RODNEY MARSH SPECIAL
(taken from the Road To Glory - a photographic souvenir of the two most successful years, 1966 - 1968, in Queens Park Rangers history.
As a lad in Stepney he just loved the game. Went out two matches on Saturday, two on Sunday and played his heart out. West Ham took an interest in him, he signed for the Hammers as an amateur, but that's as far as things went. When he left technical college he went along to Fulham and it was at Craven Cottage that he took the professional plunge. Almost from the outset bad luck plagued him. A few days after his League debut versus Aston Villa in March 1963 - he scored the only goal of the game he stayed behindfor extra training, stubbed his toe and was out for the rest of the season with a chipped bone!
He came back next season, rarin' to go. But in only his fourth match he sustained severe injuries that certainly seemed to have put paid to any ambitions he had in football. Typically, the accident happened as he rose to head Fulham's winning goal, late in the game, at Leicester. His head hit a defender's and a goalpost and, as a result he broke his jaw and lost the hearing in his left ear.
There was trouble with his sense of balance, too; only his own determination to get back into the game kept him going. He couldn't walk properly. For ten months he under¬went careful treatment before doctors would allow him to attempt light training.
Yet Rodney bounced back again with a bang. Next season (1964/65) he was Fulham's top League scorer with 18 goals in 41 matches. A difference of opinion with manager Vic Buckingham, over his role in the team, caused friction so Rodney decided to ask for a transfer. Rangers paid £1 5,000-what a bargain that turned out to be! - for him in March 1966.
Season 1965/66 was a quiet one for Rodney. At the end of the campaign manager Alec Stock, always convinced he had the makings of a first-class player, tried out a bit of psychology to give the player confidence and said "You must score 30 goals next season".
Rodney set to his task magnificently and it wasn't long before that target was upped to 40 goals. Rodney ended the campaign with 44 goals, more than any other player in England. Then, yet another tragedy. Last summer, again during training, he broke a bone in his foot and was out of action for a large slice of this season.
Though it was not suggested this misfortune would threaten to end his career, such injuries are a big worry to men like Rodney who expect to get knocked around by defenders who sometimes stop at nothing to keep his name off the scoring list. Yet, once more his own confidence carried him through. He soon recaptured his form and, even against the superior tactics encountered in the Second Division, he has totalled 14 goals so far.
And, as compensation for the biggest disappointment in his career his foot injury forced him to miss last summer's England Under-23 tour to the Balkans - he was selected for this season's Under-23 game against Scotland at Hampden Park. Typically, he hit England's winning goal. We all hope that full international cap isn't too far away.
Rodney Marsh: inside left
Extracted from THE MICHAEL WALE REPORT: Tuesday, 9th September 1969.
In a rash moment the Daily Mail once referred to Rodney Marsh as the "White Eusebio of Shepherds Bush". At least Rodney would have been the first person to smile at this outburst. But then as a palyer he has this effect on people. He either excites to the heavens or he exasperates utterly.
Sandy Brown, QPR fan and jazz clarinettist, once introduced the skills of Rodney into a jazz article he was writing for the Listener. The Evening Standard has in the past devoted a whole page to Rodney in which he announced, among other things, that one of his ambitions in life was: 'To own an indoor forest' ! No match at Loftus Road would be complete without the dirge-like singing of 'Rod-ney, Rod-ney'. Soccer is a team game but within it Rodney is a star.
Rodney's great hero is Denis law. There is a period of his own career at Fulham when he used to train in red socks and leave his shirt trailing out of his shorts just to recapture Law's on-field style. But that was at Fulham. Now he can reflect: "Denis Law always will be my hero. He used to put so much into his football. There was no finer site in football than Denis Law going for goal".
Where did he get his incredible skill? He practised for many hours from the age of 11 kicking a tennis ball against a wall: "At school I'de juggle and catch anything, pennies, beads, custard tarts, biscuits. I'de catch them on my mouth or my forehead."
Firstly, we hope the rest of the team won't be too hurt at Rodney Marsh getting three pages to himself in this souvenir magazine. The success of the club in the last few years was strictly a team effort and no one player is entitled to claim all the glory for it. But Rodney earns this special section by virtue of the sheer entertainment value he gives to the spectators watching every game he plays in. His colourful personality deserves a little extra coverage-and here it is.