Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The QPR-American Connection: Gordon Jago of QPR, Dallas and Tampa Profiled and Interviewed

Gordon Jago: Profiled and Interviewed-

Yet another great Official Site rememberance/profile/interview: This time Gordon Jago: The man who took QPR and brought Stan Bowles, Dave Thomas, Don Givens, Frank McClintock and Dave Webb to QPR. From the interview ""We faced Carlisle United just after Rodney left and Stan Bowles played magnificently against us at Loftus Road" (Well remember that game; it was a rainy day; Loftus Road pitch was muddy. And Bowles was brilliant.)

In our latest instalment of exclusive interviews on www.qpr.co.uk, former R's boss Gordon Jago comes under the spotlight.

Gordon Jago - 1971-1974
Gordon Jago laid the early foundations for the greatest team in the history of Queens Park Rangers Football Club.
Jago was Manager at Loftus Road from 1971 to 1974. In that time, he built a side that eventually went on to compete with the best in the land.
He said: "It was the happiest period of my career. I took great pleasure from working with the QPR players and I always enjoyed the quality of their play.
"The key to our advancement was the sale of Rodney Marsh in March 1972. We didn't want him to leave, but it was Rodney's choice and he wished to join Manchester City. Fortunately, my Chairman Jim Gregory negotiated a marvellous transfer deal and we got £200,000 clear, which was a large sum of money to rebuild with in those days.
"There was a certain kind of player that was attractive to me. I always went for skilful technique. I didn't favour the old fashioned, big centre-forward down the middle and crashing the ball up to him. I liked to play good football.
"We faced Carlisle United just after Rodney left and Stan Bowles played magnificently against us at Loftus Road. I thought he would be ideal for me. A very similar type of striker to Marsh - very talented, able to beat people, a cute passer of the ball. Stan had a different type of personality, but it was still similar to Rodney's. They were both very flamboyant and I loved that.
"I had also watched Don Givens at Luton Town and Burnley's Dave Thomas. So the money we got for Rodney was used to buy Bowles, Givens and Thomas, who were three top class forwards. We didn't need a lot of new faces as we had some really promising youngsters coming through in Gerry Francis, Dave Clement and Ian Gillard.
"And when I got my final X1 together, from Clement at right-back all the way over to Thomas at outside-left, they could each play passing football. They were happy with the ball and had good touch. There were some great characters and we won promotion to the top flight in 1972/73."
Jago eventually left the R's in October 1974 after a disagreement behind the scenes. But he took immense pride as the Rangers success story continued with Dave Sexton in charge.
"You didn't have to be too clever to know that we had assembled a good squad," said Jago.
"In my first year up in the First Division, we finished eighth. We matched everybody and beat Arsenal and Chelsea for the first time in our history.
"We had a nice blend of experience - like McLintock and Venables - along with the younger element. So it was a perfect position for me as a manager. I felt that the next stage would be the upper echelons of the table and perhaps European football.
"Then unfortunately I fell out with Jim Gregory. It was the most disappointing day of my life when I resigned. It was a hellish decision for me to make.
"So when I walked away, I realised that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to fulfil my dream at Loftus Road. We'd started something, we'd built an excellent team and we'd gone a long way towards where we were aiming.
"I always knew that Rangers were going to be a top side. Of course the season after I departed, they finished runners-up in the League by a point to Liverpool and then went on a superb UEFA Cup run.
"Years afterwards as QPR sustained their status at the highest level, I was able to quietly say to myself 'I had a little bit to do with that.' It was nice to see Rangers become firmly established as a strong club."
Jago has since had a long coaching career in America. Despite being old enough to draw his pension, he still reports for work every day.
"I came out in 1978 so I've been here 30 years. I had six seasons as coach of Tampa Bay Rowdies before joining the Dallas Sidekicks, where I stayed in charge for 18 years. After that, I became Commissioner of the World Indoor Soccer League for three years.
"Nowadays, I am Executive Director of the Dallas Cup, which is the most prestigious youth soccer tournament in the world. I bring in 184 teams from all over the globe. We've had Manchester United, Real Madrid and Chelsea here in recent times.
"I'm 75 years old now and my current role has enabled me to renew a great deal of my old football friendships. Often when I put the phone down after speaking to people over in England, I'm almost certain they say 'I didn't know he was still alive!'
"I'm still having great fun in soccer. I've been very lucky and I've had great health. My wife June has recovered from cancer so we are very blessed.
"And my blood has always been blue and white for QPR. It has been disappointing to see that the club has not enjoyed good fortune in recent years. But let's hope that the new owners can turn it around and put the Hoops where they should be back up in the Premier League." QPR

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