#StanBowlesDay: ‘Stan was so special... it shocked me just how good he was, reveals Frank McLintock

QPR legend Stan Bowles (top) leapfrogs his team-mate Frank McLintock to celebrate his England call-u

QPR legend Stan Bowles (top) leapfrogs his team-mate Frank McLintock to celebrate his England call-up in March 1974 - Credit: S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

EXCLUSIVE: It’s been 38 years since the pair last played together and Frank McLintock still struggles to understand why Stan Bowles’s talents were not given more recognition outside of QPR headquarters.

Bowles, who was recently diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer’s, will be in attendance at Loftus Road with members of his family on Saturday for QPR’s game against Rotherham United, after the club decided to dedicate the match in support of their former player.

McLintock, who spent the last four years of his career at Loftus Road after joining from Arsenal, has heaped praise on a man commonly regarded by supporters as Rangers’ greatest-ever player, who to his shock was only capped five times by England.

He told the Times: “What I did not expect was the fantastic quality of the squad at Loftus Road when I first arrived - I did not realise the quality of the players. It was superb - and Stan was the key man.

To be honest, he was such a good player I could not believe just how talented he was. Honestly, I am not saying this to be nice to him, but he was so special.

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“He had a super turn of pace, he could play a pass others would not see, and he was ice cool in front of goal. Ice cool!

“I still cannot fathom why his talents were not recognised more outside of west London because it actually shocked me just how good he was.”

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Bowles was a maverick off the field as well as on it, with the former striker known to love a trip down the bookies before games as well as a knees-up in the pub afterwards, something McLintock said just made more unique.

He added: “He was a very funny guy and, as we all know, he liked a gamble! He’d still be in the betting shop at 2pm and then at around 2.45 he would turn up, get changed - no warm up for Stan - and then go out and play a blinder. Stan was a unique individual – one of a kind.”

McLintock and Bowles both played an integral role in the Rangers side that went agonisingly close to winning the First Division title in the 1975-76 season, as they were pipped to the championship by Liverpool in dramatic circumstances on the final day.

Despite suffering that disappointment, the 75-year-old only has fond memories of that season in blue and white.

“I’ll never forget the year we nearly won the league at QPR. We had such a great side - with 10 full internationals, like Don Masson, Gerry Francis, Dave Thomas and all - and I knew early on this squad could achieve something very special,” he said.

“We needed Wolves to beat Liverpool on the final day of the season and they were 1-0 up with 15 minutes to go. But like all great sides - and that Liverpool team were fantastic - they scored three in the final 15 minutes and snatched the title from us.

“We’d had a wonderful season and we should not lose sight of that - and it was an absolute pleasure to play with all those great players, especially Stan.”

QPR will be wearing charity shirts carrying the Alzheimer’s society logo against Rotherham. Click here to find out more about #StanBowlesDay.

To donate to the Stan Bowles GoFundMe account, click here.

To donate to the Alzheimer’s Society, click here.

And to learn more about the Alzheimer’s Society, click here.

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