- Huge thanks to Chris Guy of the RetroQPR Twitter account and to Simon Ståål for their help
- See here for Part 1 of this series, which covered 1975-79
Having had such variation to their home kits in their first three years wearing adidas (or four if the 1975-76 team picture is included), the next three were rather more stable for Queens Park Rangers.
At the beginning of 1979-80, a new hooped shirt appeared and it would last, by and large, until 1983. Beginning that Division 2 campaign with a home clash against Bristol Rovers, QPR’s new shirts’ most noticeable features were the blue neck and cuffs, while the width of the hoops had changed, too. However, after just four matches, the previous style returned:
Chris Guy’s theory is that the switch back was due to the fact that the new shirt had black numbers in the new adidas style, which weren’t clearly visible (left). The 1978-79 shirt had a more traditional font in red (centre) and then, for the Charlton Athletic game in November of that season, the newer shirt design returned but with red numbers (right). However, there were instances of the 1978-79 and 1979-80 shirts appearing in the same game.
Both shirts appeared with blue shorts and socks during that season, too.
Away from home, there was more inconsistency. As with the previous season, all-red was the preferred choice when a change was required, but that shirt appeared with black shorts and socks at Bristol Rovers while the ‘Feyenoord’ shirt made a comeback in the game against Chelsea.
For 1979-80, the home strip remained unchanged and all-red was used by and large as an alternative, but two versions of the halved shirt appeared in early-season games at Oldham Atletic and Chelsea.
At Boundary Park, a crested version with the new number font was worn; then at Stamford Bridge – a televised game – the crest was gone and the shirts had the older numbering.
One change to the all-red came on November 1 away to Grimsby, who wore black and white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks, with Rangers using the black socks to avoid a clash (left).
Then, three weeks later the trip to Preston North End brought another change as the Rs turned out in a strip similar to that being worn by Dundee United at the time (right).
The uncrested orange kit is often ascribed to a friendly at Newport County in January 1981, but the hoops were worn in that game. In the next home game after Preston, the visit of Shrewsbury Town, the QPR programme carries a picture of the orange strip with the following caption:
If the plan was for it to become the new away, that notion changed as Preston was its only outing.
On into 1981-82, the home strip was again the same design, though a difference was the numbering style, with adidas’s unique three-striped format now employed.
Away to Charlton Athletic, blue shorts were used with the white socks, while the red away shirt appeared in a couple of mashups too – odd blue and red socks at Derby County and then black shorts with new black and red socks at Crystal Palace.
The latter combination would eventually gain primacy and it was worn as QPR beat West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup semi-final to reach the final for the first time. However, one other odd kit combination appeared away to Newcastle in May – Rangers only brought their home kit to St James’ Park and, when that wasn’t acceptable to the match officials, they wore Newcastle’s yellow away shirts with their own home shorts and socks.
QPR’s cup final opponents were holders Tottenham Hotspur, meaning that a colour-clash had to be sorted out. During the 1970s, the FA had relaxed the rule which stated that both teams should change, but that is what ended up happening.
In The Spurs Shirt by Simon Shakeshaft, Daren Burney and Neville Evans, the reason for this is given. QPR won the toss, meaning Spurs had to change, opting for yellow – however, Rangers decided to wear the change strip, believing it to be a lucky charm. Such a ploy had worked for West Ham United against Arsenal in 1980.
The shirts and new tracksuit tops carried a slightly different crest which featured centenary and cup final text.
Having just missed out on promotion back to the top flight, the Rs gave a good account of themselves at Wembley. After a scoreless 90 minutes, Glenn Hoddle put Spurs ahead in extra time but Terry Fenwick’s equaliser meant that a replay would be required.
Whether or not first choice for colours reverted to Spurs for the replay, we don’t know, but in any case it was another red v yellow matchup, with Hoddle’s sixth-minute penalty proving to be the only goal.
Rangers would bounce back to win promotion in 1982-83 and of course that campaign also featured a few kit inconsistencies – we will look at these in Part 3.