There is no one more synonymous with QPR than former Hoops striker Stan Bowles. But it’s possible some younger fans won’t know the name.
A Loftus Road legend in the 1970s, he will benefit from the Hoops’ pre-season friendly this weekend, to give the 68-year-old the support and care he now needs after Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of his footballing memories.
Born on Christmas Eve 1948 in Manchester, the England striker was signed from Carlisle and made his debut on 16 September 1972… going on to make 315 appearances, and ending up just four goals short of a century for the club.
He was the pivotal figure as the Rs finished top-flight runners-up in 1976, having been signed as Rodney Marsh’s replacement for £112,000.
Stan the Man played alongside Don Givens as the Hoops won promotion in his first season, then went on to be League Cup semi-finalists and UEFA Cup quarter-finalists in 1977.
Blessed with superb natural skills, he was one of those rare players that managed to excite fans of all clubs – bamboozling defenders as he homed in on goal.
In 2013 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and he is now cared for by his daughter in Manchester.
But on Saturday afternoon he is making the journey south to walk on the Loftus Road pitch for what may be the last time, ahead of what promises to be an exciting pre-season friendly against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth team.
Proceeds from the game will go to support the former Rangers No10, and other players in need of help.
Stan’s former QPR team-mate Don Shanks is helping organise the benefit friendly via the Just For Stan committee, and is urging fans to turn up this Saturday 29 July at 3pm, with tickets on sale at £12 for adults and £6 U18s.
“It is going to be the last time we will see him in London,” said Don. “His condition is getting progressively worse and I do not think it is going to be very long before he reaches a point where he has to leave the family and go into a full-time care home.
“But when he comes to the Bush, he somehow knows where he is. And he walks on the field and for five minutes of his life, even in his present condition, he appears to come to life and feel at home.
“We want the place full so he gets to feel the regular and wonderful atmosphere that he has always had.”
Fans who can’t attend are being urged to buy virtual tickets to support the day, and be emailed a copy of the programme.
“We want to get the stadium full if we can,” said Don.