‘SIX foot two, eyes of blue...'
In the latest interview with a W12 crowd favourite, www.qpr.co.uk catches up with former Rangers centre-half Steve Wicks…
STEVE, you were a powerful central defender who made 221 appearances in two spells at Queens Park Rangers from 1979 to 1981 and from 1982 to 1986. You were inducted into Forever R’s – our former players and managers’ association – in October 2017. How did that occasion go for you?
I was very honoured. I had my kids there plus a few friends and it was fantastic. To be remembered at QPR after all this time means the world to me. I look back on very special days and it is nice to know that the supporters appreciated me. I am on Facebook with loads of R’s fans and they treat me really well. It makes it all worthwhile.
You first joined us from Derby County in September 1979. How did that move come about for you?
I had previously played under manager Tommy Docherty at Derby and then he got the Queens Park Rangers job, so he signed me. I thought Tommy was a great bloke, he looked after me and he was a really good person to be around.
That was at a time when the R’s were making some decent signings and showing great ambition to get promoted to the top-flight, weren’t we?
Tommy ‘Doc’ signed the likes of David McCreery, Bob Hazell and Chris Woods. We also had very good young players coming through and Tommy created an excellent side. We were very unlucky not to get promoted in my first season at Rangers when we finished fifth. Tommy’s team played good, attractive passing football. It was nice to be part of it at that time.
Terry Venables took over as manager in November 1980 and he raised things to the next level, didn’t he?
All this ultra-modern high press that people talk about nowadays – we were doing that at QPR under Terry Venables. Critics used to say that we ‘played offside’. But we didn’t. We pressed and pressed as a team. We started with a high press and then the whole team moved forward. So we caught opponents offside all the time although we weren’t actually playing offside. We were just playing a high press and Terry was a genius. Terry was the first Pep Guardiola, if you like, that English football ever had. And Terry proved his quality when he was manager of England. I’ve never seen England play as well as when Terry was in charge. He had a great knack of bringing everyone together. The team spirit at QPR was fantastic when Terry was there. We all bought into it and we all believed. I’ve never seen a group of players so depressed when Terry left the R’s to go to Barcelona. Everyone was so down. Really down.
Apart from that moment, it sounds like you have very happy memories of your career here at Rangers?
Well I had a great rapport with the fans. It was a brilliant time with an outstanding QPR team. And I really loved Loftus Road as a stadium. I took my son Charlie to a match there against Chelsea a few years ago. And to this day, he says he has never heard a better atmosphere – ever. There were 18,000 people at that game. But I tell Charlie that when we used to play against Chelsea back in my day, there would be 30,000 fans and the atmosphere was absolutely rocking. Queens Park Rangers is a lovely club with the staff that work behind the scenes, the supporters and the close family nature of everything. It is always the first result I look out for every week.