everyone on the pitch is just staring at me – and then, bang! The FA Cup goes shooting up in the air.
The whole ground knew that I’d done it on purpose – then the Sunderland fans go ape. They want my balls in their sandwiches. I wound up their fans even more by scoring a couple of goals and in the end there was a pitch invasion. At least I got my tenner, and my picture on News at Ten. And all because I was just having a bit of a laugh.”
The opposing fans loved to goad the outspoken Bowles. Here’s a video of Bowles being substituted in a London derby at Upton Park:
In this video of the great QPR team of the mid-Seventies we see Manchester United keeper Alex Stepney saving a Bowles penalty:
And finally Stanley checking the wind before taking a corner kick: