Alec Stock's daughter has very kindly agreed to answer some questions about her father - universally ranked (by those who know about QPR!) as one of our greatest managers. Some say our greatest. Who devoted almost a decade to QPR and with our Wembley Triumph and successive promotions from Division Three to Division One, whose place in history is guaranteed for ever.
(And of course what he did before coming QPR - and after QPR at Luton (Mike Keen, Malcolm McDonald, the Rioch brothers) and at Fulham FA Cup Final...
Post Deleted: Perhaps I should have emphasized (not sure why I'd need to) that the questions should be serious. If Alec Stock's daughter is graciously willing to answer questions, I think a certain respect should be accorded. They can be tough, if you're so inclined. But serious. Thanks
Being among players - well -it was just normal. Which may seem an odd reply - but I was born when dad was at the Orient -and grew up with life revolving around the fixture list/training/scouting-so was not really aware of any other life. I spent nearly all my time at the club-including Sunday mornings when dad went up to check on injuries etc( think mum was happy to have me out of the way!)We were aware that we were privilileged though - and were never allowed to get above ourselves!
The players did occasionally call in at home - and I remember John Collins and his father coming round to decorate -think he was a builder/decorator by trade. We certainly went to one of the Morgan twins' wedding-but I was only 12 when dad left QPR. Fulham had a great social life - my sister had her wedding reception at the ground with Alan Mullery doing the 'father of the bride' speech instead of dad ( I have no idea why!)
I was already living in Bournemouth when dad came down-and I had a few nights out clubbing with some of the players. John Hartburn was a firm friend -he ended up living near us in Dorset so he and dad were often out ' for lunch' in their elder days. Ted Drake and his wife were also very close to my parents.Dave Webb often dropped in when mum was still alive - had a thing about her cakes I remember! Also many others-far too many to list!
Some still remain firm family friends-and it was amazing how many helped when dad was ill. From various clubs-ranging from Yeovil through to Bournemouth. What was always a strong feature was the genuine affection felt for him - Derek Healey holding a golf day comes to mind as well and I know Mark Lazarus was very upset at dad's funeral. John Smith(ex secretary) called in to see me two weeks ago to go through some of the memorabilia I have-again, lots of strong memories.
The main point is - I feel very lucky to have grown up in such a world; it had its disadvantages-sometimes no dad at Christmas-often not with us on family holidays-but we gained an awful lot as well. I only have hazy memories of the League Cup Final -but nothing beats seeing dad lead the team out of the Wembley tunnel-so proud of him.
Brilliant Stocky. I clearly remember Alec leading the team out at Wembley. The pride was written all over his face. OK, I confess......both my dad and I had tears in our eyes before and after the game.
Your father consistently displayed a management / business acumen far above the position which he attained. While not in any way critiquing his choice of career, did you ever get any insight from your dad, family or friends of why he remained at the level he did?
Stocky: Your father was brilliantly successful in developing young players through the club's youth system (Tony Hazell, Roger Morgan, Ian Morgan, Mick Leach, Frank Sibley) to the point that they became regulars in the first team. What did he do that's not happening now?
bostonr - I can only offer my opinion - based upon what I overheard/gleaned when younger and learnt about dad when he was older(he lived with me the last ten years or so of his life-after mum died) There's no one straightforward answer -rather a complex mix of lots of bits-as all peoples' lives are. I have also been told my character is very like his( was mum's reason for why we clashed so much when I was a stroppy teenager!)and I think that helps me understand him more as I get older- though I certainly don't know it all.
Obviously - he did have a couple of stabs at moving into the higher realms; the 53 days at Arsenal and a short spell at Roma.Although this cannot be taken as gospel-I wasn't even born when he was at Arsenal- from what I have read and heard said-he could not deal with being treated badly - or with no respect .He was a great stickler for good manners-as I learnt early on! To be given a position -as he was at both clubs-and then have people allowed to change his teams or make him feel like the office junior was something he could not deal with - so he went back to the Orient where he was appreciated. I often wondered whether he regretted either of those decisions-I know my mum loved Rome!
He did have other opportunities-Middlesborough in the fifties-and there was a whisper about Man Utd when Busby left-but I have no idea how truthful that is. I am sure there were others I don't know about. However-I do know he was very much a firm family man. He was an only child- his mother died young and his father was a miner in North Somerset-and my mother's family came from the same village. Holidays and weekends were often spent in Somerset-when we were told we were going home we knew that was where was meant-not Epsom where we lived. His father was very important to him-and he wore himself to the bone driving down there to see him after matches on Sundays when grandad was ill. I cannot imagine him moving too far away;transport was not so easy as it is now.
Also - my sister and myself were in a very good (state) school in Epsom. I know when Luton wanted him to move to save himself the drive-he chose not to as I was about to start A Levels. I always felt guilty when he was so tired-used to leave home at 6.00 a.m. to avoid the crush on the North Circular as it was then. But all of that is- I feel-secondary.
Two big things I do know. He loved London football -and always spoke about 'East End boys' being the best players-the ones he loved working with . He was comfortable with the London sense of humour -he had gone to school in Dartford( grandad had moved up to find work during the General Strike-dad got a scholarship to the grammar school) he had worked there after the war-for Nat West(apparently his mother was not happy when he left the bank to go to Yeovil!)-and had made many firm friends. Even when his own team wasn't playing, there was always a reserve game or a training session to go to-he was rarely home during the season- and then there was the cricket-which he loved-in the summer. My mother was happy there-and we had a lovely home.
Finally - I do wonder if he really wanted to go to the top clubs?He was ambitious, certainly -but he was happiest when building and bringing on young talent-he always saw clubs as a large family - and that leads me into the second question. He genuinely cared about the players as people -and their families. He once told me -when I started out in my own career which also involved managing teams of people-that you have to look at the families of the people who work for you - if they are happy-your players are happy.
He also told me that-if a player came in who had troubles at home-the best remedy was to throw a tracksuit at him and send him off on a long run-simplistic,but, I think, true. Both QPR in the 60s and Fulham-the ones I remember best-were happy places to be at-lots of laughter. That came back in loads when he was ill-I still cannot get over the number of ex players -Tony Gale, Les Strong,Rodney..to mention only a few - who helped in his final days and still spoke to him and about him with geniune affection.
He also was a firm believer in the youth system - in scouting local talent who want to play for their local team-and looking after them. Somewhere, I have a lovely photo of John Collins, the Morgans and several others as teenagers-winning a Youth Cup-all very happy. He also built up a strong support team -people such as Jimmy Andrews and Ron Woolnough who he took to several clubs with him-people who he knew he could rely upon. Money didn't seem to be such a big issue-and chairmen were people who were local and loved the club -that all helped create success. Maybe he thought he's lose the things he valued if he went for the bigger clubs?
Hope that helps-feel free to ask more of you want to! If anyone is interested in reading about dad's roots-strongly recommend a chapter in 'Fragments of Idolatory' by David Foot. He was a young reporter in Yeovil at the start of his career-his chapter on dad is brilliant.
Thanks for your time in what is proving to be quite an interesting discussion here.As i have pointed out in earlier threads i was brainwashed by my old man (RIP) into supporting Rangers,but at that time(the early-mid seventies) Rangers had a swashbuckling, aristocratic,retro image,which at the time i found quite different or maybe refreshing compared to other 'staid' London clubs. Would you have said the same about them in the sixties?(I was only 1 when they did the double!)and more importantly how do they come over now in your opinion?,
Difficult to say about image in the 60s...I know from talking to others that several 'stars' of the time-Sean Connery/Tommy Steele etc - used to come to matches-was close to Shepherds Bush studios after all!-but the main atmosphere I remember was just a love for the game and the team-but I was so young I could easily miss anything more than that. It was a team of great characters-which is what stands out with hindsight.
But the sixties generally was a time of optimism and believing all was possible-wasn't it? As well as a time when working class ( for want of a better phrase) people were becoming accepted in all sorts of spheres-fashion/music/photography -as well as sport-and all mixed in together. That also gave teams that glamorous appearance- look at all the old newsreels comparing Best to The Beatles.
Not sure about today; I do know -when dad went back in the 70s as a director-and I used to go to matches with him-he did say something to me about not being able to smell the grass anymore-after being whisked upstairs in a lift to somewhere up in the gods. I've been trying to follow comments about the board and lack of spending - but really don't know enough to judge what is happening now-long time since I've been to the ground-sorry.Am a long way away in Dorset! Not much help with that one I'm afraid.
Additional thought: maybe the fact that I feel I don't know so much answers the question?
Thanks for that, i think your getting at what i am thinking ,(without getting too pscho babbly!).In my mind we are starting in the top flight all over again,maybe just like the late sixties when we got promoted to the 1st division,we are the perennial underdogs again, favourites to go down etc, etc, (although some people might argue that we have always been).Even when we went down in the late seventies we never went broke, and still had our image in tow. I feel the present guys at the very top of the club have tried to change the club in a bad way,even little things like the club badge,mean so much to me!!
Thanks again for your insight.
Please keep in touch with the board and feel free to comment on todays issues at the club.
Hi Stocky, may I add my thanks to everyone else’s?
Your comment about “Maybe he thought he’d lose the things he valued if he went for the bigger clubs?” leads me to ask about one of my pet subjects.
Obviously the football landscape in general has changed dramatically between your father’s time and now and with Tony Fernandes and Amit Bhatia now in charge we are becoming fully paid up members of the new order. I would have thought that as Chairman Jim Gregory would have loved it, but do you think your father would have viewed this in a similar way to a number of us in that the changes have to happen for us to compete, but we are looking around the corner in trepidation that we might be going to lose our friendly club or do you think that he would have grabbed the opportunity and driven the club forwards as hard as he could?
Difficult to say how he would have reacted -he would have wanted the best for the team and certainly have driven players to achieve their best - but also wanted to do that within an atmosphere of remaining a local club-there for the supporters? ( If you follow me!)
Don't know if that's much help-sorry! ( am watching Everton game at same time as typing-not a good combination!)